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A look at Australian rhyming slang

A look at Australian rhyming slang

Planning on coming to Australia any time soon? Hurry up and get on the frog and toad, china plate! We’ll be waiting for you at the rub-a-dub-dub with a couple of Britney Spears.

If only we could see the bewildered look on your face as you finished reading that sentence! Wondering what the hell we’re on about? We bet you’re not on your Pat Malone (on your own!). In standard English, the phrase above translates to “Hurry up and get on the road, mate! We’ll be waiting for you at the pub with a couple of beers”. But that wasn’t standard English – that was Aussie rhyming slang! (yes, a bit over the top, but we were trying to make a point!)

While Australian rhyming slang is far from widespread and hasn’t infiltrated our own vocabularies as yet, you might be lucky enough to experience it first hand if you get out to the working class suburbs or regional/rural Australia.

What is rhyming slang?

Though it’s commonly associated with the Cockney in England, rhyming slang came to Australia with the convicts over 200 years ago. It consists of a phrase of two or three words, the last of which usually rhymes with the word for which it is replacing. Often the original word is replaced with personal names, particularly past Australian sporting identities.

Examples of rhyming slang

Merv Hughes, Australian cricketer. Also rhyming slang for shoes.

Rhyming slang can be used to describe almost anything! Here are just a few examples:

  • Actions. Captain Cook (look), Chris Mew (spew), Dad n Dave (shave), David Gower (shower).
  • Body parts. Boat race (face), Gregory Peck (neck), plates of meat (feet), Rocky Boulder (shoulder), Warwick Farms (arms).
  • Clothes. Bag of fruit (suit), Merv Hughes (shoes), Reg Grundy’s (undies).
  • Family. Billy lids (kids), blood blister (sister), hugs and kisses (missus), trouble and strife (wife).
  • Household items. Barry Cable (table), dog and bone (phone), Gary Ablett (tablet), Johnny Raper (paper).
  • Money. J. Arthur Rank (bank), Oxford scholar (dollar), Stuart Diver (fiver), Peter McKenna (tenner).

Want to see more examples of Aussie rhyming slang? Check out the Wiktionary site.

So if you’re a tourist in Australia, don’t let your jaw hit the ground if you hear somebody ask for a dog’s eye and dead horse – they’re simply ordering what many would call Australia’s national dish, a meat pie and sauce!

So let’s see what you can come up with! Whether it’s a sentence using our examples above or creating your very own rhyming slang words, leave it in the comments below!