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Australian Slang

See also our Australian Slang section
with over 700 words and phrases listed.

Blog – Australian Slang >>   Page 1   Page 2

Up The Duff

Andrew wrote to us wanting to know what the origins of the Aussie phrase "up the duff" is. He knew that it means that a woman is pregnant, but wondered where the saying came from.

We found the phrase "up the duff" in Baker's 1941 publication Dictionary of Australian Slang. So it's been in common usage for at least 60 year.

We believe that the roots of the phrase "up the duff" comes in part from the euphemistic terms used for the gentleman's organ that causes the lady's condition. (How's that for using euphemisms ourselves!)

One of the many slang words used for the organ in question is "pudding" So one might refer to that woman as being "in the pudding club" since in Victorian times it was impolite to discuss pregnancy directly.

One of the definitions for "duff" is a "stiff flour pudding boiled in a cloth bag or steamed". Simply put, one of the meanings for "duff" is a pudding.

As a result is "up the duff" becomes another way to say "in the pudding club". And that in turn means "to be pregnant".

More Emails on Slang

I get emails from people from time to time letting me know an American word or phrase has crept into our site.

Mum not Mom
The most embarrassing Americanism I've let sneak into our website is using Mom instead of Mum.

Sometimes the email is from someone who is extremely upset they found an American word on our Australian website.

Daylight Savings Again!
I suppose the words I keep getting the most heated emails is 'Daylight Savings'.

Putting that 's' at the end is like waving a red flag to some people. Read my reply about it.

Thankfully most people who write me are very understanding how easy it is to use an American word by mistake especially when we hear it so often on the many American shows found on Australian television.

OK or not?
Ian M. wrote me that he thought 'OK' was an Americanism and I might try using something more Aussie.

The origin of 'Okay', I believe, is American. However, it's one of those words that has gained common usage by people all over the world. I never thought about 'OK' being an Americanism, but following Ian's suggestion, I did a search of our website's 1,500 plus pages. It was only on a couple of pages and I changed the wording.

One last thought
Did you know every single Australian website on the Internet uses the American spelling of a certain word instead of the Australian spelling? Can you guess what that word is?

Pump Water Slang?
A Canadian dad wanted to know what 'Pump Water' was. It was on a Wollongong high school canteen menu he saw. That's not slang. It's just a brand of bottled water in Australia made by Coca-Cola.


How Do You Pronounce It ?

Sue Beth from America said she was told that we pronounce aluminium funny. We don't know why it would sound funny to you. You're the one with the accent!

Here's a small list of some differences

word USA Australia
Aluminium a-lum-in-um al-u-min-e-um
Nisan nee-san niss-n
Adidas ah-d-das add-a-das
Memo mem-o me-mo
Melbourne mel-born mel-burn
Brisbane briz-bane briz-bin

Slang Answers

To Marianne, a Bush Telly is slang for campfire while a Telly is a television. Why is a Bush Telly a campfire? Perhaps watching the campfire is the closest thing to a telly you'll find when camping.

To confuse things a bit further, a Bush Telly is not the same as a Bush Telegraph. That means to spread information by word-of-mouth such as gossip.

To Maria from Chile, a Bushman's Clock is a kookaburra. Why? Because it loudly announces the new day.

To Aiko in Japan, a Chalkie is a teacher and a Chippie is a carpenter.

And finally, to Billy in the USA, yes, some Aussies really do use rhyming slang. Travis on the Aussie TV show Big Brother used it all the time! And no, not everyone here understood him either.

To Lurch or Not to Lurch

Ben wrote us wanting to know what or where is a lurch. He's referring to the saying "left in the lurch".

Not strictly Aussie slang, but a saying used in many countries. It means "abandoned in a difficult position without help."

So what is a lurch? We did some research and learned that in the 1500's there was a French game called Lurch. If you were stuck and had no way to win, you were said to suffer a lurch. The game was popular and "left in the lurch" eventually became part of our language.

What Do Aussies Call Bread ?

Chichi asked "What is Australian bread called and how is it made? Please I have a project on this topic."

Australian bread is called bread. We have all kinds of bread at our grocery stores.

If you mean the original way bread was made in Australia, it was called Damper. You can find my Damper recipe here

Many of us still make and eat Damper especially when we go camping or when we cook on the barbie. It's also good first recipe for children to try. I even had them serve Damper at my own outdoor wedding.

Mum or Mom ?

Kylie had a go at us for using the word "mom" instead of "mum" in a joke from our page of Aussie Jokes for Kids. It's tough sometimes to keep the Americanisms from creeping into our website. I've fixed the joke and searched the rest of our site to find any more mom's that might be lurking around.

I hope I've caught them all, but if you spot a mom where mum should be, let me know.


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