Wine in Australian English


by Mark Gwynn

oz wine

A vineyard visitor

In Australia the nation’s drinking culture is traditionally associated with beer, but in recent years the sale of wine has surpassed that of the amber fluid. Australian wines are now sold and consumed in vast quantities here and around the world. While the increasing consumption of wine is a relatively recent phenomenon, terms associated with this beverage have a much longer history in Australian English. Australia produces many fine wines; however, many of the wine-related terms in the lexicon relate to cheap and inferior wine, as the examples below illustrate. Continue reading

Fridging (Word of the Month for January 2015)

A refrigerator in the outback. Source: Michael Perini (

A refrigerator in the outback. Source: Michael Perini (

by the ANDC team

The Oxford Word of the Month is written by members of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and published each month by Oxford University Press Australia. Each Word of the Month looks at an Australian word or term in some detail, providing a history of the term and its role in current Australian society. If you wish to receive Word of the Month by email you can subscribe at the Oxford University Press Australia website.

Our Word of the Month for January 2015 is ‘fridging’: the act of stealing from an outdoor refrigerator. Evidence for ‘fridging’ is found in newspaper evidence from 2010, and is commonly reported in northern and western Australia. You can read the full Word of the Month in PDF form on our website or read it in an online format.

Ye olde counter lunch

Great Central Hotel c. 1910, Glen Innes NSW

 by Mark Gwynn

In Australian English a counter lunch is a midday meal served in the bar of a hotel or public house; the term derives from the counter at which the meals were originally served. Its purpose is to entice customers to patronise the bar by offering cheap food.

Continue reading

Australia drinks: flat whites and long blacks

by Julia Robinson

 Australia’s love affair with ‘proper’ coffee means that a teaspoon of instant coffee in a cup of boiling water no longer satisfies us as it did twenty-five years ago. We now prefer to drink espresso-based coffees such as cappuccino, caffè latte, short black, flat white, ristretto, or macchiato. We’ve come a long way; back in 1990 a North Sydney coffee lounge placed a classified ad for staff that read in part: ‘If you know the difference between a flat white and a Capuccino ring me’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 7 July).

Continue reading