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Australian words and phrases: visit Sydney with confidence

Written by on 7th October 2020
Category: Business Travel

Sydney is a city so brimming with vitality and energy that many regard it as the one of the world’s best places to stay. Picture-perfect beaches, year-round sunshine and lively locals make Australia’s unofficial second city a business and leisure destination not to be missed. 

For the business traveller, acclimatising to new environments is part and parcel of the job. Visiting the famous landmarks, sampling the local cuisine and mixing with the locals are all essential activities. It’s the latter that this blog is focused on, so we’ve outlined some of the must-know Australian words and phrases to help you break the ice on your next business trip to Sydney.

The Emerald City has become a prominent business hub in which many prestigious companies house their headquarters. National and multinational banking and finance companies like Westpac Banking Corporation and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia rub shoulders with retail giants The Woolworths Group and real estate heavyweights, the Goodman Group

“I’ll see you back here this arvo”

Arvo is a term used on a daily basis in Australia. It’s an abbreviated term for afternoon, and is characteristic of the Australian penchant for adding an ‘O’ to their abbreviations. It sometimes gets shortened even further to ‘sarvo’, meaning ‘this afternoon’. Impress your Oceanic counterparts by slipping this Sydney slang into conversation.

Businessman checking watch
Breaking for lunch? Your meeting will start back up in the arvo

“Don’t be a drongo”

Drongo is a friendly insult meaning ‘a bit of a fool’ and is one of the oldest Australian words and phrases on our list. It is said to have come from the name of an unfortunate racehorse from the 1920s who always finished last. Dropped your coffee on your way to the conference room? Expect to be called a drongo.

drongo racehorse, Australian words and phrases
Aside from the infamous racehorse, a Drongo is also a famous family of songbirds

“That’s fair dinkum”

Dinkum means honest, true and of good quality. It is said to have been coined in the Australian goldfields, from a Chinese dialect spoken at the diggings. Dinkum loosely translates as ‘true gold’ or ‘good gold’.

Perhaps even more common is the phrase ‘fair dinkum’, which is usually used to indicate that something conforms with acceptable standards. It is one of those famous Australian phrases which you are certain to hear on your business travel in Sydney.

handshake over desk, sydney slang
If your business proposal is met with “that’s fair dinkum” then you’re doing something right

“It’s going to be hard yakka”

Hard yakka translates as very hard work. One theory is that it was adapted from ‘yaga’ meaning ‘work’ in the Yagara indigenous language of the Brisbane region. Remembering all of these famous Australian phrases might be hard yakka, but it will be worth it. 

Planning a business trip to Australia? Why not check out our rundown of the best things to do in Sydney. Be sure to read through our Sydney City Guide for all you need to know about travelling down under.

businessmen work on laptop
Secured a client’s business? The hard yakka starts now

“How are you going?”

How are you going?’ is one of those famous Australian phrases that you’ll likely hear several times a day. A cross between “How’s it going?” and “How are you?” it can either be an offer of help or a simple check on your well-being. It’s one of the many Australian words and phrases that have become a staple part of Sydney slang.

business meeting, famous Australian phrases
‘How are you going?’ has become a cultural norm in Australia

“Don’t worry, she’ll be apples”

She’ll be apples is certainly one of the quirkier Australian words and phrases you’ll hear while on business travel in Sydney. It means ‘everything will be fine’ and comes from the Australian rhyming slang, ‘apples and spice’, meaning ‘nice’. 

Much like with Cockney rhyming slang, many phrases from Australian rhyming slang have found their way into common parlance, especially in the workplace. It’s definitely worth brushing up on your Sydney slang to make sure you don’t get caught out on your business travel in Sydney.

fresh apples
Enjoy your flight to Australia, she’ll be apples

“Let me have a squiz”

Among our favourite of these famous Australian phrases is ‘squiz’. It means to look at something closely, and is often used in business circles when sending documents back and forth via email. Squiz is one of the many Australian slang words which seem to be a combination of other words. Indeed, some believe it is a portmanteau of ‘squint’ and ‘quiz’.

Why not have a squiz at our blog on the best serviced apartments in Sydney or take yourself on a whistle-stop tour of The Emerald City?

businesswomen working on laptop, Australian words and phrases
“Can you have a squiz at this email before I send it to the client?”

That rounds off our list of Sydney slang terms, let us know your favourite famous Australian phrases. Are you planning a business trip to Sydney? We have a wide range of stunning serviced apartments in Sydney, so why not contact us or make an enquiry and we’ll get back to you at a time convenient for you.

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