Quick, Pandas, what are the first few things that pop into your mind when I mention Australia? If we were to go by stereotypes alone, odds are that you might have thought along the lines of poisonous wildlife, koalas, kangaroos, boisterous yet friendly locals, God-tier surfing, delicious barbeques, and all-around having a great time at the beach. However, Australia is far more than just what we learn about it from movies, TV shows, and the news (though those can help us get a better handle on the culture). And a lot of the magic lies in the language.

Sure, we might all be speaking English, but Australians have a whole host of colorful phrases, fun expressions, stunning slang and take some truly magnificent linguistic liberties that are just as impressive as the country’s vast biodiversity. And Bored Panda has traveled all over Twitter to share how non-Australians reacted when they learned about some of these interesting turns of phrase, as well as a sprinkling of some other interesting Aussie facts. Cultural quirks that we love? You bet! Of course, keep in mind that some of these phrases are just the internet having fun and taking the mickey.

Scroll down, upvote your favorite tweets, and let us know which of them made your day the most, dear Pandas. Personally, I think that saying ‘fairy floss’ instead of candy floss and calling astronauts ‘Austronauts’ is truly, deeply ingenious.

I was curious to learn about how differences in the same language develop in different places, how expressions get entrenched in languages, and how we can become more aware of fun linguistic tendencies in our native tongues, so I reached out to Lisa McLendon at the University of Kansas.

"Any living language is always changing, and different regions/groups/subcultures take the language in different directions," she told Bored Panda, adding that geography is also a "significant factor" in language change. Lisa is the William Allen White Professor of Journalism and Mass Communications and the coordinator of the Bremner Editing Center at KU. Scroll down for the full interview.

#1

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

sally_ayas Report

Julia Atkinson
Community Member
10 months ago

I'm fairly sure this isn't confined to Australia

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#2

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Bill
Community Member
10 months ago

The first patent used this name

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#3

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Guy MacGregor
Community Member
10 months ago

Had to Google "Tater tots". Seems to be some kind of fried potatoes

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Lisa from KU shared with Bored Panda how certain expressions, like the fun Australian phrases featured in this article, become part of our everyday life and win out over alternatives.

"Some new words and phrases catch on quickly because they refer to something new: an object, an action, a job. Think about all the terms surrounding social media that didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago. When a new thing comes along, we have to call it something," Lisa explained that innovation can drive changes in language.

#4

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

e1cowie Report

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
10 months ago

The funny thing is that our public holiday is not actually on the Queens birthday.

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#5

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Patsy Lightfoot
Community Member
10 months ago

Mate, we have seven time zones

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#6

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Otter
Community Member
10 months ago

Americans used to do the same!

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Popularity via media can be another way how slang spreads. "But then there are slang words and words that shift in meaning. Sometimes those move into the mainstream from a specific region, group, or subculture. How? One way is media: say a popular TV show, movie or song uses a word—lots of people are then hearing the word and it can make the transition from niche to national."

Though not all expressions can boast about their longevity. Some are simply fads that fade into obscurity far too quickly while others become part of the essence of the language itself. "Sometimes these are a 'flash in the pan'—popular for a short time but quickly pass. Sometimes they stick around and are adopted into the lexicon. Why? It depends on a lot of factors that aren’t entirely predictable, such as whether the term is useful or adds something needed in the language."

#7

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Bron
Community Member
10 months ago

Yeah, it was just part of an advert

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#8

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Andy Acceber
Community Member
10 months ago

We do that regionally in the U.S. with "buddy."

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#9

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
10 months ago

And proud of it! 👍

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Lisa noted that nobody can force expressions to be adopted, this process needs to be natural. "The move needs to come from the users of the language: Most changes imposed from the 'top down' don’t stick."

What's more, Lisa told Bored Panda how we can become aware of some of the more interesting aspects of our language, such as all the colorful phrases that we use.

"The easiest (and most fun) way is through media from other cultures that speak the same language. For instance, if you’re an American English speaker, you’re in a new world of words when you watch Australian or British shows or movies, or even ones from the US that focus on a region or group different from your own. Language is a rich and beautiful thing, and with all the streaming options available now, it’s easy to find something that doesn’t have the 'same expressions all the time.'"

#10

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

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coraline jones
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

we do?

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#11

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Kanuli
Community Member
10 months ago

Good luck telling your wife the new coworker f****d you off.

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#12

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Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
10 months ago

how is that absolutely ludicrous knowledge???

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Professor Christine Vogt, who heads Arizona State University’s Center for Sustainable Tourism, explained to Bored Panda that we should all take the time to learn about local customs and the language before heading abroad. In this case, it might mean catching up with Australian slang. This article might be a small primer, but you can find a more comprehensive list right here.

"More than likely that is what draws a person to visit a certain place. The more local knowledge a traveler has, the more a traveler can feel like a local and fit in," Christine told Bored Panda during an earlier interview.

#13

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

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Bron
Community Member
10 months ago

And chooks lay bum nuts or cackleberries

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#14

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Toby Reisch
Community Member
10 months ago

Wait till he hears the term "w***y w***y"

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#15

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william mcgloin
Community Member
10 months ago

Knobaplop... My new favorite word.

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"Local customs can include how a traveler dresses, eats, uses a cell phone, etc. When a traveler is out in a community such as walking in a downtown area or eating in a restaurant, these local customs can come into play,” the expert said.

“For example, in Buddhist countries, a woman who has not covered her shoulders or legs may not be allowed into temples or even a restaurant. Learn as many local customs as you can and a few key words to enhance your experience," the professor said that we should learn to adapt to the local cultures so we can enjoy them to the fullest. It’s best to participate them instead of looking in, lost, from the outside.

#16

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

We call it both. I use hiking not bush walking.

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#17

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Bron
Community Member
10 months ago

Any time we can shorten a name we will. Unless it’s already short, then we make them longer 😂

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#18

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Marky Mark
Community Member
10 months ago

Canadian here - around here we call them that too (though it might be a local / regional thing)

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As I wrote in my earlier article about Australia being the ‘Land of Nope,’ there’s a lot of wildlife there that might make visitors to the country pause for a bit and reorganize their life priorities. Around 100 of the 170 snake species living in Australia are poisonous. Meanwhile, 21 of the world’s 25 most venomous snakes also call the Land Down Under their home. However, casualties are few and far between.

#19

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SCREAMING CHILD
Community Member
10 months ago

That's actually a common shortening/nickname for many things in Australia. Documentarys are doccos, people named Dave can be Davo, service stations are servos, bottle shops are bottle-os.

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#20

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Caitlin de Fouw
Community Member
10 months ago

I prefer to call mosquitoes - dead

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#21

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Rose the Cook
Community Member
10 months ago

Depends where you live.

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What’s more, Australia’s also home to over 2.4k different species of arachnid. Though, keep in mind that fewer than 50 Australian spider species actually pose a threat to people. All the others are fairly friendly. One thing that should definitely help you get over the creepy crawlies is the colorful slang and the friendly locals. Australia’s more than its snakes and spiders. So much more.

#22

Non-Australians-Share-Thing-About-Australia

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Julia Atkinson
Community Member
10 months ago

We still use "tea urn" in England

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#23

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
10 months ago

Really? Just because a handful of people call it something doesn't mean it's an Aussie term. Another one I have never heard before.

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#24

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SoozeeQ
Community Member
10 months ago

To Australians, "crackers" are savoury biscuits used in dips.

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#25

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Sue Bradley
Community Member
10 months ago

This is a universal informal term, mine is known as sausage boy 😊

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See Also on Bored Panda
#26

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Julia Atkinson
Community Member
10 months ago

The term derives from Sylvanus Bowser, American inventor of the first self-service fuel pump

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#27

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Guy MacGregor
Community Member
10 months ago

Given it's a German brand, I don't think you pronounce it properly either.

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#28

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Julia Atkinson
Community Member
10 months ago

Yes, so do we Brits. Could this be because Australia is a British colony?

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#29

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Raven Sheridan
Community Member
10 months ago

We also play Goon Roulette! It's like Spin the Bottle, except you hang a goon bag from the clothesline, get a bunch of friends to stand around it in a circle and then spin the clothesline. If the goon bag stops near you, you drink! Then spin again!!

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#30

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Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
10 months ago

Another term I have never heard before.

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Note: this post originally had 65 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.