An early memory of living and working in Darwin was asking a work colleague if she had any sellotape. She looked at me quite blankly and didn’t have a clue what I was talking about until I explained that I wanted some sticky tape and she did indeed have some sticky tape I could use.
Over the years I’ve noticed quite a few times that the description I use for certain items and that I learnt in the UK, are quite difference from the Australian descriptions.
For example my colleague told me recently that she wished she had worn her stockings as she was very cold. I was wearing what she was describing but I call them tights. Then at the gym I wear leggings which most people describe as tights! All very confusing.
Other confusing words / phrases that I have found are:
Doona which is the same as duvet / quilt. This is essential this time of year.
Tip Ex which is the same as what Aussies call white out and we use to cover mistakes in documents.
Trakky daks which is the same as tracksuit bottoms (I find this one particularly amusing especially after the Aussie bought some when we got to Brisbane. I now have bought my own because I saw how comfy and cost they are during the winter!) .
Woop woop which to me would be something you might cheer, but to the Aussies it means somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Thongs which is the same as what we call flip flops (this one definitely had to make the list!). I still call them flip flops most of the time though, I just can’t get my head to think of them as thongs!
Crisps which are called chips by Aussies but chips to Aussies are completely different to Brits. We call hot chips chips but Aussies call them hot chips!
Lollys which we Brits call sweets and we call the hard sweets on a lollipop stick lolly’s.
Tomato Ketchup is called Tomato Sauce unless you have bought the ketchup brand. I still call it ketchup though, whichever brand it is!