Day 81: How to Talk Like a Kiwi (Part 3)

I learned a new Kiwi phrase today so thought it was time for the third installation of “How to talk like a Kiwi”. Here are a few new words and phrases for you:

  • Bags Not – my coworker today asked for volunteers from the team for something that needs to be done and one of the guys on our team replied ‘bags not’. I assumed that this wasn’t the same as him wildly waving his hand in the air and yelling ‘pick me’ and I was right. Bags seems to be similar to claiming something – like calling dibs on it. And ‘bags not’ would be the equivalent of sinking down in your seat and looking at the ground while pointing to your friend when the teacher asks for volunteers. My Kiwi-Yankee dictionary says that the term likely came from early hunter’s practice of putting game into a game bag.
  • Keen – when I first moved to New Zealand and heard this term I thought it sounded like a word that Richie Cunningham would have used to describe his interest in a girl in Happy Days in the 1950s. But in NZ, you hear it all the time and it’s one of the first Kiwi words that I started adopting myself. It means interested or willing.
  • Dog’s Breakfast – it means something that’s a big mess and cracks me up when I hear it. There’s a movie called A Dog’s Breakfast. It looks a bit crazy and apparently went direct to video.
  • Chur – one of the most common uses for chur is in the phrase “chur bro” which basically means ‘thanks man’. Chur is used in place of thank you or cheers.
  • Can’t be Stuffed – in the US we’d say “can’t be bothered” but here stuffed is used instead. You could also tell someone to “get stuffed” which is akin to telling them to F*@# Off.
  • Drink Driving – this one just feels odd to me, it’s the Kiwi term for drunk driving.
  • Sticky Plaster – another name for a band aid.
  • Streaky Bacon – if you order bacon in New Zealand you’ll get something that is more like what I would call Canadian Bacon and it will look and taste much like ham. If you want ‘real’ bacon, you have to order ‘streaky bacon’. It’s hard to get used to and I’m constantly forgetting.
  • Shift it Mate – ‘shift’ means move and is commonly used when talking about moving apartments, moving furniture, etc. Shift it mate basically means get out of the way.
  • Kiwis are notorious for refusing to use three syllables when two will do. They shorten a lot of words including:
    • Mozzies – mosquitos
    • Uni – university
    • Rellies – relatives
    • Cuzzies – cousins
    • Servo – service station
    • Bottle-o – liquor store
    • Garbo – garbage man
    • Veges – vegetables. This is also a common abbreviation in the U.S. but we spell it differently.
    • Aussie – Australian
    • Kiwi – New Zealander
    • Telly – television
    • Bikies – motorcyclists

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