Free Settler or Felon
Convict and Colonial History




Australian Slang - Local Lingo

Unique Phrases - Memorable Quotes - T


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


TA - Thanks

TAB - betting agency

TAKE A CAPTAIN - phrase progression - take a look - take a captain cook - take a captain

TAKE TO THE BUSH - absconding convict; bushranger

TAKE TO THE ROAD - bushranging

TAKE TO THE TALL TIMBER - abscond

TAKE A TUMBLE - to understand, comprehend

TAILORS - machine made cigarettes

TALKING THROUGH THE NECK - talking foolishly c. 1895

TALK UNDER WATER WITH A MOUTHFUL OF MARBLES - Very talkative

TALL POPPY - A conspicuously successful person.

TALL POPPY SYNDROME - when successful, high achieving people are resented and critized in an attempt to denigrate and cut them down to the size of everyone else

TALLY - as a hundred is called, one of us calls out tally and cuts one notch in a stick - as every hundred goes through the same process is carried on (Whitney 1870s)

TANGLES - Austalian cricketer and sportsman Max Walker

TANK CAR - a car used for the purpose of safe breaking (criminal slang Sydney 1950s)

TANKS - army boots - soldier slang WW1)

TASMAN BRIDGE COLLAPSE - Part of the Tasman bridge that crossed the Derwent River at Hobart collapsed after the Lake Illawarra, bulk carrier ran into it on 5 January 1975

TASMANIAN TIGER - (thylacine) large carnivorous marsupial now extinct

TAR BOY - in a shearing shed, a boy who had the job of dabbing antiseptic Stockholm Tar on cuts on sheep

TART - promiscuous woman (a contraction of sweetheart) Digger Smith (C.J. Dennis)

TASSIE - Tasmania

TATTS - dice (convict)

TEA – supper

TECHNICOLOR YAWN - vomiting

TEDDY-BEARS - brown boots (c 1915)

TEE-UP - make arrangement

TELL HIM HE'S DREAMING - unrealistic expectations

TELL YOUR STORY WALKING - Whatever you have to say, say it while you are leaving.

TEN POUND POMS - British citizens who migrated to Australia after WW2 under the Assisted Passage Migration Scheme

TENT EMBASSY - On 26 January 1972 four Indigenous men set up a beach umbrella on the lawns opposite Parliament House in Canberra, Describing it as the Aboriginal Embassy

TENTERFIELD ORATION - speech given by Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of New South Wales at the Tenterfield School of Arts in 1889 when he called for the Federation of the Australian colonies

TERRA AUSTRALIS INCOGNITA - the unknown southern land. In early maps

THAT'S BULLSHIT. YOU JUST BULLSHITTED NASA - Quote from movie The Dish Ross Mitchell

THAT'S NOT A KNIFE - THAT'S A KNIFE - Crocodile Dundee

THAT'S THE SHOT - expression of encouragement or approval

THAT'S THE WAY THE COOKIE CRUMBLES - the way things are

THE ALICE - Alice Springs, Northern Territory

THE ALPS - part of the east coast's Great Dividing Range. The Snowy Mountains form part of the Alps

THE ASHES - The Ashes is a cricket competition played between Australia and England since 1882. 'Brown's gravedigger', the bat belonging to J. T. Brown, known as such because when Lord Sheffield's team were defeated in their Test match, some newspapers declared that 'the ashes of English cricket were buried in Australia' and an enthusiastic cricket reported said that Brown dug them up again and brought them back to England when he made his 140, thereby saving Mr. Stoddard's eleven from the fate of Lord Sheffield's eleven

THE BASTARD FROM THE BUSH - an anonymously-authored bawdy rhyme c. 1900s

THE BATTLE OF LONG TAN - the most recognised Australian battle of the Vietnam War. 18 men killed 24 wounded

THE BEST WAY TO HELP THE POOR IS NOT BECOME ONE OF THEM - Lang Hancock

THE BIG AUSTRALIAN - The Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP)

THE BIG FELLA - Australian Labour politician Jack Lang was known as The Big Fella

THE BLACK LINE - 1830 - settler force attempted to corral Aboriginal people on the Tasman Peninsula

THE BOYS FROM OLD FITZROY - Theme song of the Fitzroy football club sung to the tune of La Marseillaise

THE CABBAGE PATCH - Derisive NSW term for Victoria, because it was smaller and green, and only good for growing vegetables. 19th century

THE CORNER - the area where the borders of NSW , Qld, and South Australia meet

THE CROCODILE HUNTER - Steve Irwin

THE DISMISSAL - Refers to events on 11 November 1975 when the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), was dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr, who then commissioned the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser of the Liberal Party, as caretaker Prime Minister

THE DON - Donald Bradman

THE DREAMING - A western term used to describe the Aboriginal spirituality system.

THE FIRST RULE IN OPERA IS THE FIRST RULE IN LIFE: SEE TO EVERYTHING YOURSELF - Dame Nellie Melba

THE FLAT - prison term for a criminal lunatic asylum (1946)

THE FORGOTTEN CLASS - The middle class - Robert Menzies - But if we are to talk of classes, then the time has come to say something of the forgotten class... the middle class who, properly regarded, represent the backbone of this country

THE FISH - A passenger train that first ran between Sydney and Mt. Victoria. So called because its first driver was John Heron (Herring), its first fireman John Salmon and the first Guard John Pike

THE FLOGGING PARSON - Rev. Samuel Marsden

THE GAP - a sheer cliff near South Head in Sydney; well-known place for suicides

THE GHAN - Train travelling from Darwin to Adelaide. Once derisively known as 'The Afghan Express' (c. 1924)

THE GOLDEN MILE - The Golden Mile at the centre of the Kalgoorlie Goldfield is one of the richest gold deposits in the world

THE GOLD ESCORT - military and semi-military escort to guard gold taken from the gold-fields to the sea ports in gold rush days

THE GONG - Wollongong

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN ADJECTIVE - A poem by W T Goodge first published in the Bulletin in 1894. The missing word from the poem being 'bloody'

THE GREAT AUSTRALIAN SILENCE - coined by William Edward Hanley Stanner in his 1968 Boyer Lectures entitled After the Dreaming, which reflected on the silence on Indigenous Australians in Australian history after European settlement

THE GREATEST INHERITANCE THAT A MAN HATH IS THE LIBERTY OF HIS PERSON, FOR ALL OTHERS ARE ACCESSORY TO IT - Edward Weary Dunlop

THE HEADS - those in authority (soldier slang WW1)

THE HILL - the grassed area of the Sydney Cricket Ground without seats

THE HILLBILLY DICTATOR - Joh Bjelke-Petersen

THE LIGHTS OF COBB AND CO - famous poem by Henry Lawson

THE LITHGOW FLASH - Marjorie Jackson defeated reigning Olympic 100 and 200 metres champion Fanny Blankers-Koen a number of times in 1949, thus earning this nickname

THE LITTLE DIGGER - Henri, a war orphan smuggled into Australia by air mechanic Tim Tovell at the end of the war 1918

THE LONG PADDOCK - an historic web of tracks linking stock-breeding areas of inland NSW and Queensland etc

THE LUCKY COUNTRY - coined by Donald Horne with intent to portray Australia's climb to power and wealth as based almost entirely on luck rather than strength of political or economic system. 'Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second rate people who share its luck '. Has come to have a different meaning over the years.

THE MAITLAND WONDER - Boxer Les Darcy. Brother of Frank Darcy

THE MAN FROM SNOWY RIVER - poem by Banjo Paterson written in 1890

THE MIDDLE CLASS - Thinking ahead, what really happens to us will depend on how many people we have who are of the great and sober and dynamic middle-class - the strivers, the planners, the ambitious ones - Sir Robert Menzies

THE MISSUS - wife

THE NEWCASTLE SONG - Bob Hudson's 1975 hit song about Newcastle youth

THE ODE - Part of a poem of remembrance by Laurence Binyon always used to commemorate Anzac Day - They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them.

THE PAST IS SO RELIABLE, SO DELIGHTFUL AND THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE - Barry Humphries

THE PATCH - (the marriage patch) located in the beachside Seaward Village precinct for personnel next door to the SASR's Campbell Barracks

THE PUSH - a band of larrikins early 1900s. Probably ceased c. 1911 when government introduced compulsory military service for men

THE QUACK - Army doctor (WW1 soldier slang)

THE RACE THAT STOPS A NATION - The Melbourne Cup

THE RATTLER - underground railway (criminal slang 1925)

THE RECESSION THAT AUSTRALIA HAD TO HAVE - said by Paul Keating during economic crisis in 1990

THE ROARING DAYS - Bush verse about the gold rush days by Henry Lawson

THE SENATE - The upper house of the Parliament of Australia

THE STAR OF AUSTRALASIA - a poem by Henry Lawson c 1895. From grander clouds in our peaceful skies, than ever there were before, I tell you the Star of the South shall rise - in the lurid clouds of war...

THE SYDNEY PUSH - The Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s.

THE STORE - The Store, also known as the Newcastle and District Co-operative Society.

THE TOP END - northern most part of Australia

THE VIBE OF IT - Quote from the movie 'The Castle', 1997, spoken by actor Michael Caton as Darryl Kerrigan - "It's the vibe of it. It's the Constitution. It's Mabo. It's justice. It's law. It's the vibe and... no, that's it. It's the vibe."

THE WET - period of torrential monsoonal rain in the summer in northern Australia (October to March)

THE WILD ONE - rock and roll singer Johnny O'Keefe

THERE IS WATER IN EVERY LANE, SO IT IS OK. Quote - Ian Thorpe on drawing lane five for the final.

THERE'S MOVEMENT AT THE STATION - first line from Banjo Paterson's from the 'Man from Snowy River' - now sometimes used to signify beginning of change

THEY RE A WEIRD MOB - A 1966 Australian film based on the novel of the same name by John O'Grady under the pen name Nino Culotta

THE STRAIGHT GRIFFIN - the truth; secret reliable information

THE UNDERTAKER - nickname for Paul Keating

THE WANDER LIGHT - Oh, my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways, And deep ways and steep ways and high ways and low, I'm at home and at ease on a track that I know not, And restless and lost on a road that I know - Poem by Henry Lawson

THINGAMAJIG - a thing

THINGY - a thing

THICK AS A BRICK - dull; slow witted

THICK AS TWO PLANKS - dull; slow witted

THIEVING IRONS - hands (WW1)

THIEVING PRONG - hand (prison slang)

THIMBLE AND THREAD - watch and chain

THINGS ARE CROOK IN TALLAROOK - used to indicate that things are bad or unpleasant.

THIS IS GOING STRAIGHT TO THE POOL ROOM - Darryl Kerrigan in the movie The Castle ;

THIS IS HALLOWED GROUND, FOR HERE LIE THOSE WHO DIED FOR THEIR COUNTRY. AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN, AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM - General Sir John Monash - Inscription on the Rats of Tobruk memorial

THIS IS SCIENCE'S CHANCE TO BE DARING - Quote from movie The Dish

THOMMOS - famous gambling den in Sydney that survived for decades close to police headquarters

THONGS – Flip Flops.

THORPEDO - nick name of Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe

THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND - close to being drunk

THRIPP'NY-BIT - three penny piece

THROW A CHARGE - to escape sentencing in court; to be found not guilty (criminal slang 1950s)

THROW IN THE ALLEY - to surrender

THRUM - a threepenny piece

THUNDERBOLT'S ROCK - near Uralla. Used as a lookout location by bushranger Frederick Ward (Captain Thunderbolt) who escaped from Cockatoo Island in 1863

THUNDER BOX - toilet

TICK - debt

TICKETS ON YOURSELF - to have a high opinion of oneself

TICKEY - threepenny piece (1913)

TICKLE THE PETER - steal, especially from a cash register

TICKLE THE TILL - steal from a cash register

TICKLED PINK - very pleased

TICKLER - difficult to understand; puzzle

TIDDLEY - a threepenny piece

TIGHT ARSE - stingy person; miser; penny pincher

TIGHT AS A FISH'S ARSE - stingy person

TIN - medal (military)

TIN DISH - signifying good-bye

TIN HAT - steel helmet (soldier slang WW1)

TIN KETTLING - marriage custom whereby revellers bash tin cans and other noisy instruments after newlyweds retire for the night

TIN KETTLING - In 1932 when scab labour was used in the mines at Stockton NSW a resident described how women of the town 'tin-kettled' the workers as they made their way to the wharf after work

TIN LIDS rhyming slang for kids

TINNED DOG - canned meat (goldfields)

TINNIE (TINNY) - can of beer

TINNIE (TINNY) - small aluminium boat

TINNY - Luck in gambling and competitions (WW1?) see Trove

TIN POT NAVY - Australian Navy so called in the early days before WW1

TINTOOKIES - Australian children’s theatre puppet show 1950s

TIP - garbage dump

TIP TURKEY - also Bin Chicken - Ibis (bird) considered a pest in Australia because of scavenging

TITFER - tit-for-tat = hat (rhyming slang) 1900s

TO BANDICOOT - to fossick or to dig under a plant without disturbing the top (goldfields term)

TO BE DIRTY ON - to be very angry with

TO CLOCK - to strike with the fist

TO COIL - custom of swagmen to make a station homestead at sundown rather than through the day

TO COME ACROSS - to bestow sexual favours

TO COME GOOD - to improve, after not initially reaching expectations

TOEY - nervous

TOE RAGGER - short sentence man

TOGS - swimsuit, swimmers, bathers

TO HAVE WHITE ANTS (Qld) - wrong in the head

TOLLPUDDLE MARTYRS - six English farm labourers who were sentenced in 1834 to seven years’ transportation for organizing trade-union activities in Tolpuddle, Dorsetshire. Brothers George and James Loveless, James Brine, Thomas Stanfield and his son John Stanfield, and James Hammett

TO LOB - arrive unexpectedly at someone s place

TOM TART - a woman

TOM THUMB - tiny open boat used by Matthew Flinders and George Bass to explore the NSW coast line 1795 - 1796

TOOL - idiot, male

TOORAK TRACTOR - city-based 4WD or SUV that never sees off road driving

TOO RIGHT - agreeing

TO THE LAST MAN - 'should the worst happen, after everything has been done that honour will permit, Australians will stand beside the mother country to help and defend her to our last man and our last shilling' - Opposition Leader, soon to be Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher's declaration on the eve of W.W.1 31 July 1914

TOOTSY - foot; toe

TOP BLOKE - a good guy

TOP END - Northern Territory

TOP OFF - police informer (criminal slang 1950)

TO PUT THE BITE ON - to borrow

TO PUT THE POT ON - to settle an enemy (c. 1920)

TO RAG - to tease

TO RAT -method of removing property from those no long able to use it (WW2)

TO RIP OFF - to extract money by fraudulent means

TO RUBBISH SOMEONE - to insult them

TO SLING OFF - make uncomplimentary remark

TO SLUM IT - to go out with someone who is a social inferior

TOSSED OUT ON YOUR NECK - rejected (Digger Smith, C.J. Dennis)

TOSSER - a jerk

TOSS IN THE ALLEY - give up the ghost; surrender, die

TOUCHED A KICK - steal

TO WEAR - to be on the receiving end of misfortune

TOWELLED UP - beat up severely

TRACKIE DAKS - tracksuit pants

TRADITIONALLY, AUSTRALIA OBTAINS ITS IMPORTS FROM OVERSEAS - Kep Enderby, Australian Politician

TRANNIE - portable transister radio

TRAP - police officer or trooper

TRAY BONG - very good (soldier slang WW1)

TREACLE MINER - a man who boasts of his wealth

TREE HUGGER - environmentalist

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE - During The Great Shearer's Strike of 1891, strike meetings in Barcaldine were often held in the shade of a ghost gum in the town's main street. This tree came to be known as the Tree of Knowledge

TREY - threepenny piece

TREZZIE - threepenny piece

TRIANTELOPE - variation of the name Tarantula but a different species, a harmless spider (Morris 1898)

TRIANTI-WONTI-GONGOLOPE - Children's poem by C. J. Dennis. There's a very funny insect that you do not often spy, And it isn't quite a spider, and it isn't quite a fly; It is something like a beetle, and a little like a bee, But nothing like a wooly grub that climbs upon a tree.Its name is quite a hard one, but you'll learn it soon, I hope. So try: Tri- Tri-anti-wonti-Triantiwontigongolope.....

TRICKETT - slang namee for a long drink of beer in NSW after Trickett the NSW champion sculler (Morris 1898)

TRIM - ship's cat who accompanied Matthew Flinders on his voyages to circumnavigate and map the coastline of Australia in 1801–03

TROOPER - Mounted Policeman

TROPPO - mentally affected by tropical weather; also going troppo

TROUBLE AND STRIFE - the wife

TRUE BELIEVERS - stalwart Labour Party supporters

TRUE BLUE (AUSSIE)- patriotic ; genuine Australian

TUCKER – Food

TUCK-SHOP ARMS - flabby upper arms on women

TUG - a rogue; rough uncouth fellow

TURFED OUT - asked to vacate building

TURKEY - ineffectual person; not worthy even of being called a 'bastard'

TURN IT ON - provide beer at a party

TURN IT UP - expression of disbelief in what another is saying

TURN OUT - to become a bushranger

TURN THE JERRY HORNER - turn the corner (rhyming slang 1890s)

TURON WIDOW - Woman left without her husband because he was at the goldfields

TWIG - to observe; to aspy (Digger Smith, C.J. Dennis)

TWIST - criminal (criminal slang 1940)

TWIST AND TWIRL - girl

TWO-UP – A gambling game played on Anzac day.

TWO BOB - two shillings (Franklin)

TWO BOB EACH WAY - hedge your bets; back contradictory points of view; be uncommitted;

TWO-BOB LAIR - exhibitionist, pereson whose clothes are flashy but cheap

TWO BOB'S WORTH - an opinion

TWO DADS - a person with a hyphenated surname (military)

TWO FOR THE VALLEY - Brisbane Qld - Holding up two fingers to signal to a tram conductor to buy Two tickets to Fortitude Valley . Also a symbol of contempt. Equivalent of Up Yours

TWO MICKS - Two tails (two-up)

TWO MINUTES SILENCE - Australian journalist Edward Honey first suggested two minutes silence as the Nation's homage to fallen heroes of W.W.1

TWO PEG - two shillings

TWOPENNY BUNGER - large firecracker

TWO POT SCREAMER - someone who can't hold their drink

TYRANNY - Former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies described the Australian political system as - "people speaking their minds, disagreeing and fighting their battles, and then accepting, at any rate temporarily, the majority. But our greatest inheritance is that Parliament is something above and beyond us all. When it ends, tyranny begins."