Dictionary of New Zealand Slang

Kiwi Words, Colloquialisms and Phrases

The following is a list of expression and words commonly used in New Zealand followed by their equivalent definition, meaning and example sentences of each one.

NOTE: Some of these words, phrases and expressions are used in Australia and Britain too.

A into G: to get going (ass/arse into gear)

A&P fair: Agricultural and Pastoral fair. There are two sides to this fair, one for the farmers and the other with rides and attractions for the rest of the public.

Across the ditch: Across the Tasman Sea … the sea between New Zealand and Australia

Ads / adverts: TV commercials / advertisements

Afghan: a type of biscuit/cookie made from crushed cornflakes mixed with cocoa and covered in chocolate icing.

After match: social occasion after a rugby match usually involving a lot of beer

Afternoon tea: light meal of finger-foods and tea served between lunch and dinner

Agro: angry, aggressive, aggravated

All Blacks: The official name of the New Zealand National Rugby team… the best in the world!

Anklebiter: toddler, kids

Anti-clockwise: counter-clockwise

ANZAC Day: (ANZAC = Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). This is a public holiday (25th of April) to remember our soldiers who have fallen in war.

Aotearoa: The Maori name for New Zealand.

Away with the fairies: on a different planet; day dreaming

Aussie: Australian

Bach: small (often modest) holiday home near the beach (see also crib)

Bang on: right in the middle; dead centre; correct, exactly at.

Beaut: good; great; a lot of fun (originally from beautiful).

Big bickies: lots of money

Biscuit: cookie

Bit of a worry: a troubling event, person or thing.

Bloke: a man; a guy.

Bloody: very very

Bloody-hell: all-purpose expletive

Bludge: to live off the generosity of others, to sponge

Bog: toilet

Bomb: (referring to car) very old car in disrepair

Bonk: to have sex with

Bonnet: car hood

Boot: car trunk

Box of birds: cheerful, happy, very good

Boy racer: a young man that likes to show off his fast car

Brassed off: annoyed

Brekkie: breakfast

Bugger all: not much, very little

Bulk: Many, a lot of – late 80's early 90's expression

Bum: rear end, butt

Bumper: fender (of a car)

Bun-fight: social gathering with food

Bung: not working any more

Bush: natural forest filled with native trees

Bust a gut: make an intense effort

Buzzy Bee: an iconic wooden toy in the shape of buzzy bee with wheels that makes a clacking noise as you drag it along the ground.

Cadge: to ask for what someone else has (similar to bludge)

Candy floss: cotton candy

Caravan: trailer, mobile home

Cardy: short for cardigan, a woolen piece of clothing

Car park: parking lot

Carked it: died, kicked the bucket

Cellotape: scotch tape

Chat up: flirt, try pick-up lines on someone

Cheers: thanks

Chemist: pharmacy / drugstore

Chilly bin: cooler

Chips: like French fries but thicker. Sometimes called hot chips so as not to confuse with potato chips.


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