10 ‘Aussie’ Phrases No Australian Has Ever Used

10 ‘Aussie’ Phrases No Australian Has Ever Used
Image: YouTube/Australia

Australian phrases are often a contentious topic of conversation. From obvious fake sayings slipped in by Facebook robots or our overseas mates (thanks, Crocodile Dundee) to the ridiculous sayings we actually do use everyday, the Australian vernacular is certainly not lacking.

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I grew up in a regional Australian town and while ocker wasn’t the norm, I’ve certainly heard my fair share Australian sayings. While some are only said ironically, most of them are just too damn dumb to be real. We’ll let you be the judge.

1. Throw a shrimp on the barbie

Let’s just blow this myth right out of the water now. They’re called prawns and we prefer them pre-cooked and chilled as opposed to barbecued.

2. Get a dog up ya

No one uses this saying un-ironically but technically, it means to have an alcoholic beverage.

3. Got a face like a twisted mallee root

This one’s obviously an insult because mallee roots, while quite beautiful as part of a tree, are not as beautiful as a human face.

4. Playing for sheep stations

Maybe a person in Australia uttered this once while looking over their vast brown lands but since then, there’s been radio silence on this one. A sheep station is expensive so if you’re playing for sheep stations, you’re playing for high stakes. But it also means the opposite because Australian slang is not always rational.

10 ‘Aussie’ Phrases No Australian Has Ever UsedImage: FOX

5. It fits like a stocking on a chook’s lip

Apparently this means that something fits really well, but I’m still trying to figure out if chickens have lips and how you could possibly put a stocking on them.

6. Shut your damper hole

As opposed to the more commonly-spoken saying “shut your pie hole”, this saying makes zero sense and while that is often the qualifying criteria for Aussie slang, I’m veto-ing it.

7. It’s about as useful as a waterproof teabag

I don’t hate this one but, let’s be real, few people would resort to muttering this saying on a daily or even weekly basis.

8. As dry as a dead dingo’s donger

This is allegedly a saying Australians use to describe when something’s really dry. We doubt a tourist would ever hear it being used in the flesh in remote dingo habitats, let alone on the streets of Sydney.


People actually do say this sometimes but they shouldn’t. It stands for “Fuck I’m Good, Just Ask Me.”

10. So hungry I could eat the crutch out of a low flying duck

You can’t convince us that anyone has ever, in the entirety of human history, used this saying. Case closed.

There you go, feel free to fight us on our inclusions in the comments. Otherwise, hooroo.


  • No one uses this saying un-ironically but technically, it means to have an alcoholic beverage.

    I know a number of people who say this unironically. It’s not to have an alcoholic beverage, it’s technically an encouragement to the listener to insert a member of the subspecies canis lupus familiaris into themselves for sexual or other gratification.

    • Where do you drongos get off with saying it’s not an alcoholic beverage. If you want to get really technical it’s “have a beer” (or ‘have a VB’ if you prefer)

  • #2 I hear all the time. I use it myself as well.
    #6, #7, #8, #9 I hear relatively regularly as well. #9 I hear from people all over the world.

    I’m starting to think the author is just a pretend Australian.

    • I’ve definitely heard people use FIGJAM and even used it myself on occasion. Didn’t realise that it was specifically Australian slang, though. I have my doubts that it is.

      I’ve heard #7, specifically about waterproof teabags rarely, but I have heard lots of variations of that general idea frequently. “About as useful as flyscreens on a submarine/fireproof matches/inflatable dartboard/decaffeinated coffee/condom vending machine at the vatican” etc but none of these, including that waterproof teabag one, I believe are actually specifically Australian sayings. “Waterproof teabag” sounds like it would have originated in somewhere like England rather than Australia.

      The rest, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say except obviously #1 and #8 and only ironically.

  • Actually, though FIGJAM was a famous jam from some town like Bega. Most of those never heard of either but are pretty funny in hearing it and going wtf.

  • “10 ‘Aussie’ Phrases No Australian Has Ever Used”

    “People actually do say this sometimes…”
    Ummm, yeah.

    FIGJAM is moreso used to describe other people than being self-referential.

  • I use number 10 alot… but slightly modified…

    “ I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and suck off the jockey”

    Goes down a treat at chrissy lunch.

  • I hear #4 fairly regularly and I’ve heard 8 & 10 (or variants of them) at least a few times. FIGJAM has gone out of style it’s GOAT now.

    • I use #4 regularly, usually in reference to the parents of some of the kids in our Junior Rugby League team. They are the ones who live and die depending on the on-field actions of their son.

  • I hear #4 regularly and #8 and #9 occasionally, and I have a friend who has been using #10 for at least 20 years.
    Tell your Elbonian correspondent to splash out on a new Australian phrasebook.

  • Objective Secured (40k podcast) uses #4 a whole lot. Basically, this is a list of things the writer doesn’t like and has therefore decided people don’t use.

  • “Shut your damper hole”, while I’ve never heard anyone say it, makes perfect sense. Damper is a type of traditional yeast-free bread in Australia. It’s a type of food, and makes EXACTLY the same amount of sense as “shut your pie hole”, as a pie is also a type of food. It just means to close the part of your anatomy that you use to eat. As in, stop talking, or shut up.

    I’m not really sure why you believe the phrase makes no sense. As I’ve said I’ve never actually heard anyone say it personally, but it makes perfect sense to me.

  • actually the low flying duck one was used by my father on a regular basis. Along with “So hungry , I could eat a horse and chase the rider”
    #7 haven’t heard that one specifically, but variations such as “as useful as tits on a bull”, “as useful as a screendoor in a submarine”, “as useful as an ejector seat in a helicopter” were always in use. Also the ones like “no shit, Sherlock”, “Is a 40lb rabbit fat?”, “Is the Pope a catholic?” or best of all, “Does a bear shit in the woods?”

  • I actually used the phrase “not talking about sheep stations” to a recently arrived immigrant lawyer who was preparing my will last month and got a puzzled look. It was only after my wife pointed out that he didn’t understand that I realised I had used it.

  • Playing for Sheep Stations beats playing matches. It is a term meaning you’re just in it for fun.
    Dry as a Dead Dingo’s Donger surfaced in 70’&80’s
    I really feel the Author of this Article has any real comprehension of Aussie humour, most of it is US in our natural state being full of sarcasm. Other countries “interpret” us according to their limited anal ways. Not understanding that Beetroot and Pineapple go perfectly well together on an Hamburger (when they are mostly Beef) shows how they mistake us.
    Stone the Flamin’Crows

    • Yes got to agree that it’s somebody who doesn’t know shit about Aussie slang writing an article on Aussie slang. Only thing is I’ve always know #4 to be prefixed by ‘Not’ ie. “We’re not playing for sheep stations” meaning we’re just having a bit of fun not playing for big money on the outcome.

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