As we travel through fellow English-speaking countries, I love learning about new phrases, slang, and other ways that the same language changes around the world. We've had some great conversations with our friend Steve about British English, and now we are learning some new things here in the land down under! The biggest thing we've noticed about Australian English? They love to shorten words. Like, a lot.
Some of the words they shorten make sense, and it's still easy to figure out what they are talking about. Other times, the shortened word sounds so strange that it takes us a minute or two to figure out what the heck they mean! Google gave me tons of results for Aussie slang, but I thought for this post I'd stick with ones we have actually heard or seen someone use here, so it's not any outdated slang. So here's my list of shortened Australian words we have experienced in our time here!
Aussie - This one's a gimme, right? It's short for Australian and often how locals describe themselves or others.
Footy - Before I came here I thought this was short for football with football meaning what we (as Americans) would call soccer. Turns out it is short for football...meaning Australian football which is a whole different ball game! Literally!
Mozzie - This one I actually heard from Elaine, our American friend who has lived in Australia now for 26 years. Can you tell what it is short for? Mosquito! I really like this one and might try to work it into my vernacular.
Posty - I heard this one from Elaine as well. She was telling a story about a "posty" who collapsed while at work and her daughter pulled over to help him. It took me a while to figure out she was referring to a postman!
Brekky - I heard this one used when we were in the UK as well. Brekky is short for breakfast! In the UK I only heard it used very casually by a few people, here I've seen it in advertisements for restaurants so it is clearly very common.
Pressy - This one was popular in the UK as well, though I am not certain about the spelling. It could be "prezzy"? Regardless, it is short for "present" and I've always heard it used in reference to Christmas presents.
Chrissy - Speaking of Christmas... This is the one that threw me off the most - I have never ever before seen Chrissy as a shortcut for Christmas! I actually saw this one online. Facebook has figured out that I am in Perth, Australia and the real estate market for new builds here is booming. I, a sucker for all things home-related, keep clicking on the ads so I can look at floor plans. One of them suggested that the open floor plan was perfect for hosting family and friends... maybe Chrissy at your place this year? I swear it took me at least two full minutes to realize they were talking about Christmas and not just inviting my friend named Chrissy over for dinner.
Maccas - This is another one that is clearly in the popular vocabulary because the restaurant this is a nickname for uses this in all of their ads and even their app is called "MyMaccas." Have you guessed what fast food restaurant it is, yet? I guarantee you know it by its real name...! It's McDonald's!
Cozzies - I think this one is regional in Australia and I heard it from someone who is originally from the East coast so they might not use it in Western Australia (where we are right now.) It refers to swimsuits! Apparently "cozzies" is the shortened version of "bathing costume" which to me sounds like it's from the Victorian.
Rellies - This one makes me laugh. It's short for relatives! So, you know, you could invite all your rellies over for Chrissy and give them some pressys...
Lollies - Though you might think it is short for "lollipops," I find that it's used to generally refer to all sweets and desserts.
Ozzie salute - Not techinically an abbreviation I just had to share this one because we find ourselves doing it all the time here. This is how the locals refer to the act of waving your hand in front of your face to get rid of the flies. It happens so often they call it the Ozzie salute!
As I hear more fun words during our time in Australia I'll try to update this post. So far I think the only one I'll try to use is "mozzy," though I might get a kick out of referring to McDonald's as Maccas just to confuse people. Which one is your favorite? Which one confused you? I don't think I could ever get on board with referring to Christmas as Chrissy!