By Brian Williams
Sydney - With the approach of the Sydney Olympics setting off a rise in national fervour, Australians are once again up in arms about the threat to their own way of speaking the queen's English.
Sydney newspapers have been full of letters from readers moaning how people now say "chicken" instead of "chook", threaten to beat people up with a baseball bat instead of a cricket bat and who have no idea what a "rat's coffin" is.
"The angst about American English is a common and cherished annoyance in Australia," said an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
A letter to the Herald was even more direct.
"Stuff the chicken, Long live the chook," wrote Bob Dalrymple.
For those about to head to Australia for the September 15 to October 1 Games, or the hundreds of millions of television viewers, the following is a brief guide to key Australian slang words and phrases.
- Aussie - the term Australians and foreigners use to describe the people down under
- back o'Bourke - meaning in the middle of nowhere
- banana bender - term for residents of tropical Queensland which once had a reputation for backwardness. Supposedly the only skill of Queenslanders was to put the bend in a banana.
- bunyip - Australia's version of Bigfoot
- bush - anywhere away from the city in Australia's vast countryside
- Captain Cook - popular rhyming slang connected with the English explorer who discovered Sydney. "Take a Captain Cook" means "take a look"
- chunder - vomit, or as it is also known in Australia, a technicolour yawn
- cooee - a bush signal that you are lost
- dinkum, fair dinkum, dinky di - they all mean the same - honest, genuine, truthful, the real thing
- don't come the raw prawn - don't try to fool me
- drongo - an unintelligent and worthless person
- earbash - to talk nonstop
- fair go - give someone a break, a fair hearing
- fair crack of the whip - fair go
- galah - a noisy parrot and used to describe someone who is noisy and makes no sense
- g'day - traditional Australian greeting
- hoon - a hooligan
- icy-pole - ice cream on a stick
- journo - journalist
- king hit - a punch delivered without warning
- lair - a show-off
- larrikin - a ruffian
- lamington - sponge cake covered in chocolate icing and coconut
- mate - the word you'll hear most in Australia. Can refer to men and women.
- Mexicans - term used by Queenslanders to describe other Australians who head north to take advantage in retirement of the state's all-year warm weather
- never-never - the remotest part of the countryside
- ocker - a boorish Australian
- one-eyed trouser snake - penis
- outback - remote part of the bush
- Oz - Term for Australia
- point percy at the porcelain - urinate
- Pom - English person
- push - gang of larrikins or ruffians
- Queenslander - style of tropical home
- rat's coffin - a meat pie. Don't worry there is no rat meat in them
- Sheila - Australian for woman
- strine - Australian slang
- tucker - food
- two-pot screamer - someone unable to hold their drink
- two-up - Australian gambling game played with coins
- ute - a bakkie
- vegemite - sandwich spread similar to Marmite
- walkabout - Aboriginal term meaning to wander
- XXXX - Four X, a popular Australian beer
- yakka - work
- yobbo - uncouth and aggressive person
- zack - a five-cent coin - Reuters