Much of our Australian slang stems from the ANZAC soldiers who went off to fight during World War 1, World War 2 and the Vietnam War. These soldiers developed their own unique slang, much of which has survived for 90 years up to this day.
A number of these slang words originated particularly from the time the ANZAC soldiers trained in Egypt before heading off to Gallipoli. The term ANZAC, which stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps was coined by a New Zealand soldier, Sergeant Keith Little who became tired of repeating the term Australian New Zealand Army Corps in military documents and correspondence. The word “Aussie” itself also originated from the Great War and back then was a term of endearment used to describe the “Australian battler.” The term “digger” was also introduced by ANZAC soldiers during wartime to refer to their fellow soldiers and was originally derived from New Zealand tunnellers. Other vocabulary that came about through the ANZACs include “banger” meaning “sausage”, “bunch” used when referring to a group or number of things, “belly-ache” to refer to a mortal wound, and “meat trap” or “rabbit trap” in reference to a person’s mouth.
A number of famous idioms came about through the ANZAC soldiers during wartime. Most of these expressions are more commonly used in colloquial English by Australians living out in the country. These include the idioms “Blood’s worth bottling”, which is a prestigious compliment given to someone who has proven themselves worthy, the phrase “Give it a burl”, which means to give something a go or an attempt, the term “Rough as bags”, which refers to someone who is lacking refinement, the term “No-hoper”, which refers to a person who is not expected to achieve anything, and the term “Going troppo”, which soldiers used to refer to themselves going crazy after spending too much time in tropical conditions. So this ANZAC day as you give two-up a burl with a bunch of Aussies, be sure to put a banger in your rabbit trap, as you remember those who served not only our country but our vocabulary.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We”ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.