Six Divisive Regional Slang Terms Likely To Result In An Australian Civil War

Bubblers or drinking fountains? Togs or cossies? Potato cakes or potato scallops?

Remember the great Twitter potato war of 2014? Depending where in Australia you grew up, you know those delicious battered, deep-fried golden roundels as either ‘potato cakes’ or ‘potato scallops’.

But there are plenty of other linguistic fault lines in Australia. The boffins at the Macquarie Dictionary have mapped Australian regional language, including feedback from amateur contributors. Browse your own regionalisms, discover in other parts of Australia, and search for terms that mystify you. As they say in Perth, that’s mint.

Now, whether you’re a sandgroper or a banana-bender, a croweater or a gumsucker, let’s see which side of the border you fall on

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If you grew up in Queensland you might change into your swimming ‘togs’. The word originally meant ‘clothes’ – especially an outer garment – and originates from the Latin ‘toga’. The same clothing theme is reflected in names such as ‘swimsuits’ and ‘swimming costumes’, which in NSW and Queensland get abbreviated to ‘swimmers’, as if the garment itself is doing the swimming. But only in Sydney is a swimming costume known as a ‘cossie’.

The term ‘bathers’ – used in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria – harks back to swimming’s history as a leisure pursuit. During the 18th century, therapeutic bathing became popular at mineral spas and seaside resorts.

Growing up in Victoria I always knew men’s swimming briefs as ‘Speedos’, after the swimwear brand (importantly, Australians use the plural while Americans refer to ‘a Speedo’), but in Queensland they’re ‘dick togs’ (DTs, in polite company), and ‘ball-huggers’ in WA.

Men in NSW, meanwhile, mock ‘dick-stickers’, ‘dick-pokers’ and ‘dick-pointers’. But to Sydney’s serious-minded, they’resluggos (short for ‘slug-huggers’), and sometimes ‘scungies (especially among surfers).

Scungies’ are also girls’ sports briefs in NSW – the sort worn for modesty over regular underpants and under netball skirts. (In North Queensland, they’re ‘bum shorts’.) But in Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne, they’re called ‘bloomers’. This name reflects the history of women’s sportswear, which was modelled on the ‘Bloomer suits’ American feminists had devised in the 1850s.

Fruit and veg troubles

What are shallots? To most Australians, they’re small brown onions. But in Sydney, shallots are what other Australians call ‘spring onions’. Now introduce spinach, and watch things get more complicated. Sydneysiders call spinach’ what Victorians call ‘silverbeet’. Beta vulgaris is also known as Swiss chard – as opposed to Spinacia oleracae, which in NSW is called ‘English spinach’.

In most parts of Australia, that orange melon with the hard, rough, beige-and-green rind is a rockmelon. I mean come on – it looks like a damn rock. It gave its name to Sydney pop band Rockmelons, who enjoyed the cod-reggae hit ‘That Word (L.O.V.E.)’ in 1992, fronted by Deni Hines.

However in Victoria, that word is ‘cantaloupe’. The word is a Frenchified version of Cantalupo (“singing wolf”), the papal estate near Rome where the melons are said to have first been cultivated in Western Europe after being introduced from their native Armenia.

Meanwhile, small cardboard cartons of fruit juice with attached straws are known in South Australia as ‘fruit boxes’. But in Queensland they’re known as ‘poppers’ after the brand of that name, much as in Victoria they’re ‘Primas’.


Political processed meat

It’s a bland sausage of finely ground pork and other mystery meat, sliced thinly for sandwiches or pan-fried. It’s not quite the same smallgood as bologna, the Italian sausage derived from mortadella. But in WA it’s known by the same phonetic name, ‘polony’.

Once it was known as ‘German sausage’; in South Australia, with its substantial German history, it’s still called ‘fritz’, as it is in adjacent western NSW. But during WWI, German associations fell out of favour, and various wholesome Allied names took over: ‘Belgium’ in Tasmania, ‘devon’ in NSW and Victoria, ‘empire’ in Newcastle and – my favourite, because it’s a dig at the British royal family – ‘Windsor sausage’ in Queensland.

Get your drinks right

When a stray softball hit me in the eye in primary school, my cruel, uncaring teacher’s idea of first aid treatment was: “Go and get a drink of water.” At my school in Melbourne, drinking water came from ‘the taps’ mounted above a long trough. Pushing down on a lever controlled the flow of water, and flat metal guards prevented kids’ mouths from actually slurping on the nozzles. Those guards could emit a singing tone if rubbed when wet.

But if that softball had hit me in NSW, the ACT or the Northern Territory, I would have sought medical aid from ‘the bubblers’, while ‘drinking fountain’ seems to be the dominant terminology in Queensland, WA and Tasmania. However, in a heartening case of linguistic compromise, some areas of regional Victoria seem to use ‘bubble taps’.


Generally, Australians call carbonated sweet drinks ‘soft drinks’ or ‘fizzy drinks’. But in WA and SA, they’re ‘cool drinks’, which has nothing to do with the serving temperature. Meanwhile in Tasmania, soft drink is ‘cordial’ (or, sometimes, ‘fizzy cordial’). Since the 14th century, ‘cordial’ has meant “of the heart” – speaking cordially meant speaking sincerely, and a cordial was originally a tonic to stimulate the heart. So who knows what Tassie kids thought of that heartfelt Cottee’s ad?

I don’t even want to get started regarding the different beer glass names, but it’s also noteworthy that Queenslanders refer to 750ml beer bottles as ‘tallies’ or even ‘largies’. Everywhere else, they’re ‘longnecks’.

Getting dressed

I grew up calling those little square towels ‘facewashers’. Apparently, this isn’t a regionalism – but ‘washer’ is more common in Queensland, NSW and the ACT. WA, SA and Tasmania tend to prefer a ‘flannel’, although ‘face cloth’ is also used.

And if I had a day out of school uniform, it’d be called a ‘casual clothes day’ in Melbourne, as in Adelaide. But ‘free dress days’ are held in Queensland and Perth, and ‘mufti days’ in Sydney, southern NSW and northern Victoria.

Mufti means “judge” in Arabic, and the sense of ordinary, non-uniform clothes dates from 1816 – because British army officers who’d been stationed abroad took to wearing comfortable Eastern-style dressing gowns, tasselled caps and slippers on their days off, which made them resemble Muslim clerics.

In cold weather, Victorians, South Australians and West Australians pull on ‘windcheaters’ – long-sleeved, fleecy-lined sweatshirts. But in NSW, the ACT and Queensland, such garments are known as ‘sloppy joes’, and many in these states insist that a windcheater is more like a zip-up hooded jacket. (A ‘jumper’ – never an American-style ‘sweater’ – is always woollen.)

Junior Shabadoo

Do kids even run around barefoot in summer any more? When I was a kid, early summer before your feet had toughened up was the worst time to step on ‘bindi-eyes’ – those prickly burrs that lay waiting in the grass like nature’s landmines. They were also known just as ‘bindies’.

The Macquarie says the word derives from the word for the plant Soliva pterosperma in the Aboriginal languages Kamilaroi and Yuwaalarraay, from

NSW’s Liverpool Range. The plant grows pretty much everywhere in Australia except Tasmania.

But around Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, it’s not a bindi-eye. It’s a joey. And in Wollongong and the NSW South Coast, it’s a jo-jo. It’s also the worst name Moe ever heard.

Mel Campbell is a freelance journalist and cultural critic. She founded online pop culture magazine The Enthusiast, and author of the book Out of Shape: Debunking Myths about Fashion and Fit. She blogs on style, history and culture atFootpath Zeitgeist and tweets at@incrediblemelk.

Feature image via Twitter/@MrGlass23.



  1. Ally Cat says:

    I’m from Adelaide, and “Scungies” were Tracky-Daks (Trackpants) in the 70’s.
    Have always known carbonated drinks to be “Soft Drinks” as opposed to “Hard Liquor”

  2. Ryan Trahar says:

    Strange I always thought Bindi’s where these bad boys.

  3. Casey McGee says:

    About to move from Sydney to the NSW South Coast, probably avoided a social faux pas with this important information on bindis

  4. Mikey Langford says:

    I’m from Newcastle and we always called them Bindis, and whats this nonsense about ’empire’ sausage? It’s Devon.

  5. “And if I had a day out of school uniform, it’d be called a ‘casual clothes day’ in Melbourne”
    It was always a ‘casual dress day’ for me in regional Victoria.

    “much as in Victoria they’re ‘Primas’.”
    And no idea about this one – sure Prima are the name brand, but they were just Juice Boxes to me.

  6. Nicole says:

    Grew up in Newcastle and I have never heard of Devon being called Empire.

  7. Beth Brennan says:

    In Newcastle we used to refer to our school bags as “ports”. Growing up we used lug around heavy samsonite ports, consequently we lean either to the left or right.

  8. Daniel says:

    A lot of these are wrong…

  9. Michelle Nally says:

    I’ve spent my whole life living in QLD and I can say with certainty they only got about half of it right for us.

  10. Mel Campbell says:

    All these (apart from my own experiences, which I flag) come from the Macquarie, guys! The nature of a language corpus is that it’s made up of many different examples of idiosyncratic speech, which can be read for patterns of frequency. There are some terms on the map that amateur contributors have vehemently said are wrong or untrue, but the ones I’ve picked tend to get backed up.

    Your own regionalisms may vary, as we’re all the product of varying combinations of inputs from families, friends and official cultures (schools, brands, etc) from different parts of Australia.


  11. Morgan Harris says:

    Every single fact in this article is incorrect

  12. Cat says:

    I’m from Wollongong and I have never heard a bindi referred to as a jo-jo…

  13. Steve says:

    Second that

  14. Charles says:

    I’ve lived in Tassie for 36 years, have never called a facewasher called a flannel and have never heard soft drink referred to as anything other that soft drink (or “fizzy drink” when younger).

  15. Shelley Heath says:

    I was going to mention the missing of budgie smugglers for speedos but see Mel B has beat me too it.
    Growing up in Brisbane it has always been a bubbler to me. This is the first I have ever heard about Windsor sausage… it is either Devon or Fritz in SE Qld as far as I know.
    Also “casual clothes day” was called Civies day (ie no uniform dressed as a civilian) when I was at school.

  16. Shelley Heath says:

    We used to call them ports in Brisbane too… and I know the ones you are meaning

  17. Bianca says:

    Agreeing with everyone else on here when I say this article is quite inaccurate. I’ve lived in almost every state (except ACT & TAS) and the slang words reported here are way off… At the moment I live in SA and we call potato scallops, potato scallops, not potato cakes (but they called them that in VIC) and when I was living in Newcastle devon was called devon. NSW poppas were poppas and in Cairns it was either poppa or prima. Haha!

  18. Bianca says:

    They were ports in NSW too all the way from Sydney across to Broken Hill, every school I attended, the kids called them ports :)

  19. Confused says:

    God I am feeling old, I can remember when devon was called empire & I’m Newcastle born & bred

  20. Sophie Blaschke says:

    Ports, totes, schoolbags thats definitely another one :)

  21. Prue McKay says:

    I grew up in SE Qld and it was always devon, never Windsor Sausage (which I’ve never heard of until now)…also we called the taps Bubblers, or Taps. Not fountains!

    I would have liked you to address the great cheerio/cocktail frank debate… ;)

  22. Having lived in Newcastle most of my life, except for a few years in Sydney and Melbourne, I have never heard of a Bindie being called “jo-jo” or “Joey”…
    I have never heard of empire sausage… its Devon.

    Also what about just plain old “Out of Uniform Day” for NSW ;)

    I call shenanigans on this whole thing.

  23. zeldafitzgerald says:

    It was always free dress day in my eastern suburbs Victorian public school. And in Wollongong bindis are bindis. the silverbeet vs spinach in sydney is rubbish – it’s all silverbeet unless it’s spinach. and a jumper is a jumper is a jumper – i’m telling you that people call even their hoodies a jumper. a jumper DOES NOT have to be woollen.

    Typical melburnian know it all article

  24. Callie Ge says:

    I grew up and lived in NSW for 45 years I have never heard sluggo’s (for hiding your slug mate) referred to as dick-stickers’, ‘dick-pokers’ and ‘dick-pointers’, speedos sluggos, budgie smugglers. Empire sausage , never heard that one, It’s Devon (with sauce) for bogans and “Luncheon” for polite society (which also includes ham and chicken roll) Always had to wear thongs in summer with your cozzie because of the Bindies (Bindy eyes) but since I moved to QLD I have only heard them referred to a “Prickles”. Yobbies? I thought they were some sort of Junior Yobbo but soon discovered they are the QLD version of A Yabby which we caught in the creek in NSW.
    Potato Scallop all the way.

  25. Callie Ge says:

    Cocktail frankfurt, when I moved to QLD a lady in a woolies deli asked me if I wanted a cheerio and I thought she was gonna wave goodbye to me,

  26. Luke says:

    We in NSW called them poppers, not because of the brand but coz of the noise they made when you blew them up and jumped on them.

  27. Kelly Vickers says:

    My Tasmanian boyfriend wants me to point out that they call Devon “Belgium”

  28. RugbyStu says:

    Same in QLD

  29. RugbyStu says:

    Where did this article get its research?

  30. Melissa Molly Baker says:

    what about cossies for swimwear? I was born in NSW but lived in rural qld from 6-18. We had the peanut butter v peanut paste, duchess v the dressing table. Cocktail frankfurts v little boys. Now that was some wars.

  31. Melissa Molly Baker says:

    and school bags v ports, recess v Little lunch.

  32. Melissa Molly Baker says:

    cheerio v cocktail frankfurt v little boys!

  33. ejhaskins says:

    Dick-daks, please!

  34. ejhaskins says:

    Age, I think, rather than state.
    I think I remember them being ‘satchels’ in Victoria (many many years ago but they were ‘suitcases’ when we moved to Sydney, and we sat on them when waiting at a bus stop. They were ‘ports’ in Brisbane. For primany schoolers these were like suitcases with back straps to be worn on the back.
    Whwn the soft zippered bags came into fashion, they were simply claaed bags, everywhere as far as I know. Then when tneh backpack style came in they are now universally ‘backpacks’.
    (I think)

  35. ejhaskins says:

    Call them what you will Potato Cake or Potato Scallop, they are still nothing more than potato fritters, and disgusting at that! Nearly as bad as a Chip Butty :-(
    By the way I lived in Brisbane forover a decade, and never once heard Devon (Sausage) being called anything else other that “Luncheon Sausage” or Polony

  36. ejhaskins says:

    New South Wales, Queensland or WA, I NEVER heard binndies called anything else other than ‘bindiies’ (bindi-eyes) singlular bindi, orbindii (bindi-eye), or bindies.
    I’ve seen them referred to as Jo-jo weed on the Internet, but that’s a completely different plant and probably one ‘unreliable’ fact published on Wikipedia.

  37. ejhaskins says:

    Yep! Uniform free day it became. It did start though as ‘mufti day’.

  38. ejhaskins says:

    Mind you, in the staff room (at school) they were just known as ‘little boys’ :-)

  39. ejhaskins says:

    Ah, NO!!! These are “Bull heads”, and why thorn proof tyres were needed on the kids bikes, and why every kid went to school with his/her (rubber) thongs hanging on the handlebars. Otherewise known as ‘caltrops’
    “Caltrop is named after a medieval weapon; the small, four spiked, metal ball(a caltrop) that was laid to cripple enemy horses and infantry”

  40. ejhaskins says:

    One serious problem with this article is that it makes now allowance for period (time), or for social class (demographics). Then there is Catholic (Cafflik) School pronunciateion veruse State School, versus Private School English. Some private schools have there very own accents! I presume that accepted terms and slang are different for each.
    Australian English has changed dramatically within my life time –we get more Americanisms coming into the language, and what used to be considered an uneducated, low-class accent now seems to be the dominant for of speech. Remember “Strine”??
    Then many people use different words in different situations.
    My favourite “Australianism” is “yooze mob” (plural of “you’). eh!
    My favourite hate is referring to Australia as Oz, and ourselves as Aussies :-( The French don’t call themselves, Frogs, nr the English Call themselves poms, or the US people call themselves Yanks (or pakkies, or wogs or dagoes or whatever slang is used to denigrate them by others!)

  41. ejhaskins says:

    NAH! We changed hands regulalry, and as soon as we were out of sight of others, swung them up onto out heads!!
    Good weight training! I’ve just read that weights are beter for flattening tummies, so maybe I should pack my case and go walking?

  42. Ryan Trahar says:

    In Victoria that’s what we called those evil bastards. At least north of The Divide and in the Western Districts. They don’t get these south of The Divide as it’s too cold.

  43. ejhaskins says:

    Maybe that is because Victoria isn’t awash with ‘Soliva pterosperma.’? Nasty nasty stuff!
    At least bullheads are easily seen and avoided. (Actually I wouldn’t have thought that bullheads would grow in Vic, as they are tropical plants??)

  44. Ryan Trahar says:

    They mainly are in Northern Victoria. I grew up in Swan Hill and it was covered in them. Have seen them about as far south as Bendigo and Hamilton but not further south than that.

  45. Kendi Holloway says:

    I’m from Broken Hill in NSW but we are very close to SA border. When I was growing up in 70’s/80’s we called them “scallops” (they are thin slices of potato dipped in batter and fried, not skinny hash browns you call potato cakes),fritz, fruit boxes, soft drink, bubblers, schoolbags/bag, flannel(my grandma may have influenced me tho), rockmelon,jumper (all not just made of wool), bathers, dick-stickers(whispered),silver beet (spinach is spinach),spring onions,mufti-day. You forgot that noxious purple weed, we call it “salvation Jane”, but friends around Bathurst called it “Pattersons curse” and the “dippy-dog”, I believe you may know it as a pluto pup :) Not forgetting the dreaded Three Corner Jack (prickles are the seeds of clover, painful but not deadly).

  46. Joltz says:

    You forgot Pluto pups/dagwood dogs

  47. Disgusted says:

    From Brisbane.

    We drank from taps. My young kids call them bubblers, but that might be because my wife is a goddamn Victorian traitor. She also calls scollops (spelt phonetically) potato cakes and poppers fruit boxes. Damn her to the hell she surely deserves.

    Luncheon meat or just plain luncheon, not Devon. I never heard the term Devon until I was in my 20s, but then I’d long ceased being subjected to the stuff, so the labelling may have changed at any time in the 90s. Winsor sausage? You’re talking out you backside. I’ve never heard the term in my life.

    Yes, togs. DTs or DPs for Speedos, which are just called Speedos if you’re at a pool and doing laps. I think pretty much everyone calls them budgie smugglers these days, though.

    My aforementioned wife, who is probably a spy for the AFL, calls scrungies “bummers”. I don’t call them anything, and have never heard of scrungies. I grew up without sisters and never gave a rat’s about netball, though, so I don’t know her vernacular of choice is widespread, or simply another foreign Victorian arrogance. I mean, you come to this country, you speak the language, right? Love it or leave. She should probably be in that island thing in PNG.

    Sloppy joes were marketed as such by retailers but called jumpers by the hoi polloi. You’d see the term in Best n Less and translate it to the correct term, being jumper. I was initially confused reading this, for never in my life have I said, “boy, it’s getting chilly – I’ll just chuck on my sloppy joe. We all call them sloppy joes, right? Everyone knows what a sloppy joe is.” Everyone would have said, “shut up and put on your jumper, you dickhead.” I suppose the odd kid might have approached me in private and asked my what the hell a sloppy joe was, because they’d been reading these pamphlets and were curious. Now I understand this was a long term effort by a journalist, just to produce this article. Well, you failed. And as for windcheaters – a term I heard once in a while by someone who thought, I presume with disgust, that the then very expensive airline ticket to Melbourne was posh and made them special. I suspect this was the same middle-aged lady teacher who bored us by telling us about her daughter living in Norway, and who liked to call us all “young man” and surreptitiously fart while standing over our shoulders to check our work.

    And no, a jumper isn’t always woollen. What an outrage.

    Bindii. Called that everywhere, including Burke’s Backyard. But having seen Don on that Can of Worms show about swearing, I bet he calls them spiky little c*nts off camera.

    Free dress day. Yes.

    Tallies and largies are interchangeably called longnecks here. I haven’t heard of a largie for a long time, though. Actually, I haven’t seen anyone drinking from a 750ml bottle of beer for even longer.

    Facewashers, yes. Soft drink, yup.

    Now let’s focus on our universal hatred of greengrocers. I only know one spinach, which is sometimes silverbeet instead. What the hell is the English one? I never buy it, so I’ve probably walked past it labelled variously. Spring onions are indeed what shallots are called now, but when I was a kid my mother called them shallots, which I’ve seen spelt eschallots, and which I presumed was the correct sciencey name for them. But, no. Those gouging vegetable floggers with their redundant apostrophes had to change it to spring onions, and suddenly I was a yokel for not knowing that. Bastards. Actually, they were never eschallots. They were always eschallot’s. I wonder how long a line of grocer’s apostrophe’s would stretch if you could line them all up. I think at least as far as Uranus. Let’s get Professor Hawking working on it. Think of all the Nikko pen’s that have been wasted on these (which I believe are another regionalised thing, being called Texta’s in my wife’s weird and presumably communist former state, and felt pen’s elsewhere, which are obviously the things you use for colouring in. And that’s as many grocers’ apostrophes as I can manage in one sitting).

  48. Disgusted says:

    I don’t care what a wrong reference says. You’re the one saying “they call them this or that here or there,” based on your reference. People who live there are telling you different. It’s a bad article.

  49. John Baker says:

    But Oz and Aussie isn’t used to denigerate. It’s the Australian tradition of shortening everything.

  50. kjwrite says:


  51. kjwrite says:

    So many things wrong with this click bait article…

  52. Alf says:

    Portmanteau could only happen in QLD

  53. TruckiPete says:

    Chip Butty..??

  54. Mikael Blade says:

    I liked this article. I would love to see a poll to see which names are used most commonly. In Adelaide we call a schnitzel with cheese and Napoli sauce (and ideally ham) a ‘parmi’ or ‘parmy’ (short for parmigiana) although we pronounce the full word parm-a-shar-na… I still tell Victorians they’re wrong when they say Parma. Ps bathers. Speedos (budgie smugglers for Abbot) or boardies for swimming shorts.

  55. Jenny Noyes says:

    yep… and the Brits do it too.

  56. Kelly H says:

    I’m from Nowra and neither have I.

  57. tom says:

    I think he means chip buddy a.k.a. a hot chip sandwich

  58. Craig says:

    Your from queensland, you couldn’t get half right if you tried ☺

  59. Edward Marquis Von Jensz says:

    It was called mufti at my Eastern suburbs high school in Melbourne in the 1960’s, the only time I heard free dress used was when my kids went to school in Southern Qld.

    Jumpers are not always woollen they are any pullover type wear even a tack suit top in Qld, WA and Vic to my knowledge.

    When I was a kid the drink in a cardboard box was called a jubbly after a product name which was pyramid shaped and then when my kids were at school in Qld they were poppers.

    Bindiis were a common term in Qld but I never came across the term at all in Victoria because as kids we never came across them.

    I lived in Southern Qld for 19 years from 1977 to 1996 and never heard the term tallie for a large beer bottle – they were largies.

    I have heard the school drinking taps referred to as simply drinking taps or when we lived in Qld the kids sometimes called them bubblers and sometime just taps.

    As far as swimwear was concerned when I was a kid it was always togs – I grew up in country and city Victoria, as I got older they sometimes referred to them as bathers but it wasn’t common. As I got older Speedos was a common term and in the 1980’s in QLD we began to hear the term dick togs or DT’s.

    In Melbourne when I was a kid spring onions were sometimes called shallots and sometimes spring onions. It was actually difficult to get shallots when I was a kid and they could only be sourced at specialist European green grocers.

    When I was a kid the Devon sausage was also called Windsor in some shops in Melbourne.

    My family loved canteloupe’s but I hated them and still do but I have heard them called rockmelon everywhere else except Victoria.

    The terms silverbeet and spinach were always interchangable in my house in Melbourne in the 1960’s then we all got educated about the difference and still doesn’t matter to me because I don’t like either at all.

    To further add to the confusion let’s look at luggage – in QLD the term for a suitcase is port and the term for a school bag is a school port (as in portmanteau). In parts of WA a school bag is a school satchel and this applies in some places in SA.

    When I was at school in Victoria small stones used to throw at birds, or other kids you didn’t like that day, were called yonnies and in WA they call then boondies whether they are small stones or rocks.

  60. Greg says:

    Whoever wrote this has never been to Sydney.

  61. johno says:

    Fried potato chip sandwich, a favourite delicacy in North England.

  62. johno says:

    No ” butty” is quite correct it is a reference to buttered bread.

  63. Captain says:

    ej : sad to tell you but in the west of Sydney, “you” has ceased to exist. I kid you not, but “youse” is now the preferred singular and “youses” the preferred plural. I have seen it in legal affidavits. And for years after arriving in Sydney from Perth I tried to buy poloney without realising it’s devon. And “swimmers” always sounded more democratic than “bathers”, but I haven’t heard “togs” in years..

  64. Captain says:

    No it isn’t. Most are in fact correct.

  65. Captain says:

    Mufti day in schools and businesses in Sydney.

  66. Ted says:

    At my primary school in Ipswich (south-east Queensland), girls called scungies “runners”. When running races, sometimes they’d take off their skirts and run in their runners, which I guess is why they were called runners.

  67. rabelford says:

    Cock jocks was the preferred term at my regional WA high school.

  68. elvis says:

    I lived in Hobart for a year back in 2003. The locals really did call softdrink cordial, not everyone but enough to be noticable. It was confusing at first but easy to get used to.

  69. elvis says:

    I think blaming your wife for being southern is wrong, the differences exist between even small communities. Coming from mackay to brisbane as an 11 year old I noticed things even as a kid. I was used to the bubbler being the chilled tap at the school, now it was any tap with a mouthguard and push lever. I went from being ‘in’ playing tiggie to being ‘up’. And a facecloth to someone older is a flannel because they were made of flannel. A big bottle of beer is a tallie or largie depending on the family u were raised in. A longneck was originally used to describe a fancy 375ml beer bottle.. remember when xxxx stubies actually were stubby? They went in the late 80s.

  70. elvis says:

    That’s called a backronym. When a made up reason is applied retrospectively and incorrectly explain a name. Poppers are called that because the dominent brand when they were first made was Popper. Popper ads on tv. Popper billboards, popper catchy tunes. The same way a photocopier is sometimes called a Xerox machine. Nothing at all to do with the sound they make when jumped on.

  71. elvis says:

    Thanks ted. I had been trying to remember what the girls called them. Called runners at my school in brisbane too. Never heard of scungies until this article.

  72. Ben Moulds says:

    Actually, it’s not. It’s definitely Fritz!

  73. James says:

    *You’re, but nice try at intellectual superiority

  74. Sarah Monahan Morris says:

    They were LBD’s in Sydney

  75. benkozicki says:

    But America invented shortening everything.

  76. Monica says:

    My Dad’s family were among the first euro settlers in Albany and while my Mum was born in NSW her family is several generations West Aus. The terms I use (and correct my children on) are:
    potato scallop.
    Scalloped potatoes = dish of thinly sliced potatoes, arranged in layers, and baked in cream.
    Potato scallop = a single thin slice of potato.
    And the meaning of “scallop” is from the decorative pattern not the seafood.
    A potato cake is made from mashed potato with onion, garlic, herbs etc that is shaped into a pattie, crumbed, and fried.
    Why is this even a question???

    bathers / speedos, bloomers (back in my netball days)
    spring onion, spinach (who on earth eats silverbeet???), rockmelon
    juice box
    drink fountain
    cool drink / soft drink
    jumper. Everything is a jumper unless it’s a raincoat.

  77. dizzygothica says:

    While we may not agree on the terms (I’m from SA!), I so love Disgusted
    on apostrophes – I rub them out if I see them on blackboards outside the
    shop! This is the funniest comment I have read in ages – hilarious!

  78. Tiger says:

    In the Queensland that i knew its a popper because when you’ve finished drinking it you blow it up and then stomp on it and it goes pop. It was alway luncheon or luncheon sausage that i remember ( and no matter the brand, name or place you still need a glass of water for every slice to try to pass it ). I always knew bubblers as bubblers.

  79. kathy lee says:

    i would accept “buddy” as well citing usual australian diction

  80. Nick Knox says:

    I can’t believe there’s no mention here of the Savoy/Jatz Boundary or how Arnott’s Biscuits taste different around the country.

  81. Ethan says:

    Really interesting article, Mel! I always enjoy reading about Australian English.
    P.S. I grew up in Tassie saying belgium, flannel, and fizzy cordial. Cordial tended to be the Cottee’s mix-up, but as kids we’d call Coke etc fizzy cordial.