English can be a pretty confusing language even at the best of times. I mean, seriously, just consider the there, they’re, their dilemma or even cent, scent, sent. It seems like madness!
Then there’s the case of idioms. Those nonsensical phrases that seem to make sense to everyone in the room but you. Why would you tell your friend to ‘break a leg’ before a big performance? And where is this cat everyone claims was let out of the bag? (More on these idioms below.)
When you choose to study overseas in an English speaking country it can be extremely helpful to learn some of these tricky turns of phrases beforehand, that way you can wipe the look of confusion off your face and nod along with everyone else. Below are a few of the most common Australian idioms along with some real-life examples.
1. A stubby short of a six pack
A stubby refers to a can in Australian slang. A six pack, refers to a pack of six cans of beers. To be a stubby short of a six pack simply means something is stupid or someone is acting in a stupid manner. Commonly used as a joking insult between friends, here’s how you could potentially use the phrase.
– Sarah planned us a whole picnic the other day but when we got there she realised she had forgotten the picnic basket with all the food!
– Oh, Sarah, she always seems to be a stubby short of a six pack.
— BBC Travel (@BBC_Travel) January 12, 2018
Before you head out on your big international study experience, brush up on some of these Australian idioms.
2. Let the cat out of the bag
Have you ever accidentally let a secret slip? Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. This idiom refers to this exact scenario. If you’ve let the cat out of the bag it means you’ve ruined a surprise or said something you weren’t supposed to. Here’s an example:
– I can’t believe you let the cat out of the bag! Jack’s birthday party was supposed to be a complete surprise!
3. To come the raw prawn
When you suspect someone is going to treat you like a fool you might warn them against it using this phrase. At its core, it means to attempt to deceive or misrepresent a situation.
– I know you have been spreading rumours about me. Don’t come the raw prawn with me, mate, I see what you’re doing.
4. Break a leg
If someone shouts ‘break a leg’ at you, don’t worry, they’re not wishing you harm! The idiom is used as a way to wish someone good luck – especially before a big performance.
– I know you are going to be great in the talent show tonight – break a leg!
Before you head out on your big international study experience, brush up on some of these Australian idioms – it’ll make your conversations a lot more fun!