Aussie tradies are unlike any tradie you'll find in the world. From working in sweltering heat to knowing how to put the hard yakka into every job — our tradies are one of a kind. And so it's only fitting that a language specific to only them has been passed down through the generations.
We've found out first hand the word on the street (site) and have made an A-Z list in honour of our tradies.
So sit down, take smoko and froth over this list...
Term: As useful as…
Meaning: Used to describe a pointless object or person on a worksite.
Sentence: Old mate is as useful as a box full of broken hammers.
Term: Blow the froth off a few
Meaning: Having a beer or three after a hard days work.
Sentence: Why don’t we go blow the froth off a few after we finish up?
Term: Chuckin’ a sickie
Meaning: To take a day off work when you may or may not be actually sick. Most likely a Monday or a Friday.
Sentence: I reckon I can get away with chuckin’ a sickie next week.
Term: Do your best, silicone the rest (Ryan Cook - Facebook)
Meaning: Close enough is good enough and we can cover up the rest. Interchangeable for different fixes depending on the trade, e.g. do your best, grout the rest.
Sentence: What’s taking so long on that bathroom, just do your best, silicone the rest.
Term: Ease up
Meaning: When your apprentice is too keen on the tools and you need them to calm down.
Sentence: Ease up on the jackhammer mate, we’re not trying to get to China.
Term: Flat out like a lizard drinking
Meaning: To be extremely busy to the point of being ‘flat out’.
Sentence: We’re flat out like a lizard drinking trying to get this driveway poured.
Term: Gee’ up
Meaning: To organise a time for a delivery or to describe playing a practical joke on the site supervisor.
Sentence: Gee’ up that concrete delivery for next Tuesday.
Term: Harold Holt
Meaning: Someone making a rapid departure from work or an event, doing a Harold Holt.
Sentence: He’s trying to pull a Harold Holt and we haven’t even finished the roof.
Term: I’m not here to f@#k spiders
Meaning: To hurry up or to disparage wasting time.
Sentence: Get over here for the toolbox, I’m not her to f&#k spiders!
Term: Jimmy open
Meaning: To force something open.
Sentence: Jimmy open those paint tins and get started on the fence.
Term: Ken oath
Meaning: Slang shortening of “f#@king oath”.
Sentence: Ken oath, it’s a hot one today!
Term: Look at this muppet
Meaning: To draw attention to someone acting foolish.
Sentence: Look at this muppet up on the ladder, he's got no idea.
Term: Mates rates
Meaning: A dreaded term meaning the transfer of tradesperson’s services for a discounted rate, goods such as a six pack, or even as little as an “onya mate”.
Sentence: Is that your best price, how about doing it for mates rates?
Term: No wukkas
Meaning: Used to express agreement, slang for “No worries” possibly from a tradie that likes to skate or surf in their spare time.
Sentence: No wukkas, brah!
Meaning: Shortening of “good on you”, to express gratitude or appreciation.
Sentence: Onya’ mate, thanks for coming in on a Saturday to get the cladding done.
Term: Pay peanuts and you’ll get monkeys (via @talk.about.tiling Instagram)
Meaning: Expression describing sacrificing quality over expense, commonly told to customers trying to negotiate a quote.
Sentence: They might have given you a cheaper price, but when you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.
Term: Quit muckin’ around
Meaning: Normally expressed to the clown on site who is playing pranks on people more then they’re working.
Sentence: Quit muckin’ around on that Bobcat and get that pile cleaned up.
Meaning: The real deal. Used to describe authentic building tools, parts, or people.
Sentence: You need to get the ridgey-didge circuit breakers, not those cheap knock-offs.
Term: She’ll be right (Tom. N – Facebook)
Meaning: Relaxed way to convince someone that it'll be okay.
Sentence: Just get the timber strapped down, she’ll be right.
Term: Taking the piss
Meaning: Joking around or trying to deceive.
Sentence: They’re taking the piss if they think they can get brickwork finished before the end of the day.
Meaning: A U-turn.
Sentence: Just chuck a U-ey at the next set of lights, I left my tools on site.
Meaning: Meaning: A classic Australian car most often found in the Ford or Holden utility vehicle (ute) variety, beloved by tradesmen of all ilks.
Sentence: Make sure you don't scratch me' V8 when you're loading that gear up.
Term: Wouldn’t notice it going past on a galloping horse
Meaning: Used to dismiss a minor flaw or imperfection on a job.
Sentence: Well that door frame is a little off, but you wouldn’t notice it going past on a galloping horse.
Term: X amount
Meaning: An unspecified amount.
Sentence: We’ll need say, X amount for a job this size and double that for the other.
Meaning: Form of measurement. Usually paired with hands gesturing the roundabout size.
Sentence: It’s about yay high, by yay wide.
Meaning: Means nothing, zero, zip.
Sentence: Marty got the sack, turned out he knew zilch about scaffolding.
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