Friday, 9 January 2015

10 Aussie Rhyming Slang phrases you might hear

WARNING: Ancient cryptic secrets are about to be unravelled!

Well, it could almost be considered a secret code. So consider yourself quite lucky that I'm sharing this with you!

Have you ever heard of "Rhyming Slang"? Well the idea originally came from Cockney England, but considering the Poms sent a lot of their dodgy codgers to Australia in the early colonial days, we soon adopted the idea of rhyming slang. In fact, I reckon we perfected it (like most things we Aussies get our hands on!)

So what is it?

The idea was to take a word that you kinda wanted to disguise, or encode, and use a two-word phrase in its place that rhymed with it.

Clear as mud? Let me give you some examples with rhyming slang in place. See if you can guess what the phrase represents before you scroll down and check out the answers.

  1. Can't watch the footy without a pie with dead horse.
  2. My missus did the Harry Holt with the local plumber.
  3. I heard there was a prang up the road. Might go have a Captain Cook.
  4. Get off the dog 'n' bone and mow the lawn!
  5. It's getting late cuz, I better hit the frog 'n' toad.
  6. Could I have a dozen roses for my beloved trouble 'n' strife?
  7. The billy lids / tin lids always give us grief at bed time!
  8. Woh, check out that paint job. Looks like the painter had a Barry Crocker that day!
  9. We're heading to steak 'n' kidney at the crack of dawn.
  10. Don't bother telling me a porky pie, cos I'll find out!

How'd you go? Didn't sneak a Bo Peep did you? Well, are you ready for the answers?

  1. Dead Horse = (tomato) sauce
  2. Harry Holt = bolt (i.e. to run away or disappear)
  3. Captain Cook = look (for something, at something)
  4. Dog 'n' Bone = telephone
  5. Frog 'n' Toad = road
  6. Trouble 'n' Strife = wife (gents, use this one at your own risk)
  7. Billy Lids / Tin Lids = kids (children)
  8. Barry Crocker = shocker (an unfortunate time, lack of success, bad luck)
  9. Steak 'n' Kidney = Sydney
  10. Porky Pie = lie (untruth, fib)

Reckon that's not too hard? Sorry to say, but it gets a bit trickier. Sometimes we'll drop the second word and turn the first word into a plural.

Say what?

Check it out. Here are some new examples with rhyming slang in its short forms:
  • I haven't seen Bill all day. Methinks he's done the Harrys.
  • Be blowed if I know where me keys are. Might have a Captains in the dunny.
  • Mitch is having a Barrys today with his bowling.
  • Yeah right, sounds like you're telling porkies again.

Australian Slang I hope that made some kind of sense. Nobody said Aussie English was easy. But neither did they say it wasn't interesting! Don't you just love it?

Well, I gotta do the Harry Holt and put the tin lids to bed!


Dodgy: untrustworthy, unsafe, non-genuine
Codger: fellow, guy, bloke
Clear as mud: very unclear, doesn't make any sense
Footy: football (usually rugby league or Aussie Rules football)
Prang: a car crash
Cuz: cousin
Crack of dawn: the first light of dawn
Bo Peep: a peek, a look at something
Fib: a lie
Be blowed: to be surprised by something (Well I'll be blowed!), to be baffled by something (I'll be blowed if I know!)
Dunny: toilet

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