Australia may be an English-speaking country, but there are plenty of differences when it comes to local parlance. Aside from laying claim to inventing the word “selfie”, Australians’ love of slang may be unrivaled anywhere else in the world.
For example, the C-word (it's not cookie) may be just as common as “mate” in Oz, and can range in connotations from insulting someone (“you useless c***”), to calling a friend cool (“he’s a sick c***”).
But for non-Aussies, it’s easy to get tangled up when it comes to the loose use of swear word lingo Down Under. To help you better understand (or impress) your token Aussie friend who slips back into native slang, here’s a brief list of swear words I’ve encountered, broken down by category:
“Bugger” is common in both Aussie and British slang, and vaguely refers to someone or something that is annoying. Calling someone a bugger can be used affectionately or derogatorily. The general expletive can be used in any situation, and roughly means,“F*** off/me” or “Well, I’ll be damned!”
F*** me dead
Basically, this means, “Didn’t see that one coming!” or “Oh my!” As you may have realized, profanity is pretty universal in Oz, which is why this phrase is a common way of conveying surprise.
An Australian version of "Go f*** yourself", in acronym form. A universal phrase, indeed.
Fair suck of the sav
The word "sav" is short for saveloy, or a red, seasoned sausage -- this is what's called a metaphor in literary circles. Aussies typically use this phrase when they think someone is being unfair, roughly meaning "Give me a fair shot”. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd famously gained attention for muddling the phrase as “fair shake of the sauce bottle, mate.” We understand what you were getting at, Kev. Idioms are hard.