It happens to me everywhere I go. I’ll be having a conversation with some mates at the hostel and, forgetting I’m not in New Zealand, I’ll say something like…
“Yeah nah bro, I reckon that’s all good, cheap as for a mean as feed like that!”
And they’ll all stare at me in silence, as if I’m an alien speaking to them in Na’vi. And then one of them will go, “Sorry, what?”
Meanwhile the Aussie guys next to me are pissing themselves laughing.
I’ve since learned to go easy on the New Zealand slang while travelling, especially when I’m around non Kiwi folk, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s actually quite a struggle, and I still remember bunking with an Aussie in Colombia and both of us laughing at how nice it was to finally be able to speak normally with someone.
So, next time a Kiwi is in your dorm, prep yourself with this guide. In fact, bust out some of the New Zealand slang below and they’ll think you’re the coolest person alive. More importantly, if you plan on coming to New Zealand you’d do well to learn as many of these NZ slang words and phrases as possible.
Learning Kiwi slang isn’t easy, so we’ll start with 20 common words. Once you’ve learned them all, move on to the next section where I’ll teach you the good stuff. You guys are going to be speaking fluent Kiwi in no time!
Lesson 1: Some popular New Zealand slang words to start:
Kiwi – Can refer to either a New Zealander, or the country’s national bird. For the fruit, we say kiwifruit.
Jandals – Flip flops. e.g. Havaianas
Dairy – A convenience store, corner store, or mini supermarket.
Chilly bin – A cooler bin, used for keeping drinks cold.
The wops – Really far away, the middle of nowhere. e.g. she lives far away, out in the wops.
Macca’s – McDonald’s
Togs – Swimsuit
Bonnet & boot – Hood & trunk (of a car)
Scull – To drink a usually alcoholic drink in one go without stopping.
Buggered – Very tired
Fizzy drink – Soda
Mince – Ground beef
Hot chips – French fries
Kai – Maori word for food
Chocka Block – Crowded/busy
Pissed – Drunk
Cuppa – A hot drink, usually short for “cup of coffee” or “cup of tea”
Jumper – A jersey or sweatshirt
Angus – Someone with an anger problem
Hungus – Someone who eats too much
Easy enough? Cool. Now try wrap your head around these ones:
Lesson 2: Advanced Kiwi Slang Words & Phrases (for those who wanna get serious!)
When I’m with my friends I use this in almost every sentence. We use it in place of ‘man’ or ‘mate’ or ‘dude’. It’s not reserved for good friends, you can say it to anyone, like the mailman or a taxi driver. They’ll probably say it back to you.
Jack: Hey bro how’s it going?
John: I’m all good bro! Did you see Shortland Street last night bro? It was crazy bro!
This basically means ‘everything’s fine’ or ‘no problem’, and we also use it in place of ‘you’re welcome’ when someone says thank you.
Jack: I thought my car was going to break down but it was all good, thanks for waiting.
John: All good bro.
Means ‘no problem’, or sometimes can just mean a simple “OK”. Used similarly to ‘all good’.
Jack: Yo, we’re all going to Jen’s house to watch Gossip Girl and eat Toffee Pops. Gotta go gym first but I’ll pick you up at 7?
John: Sweet as (translation: OK).
This could be considered a shortened version of “far out” (or the F word, I’m actually not sure) which can be used to express both excitement and disappointment. The amount of excitement or disappointment you wish to express will depend on how long you hold the ‘faa’.
If you scratch a lotto ticket and win $2 you might go “Faaa, only $2”, but if you scratched it and won $20,000 you’d probably go “Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa $20,000!”
We commonly use the word “as” as an amplifier to the preceding adjective. For example, “cheap as” would translate to “really cheap”.
John: Bro, check out my new polka dot undies. Got them in Howick for 20 bucks.
Jack: Bro, that’s expensive as! (translation: that’s really f*cking expensive).
This is one of those Kiwi slang words with many meanings:
1. To amplify an adjective.
It’s hardout cold today! (translation: It is extremely cold today)
2. To express agreement to something very enthusiastically.
Jack: Bro, this restaurant is awesome as, we should come here every week.
John: Hardout! (translation: yes, we should!)
3. To describe something as awesome or amazing.
John: How was the movie?
Jack: It was hardout, bro! (translation: It was awesome, bro).
4. To describe someone as extremely talented/hardworking/successful.
John: Did you know Ben got 100% in every exam?
Jack: Man, that guy is a hardout! (translation: that guy works really hard).
Loosely translates to “No way” or “That’s not true”, but can be used in various different contexts.
Jack: Bro, I forgot my wallet. You’ll lend me 20 bucks though eh?
John: Not even! (translation: No, I wont.)
This can be combined with “Not even” and is used somewhat like an exclamation mark. It’s used quite sparingly, but if you manage to pull off the “Not even” + “Ow” combo as a foreigner, you will probably be made an honorary Kiwi.
Jack: Bro, how did you pass that exam, you must have cheated hardout!
John: Not even ow! (translation: Get the f**k outa here)
This has multiple meanings, so many that it would be pointless to explain them all here. In fact I’m not even sure I could explain them, as there is an acquired comfort in using this word and understanding all it’s uses. Nonetheless, I encourage foreigners to try as often as possible. Three of the most common meanings are:
1. To express thanks.
Hey bro, can you pass me that jug of water please? Shot. (translation: Thanks)
2. To express joy, similar to how you might use “Yuss!!”
John: Bro, Jen got us free VIP tickets for Miley Cyrus tonight!
Jack: Oh shot! (translation: That’s awesome!)
3. To express encouragement, or to say ‘good job’ or ‘well done’.
John: Hey bro, I finally passed my bikini waxing certification last night. Starting my new job tomorrow!
Jack: Shot bro! (translation: Well done!)
Jack: I’m hungry bro.
John: Alright, let’s go for a feed. Macca’s?
In many ways it is a synonym for the word “think”, for example instead of saying “I think so” you could say “I reckon”. However it has other meanings:
1. Used to express one’s opinion. For example, instead of saying “Do you think?” you would say “Do you reckon?”
John: Do you reckon if I buy Jen a box of Pineapple Lumps and then ask her on a date she will say yes?
Jack: Yeah, I reckon! (translation: yes, I think she will).
2. Used to agree enthusiastically to something.
John: I can’t believe Tom cheated on Jill for the 279th time!
Jack: I reckon! What a dick. (translation: I know! What a dick).
An adjective to describe something as really amazing or awesome.
Jack: Did you see that girl in the purple dress last night?
John: Yeah bro that girl was the meanest! (translation: that girl was extremely hot/amazing).
Jack: Did you like that Olsen twins movie we saw last week?
John: Yeah, it was pretty mean (translation: Yeah, it was quite good).
Means ‘a lot’ or ‘very’.
Jack: Man, I always see that girl there.
John: Yeah, I’ve seen her heaps too. She goes there heaps bro. (translation: Yeah, I’ve seen her a lot too. She goes there all the time).
Piece of piss
To describe something that’s very easy, similar to “piece of cake”.
Jack: Hey, I’m about to take my driving test. Is it hard?
John: Nah, piece of piss bro (translation: No, it’s very easy).
Taking the piss
An expression which means ‘to make fun of’ or to ‘mock’, or to not be taking something seriously. Not to be confused with “taking a piss”, which means to urinate.
Jack: I was gonna go out drinking with you guys tonight, but Jen got mad at me so I’m staying home.
John: What the f**k? Are you taking the piss? (translation: Are you being serious?)
On the piss
Jack: Man have you seen Melissa’s Instagram lately?
John: Bro she’s always on the piss eh???? (translation: she’s always out drinking, right?)
Yeah nah bro
Yeah nah is a tricky one to translate accurately. It basically means “No”, but it’s like a more polite version of no.
Jack: Hey man you wanna stay for dinner?
John: Yeaaaah nah bro, I gotta get home and study (translation: I’d like to [not really], but I can’t, gotta get home and study).
However, it can also be translated as simply “Ummm”, or perhaps as “Ummm yeah, but no”. Such as when you’re talking about a sensitive topic, or just need time to think.
Jack: Hey bro, I saw you and Jess go home together last night!
John: Yeah nah bro……how did your night go? (translation: Well, no, we didn’t, how did your night go?)
There’s no exact translation, so try to observe the different ways Kiwis use it before you start trying to use it yourself!
To the days
This is pinned to the end of a word or phrase, and means ‘extremely’ or ‘very’.
Jack: Did you see Tim got drunk again last night?
John: Bro, that guy’s an alcoholic to the days! (translation: That guy’s seriously an alcoholic).
Honest to who?
Loosely translates to “Really?” Often the response will be “Honest to G”, which I presume means Honest to God.
Jack: Bro, I won like $5,000 at the pokies last night.
John: Honest to who?
Jack: Honest to G O D!
Short for “Give us a”, which actually means “Give me a”.
Jack: Faaa, check this out, Jen posted a photo of herself on Instagram in a bikini.
John: Honest to who? Gizza look! (translation: Really? Give me a look!)
This is the Kiwi form of the verb ‘to treat’, such as treating someone to a meal or a drink.
Jack: Bro, I can’t come out tonight, I spent all my money on a pedicure.
John: It’s all good bro, Tim is shouting drinks tonight.
What a sad guy
This is said when someone does something super uncool.
Jack: Bro, when Tim was drunk as last night I put $500 of booze on his credit card.
John: What a sad guy! (translation: what a crappy thing to do)
Probably impossible to explain, but I will try. It has many different uses so you will need to listen carefully to the pitch, tone and context in which it’s used to decipher the meaning in each particular situation. Also note that the word is pronounced like the letter “A”, not the letter I.
1. Used on the end of a statement to solicit agreement from the other party. Similar meaning to “don’t you think?” or “isn’t it?”
Jack: It’s pretty hot today eh? (translation: It’s pretty hot today, isn’t it?)
John: Yeah bro, hardout. (translation: Yes, very).
2. Used to express disbelief and/or surprise. You would use a similar pitch and tone to when you say “Really??”.
Jack: Tim broke his leg at rugby last night and now he’s in the hospital.
John: Eh? (translation: Really!?)
3. Used to express confusion when you’re unsure of why something is happening or when things are not appearing as they should. When used in this context the “Aye” will typically be longer and more drawn out, usually in a slightly higher pitched voice.
Jack: Bro Mr Tupai said you have to go to his office after school because your exam was so crap.
John: Eeeeeeh? (translation: What the hell!?)
4. Used as a filler word, with no real meaning at all.
Jack: How was Jen’s cupcake party?
John: It was cool eh, I really enjoyed it.
While technically short for “cousin” this is mostly used as a term of friendship, but can also be used as just a casual way to address someone. Sometimes the longer form “cuzzy” is used.
Staff: “Sir, here’s your Big Mac combo, no pickle extra fries.”
Jack: “Oh, cheers cuz.” (translation: Thanks man)
Generally used in place of “cheers” or “thank you”, but in certain situations can also mean “OK/cool” or “No problem”. I’ve also heard people use it simply as a way to greet each other.
Jack: Saw you were running low bro so got you another beer.
John: Chur bro! (translation: Thanks man).
Can’t be bothered
Used when someone is too lazy or just simply doesn’t feel like doing something. Another variation of this is “can’t be stuffed”, which has the same meaning and is used in the same way.
Jack: Bro, your arms are looking kinda small you should come to the gym with us.
John: Nah, I can’t be bothered bro. (translation: No, I’m too lazy).
Simply means “good” or “cool” and is used similarly to “sweet as”.
John: Bro, Jen went to buy our movie tickets and the guy gave all of us free popcorn.
Jack: Oh choice! (translation: Oh that’s awesome).
This word can have two different meanings depending on the context:
1. To take care of a task that needs to be done or to sort something out.
John: You were supposed to get our rugby tickets sorted, suss it out bro! (translation: take care of it)
Jack: Sussed it out this morning bro! (translation: I sorted it out this morning)
2. To describe something as suspicious/suspect.
John: Bro, it’s all good, this guy said he’ll give us a ride into town.
Jack: Are you sure you wanna go with him? He looks kinda suss bro. (translation: he looks a bit suspicious/not right).
Loosely translates to “cool”, or “awesome”. Has quite a broad meaning and can be used to describe most things that you think are cool.
John: “Bro, check out my new iPhone cover, it’s got Kim Kardashian on the back.”
Jack: “Gizza look. Oh bro, that is mint.” (translation: Give me a look. Oh man, that is awesome.)
Can simply mean “to leave” or can also mean to “run away”.
John: Bro I saw this guy trying to break into my car.
Jack: Did you catch him?
John: Nah, he gapped it. (translation: no, he ran away)
Stink can be used on its own to express unhappiness with something, or can also be used as an adjective to describe something/someone as really lame.
Really good word to pair with “Faaa”.
Jack: Did you see the Easter Show got cancelled?
John: Faaa stink as! (Translation: Oh no that sucks!)
Jack: I was supposed to go for get milkshakes with Tim, but he cancelled on me last minute.
John: What a stink dude! (translation: What a bad person).
Jack: Bro I heard you got like 3 girlfriends now wassup?
John: Nah, not even, I’m not a skux dude like you eh! (translation: no way, I’m not as cool as you!)
Chocka means something is very full or busy. If something is extremely busy, you can use the full term “Chocka Block”.
Jack: Yo, I heard the supermarket was pretty chocka today? (translation: I heard the supermarket was quite busy today?)
John: Bro, chocka block! (Man, it was super busy!)
Kia kaha translates to “Be strong” in Maori. It is a phrase Kiwis say to each other during hard times, periods of grieving, or when sharing support to each other. For example during natural disasters, tragic events, or the All Blacks losing in a World Cup final. You will see Kiwis saying to each other, kia kaha.
We are all grieving today during this difficult time. Kia kaha, New Zealand (stay strong, New Zealand).
This can be used as both a question and a response. As a question, it loosely means “Are you serious?” As a response it means, “Yes, I’m serious.”
It can also be used as a way to answer something with an enthusastic yes.
Jack: Dude I can bench 200kg now!
John: Straight up? (translation: Really?)
Jack: Straight up. (Yes, really).
Jack: If you were given the chance, would you date Barbara Streisand?
John: Straight up! (translation: Definitely!)
The reason I’ve included this word is because while it might be vulgar in some countries, it is not in contemporary New Zealand. In fact, it is often used a term of endearment between friends, and probably on the same level as “douchebag” or maybe “dickhead” when using it as an insult.
If you hear this in the streets in New Zealand, do not be alarmed! It is quite normal and nothing to worry about 🙂
Jack: Hey man do you know Sara’s new boyfriend Joey?
John: Yeah, he’s a good cunt actually (translation: yeah, he’s actually a nice guy).
Generally if you hear this phrase between friends it’s okay, but if it’s said to you by a stranger, you’ve done something wrong. You might hear this at the bar once or twice on a heavy weekend. It’s what Kiwis say when they want to punch you in the face.
Jack: *pours water down John’s shirt*
John: What the f***! You wanna hiding?! (translation: You want me to smash your face in!!?)
This is actually a Samoan word which means foreigner, but you’ll hear it in New Zealand quite often. It’s normally used as a friendly term to describe white people/caucasians.
Jack: Hey, what do you think of that new guy Shane on our rugby team?
John: I’ll be honest, he runs pretty fast for a palangi!
Bring a plate
This is one of those New Zealand sayings that’s often misunderstood. When Kiwis invite you to dinner and ask you to bring a plate, it’s not because they don’t have enough kitchenware. It means they want you to bring a dish, like a lasagne or a cheesecake. It’s basically our way of saying it’s a pot luck dinner.
I had to include this one, because it would break my heart if you were one of those foreigners who hilariously turned up to a dinner party with just an empty plate! (happens often).
John: Hey, dinner party at my house on Friday, you free?
Anita: Yes! I’m coming.
John: Alright, don’t forget to bring a plate!
Anita: Oh, you don’t have enough plates?
John: No I mean BRING SOME FOOD omg! 😀
This phrase was born from a viral Youtube video, which literally means “next minute” or “suddenly”.
John: What happened to that girl at the bar last night? I thought you guys were getting along?
Jack: Bro, everything was good, then we took a shot, nek minnit she was drunk as! (translation: suddenly she was extremely drunk).
This phrase was born from a clip on a TV police show that quickly went viral. It’s used as a slang way to say “C’mon!” when someone gives an excuse or says something soft.
Make sure you emphasise the G at the start!
John: Bro what happened to you last night? You said you were coming to town with us!
Jack: Sorry bro I stubbed my toe and it was too sore to walk.
John: Aww gummon!!
Well, that pretty much covers it! Hopefully now if we ever cross paths on the road you’ll find it a little easier for us to understand each other.
Oh, and a special thanks to all the Canadians, Americans and Europeans I’ve met who didn’t understand a word I was saying. You were the inspiration for this post.
Been to New Zealand? What other New Zealand slang phrases did you hear that you didn’t understand? If you’re a Kiwi, what did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!
Heading to New Zealand? Follow these tips:
- For affordable accommodation in New Zealand, I highly recommend using Airbnb. This will allow you to get both private rooms and fully furnished apartments at rates far less than hotels and some hostels, especially in the bigger cities. You can get $25 of free Airbnb credit using this link.
- I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance, particularly if you plan on partaking in the outdoors or road tripping up and down the country. For a beginner’s guide to travel insurance, why you need it, and how to get it, check out my post Travel Insurance 101: Everything You Need To Know.
- If it’s your first time visiting New Zealand, my buddy Will at The Broke Backpacker has an epic New Zealand travel guide on his blog. Check it out, it should have all the information you’re going to need to see our fine country on a healthy budget!
As someone who learned his English in NZ back in the 90s, this is greatly amusing and interesting – especially since I do remember some of the terms here, but heaps of them survived the last… oh, almost 20 years.
Haha, yes, many are timeless. I grew up in the 90s and we had some good ones come and go. For example, “Hiiiiip” used to mean “Whatever”. Stupid, I know. Where are you from originally?
I’m from Germany – and at some point when my school English was really way too bad, my parents decided to send me to Wellington for a couple of months to learn English. I think they just looked at a globe and tried to find the city that’s as far away as possible.
Well, they did pretty good. You could do far worse than Wellington.
good catch might!!lol..i am working for an aussie company, and its hell mean!!still got my American accent but aussie slang is a pollie hob, gott`em servo better if you got some of these by heart.
Hi Sherwin, can’t say I understood everything you just said, but glad the Aussie slang is rubbing off on you. It shares a lot of parallels with NZ.
Awesome Bren xx pretty good list. Ones that even aussies struggle with, judder bars, oosh and whorey or scodie. Good read bud. Sharing 🙂
Amy! Long time, nice to see you here 🙂 I can’t say I use too many of those words, maybe oosh sometimes. Haven’t heard judder bars in ages! I still say speedbump. Lol
Thanks for sharing 😀
Yeah nah bro, judder bars are to keep the livestock inside the gate! Speed bumps are to slow suburban traffic, I heard them called sleeping policemen in the UK.
Also yeah nah and nah yeah are hugely meaningful! But if it doesn’t make sense as a non-native listener they have to listen to the tone and which one gets the emphasis – and the facials that go with it usually do the trick.
Aye is another one like shot. So many usages, so contextual, so hard to explain.
Chur for the good work on this glossary, here was me thinking we were a bit hard done by not having the richness of impenetrable slang I met in the UK, but now I see we’re right up there 🙂
Yep we don’t always notice but we do use a ton of slang in our everyday language and foreigners are always quick to point this out to us – every second sentence they need to ask you what something means. Always a good laugh though.
I can’t believe I forgot Aye – that’s a huge one! Might have to add that one in, although would be almost impossible to explain properly..haha
As for judder bars – I’ve always used that for speedbumps – perhaps it has a couple different meanings? Never heard it used as a livestock thing before – that’s new to me.
Anyway, chur for the comment bro!
funny! I have heaps of NZ friends and love saying heaps! lol
Hey Rachel, totally get it, I love trying to use other people’s slang as well, although I usually butcher it. I’ve also found it’s the Americans who find Kiwi slang the most amusing for some reason, haha.
That’s the word my English fiancé teases me about. Heaps. Seems so normal for us kiwis!
Yup most of us use it daily! Awesome word that seems pretty unique to NZ. Cheers for reading 🙂
Still on the fence with this one, is it widely used enough to be included?
Awesome post. The examples are crack up as haha. I always chuck a geeze after gizza ie “Gizza geeze”
I got laughed at by some Canadians who didn’t know what mufti was and misinterpreted what a mufti day might mean.
That’s crack up, I didn’t realise mufti was a slang word. I wonder what the Canadians call it..
Gizza geeze – must say it’s the first time I’ve heard that one, haha
Hey what about ‘bach’ and ‘jaffa’?
Yep both goodies, just couldn’t fit em in! I actually did have jafa in there but not sure foreigners should really be using that one..haha
Thanks bro! Now I can start to understand my kiwi wife! She kept on saying I am a sad man when I was making fun of her slang. Until I shouted her a drink, that is. This guide is cool as!
Haha, all good bro, I reckon she’ll be happy as you’re learning her lingo 😉
Oh, didn’t realise that was one was ours! Haven’t heard it for a while, might be going out of fashion.
Or ‘hard shot’…you could put it in with the definitions of ‘shot’
I’ve never heard that combo actually, care to explain? I use hard on its own sometimes to mean ‘definitely’ or something along those lines, like “Are you keen for Maccas?” “Hard”.
Hard shot is a new one to me though!
You forgot suss it out or it’s sussed!! I live in Japan now and my new mates (Japanese, American and Canadian) all copied me and say it now coz it’s the best word for organising or getting jobs done! Ha
Oh yeah, that’s another one I used to use heaps. Didn’t even realise that was Kiwi.
Thanks bro might chuck that one in.
I literally died at the definitions of Angus and Hungus. In actuality I laughed throughout the whole article! Being from NZ, it’s hard to think that it could be weird to anyone else. I really want to travel now just to see peoples reaction to the way I talk (I 100% exhibit all of the above speaking trends.)
I think “crack up” is definitely one you’ve missed; I know that would turn a lot of heads.
I know there’d probably be a few more I could add to the list but they’re so imbedded and normalized to me that I honestly can’t think of them from the top of my head.
Really great piece, will be taking this with me if I do end up travelling!!
P.S: I remember in high school when my Graphics design teacher (who is English) said to my class that we all had a propensity to ask “Can I go toilet?” and fully miss the “the” (Can I go to ‘the’ toilet.)
I haven’t heard anyone use crack up quite like we do, but I do quite often hear “you crack me up” or “I was cracking up” from other nationalities, so they do probably understand us when we say it.
Now that I think about it, I still say “Gotta go toilet” all the time – didn’t even realise the grammatical incorrectness of it.
Thanks for reading!
thanks for that Bren,had me cracking up.hey what about? “good cunt” as in he’s a f****** good cunt. and “choice” as in choice az bro.
I know that we say that a lot down here in New Zealand, but it’s actually super offensive in a lot of other countries. My friend was telling me how he told his American buddy he was a good cunt and got a look of disbelief. He spent the next half hour trying to explain that it’s actually a compliment and means you’re a really cool guy, and the American telling him he’d probably get his ass beat if he ever said it in America. How weird is that?
I had the best time reading this! I’ve been living in the uk for 2 years and still trip up and have to explain what I’m trying to say.. haha. Never really realise how you speak until people are confused. 🙂
I can totally relate, explaining these words over and over again! I find that Brits tend to understand us better than most though.
Being from Ireland we enjoy a few of these alang words as well, quite a few actually! Maybe it just goes to show how similar we are! But living in NZ, a I’ve noticed a couple missing. What about ‘choice’? A little more in the countryside, but its creeped in quite a lot all over. And im fascinated at how most people throw ‘yeayeayea’ instead if just yes in to a conversation to show they agree with what you’re saying. Little bit of a foreigner’s input to your culture!
Yep we used to say choice alot, esp when we were kids. The yea yea yea thing is so true as well, I only realised that once you said it – its so normal to us haha. Very insightful, thanks for commenting.
Bro, you forgot “true bro” and “mint”
Gday Kyle, I agree – 2 classics. Haven’t heard mint for a little while, due for a comeback maybe.
What about ‘crook’
As in sick? I didn’t even realise it was slang!
This is great! Best NZ slang I’ve seen and I’m guilty of everything including the suggestions! ‘Leg it’ is another one and ‘let it slide’
I’ve definitely heard Americans and Brits use let it slide, so that one might not be so unique to us. Leg it – now that one might be a little more Kiwi. Both popular down here though that’s for sure.
Where’s “Chur” at??? Prrobably one of thee Ultimate Kiwi words… But all and all. Pretty crack up stuff alright. #kiwimana
Yup somehow I missed that one, however it’s been mentioned in these comments so many times that I probably don’t even need to add it in. Cheers for reading!
There’s heapz of words like, ‘Raxed’-Stolen, or ‘Gappit’-Lets go, or go away,or going. I.e-I’m gonna gappit. 1 on 1’s- 1 on 1 fight. Tose him up-Beat him up. ‘Garks’-lying,lies. ‘Toeys’-Toe jam, ‘Cuzzy’-Cousin. ‘Chur’- Ok, cool, no problem. 1 hitter quiter- Knocked out with 1 hit. ‘Poor hara- Poor person’ ‘Hory’-lacking sophistication or tidiness on oneself, or personality and/or speech. etc etc
oh dude, how did i forget gap it! haha..still use that one today. Haven’t heard garks in ages though, are people still saying that one these days?
A couple that I get laughed at heaps for are saying keen (as in who’s keen to go grab a feed, or I’m keen as to come to your party) and flash (as in wow he’s dressed up pretty flash tonight, or it’s a nice restaurant, nothing super flash though). This is a great list though, I had a good little chuckle!! Thanks heaps!
Hi Sarah, I had no idea keen was slang, coming to think of it I don’t hear anyone else use it so it must be, however the dictionary has one meaning as “eager” or “with desire” so I guess we’re just one of the few countries who use it like that. Heaps is a true favourite and its good because although it sounds funny to people they usually grasp the meaning quite easily.
‘Can’t be bothered’ Always gets my American friends.
Ahhh yes! I’ve been given confused faces over that one too. Should add that one in for sure.
Awesome post Bren! Not sure how old you are but you nailed heaps of kiwi slang and sayings! I’m 39 and used “choice” in primary school. I still love saying “sweet as” and probably confuse a few British friends with “yeah nah”. Judder bars are cattle stops at the entrance to farmers driveways and growing up in the Waikato we used the term for those and speed bumps alike.
Ahh, I guess I never grew up where a lot of farming went on so never really heard it used like that. It was my bro that always called the speedbumps judder bars, I stuck with the former mostly. And of course, choice and sweet are still favourites of mine 🙂
What about “cuz” “cuzzy” bro ! or the classic “chur”
Will add those once I write the update. Cheers!
Can’t forget classics like “cuz” “cuzzy” bro or even something mean as like “chur” “chur chur” you did a good job on the guide too much cuzzy bro chur chur.lol
Haha thanks bro it can be hard to explain these words especially to foreigners so hopefully this’ll set em straight.
What about munted? And the fact that Kiwis call shopping carts trundlers??? THere’s also stroppy, Bolshy, rigger, chop it, I can go on. There are so many words and phrases I didn’t understand when I first got here. Oh, and don’t forget kumara and Hokey Pokey! Northern hemisphere folks get stumped on a lot…..
I usually call shopping carts trolleys, which also confuses alot of people. Can’t say I’ve heard of rigger or chop it or bolshy! Although munted – yes, a blast from the past but still a goodie. Thanks for sharing.
Where are you getting these words from? I think you’re a bit confused mate.
Aw Bro i was on a martial arts forum and the Americans were talking about rooting themselves, we in nz& Aus call it basing or seating, so you can see where they dialog ended up….down the gurgler… https://nz.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20140227113753AAqDd3F but it is typical , have a read,lol you can spot the kiwi and aussie.
Cool write up bro, made me laugh.
Haha, didn’t realise ‘having a root’ was a NZ/Aus term. That’s hilarious.
Neh means no not sure if you got that one in there couldn’t be stuffed going through it again choice job but
Thanks, cheers for reading.
Bro could you add in ooooosh. Like ‘oooosh that’s mean as’. I’m bringing it back 🙂
Haha, can’t say I hear that one too much anymore. We used to say it like crazy back in high school though.
There’s also “Straight up” as in:
Used as a question:
– you for sure?
– are you serious?
Used as a reply:
– I’m sure/certain
– I have it covered
Yep, another good one. I also thought that was Kiwi until I heard Paula Abdul singing her song “Straight up” and it seemed like it was the same meaning. Or not, who knows.
This isn’t kiwi, it’s more Maori.
I’m pretty sure none of these words are Maori.
same thing pretty much and it cant be Maori as in the language cos there isnt any “c” or “s” amongst other letter in their alphabet.
That’s amazing job you’ve done! Happy to realise that knew almost all of it as being a foreigner. Got just one thing to add to your list that confuced still last month when visiting over there. You got also thaa (don’t know how you spell it) that you say kinda as thank you and you’re welcome and for other reasons too that I can’t remember just now.
Haha, thanks I had a good laugh while reading your comment once I finally figured out the word you were talking about. I think you might mean “Ta” which basically means thank you, dare I say it’s mostly the older population that uses this – definitely wasn’t in fashion while I was growing up!
“Ta” is originally British slang, so that one’s not so much a NZ saying as a result of being part of the glorious Commonwealth.
Yeah that sounds right, the Brits definitely use it more than us – probably something you’d hear on Coronation street 😀 Thanks for sharing!
This is awesome, thank you for sharing, i thought everyone spoke like we did, a bit of an eye opener, i just wanted to share that back when I was at school and even now I still use the word “putu” eg. your car is putu or stink…. I don’t know if this was used everywhere or even if it is slang, but I love saying it !!!!!
I vaguely remember hearing that around, might be a Maori word. Until I started mixing with a lot of other nationalities I also didn’t realise how much slang we actually used. Always makes for a great conversation. The Irish are another bunch that have a lot of informal words.
Faaa, is short for far out. but this list is spot on, I say most of these regularly.
Thought so! Thanks for sharing.
What about ‘harden up’. I’ve tried explaing this to some indonesians without success
Haha, as teenagers we all used to say “take some concrete pills and harden up”. Not sure if it’s exclusive to NZ but definitely a good one to keep in the back pocket.
Do you know if “ow” is just a really short version of “e hoa”? Usually if someone calls you “e hoa” you’re probably in trouble but it means “my friend” as far as I know.
Can’t say I’ve ever heard of that before. Perhaps if someone of Maori heritage stops by here they can set us straight.
Kia Ora…..No ow is only a slang word and yes e hoa is friend. Hope this helps
Ahh sweet as, thanks for sharing 🙂
When I was growing up around Tauranga it was always ‘e hoa’ used among the Maori kids. Used exactly the same way as people do today but pronounced more as ‘ow’ these days. The pronunciation has just changed a bit as the knowledge of the language has been lost, but it’s actually ‘e hoa’ the same as it always was.
Sorry but its not loss of knowledge of language its just slang and the way words evolve. Its like how at the moment young kids are saying Whanuk instead of Whanau (family), they know how to say it properly they’re just trying to sound cool. Same with females being called Wahz (short for wahine). Then theres words like skux and bots which come on through Samoan/Tongan influence, Kiwi slang is ever changing. Found this interesting article here:
Nice! Lots of double meanings which must really confuse people! I use “suss” to mean “suspicious” or “dodgy” too. As in “yeah nah that seems pretty suss…”
Can just imagine the foreigners hearing you say that and thinking “oh, she’s saying it seems sorted out”, haha. Will be a good laugh.
I’m a Canadian living in New Zealand and this list is “spot on, mate!” (this is a new saying to me but probably not the Europeans) Also another one I never heard before is “That’s a bit stink, isn’t it?” (obvious meaning but very Kiwi nonetheless:-)
Haha interesting, never even considered spot on to be slang. As for stink, yeah, you’ve probably heard people saying “what a stink guy”, very similar to “what a sad guy”. Too funny.
Suss can also mean suspicious. Eg: you see something that you think isn’t right you’d say “that looks suss” or “that sounds suss”.
Oh yep, forgot about that one!
Good job, on these one of the best so far ive seen, a few u missed that I use all the time, like “Bae” At” or Ata Harry”
example: JACK: Bae, you up early this morning, did you sh-t the bed? JOHN: yea… JACK: Aaaata Haaaarryy..(word is emphasized in carrying letters mainly the A’s,to reflect emotion- Surprised, or What the Heck? could also mean other emotions depending on how the word is said and/or emphasized )
Bae: In replacement of “Hey” or who ever you talking too, male/female doesn’t matter
At: Another word for Nahh or No
Ex: JOHN can I have 10 dollars please? JACK: At (Word AT is pronounced sharp “What ever”, “No”)
Another one I use often is Buk & Coin. recently used at a garage sale.
EX: ME: How bout this thing for 5 buk? SELLER: You got the Coin ME: Yeeah … SELLER: Sweet As (would you take 5 dollars for this item, SELLER: Have you got the money, ME: YES…SELLER: Sure no problem)
You also forgot the infamous Nek Minit?
Lol mate, I’m sorry I didn’t really understand a whole lot of that but I was cracking up the whole time reading it. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of “At” or “Bae”, or perhaps I know it I just don’t recognise it from the spelling. As for nek minnit – totally missed that one.
Cheers for commenting!
At and Bae (pronounced bay) is the Gizzy area slang. No one understood me when I moved out of Gisborne.
Yup your right, I lived in Gizzy for 10yrs, but now live in Napier, wen you hear some one speaking the At and Bae slang you know they from the east coast, and i blend right in.
To much bro that is sweet, best laugh ive had in ages as bro, only cos everything writen there is spot on
Cheers, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.
I found out that when you say yeah na it’s a swearing a statement in 2 ways. Eg. Someone might say ” you should come to town with us” and you might say “yeah na” as in yeah I heard you but na I don’t wana come. Also missed out wazzup. One outs/ or wana rumble? Up to g. Out of it. Howz it. Bae.
There goes that Bae again! What’s it mean? I’ve never heard of it – is it common in certain regions or..? Maybe I’m just getting too old to keep with the cool kids these days haha.
Bae is the same as bro
Bae is pretty much used similar to “bro” or “g”. I grew up Waikato region
I ment *answering not *a swearing too!
Bae / bay is used in the gizzy area. Most commonly used in this context:
“Bro, you got snapped by the cops and got speeding ticket”
“Et-a bay!” (Whatever! Not even!)
Haha, wow, that is definitely new to me. Got a youtube vid of someone using it or something? I’m trying to say it to myself but I sound munted as.
I usually hear people use “bae” (Pronounced bay) as a shortened version of “babe” or “Baby”. I’ve also heard that it’s an acronym for “before anyone else”.
It’s often used to address or refer to your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner.
Eric: “I love you, bae”. (I love you, babe).
Paul: “Aww, I love you too bae” (I love you too, babe).
JOHN: “Sup bro, what did you get up to last night?”
PAUL: “Not much bro, just stayed home with bae”. (I stayed at home with my girlfriend/boyfriend/partner).
@Krissie the bae you are thinking of is the American slang version totally different. Bae/bey/bay as used above is the East Coast Maori slang meaning bro (i think it comes from Maori pronounciation of boy) you can see a definition on urban dictionary under bey:
Even this meme generatior:
Yeah, bae as in “babe” or “baby” is 100% American.
That being said … be VERY careful (both Kiwi and American) how you use “bae” if you are in Denmark. Over there “bae” mean shite; as in fecal matter, not as in garbage (aka – buggered piece of shite).
Only place I know that understands what fro co, is in Nz
No idea what that is, my best guess is frozen coke? lol
What about ‘guts’ which I think is short for ‘gutted’. Such as ‘guts to be you, bro’.
Haha yep we also used to say “guts it out” which basically meant “tough it out”.
“Munted” would be a good addition to the list!
It’s funny to hear people are still saying that – I haven’t heard it in years. We used to say “munter” a lot, way back in the 90s, funny stuff.
Harden up might be more than just NZ, along them same line, ‘walk it off’ when ever you injure any part of yourself
Also Munted and Shagged
Dodgy was more common than Suss down my end of things, but both used.
Manky is another, but the Scots have that too, so probably their fault on that one.
Also the good old Yeah No But
Yeah, I figured as much. I was a fan of dodgy too, never really used suss too often.
This is great. I’d never thought about the slang we use! I’ll have to keep it in mind when I go traveling!! My dad, he’s English, always mocks Kiwis when we use ‘Aye’.
I’m going to be totally aware of them every time I say them now even when talking to another Kiwi!
Another one that I can think of, though I highly doubt we used it overseas but whatever, is ‘Bring a plate.’ as in Taking a plate of food to someones house for a pot luck dinner. (I think pot luck maybe one too?) I’ve heard of so many people coming to NZ and being invited to peoples houses and being told to ‘bring a plate’ and literally taking a plate with them without food on it.
Oh wow, that’s hiliarious. Now that I think about it though I can definitely see how that would happen. Funny how we just never notice how stupid some of our slang sounds when you translate it literally.
I’ve lived here 43 years and have never heard “Bae” or “At” or “angus” or “hungus” or “honest to who”.
Choice is also sometimes referred to as chawse. Oh yeah, “aye” is spelt “eh”. Aye is something sailors say.
Angus, hungus and honest to who were pretty much heard hourly when I was in school.
As for the spelling, well, it’s slang, so I guess none of us will ever really know how it’s spelt 🙂
Na, “eh” is pretty ensconced in English. That is how it’s spelled – the Canadians are big on it too. Tu meke.
I’ve seen it written as both “aye” and “ay”, but as slang you usually just write it however you say it. The Brits and Canadians say it a little differently to us so I guess they’d spell it differently too. I guess without a dictionary to refer to we can just spell it however we like 🙂
This was my list that I made after doing my Music Education internship in Lower Hutt in 2007. I realize that some of it is British but all I knew is that it definitely wasn’t Canadian, so I wrote it down! 🙂 Love your list!
Pommy = British
Boot = trunk of a car
Bonnet = hood of a car
Knickers = underwear
Hard case = funny, cool
Root = sex
Ute = utility vehicle
Pigeon hole = mailbox
Eftpos = debit/credit machine
Choice = awesome, sweet, cool
Refill = loose leaf paper
Tea = supper
Supper = late after-dinner snack
Knackered = really tired
Oy/oi! = exclamation to get someone’s attention (like “Hey!”)
Tomato sauce = ketchup
“I reckon” = “I think (so)”
Interval = break (i.e. recess, intermission, etc.)
Dairy = corner store
Trolley = shopping cart
sms = text message (stands for “short message service”)
Jersey = sweater
Gumboots = rubber boots
Heaps = tons, lots, etc.
Flatmate = roommate
Lollies = candies
Rubbish = garbage
“Go to the toilet” = go to the bathroom
Singlet = tank top
Trousers = pants
Beanie = toque
Togs = bathing suit
Lounge = living room
“At the mo” = “at the moment”
“Sweet as,” “funny as,” etc. = very sweet, funny, etc.
Pash/snog = to kiss
Hire = rent
Naff = passe, out of fashion, lame
Jandals = flip flops
Torch = flashlight
Lamp = lightbulb
“Jokes!” = an exclamation (i.e. “You’re kidding!” – often preceded by “Ahh,” i.e. “Ahh, jokes!”)
Pram/pushchair = stroller
Queue = lineup
Fringe = bangs
Indicate = signal (in a car) – (“Be a mate, indicate!”)
Plait = braid
Nappy = diaper
Gutted = defeated, disappointed, deflated, etc.
Fortnight = 2 weeks
Sussed = figured out, cased, etc.
Musos = musicians
“Monday week” = a week from Monday
Petrol = gas
Scroggin/scrummy mix = trail mix
Muesli = granola (i.e. muesli bars)
Hash key = pound key on a phone – #
Ring = phone, call, etc. (i.e. to ring someone)
Carpark = parking lot
Bottle shop = liquor store
Give way = yield
Arvo = afternoon
Skux = stud in the making, young potential hottie (haha)
Notes = bills ($$ – as opposed to coins)
Mate = friend
Tenor horn = euphonium/baritone
Gob = mouth
Wag = skip school
“Ahh, true?” = an expression like “Oh, really?”
Mufti = non-uniform, casual
Docket = receipt
RTD = alcohol coolers (stands for “ready to drink”)
Squab = foam mattress
Op shop = 2nd hand store
Diary = day planner, agenda
Metal road = gravel road
Layby = rent-to-own
Hundreds and thousands = sprinkles (for baking)
Quite a list. Thanks for sharing 🙂
EGG is another common slang word…the ozzies look at me like Huh lmao
Oh really? I would’ve thought egg/egghead was pretty self explanatory, haha.
I don’t know where your from Bren but you have got quite a few incorrect. If you use some of them in the context you have specified you would probably get some strange looks. At least we would spot you as a try hard. 🙂
Gday Murray, I’ve lived in NZ my whole life. I appreciate criticism but you’ll need to offer a little more than just “you’re wrong” for us to be able to make a worthwhile discussion out of it. Cheers for the comments.
haha mean reply!
SHOT Bren your the Man BRO, FAAA I didn’t even realise HEAPS of this was slang, you did a MINT job with this AYE, like it was a HARDOUT crackup TOO THE DAYS CUZZY CHUR CHUR Keep up the CHOICE mahi. But HONEST TO WHO your mocking? YEAH NAH YEAH just TAKING THE PISS OW. Anyway I RECKON that’s a wrap coz I’m HUNGUS as for a FEED now so I better go SUS it out or maybe il just drive to MACCAS nah better not, don’t want those cops to SUS me out on my weetbix license lol.
Sorry I couldn’t help myself – best read ever
That was the funniest sh*t ever. Shot bro, cracked me up.
Haha ALLGOOD BRO true story
‘Twigged’ is one my friends in American thought I’d made up – although the Brits get it.
HONEST TO WHO Murray? FAA WHAT A SAD GUY OW. NAH YEAH BRO if you CANT BE BOTHERED to explain then GAP IT CUZZZZ lol peace
Lol, this guy, too funny.
Heres some more ‘on to it’ ‘in there’ ‘is that us’ ‘this guy’
You know I was going to add in “this guy” and I just couldn’t think of a good way to explain it. It’s kind of a word that really needs a video to explain it properly. Definitely one that’s used a lot though, hear it all the time.
I Like how you’ve described a “Jumper” as a “Jersey”, another word that kiwis really only use 🙂
Yep will never forget my Mum always telling me to take a jumper to school haha
Great list brada! I had a great chuckle crackn up at your words.. an the rest of the comments from the randoms.. well done wop wop!
Haha, can always depend on Kiwis to have something good to say. Cheers for reading.
One you missed but being an American it took me awhile to figure it out is flat. Flat = apartment. This is all spot on. Loved reading it.
Flat is more of a shared living situation rather than an apartment specifically. I live in a house with my flatmates. We call it the flat.
Yep in fact flats are very rarely apartments these days, usually small townhouses shared amongst a bunch of university students. “Going flatting” – very Kiwi!
reckon. what a try-hard. maybe that fulla’s a baldhead, chur doy.
Lol, still waiting for him to reply…
Ahhhhahaha so very funny! Best thing I’ve read in a long time! I always knew as a country people take the piss on us for how we speak lol cant help it though aye?
Yep our slang certainly gets ripped a lot more than other countries. All good!
The point about spelling of ‘aye’ is an interesting one. I always spelled it ‘eh’ until I realised there seemed to be a kind of ethnic divide about that once FB gave us that window into seeing people using slang in a written down form. ‘Aye’ tends to be the spelling favoured by Māori/PI and ‘eh’ by Pakeha. Not sure how scientific my observation is. Witi Ihimaera (from memory) used ‘aye’ in his novels and short stories and I think Alan Duff did too, not sure. I use ‘aye’ now, cos it seems to be a bit more widely understood among my mates. Not right, not wrong, just my observation of usage.
Yep also with our accent and how we say things, pronouncing “Eh” just sounds word. To spell it phonetically “aye” or “ay” is much more accurate, and I find it’s more often spelt like that, in NZ anyway.
One that amused me when I was younger back in the day was when a pommy girlfriend asked me what a needaye was. Took a couple of secs then realised she meant “neat aye?” Could be one to add to your list Bren
Neat! I guess we do kinda use that word a little weird. Crazy how it all seems so normal until you actually stop and think about it.
You missed out ay / ae …. and truuuue. And manis for dickhead. And whateva as a dismissal.
MANIS – lol. That one’s hilarious, though I doubt I can pull that one off. Couldn’t decide on “true”, seems sorta half slang half not.
Great guide. As a kiwi I can think of a couple of additions.
Suss can also be used as an adjective meaning it’s pretty suspect. E.g “Yeah that guy is pretty suss. I’d steer clear of him bro.”
Secondly, when I was in the UK I found that they didn’t know what “shat itself” meant, as in “the TV has shat itself” meaning “the TV has stopped working”
Oh yep, just like my website is shitting itself right now. You guys all coming on here at once ow hardout crashing my server to the days!
All good though, cheers for commenting.
You also for got to add to suss. Like when someone’s dodgy….”oh check that fella out he’s suss as! Oh and you forgot fella
Yep seems everyone is up in arms over this suss thing, I’ll update it once traffic cools down and I can actually log in and change it 🙂
Cheers for reading!
Great post haha! You forgot the “bo” (that other version of bro) you know like
Jake: Great try bro, the winger couldn’t even catch you!
Tom: Hard out bro, see me gap it like, later bo, catch you up cuz haha!
Oh man, haven’t used that one since high school. I remember it pretty much replaced bro completely though for a little bit, scary times. Cheers for sharing.
you forgot “flash” was overseas and had to do a project taking photos of houses. I was talking to my group about taking photos of all the “flash” houses and it was only later they approached me and asked me what the heck I meant!
Had no idea that was slang – another undercover one. I’m pretty sure the Brits and Aussies would understand that though – were your group Canadian/American?
Had me laughing till I cried! Found out this week my pommie workmate had never heard of “skite”. Itscan Aussie/kiwi word for bragging.
sometime people says beauty in reply not sure its actually beauty or something else.
Haha, not 100% sure what you’re referring to but probably when someone says “you beauty!”, the exact meaning will vary but basically you say it when something or someone does something awesome. Example: You haven’t used your barbecue for ages and you’re praying it’s going to work properly, when you turn it on you think it’s broken but then suddenly it fires up and you might go, “aahh you beauty!” That’s the best I can come up with right now, lol.
u beww tayy
As a South African living in NZ for 10yrs now the first 2 kiwi English words that got me was: “Thanks for tea it was beautiful” And I was “like what the heck?” Tea meaning dinner never heard of that until I came to NZ and beautiful describing a taste instead of a look. Now I use it all the time and most of your list.
Haha this is too much bro. Living in aussie for ten years I’ve found myself weeks off so many of these kiwiisms. Chur for the reminder the reminder bro.
Haha sweet as, cheers for reading.
My sister in law from England wanted to go to my mums house out in the country for a party (first time there). She was told it was in the wop wops. So she jumped in a cab and told the guy she needed to go to the wop wops. He looked at her and was like. Um need more info love. She never got to the party…
Hahaha, awesome. In my circle of friends anyway we shortened this to the wops, rather than the wop wops. Not sure how common that is, I actually thought it was the normal way of saying it.
Both are common! I teach literacy in the workplace and we teach a lot of Kiwi slang if our students aren’t native speakers. ‘Munted’ is another good one, up there with ‘buggered’ though my colleague tells me it can also mean a hangover “Drank a lot last night, I was really munted this morning’. Joker, dag, hard case are good ones. The one that got my Pommie husband was being asked to ‘Bring a plate’. Crook for sick (and ‘under the weather’). Done my dash. Chick for girl and chook for chicken! Dodgy like suss, but also not working properly. “Careful with the car door, the window’s a bit dodgy’. Shoot through. Knackered – like buggered it can mean tired or broken. “Nah, me washing machines knackered! Grog. Dough for money, though I think these two are both English in origin, but still a mystery to many. Flat tack or flat stick for fast or busy. Great list, anyway! I’ll be adding some of them to my list.
Hi Tooki, wow a lot of good ones in there, thanks for sharing. Done my dash is one I don’t hear too often anymore.
super old ppl use dash. flat stick? I’ve only heard of flat-chat
I don’t think definition 4 of ‘aye’ is right–in that sentence, it’s extra emphasis, like an exclamation point. Great post!
Wassup. Yeah, I did think about this one for quite a while, but I decided it really depends on how you say it. For example, just say the sentence “Ummm, yeah, I guess it was pretty cool aye”, the ‘aye’ isn’t really emphasising anything, you just put it there to kind of add some character to the sentence. However if you say it like “Oh man it was so cool aye!” then the emphasis is there, but it’s more about how you said it rather than by function of the aye. Ya dig? That’s how my thought process went anyway.
‘rattle your dags’ is a personal fav
‘Out of it’ meaning thats crazy.
Yeah, nah does have meaning!! The ‘yeah’ signals agreement with the statement being responded to, and the ‘nah’ preceeds a negative sentence
(Watching a rugby game between the AB’s and France) Guy 1: “Man France is playing like crap”
Guy 2: “Yeah, nah they ain’t playing well at all.”
Hey PTip, yeah I suppose it does have a meaning in that context, but there are also a lot of times when it is just meaningless, e.g. “You alright bro?”, “Yeah nah I’m alright aye”. In this sentence I would say it doesn’t mean anything. I would also say there’s probably a subtle difference between yeah nah and yeah, nah. What you reckon?
You forgot “crack up” 🙂
wop wops = where no one goes
choka = full as in had enough to eat
a Loopy = tourist goes round in a circle of the south island or southland then leaves
Crook and yeah nah is another two that are very kiwi-I often say them and have to define to non kiwi friends what they mean.
– out of it..
– out the gate
– tutu (stop being a tutu!)
– eat arse
Haha eatarse – such a classic.
Another one is… Hard case, as in that was funny, or unbelievable.. ;0)
One of the best written posts I’ve seen on this topic! I’d add that suss also means to check something out first, like a reconnaissance mission. Eg/ “What’s the party like?” “I dunno, I’ll suss it out and come back.” Good post, I like your writing.
Ahhhh yes, that is true. Totally missed that one! Thanks for sharing, no one mentioned that one yet 🙂
Well written, having lived in Ireland for a year and then going back to being surrounded by kiwis you definitely notice the difference!
Awsum funi az read … On yah ( short for good on you) … For sharing : )
What about munted, like: ” I was so munted last night”. or “I dropped my phone and munted it”. And then munter, that guy is such a munter.
And is swish a kiwi term? Like: “I’ll meet you at the party”. “Swish”.
I think I vaguely remember swish from back in primary school, not too sure though. Didn’t seem to catch on in my circles though. Do people still use it?
I’m not sure, I still use it occasionally but my group of friends and I stopped hard out using it a few years back.
Oh and knackerd, as in tired.
What about tu meke? “That’s tu meke bro”, tu meke = too much. Usually used to say something is awesome or really great.
rack-to borrow or steal
snapped- to get caught
stally- one who is not generous
leilani- attractive female
Why are you spelling it “aye”? Even the Poms use the word anyway, and it’s spelt “eh”. I have books (English) from the fifties with it in.
I hate that spelling, it’s all over fb. Your stuff is awesome, don’t get caught up in the NZ disease of “spelling doesn’t matter”.
Hi Anon, appreciate your comments. You’ll find there are NZ books with the spelling as “aye”, and as we pronounce it differently to the Brits we probably write it differently too. Without a dictionary to verify slang, I suppose it’s up to the writer which spelling he uses. Interesting though.
It was spelt eh when I was at primary school in taranaki. Our teacher had crossed it out in our books cos she didn’t like it. It’s only spelt aye cos people are dumb and don’t know how to spell.
Straight up…. can be used as a question or a statement…
“Cuzz we goin to the pools after school”
“Straight up bro?… Chur bo im in there ”
“Cuzz… ABs gunna smash the Wallabies this weekend…straight up!!!”
Also another is …”kill it” be awesome, be wow, outplay.
“Bro we went to the Blues game on Saturday and they killed it”
Taking a slash is one I’ve had to explain for my male friends, as in going for a piss, also bring a plate, means bring a dish with food on it to share not an empty plate
This is brilliant tho, I get caught with heaps, and dairy all the time.
Take a slash! Haven’t heard that one in yonks.
Bring a plate is a good one to add. Super common.
How about “Bey” growing up my cuzzys from the wops hardout used that word before Bro was common… “Bey” lets go geta mixed bag from the dairy scored 50 cents off da old man 🙂
Good hardcase write up Bey enjoyed reading it whata crack up fulla
Ok, now I remember this. At a sports tournament and there was a team from Bay of Plenty and the guy kept saying Yeeeahhh Bay – I thought it had something to do with BOP. Finally 15 years later I have my explanation.
You forgot Nek Minit
Botz. What botz guy
Botz, double Botz! Every day.
Tosser – That person is a wanker.
my favourite ” Oh yea na sweet as aye cuz” Simply meaning yes or ok
A Coastie variation on, ‘I can’t be bothered’, is, ‘I can’t be arsed’.
Too much bro. Hard case read.
‘Bung’ and ‘Pukaroo’ both an adjective to mean a certain object is broken or not working
Bung can also mean that someone is wasted/drunk
“oh that guy’s a but bung” [drunk]
What about average – as “how’d you go?” “pretty average aye”
hangi pants…someone who “does the rounds”
Hungus – we always used it as being super hungry – not full e.g. “I’m hungus as”
Primo! or Wicked!. as in that’s Awesome or choice one bro, lol
Stink bro! or stink one! & bummer aye! lol usually a bad deal or sad to hear that happened,
or stink one bro! as in that was stupid or I feel sorry for you.
Wasted!, ya coming out tonight? Na bro to wasted! Usually means ‘too out of it’! lol drunk or on drugs.
bumming out!, feeling down or shamed. Bummed out!, usually failed at something.
stink cunt!, describes someone who did something wrong or shamefull.
strummer!, as in a wanker.
Got a few more but better leave some for other people, wicked bro 😉
It’s “eh” not “aye” and we use it the same as the rest of the world. It’s on Wikipedia ffs.
From Wikipedia: “Eh?” used to solicit agreement or confirmation is also heard regularly amongst speakers in Australia and the United Kingdom (where it is sometimes spelled “ay” on the assumption that “eh” would rhyme with “heh” or “meh”).
Don’t blow a gasket aye 😉 pop a Chill pill bro, lol…
What about Bol. Used like Bey, in place of Bro. “Whad up Bol?”, “Laider Bol”.
You mean “Fuckin Oath” bro.
How about “That’s bad” meaning “That’s pretty good”
They say that in the US too, heard it in quite a few movies.
Etah bay or erah bay..2 correct a person or situation…go on ow..your all shit..or fuck off..tehh..u dont beleive it or them..ball bag..to dis some one as a genetle..bara..brother if u can roll your toung…rumble..to have a fight..ow cunt..to dis some one..oh nah yeh..to disagree with wat u said and to begin your answer
Hungus is used when some one asks you for food cause day got none
hungus is usually someone who takes a bigger share… ” giz a bit more you hungus!!!”
Maybe knackered. I’ve been living in London for two years and had to stop using it as people kept thinking I was saying I’m naked.
Chur this is next level sick. Hah good read while im in canada bro. nice
Chur bro, thanks for reading.
C*nt – Has multiple meanings in NZ, as it does in the UK and good ol’ Straya, and can be used as an insult (e.g. “You’re a d*ck/c*nt”) or in place of guy/girl/person (e.g. “Oh, aye? Yeah, nah. He’s a good c*nt/person).
Can be shortened to “He’s a GC” and women can be referred to as GB’s (Good b*tch/es).
A lot of foreigners seem to get confused when I reply with the classic “whatzat (what’s that)?”, if I’ve misheard what they said, instead of pardon. For example when I was at a dairy in London, and the guy behind the counter then started describing my change to me.
Dodgy – no one understands this word unless you’re from NZ!
What about kare meaning friend or girlfriend or boyfriend….usually gay term of endearment.
Munted – damaged, ugly
1. Ow bro you car is Munted as.
2. Man bro, she got Munted face.
What about Tumeke bro? – Too much bro.
I think someone mentioned it earlier, but I’d like to second scodie (not sure about spelling). Also tea instead of dinner – my friends must’ve thought for months that I was just really dedicated to my evening cuppa.
And if you really want to amuse your foreign friends, try asking for twink…
Nice post! Its like learning a new language with these slangs. 🙂
Yep Kiwis certainly have a pretty unique way of speaking English. Cheers for reading.
Howzit instead of hello
We also use ‘Ooosshhht’ which is usually said when something is awesome 🙂
i.e. Oooossshhht dats a mean az car aye bey
Also, ‘Skux’ which is used for a person who has gone over and above the call of duty hahaha
i.e what a skux guy, dressing hardout for the party… pppssshhtttt hahaha
Also ‘Hori’ which is used to describe a scruffy or cheap person
i.e. what a hori guy not wearing a hoodie n gumboots to a ball!
Also ‘Fullah’ is used in place of using someones name
i.e. that fullah over there thinks he’s botz
That’s all I could think of 🙂
Haha yes I probably should include fullah actually, I also use that one quite a bit.
ow fullah bei, not even ow, cut a track, howzit, munted, fariken oats mate, 2meke, mean maori mean, chur,
A seagull! Someone who scavenges all your food!
This is pretty perfect. So much one forgets about. Some at the start are also British slang I think, but someone’s gotta teach the rest of the world.
I would add ‘root’ and ‘pash’ for anyone wanting to get lucky with a kiwi.
You could also add ‘try hard’ and another meaning for ‘buggered’ (e.g. “You buggered it!” = “You broke it.”)
I would have reduced ‘You reckon?’ and ‘Yeah, I reckon” to their more common forms, “Reckon?” and “Reckon.”
I’m confused by your spelling of ‘eh?’, but each to their own.
I’m kinda glad ‘skux’ is not on here, as it was after my time. But if anyone ever comes up with an explanation for it, good on ’em.
Hey Peter, cheers for your comments. I had similar thoughts about skux, don’t really hear it used enough to have cemented a place on the list just yet.
Skux is usually meant for someone who is “the man” or “Skux King” who is considered the popular guy at school at least when i was at school it was
Totally awesome but your forgetting the word “Sick” 🙂
Cutting a track
wag, wagging – as in not attending school
Awesome article! Brings back so many memories.
I went for high school there for a year at Avondale “College” and during break we would go to the dairy for lollies. I thought New Zealand was so cool that the head prefect was allowed to say “Sweet Ass” during assembly and I said that for months till I actually read it somewhere as “Sweet as,” haha. Good times.
What about the phrase “crack up” for saying something’s funny?
This is great man! Some of this slang it’s also used on Australia, aye
How about Flogged – meaning stole?
Oh I always thought flog meant to beat someone really badly at something, like yeah the All Blacks gave the Aussies a flogging yesterday. Is that right or just me?
It’s both. ..flogged to steal and flogging a hiding
Pissed can also mean very angry.
I’ve been watching “Outrageous Fortune” (I’m in the US) and several slang words not listed hereI’m having a little trouble figuring out. One is “huss” (or it could be spelled “hass”) – I think it means tacky or cheap or in poor taste or out of fashion. Hope you’ll help. Ta bro.
Can’t say I watch a lot of Outrageous Fortune. I don’t really recognise the word, could you give me an example of the sentence maybe? -B
Hay Helen, I might be able to help the term Huss means tacky or in reference to someone a more mild form of hooker or whore. I.e look at her hitting on all those guys, what a Huss ( or hussy is fine too).
Im from CHCH and huss is more of a car slang here refering to driving fast and recklessly and doing burnouts etc i.e. Huss(ing) around the block in my WRX or huss(ed) it all the way to Akaroa..
I second “Crack up” and “Lollies”. Also, “MUNTED” is well worth a mention. Maybe also “Keen? Like “Its nice out.. you KEEN for a bike ride? – Yeah keen as.” I definitely haven’t heard that one used in North America.
Wow. This is fantastic and so comprehensive!! You could seriously consider publishing this. Mean as, bro!
Like in a book? That would be pretty funny haha. Thanks for reading 🙂
“mean” and “munter” — both words on pretty high rotation on my own vocab. also “ghost chips” these days after that ad.
Me (Mexican) in a Macca’s, first time DownUnder: French fries and Ketchup, please.
McDonald’s Lady: huh?
Me: (pointing a the picture) that!
McDonald’s Lady: Oh! you want “Chips and Tomato Sauce!”
Where is horry on this list?! I think that’s a necessity. Like bogan.
But seriously, had me laughing for a while! Cheers bro.
I guess I never really hear that one so it didn’t really cross my mind. A few people here have mentioned it though. Thanks for reading 🙂
What about “mufty”? Was very confused when I first heard that
What about Raks? Means to steal something. Not 100% on the spelling as it is either said “Raks” or “Raksed”
Had an American friend who thought calling someone an “egg” as an insult was the funniest thing ever.
singlet – sleeveless shirt 😛
What about squiz as in “let me have a squiz” or “have a squiz at this” meaning to look?
Choice round up bro. Made me crack up. I would also add the following:
Munted – has to be on the list
Egg – “stop being such an egg, bro”
Manis – one of my personal favourites
Good bastard – a bit old school but a classic
Tiki tour – going the scenic route or getting lost
“O for awesome”
…And it is aye not eh.
O for awesome! That’s a good one haha
What about the saying… Cut it out bro, as in to stop it
Do they sell a New Zealand slang dictionary in NZ? If not, you should make and sell one!
Yeah I’ve been thinking about that since this post starting getting a lot of love – we’ll see if I can find the time 🙂
Pre ‘Bro Town’, ‘ow’ was always spelled ‘au’, the shortened form of ‘aue’ – the Maori exclamation word often said in grief or anger or even anguish. At least that’s how it was in my day. In the 80’s. In Palmerston North bro!
Ahh, that’s interesting! Did not know that. Cheers for sharing 🙂
We were told ‘ow’ was short for ‘e hoa’ (friend) back in the day. Who knows!
Singlet definitely needs to be added! I got to England and no one had any idea what I meant…
Really? What do they call them?
Where I come from they are called wife beaters. (Canada) When I got here I had no idea what a singlet was. Or a lolly either, though it wasn’t as difficult to guess. My second day here, I had this conversation with a store clerk.
Me: Thank you very much.
Her: Sweet as.
Me: Sweet as what?
Her: What are you talking about?
Me: Sorry, what are you talking about? I think I didn’t hear you properly… sweet as what?
Her: I don’t get it.
Me: Thank you very much. Bye now.
They call them spencers!
Great round up! Tiki Tour should def make the list. ‘Spoon’ as a mild insult – “Ya spoon!” Bach / Crib (depending on North Island or South Island) for a holiday house. Shingle (gravel) road. Dunga – usually a beat up old car. “Shall we take the Subaru tonight?” “Nah, lets take the old dunga”
Got to say, I have never ever heard someone say ‘To the days’ Maybe it is a regional slang?
To the days might be an Auckland thing, was pretty big when I was in high school.
I think every region has had at least one or two choice words and others which are widely used, ie ‘haka’ as in, If I don’t high tail it out a hea soon my old mans gonna be doing the haka. Old man as in father.
(Jumping up and down).
Lol, never heard it used like that but I think I’m going to start doing it.
cuz originates from the U.S its a what cripsters say Whutup cuz, as opposed to Blood gangstas sayin whutup blood
Maori were using cuz and cuzzy long before the crips and bloods were ever heard of in NZ.
not too sure about that, im 28 from CHCH i remember back in about the late 90’s/early 2000’s the wannabe youth gangs crips and bloods here was becoming a pretty big thing and in the early 2000’s is when I first started hearing cuz before that was simply just “Bro”.. Ive always known this was an American crip slang before then it startyed becoming more widespread.. but yea regardless of where it originated just saying its not an exclusively NZ slang..the crips have been around since the 80’s I dont think i recall cuz that long ago..
Mate, you’re joking right? Cuz has been been in use since at least the 70’s. At least in my circles and coming from a maori family, we abbreviated the word cousin to cuz, which pretty much meant anyone we considered a friend or relative.
awesome article! Agree with lollies and bogan, also I spell ow as au! Loved how the polka dot undies were from Howick, (like me) I cracked up! Undies is another to add!
Add “Bring a Plate” this means bring something on a plate,(Biscuits,Cake,Sandwiches,etc). Not”Bring an empty plate or bring a plate because they don’t have enough……………..
‘How to speak New Zenglish’ by Jesse Mulligan.
Hey, great blog. I particularly like your examples and translations.
How about ‘not too shabby’ – used as heavy understatement. e.g. when staring at view of the Remarkables on a clear day at sunset in winter when the snow is on the tops – ‘not too shabby bro’.
Also, I second ‘au’ spelling (pronounced ‘ow’).
I’ve actually heard not too shabby before on US television so I don’t that’s uniquely Kiwi.
As for ow, yeah you’re probably right, I have no idea how to spell it.
Hey! Great blog bud, really good. As a Maori I can shed a little light on the above spelling/pronunciation of “ow”. How you choose to post it to be pronounced is entirely up to as it comes from the tv show Brotown. The word originally comes from the shortening of the Maori word “ehoa”. Ehoa is like a term for friend and has been shortened to a quickly spoken “e-ah” sound. The over-pronounced version of “e-ah” eventuated to ‘e-oh’ which the sound “ow” makes reference to on the tv show. Typically, family of mine from Gisbourne (I’m an Aucklander) will use “e-ah” in everyday conversation and not “ow”. Thanks!
Ow/our …. has been around a lot longer than Bro Town. I remember my grandparents generation using it, so try over at least 80 yrs.
See further comments to your post below. Cheers bro
OZ – Jandels are thongs really who would wear g-strings on their feet lol
Surprised ‘cunt’ as a positive wasn’t in here as in: What a good cunt!
I said weed whacker at work the other day and everyone thought I was nuts…turns out they’re called strimmers?!
Strimmers…weed whacker sounds so much cooler
We use weed whacker or boom saw
Yep I said weed whacker and all i got were puzzled looks, until i described it and an aussie said ohh you mean whipper snipper lol couldnt stop laughing
I thought weed whacker was an American expression – i first heard it on Home Improvement (the comedy). We call it a line trimmer or weed trimmer where I come from. Another one I’ve heard is weed eater.
This is mean as! What about the word thats close to chur but is more open ended and kinda looks like chea or che = it means neat alright or oh wow etc, etc… Used as “Che, your art assignment is mean as” “Wow, your art assignment is awesome” or John: “Dad, look at my picture”, Dad: “Che, son” (“Neat alright, son”)
Excellent blog post,.
Perhaps showing my age here – but a word usage that confused my English rellies is the word neat.
Neat doesn’t mean tidy, neat means something is good.
Haven’t found anywhere else in the world where it has that meaning.
Yes, have noticed that too, another one of those that is slang but sounds so natural.
I was referring to people and things as neat (meaning good) back in 1967, when I was 12, on the southwest side of Chicago, along with cool and groovy. Funny how things like this travel…
Interesting! Thanks for sharing.
Huss (as in being a hussy, or Huss it!)
Cher (like the mixture of cheers, chur or yeah)
Yeah nah to me is also like a nice way of declining an invitation. It’s saying no in such a way that isn’t offensive. Like “bro im gonna go get some durries, wanna come for a mish?” “aw Yeah? Yeah nah, nah I’m gonna chill”
Oh and cunt as a non derivative word. Like he’s a good cunt ay
This is cool as! Just shared this on FB for my fellow newcomers to NZ – hope it’s ok
Of course! Thx for sharing 🙂
Good post bro.
How i see these 3 sayings.
“Ow” – i think it came from Nth England (Geordies) & Scots working with Maori. The Scots have an old word – “Oor” & Geordies is “Wor” – it means “our/ours/mine/my”. Combined with a maori accent & decades of repetitive use, you get Ow …our bro/my bro, shutup ow/shutup (man/mate/friend/dummy)
“Aye” – actually is properly spelt “eh” – old english.
Means the same thing … question/questioning/affirming statement…. depends on context & how it is said.
And “aye” is already a word – aye aye captain.
“Yeah nah” …. usually said when you are either agreeing with what is being said …but not with the conclusion –
( so i asked her … yeah …. if she thought … yeah … that John was faking it …..
…. yeah yeah nah, he just doesn’t like showing off), or when you just don’t want to take part in something/anything.
My fav one is still – “Oh eh” (oh aye):-/
Just means “oh really” – changes with context & use.
I think the “ow” when used as “not even, ow” comes from the half pakeha/half Maori “not even, e hoa” (where the last part is run together quickly). And in this case, “e hoa” means friend or mate.
More correctly “ow” is a mispronounciation of “e hoa” meaning mate – “what are you up to ow” the common answer nowadays is “nah” meaning not much, nothing etc…
Love to know where I can buy this book in Australia
I know Australia use this too but the word “Oi!!!” used to stop/get someones attention. 😀 use it on my music pupils all the time… also used as a “what are you doing type of a thing?” as well. I.e. Ooooiiiiiii, just left at that. said real slow and in a low pitch.
“manus” i.e ” Oi Rangi! Ya manus!” read idiot,… etc…
“She’ll be right” springs to mind as well. – all good. 😀
I’m sure there’s more but that’ll do for now i reckon.
I was thinking of egg (“ya egg!!!”) and Tiki Tour. Glad they have been mentioned. We did have an expression in Christchurch here for a couple of years (during and after the many earthquakes) it was “quake brain”…if you started to say something and totally lost train of thought = quake brain….general confusion and mind blanks.
Quake brain..first time I’ve heard that one!
Hard case. In NZ it’s to describe someone who is funny. ‘He’s a hard case’. Not used so much in Australia…but has an opposite meaning.
I reckon you could add Naf and buttie on there too…
Later – as in goodbye. Or see you again.
Jnr: gotta jet bro, catcha later. (I have to leave rather quickly, will catch up with the news another time.)
John: Yeah bro, laters!
And I think the term ‘Yeah nah’ is letting the person down easy. But without all the excuses/chitchat. Similar to ‘Yes I thought about but it no thank you unfortunately I will have to decline the offer/thought etc’
OR in agreement – Yes I know what you mean but that’s not it.
Don’t forget “Rattle your dags” meaning hurry up.
“She’ll be right” and “good as gold” and “Bewdy” (beauty)
There’s so many.
And “Aye” is spelt “eh”.
Aye is scottish for yes i’m pretty sure…
I think these have fallen out of use. You wont see many young Kiwis saying “good as gold” or “bewdy” and “rattle your dags” would almost be a foreign language.
Ozzie could probably lay claim to these slangs as well. Perhaps they’re ANZAC slangs?
shot = sh** (h)ot
don’t forget when playin your mates in a game of pool… don’t get down trou!!!
Shot also means thank you, awesome, well/nicely done or any compliment of ones skill.
Skull should be scull. As in, a boat race. After a scull (rowing race) you go to the pub to scull beer (boat race). Otherwise thanks, this will come in handy for the flatties!
Ahh yes a friend of mine pointed that out, totally forgot to change it. Thanks 🙂
Yeah nah bro that’s all good but aye is pronounced i as in aye aye sir. The spelling of a is eh.
You missed one that is now very common…sorry about it! Usually used sarcastically but not with any malice
Haha yeah that’s a common one now… Hate that one – sorry bout it…
an old one but a goodie that no one understood overseas in the 80s and that was “packed a sad” or “threw a wobbly”
You made ref to Lotto, not a biggie but most other countries have many lotteries so call them as such… possible confusion point but maybe not?
“ow” is more likely spelt au, but I always struggled with how to actually spell it.But the meaning you have listed is way off. In the early 90s when it was used a lot by me and many others it was like bro or cuz. It’s not just an add on of no meaning.
And yeah, nah totally has meaning. It is like “I hear what you are saying, but no I disagree”
What about munted? In reference to Christchurch and everything being munted. Other than that this is pretty awesome.
What about seig/sieg (However it’s supposed to be spelled) out?
Never heard of it! What’s it mean?
Nah that doesn’t really qualify as Kiwi lingo considering only the Mob say and no one else. That’s more like gang slang.
Its German. During the early to mind 1900’s it because pretty much the signature chant of the Nazi Party, meaning “Hail Victory!” during the Hitler era .
Now days world knows it as a skin head, White socialist movement thing.
Maybe in the north island its considered a mob thing, but south island and rest of the world it goes with white socialist’s .
Achtzig und acht!
It’s a Mongrel Mob saying they stole.
It is actually “Sieg Heil” …
They used it to be offensive because it is was & is used by Nazis & neo-nazis.
I just think it’s f’ng stupid using the words of racists, especially when you are brown skinned. Not only are they being offensive to their own race but they’re just idiots.
Hitler & his nazis would have had us brown skinned people killed & not thought twice about it.
Just heard a new one (to me, a Canadian girl) the other day… spit the dummy. I had to have it explained to me, though I have been assured it is also heard in Australia. My partner was born and raised in Africa and had never heard it before he came to NZ 20ish years ago.