Aussie Expats: The Daily Struggles With British English


While formal English rarely varies between English-speaking countries, it is the street vocabulary that often throws Australian expats off track. Don’t be baffled when you hear of a lorry, or an aubergine, just take your time to learn the more common British variations of the words you know as truck or eggplant. Decidedly, it is the words that are exactly the same in both countries but carry completely different meanings that will make you get into innocent trouble at first, but that will surely make you learn the difference in no time.

Top Tips For Britspeak

In an effort to save you the embarrassment, here are some words that have different meanings in both countries.

Pants: while you may be referring to your trousers, in the UK they will be referring to underwear.

Thongs: just like with pants, thongs has a completely different meaning in the UK. While you may be complimenting your friend’s flip flops, they might think you’ve taken a peek at their underwear.

Barbie: granted, unless your friends have children, you might not hear this word often, but it refers to the actual plastic doll, although for you it might mean it’s time to get out the grill and start barbecuing.

Pissed: no, your friend did not get super angry at someone last night, he was actually quite drunk.

Crocs: while it refers mostly to crocodiles, those always thinking of shoes and fashion might go ahead and think of the plastic shoes made famous worldwide.

Chaps: you might be thinking of those protective leggings cowboys wear, but your friends are really just referring to guys in general.