Kiwi-English Dictionary

February 16th, 2010 in Articles by cee 1

As you travel to other places, you often discover that the locals have a few words and definitions of their own.  New Zealand is no different.  Much of the local vocabulary seems to have roots in the country’s British background and laid-back surfer culture.

Here’s  a few samplings of the local lingo…


“Sweet As, Bro!” = A term you will hear lots in NZ.  Meaning: “cool”, or “no problem”. (And the “bro” is pronounced like: “bru”)

You’ll here the word “as” tacked onto many things.  Examples: “cool as”, or “it’s hot as”, etc.  It’s used as a term of expression.

“No worries” = no problem

“Good on ya!” = “Good for you!”

“Taking the piss” = joking around or teasing someone.


Kiwi –

Kiwi Bird

Kiwi Bird

  1. The national bird of New Zealand.  It is nocturnal, flightless, has hair-like feathers and has a long, thin beak to burrow for insects.  It is an illusive species of bird; found only in New Zealand.
  2. Chinese Gooseberry.  A fruit re-named because of it’s resemblance to the kiwi bird of New Zealand.
  3. The proud nickname referring to people from New Zealand

Backpackers = hostel

Bach = holiday home (pronounced “batch”)

Bonnet = hood of a car

Boot = trunk of a car

Bottleshop = liquor store

Capsicum = pepper

Chips = french fries

Crisps = potato chips

Cuppa = cup of tea

Chillie Bin = cooler

Choice = fantastic, great

Dairy = corner store

Gumboots = rubber boots such as wellingtons

Heaps = lots

O.E. = overseas experience (a right of passage for many young Kiwi’s).

Superette = small grocery store

Tramp = trek, hike, bushwalk

Wopwops = middle of nowhere (as in: “He was in the wopwops!”)

Mozzies = mosquitoes

Jandles = flip flops

Long drop = outhouse

Snog = to kiss or make out

Knackered = really tired

Cafe /Restaurant terms:

Long Black = espresso with hot water

Flat White = long black with a bit of milk

Short Black = between a long black and a flat white

Entree = appetizer

Main = main meal (what we’d call an entree)

…So those are just a few examples of the Kiwi lingo.  There’s much more, but it’s fun discovering them as you go along.