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Subtle Differences (words, phrases etc)

When I first got to America there were several things that hit me straight away - driving on the right (or wrong) side of the road for one (now that I've been living in America for several years, it's not the right side of the road, butt 'the correct side'!!), and I had to slow down when I spoke as, evidently, us Kiwis speak too quickly for the human (American) ear to comprehend.

Here are some kiwi phrases that you may have heard and not understood, also some subtle differences between what you say (or don't say) in New Zealand compared to what is said in America.

Before I even had the chance to come to America to meet my husband, I noticed some differences between the languages, some are obvious and easy to understand, others have quite a marked difference. For instance, in New Zealand it isn't polite to say 'fanny' as it has a different (though literally close) meaning. A fanny in New Zealand is a woman's 'private parts' whereas in America a fanny is a bottom ... so the first time someone said they were going to slap my fanny I was rather taken back, until I found out what they meant!! See, slight differences can make a big difference.

On the flight from LA to Atlanta (the first time I met my husband) the stewardess came over to me and asked me on two occasions what I would like to drink., the first time I was very thirsty so I asked for lemonade - what I was given was a flat lemon drink, or what is referred to in NZ as home-made lemonade! So - lesson number one, lemonade in America is NOT Sprite or 7UP, it is homemade lemonade. If you want the soda version, you then you ask for Sprite or whatever your personal choice is.

The second time the stewardess came back (after I'd drunk my homemade lemonade that is) I asked for a coffee. She then asked me how I'd like it, to which I replied "White with one please." I noticed a slight pause before she left to get my drink for me, and while she was away the lovely people sitting beside me asked me what I had ordered, so I reiterated that I wanted a coffee, white with one. They told me they didn't understand what I meant, so I explained that I wanted coffee with milk (or cream) and one sugar. They politely giggled and then explained that the expression I had used it not 'generally' used in America. America is a very politically correct (PC) country and using terms such as 'white' isn't common. I quickly learnt to not use that phrase.

Before I even left LA for Atlanta I had to 'tackle' going out for dinner. After much deliberation, I decided against going out and eating in the hotel's restaurant as I was so daunted by the prospect of undertipping for my service. In New Zealand (when I left anyway) we don't tip, so I had no idea of how to do this, and if you've never done it before it can be worriesome. Even now I have conflicting information on how much to tip - anything from 10% to 20% of your bill total, some people say you tip on the amount BEFORE you add tax, some people say you tip on the amount AFTER tax - who is right/who is wrong? Generally I go out with my husband and let him figure it all out and I just sign the credit card slip - simple if you ask me!

Okay -onto some kiwi (and Aussie) phrases that you may have heard but not understood - if you know some kiwis that is!

... away with the fairies ... not with it, not listening

... barbie ... bar-b-que

... bollocks ... untrue, eg "what a load of bollocks"

... bash ... a drinking party

... biddy-bid ... a small 'clinging' plant

... big smoke ... a city or town larger than where you live

... bitser ... made of bits and pieces eg, mungrel dog

... bludge ... to cadge eg bludge a ride

... bludger ... one who bludges (see above)

... bomb ... an old car

... boohai ... living in an extremely remote area

... bot ... catch a bug, get sick "I've got the bot"

... box of birds ... happy eg "You're a box of birds today"

... brown-eye ... a moon, the naked bottom

... buggerlugs/buggylugs ... a term of endearment

... bull-artist (or bullschitt-artist) ... a liar

... bull-dust ... another, cleaner, version of bull-schitt

... bully for you ... an ironic exclamation eg "well bully for you"

... bung ... broken or busted

.... bust your boiler ... over exert yourself by working/laughing

... busy as a one-armed paper hanger ... very busy!

... like chalk & Cheese ... opposites

... chateau cardboard ... cheap wine in a cask given a fancy name, or in my case, chateau de chateau cardboard 200(insert appropriate year)

... chocker ... completely full

... chook ... a chicken, a term of endearment (like a headless chook means to laugh so much your head could fall off)

... throw a wobblie ... get very mad, agressive

... chuddie ... chewing-gum

... chunder/chuck chunder ... vomit

... a crust ... how you earn your living (you earn a crust)

...... cuzzy/cuzzy bro ... friend or family, a term of endearment

... dag ... funny person eg, "You're a real dag"

... dickhead ... a fool

... dill ... a fool (lots of words for fools in Kiwi)

... ding ... a small dent in a vehicle

.. dob in ... tell the authorities about something

... dogbox ... in trouble eg "I'm in the dogbox again"

... dooley ... a Catholic

... dong ... to hit eg "I'll dong you if you don't shut-up"

... drag the chain ... go slower than the others, lag behind

... drongo ... stupid eg "He's a drongo"

... dunny ... WC, the toilet eg go to the dunny

... duff/up the duff ... pregnant eg, "She's up the duff"

... earbash ... to talk non-stop

... ehoa ... friend (pronounced ear-haw-ar)

... fly cemetary ... cinnamon rolls (with raisins)

... full as a bull ... drunk

... full as a tick ... drunk (also pissed as a newt)

... gate ... mouth eg "Shut your gate"

... get stuck into ... to attach both verbally & physically

... get the willies ... become scared

... get your 'a' into 'g' ... get your arse into gear, get going

... Godzone ... New Zealand

... good onya ... good on you, encouragement (or just onya)

... greasies ... fish and chips, takeaway foods

... grog ... alcohol

... gummies ... gumboots, wellington boots

... gutser ... fall over eg come a gutsder

... gutsful ... had enough of

... happy as Larry ... very happy

... hard case ... funny person

... hissy fit ... to throw a temper tantrum

... give it heaps ... try your best eg "I have it heaps"

... home and hosed ... finished, successful eg "I'm home and hosed"

... hoon ... a hooligan

... huckery ... not nice looking eg 'She's a bit huckery"

... humdinger ... very good eg "That's a humdinger car"

... joker ... a male person

... kai ... food

... kapai ... good eg "Kapai Kai" ... Good Food

... kia ora ... A Maori greeting, Good luck

... kick up a bobsidie ... to create a fuss

... kinna ... haircut

... kiwi ... a flightless bird or someone that originates from New Zealand

... knackered ... tired eg "I'm knackered"

... plate ... food contribution eg "Ladies are to bring a plate"

... larrikin ... a naughty person, generally a young person

... have a lash at ... to try

... laughing gear ... teeth eg "Wrap your laughing gear around that one"

... lolly ... candy, sweet

... long drop ... outdoor toilet

... loopie ... a tourist

... mad as a meat axe ... very angry/crazy

... mingie ... tight with money

... mongrel ... bad person

... murder house ... dental clinic

... no flies on ... smart person eg "There's no flies on him"

... no hoper ... a layabout, a failure

... not the full quid/deck ... a mentally challenged person

... not to know you from a bar of soap ... dont' recognise someone

... not to know if you're Arthur or Martha ... totally confused

... nuddy ... nude eg "He was in the nuddy"

... OE ... Overseas Experience, travel out of NZ

... onya ... good on you, encouragement

... pavlova ... a meringue desert

... pea, pie, & pud ... a meal (peas, pie & Pudding)

... perve ... to stare (from pervert)

... piker ... a coward, someone who doesn't follow through

... piece of piss ... do something easily

... pissed ... drunk

... pissed off ... mad

... pisshead ... a heavy drinker

... pissed as a newt ... very drunk

... plonk ... cheap wine

... poked ... exhausted

... Pom/Pommie ... English person

... puku ... stomach

... rapt ... very happy

... rat bag ... an untrustworthy person

... rip, shit or bust ... determination no matter what

... ropeable ... very angry eg "he was ropeable"

... rough as guts ... untidy, uncouth

... rustbucket ... a very old vehicle (usually rusty)

... scunge ... a nasty person

... she'll be right ... everything will be fine

... shonky ... dishonest eg a shonky deal

... shoot through ... leave quickly

... shout ... to buy for someone eg "It's my shout"

... sickie ... sick leave eg pull a sickie

... sink the boot in ... kick someone while they're down

... go for a skate ... fall over

... skite ... boast

... smoko ... tea break at work

... sook ... a crybaby

... done up like a sore toe ... overdressed

... sparkie ... an electrician

... spit the dummy ... get very mad

... sport ... a form of address eg "How's it going, sport?"

... squiz ... look eg "take a squiz at this"

... sticky-beak ... a nosey person

... stirrer ... a trouble maker

... stone the crows ... an exclamation or surprise

... stonkered ... exhausted, can't go on

... (like a) stunned mullet ... dazed

... suck a kumara ... to lose or fail

... thick as pigschitt ... stupid person

... tinny/tin-arse ... lucky person

... up the duff ... pregnant

... up you ... not nice form of dismissal

... throw a wobbly ... a fit of temper

... wop-wops ... remote area


Thanks to Cute Colors for the wonderful graphics!!