Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Australian vs. American English

I saw Kristen's post on Olya's page about Expat Word Confusion.  You know that I can relate (but opposite).  So, I thought I'd share my contribution to word confusion.

Yank - Australians refer to all Americans as Yanks.  Believe me, when I am directly referred to as a Yank, they are corrected.  Politely.  Because I'm from the South, and we have manners and such.

"The shits" - in Aussie speak, this means to be annoyed, aggravated, or angry at someone.  The first time I heard it this guy was telling me about an argument he was getting into with a co-worker and how he got "the shits".  I was trying to figure out how a person could give you diarrhea just by being annoying.

Rubber = eraser - I can never get used to my 7 year old step-son sitting at the table, doing his homework, and asking me for a rubber.

Coriander - The first time I went to buy cilantro, I walked up to the herbs and didn't see it.  I thought to myself "this stuff labeled coriander sure looks like cilantro, it smells like cilantro, let me taste...yep, tastes like cilantro too."  I figured this out all by my little lonesome.

Root - To root for something in America means to support, to cheer for, to want something good to happen (like for your favorite team to win); In Australia, to root means to f*ck.

Biscuit - in Australia, this is sorta kinda a general term for cookie or cracker; a good ol' fashioned American buttermilk biscuit is one of the most difficult food items to explain to Australians when they have no point of reference. 

Pudding - in Australia, it means cake (again, sorta kinda); American pudding is sorta kinda like a custard - but neither is truly exactly like the other.  Confused, yet?

Dummy = pacifier; in America, it's a nicer way to say idiot.  A parent of a baby asking me to hand her the dummy and pointing at her child in the stroller (pram, in Australian)...because child had dummy/pacifier in mouth...well, I didn't know if she was calling her child an idiot, or what.  But, I'm sure the look on my face showed confusion.

Rubbish bin = Trash Can; After living here six plus years, I get these words jumbled.  Sometimes, I've been known to say trash bin and rubbish can.  People listening to me just need to go with it.

Thongs* = flip flops; you can imagine how this could cause some confusion.
 *No gif attached because silly me googled "thongs gif", and I saw way too many ass pictures to focus on trying again. 

This list could continue on and on and on and on... I still have some word or phrase that I encounter, and I'm like...huh???

Thanks again to Kristen and Olya for this great idea of a post!


  1. hahaha the first time a recipe called for cilantro i was like i don't even know what that is, and my mum was like 'it's coriander, you idiot' hahaha. i gave up saying 'have you got the shits / are you shitty?' etc because everyone thought i was talking about poop hahaha. love this girl!

  2. When I lived in London several things got me:
    Lift = elevator and the fact that 1st Floor means not the Ground Floor but the 1st floor up.
    Chips = French Fries
    Crisps = Potato Chips
    Lorry = truck (umm what?)
    And then just pronunciations of words.....Sause Pin = Sauce Pan
    They use Whilst in everything and of course Zed for the letter Z.....

  3. and don't forget ROCKMELON ....

  4. AND, of course EVERY PRE-UNI girl speaking in their SING-SONGY voice that EVERY sentence ends sounding like a QUESTION? ....

  5. There are people here (in Kansas) that still refer to flip flops as thongs and I just want to scream "Did The Thong Song change NOTHING for you?"

    Also, I'm not sure I could have told you the coriander/cilantro thing. I know what cilantro is and I knew that coriander was an herb, but that was the end of it.

  6. I have the worst time with slang from other areas of my own country. Forget another country altogether.

  7. Oh my gosh, this is hilarious! I would be confused for a very long time about such things. Ha!

    Mandie ~ http://badbrewpack.blogspot.com/

  8. This is awesome! I laughed way way way too hard at "The Shits."

  9. hahaha, I forgot about the rubber thing. I learned not to say that one pretty quickly.

    I always thought of "pudding" as just a general term for dessert.

  10. hahaha I love this!!! awesome post girly

  11. I love this - literally LOL-ed a few times! I tried to brush up on my British slang when preparing for my trip to London a few months ago. It's definitely interesting to keep up with!

  12. So funny to read it the other way too! "The shits" is so hilarious. So glad you liked the topic I came up with for Kristen's guest post. :)

  13. In high school an exchange student from Australia asked me if I had a rubber. The entire class grew quiet and just stared. He was like, "What?" After a little discussion we realized that everyone else had a different idea of what a rubber is than he did. It caused a great laugh once it was all cleared up! :)

  14. I laughed at so many of these. I can't imagine what my reaction would've been to "the shits" one. I'm proud I knew rubber cause of Brit speak which is something I talk in far too often for being an American who has never lived there.

  15. Haha, I love this post! made me laugh so much! some of them are really confusing. sometimes I even get confused about the different meanings of German and English words. For example in German "a gift' is a poison and not a present. And a "handy" is a mobile phone.

  16. Ah honey, I had forgotten that "Yank" is short for Yankee. You should be glad nobody's calling you a "Seppo" ie. Septic Tank = Yank. Leftover from WWII that one I believe...
    and don't forget the good old Pepper/Capsicum! American recipes confuse the heck outta me. I never know half the ingredients on Pioneer Woman!

  17. haha love this post!! And as an aussie reading this it cracked me up from your perspective!!! and yay to you being in australia!!! i'm from Brisbane but sounds like you've been here for a few years now?!
    > stopping by from rainstorms & love notes :)

  18. Some of these are HILARIOUS!

    And I love the gifs that go with each one. Great job!


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