4 x 2, 4 by 2

2 x 4 length of timber (100 x 50 mm)

a into g

To get going (arse into gear)


Media commercials

afghan Chocolate-flavoured biscuit, usually containing cornflakes, covered with chocolate icing, topped with a walnut.

afo / arvo

Afternoon (Australian) 

after match

Social occasion after a rugby match


Aggressive person, one "full of aggro".

amber liquid Beer. Phrase brought to popularity during the 1970s, possibly via A Week of It comedy show.


Small kid regarded as a (tolerable) nuisance.


Australia and NZ combined defence forces (from Australia and New Zealand Army Corp, WWI)

aroha Maori for love. Covers all the range: romance, love for family, love for a nation or landscape.


Rear end, butt, ass

arseholes, to give (something or someone)

To attack or compete wholeheartedly, also to revile, to ill-use.

Arthur or Martha, not to know whether one is

A gender-confusion rhyme, indicating that one doesn't know whether one is coming or going

art union

Once a common term for a lottery, named after early art prizes





Holiday cottage (anything from a hut to a mansion), shack, supposedly from 'bachelor'

back blocks

Remote rural districts

back of beyond

Remote, outlying place, the back blocks.

bags that Making a claim ahead of someone else. Possibly British poaching term.


Rowdy argument or dispute, a quarrel, a fight.


Noisy (usually good humoured) chaff or argument in support of or opposing the actions of others. Also, to jeer or to tease, and to support noisily.

bash From the Scots expression "on the bash". A party involving company, alcohol and noise.


One who doggedly or courageously struggles or battles on against odds

beat the feet

To move, to run


Kitchen countertop as well as long seat


Drinking spree (eg, on a bender)


Welfare recipient


Lawn strip outside house alongside footpath

bidi bid, biddy biddy

Burr-like seed pod that sticks to clothes. From Mäori dialect, falsely attributed to deliberate Pakeha corruption of Mäori piri piri. Acaena, Hymenophyllum, Haloragis

big bikkies

Big bucks - bikkies = biscuits


To act the important person, to try to impress.

big smoke

Applied to any city or town, usually by the rural folk around.


Billy can - camp pot with wire handle


Short for business.

black stump

Back of beyond, as far as you can go away from civilisation. 'This side of the black stump' = anywhere (eg, The missus's the best sheila this side of the black stump).


The head. "Lose one's block", "Do one's block" = become excited, angry. "Use one's block" = using the head, acting intelligently.

blood worth bottling

To be a valuable, worthy or staunch person (from the practice of preserving fruit in bottles for future use in lean times.)



blow off, blow out, blow through

To leave suddenly.

blow that for a joke!

Exasperation or dismissal of an unwanted suggestion.


To live off the generosity of others, to sponge

blue, to make a

To make a mistake

blue fit, to have a

Very angry, shocked, unexpected behaviour.

Bluff, The

Southern-most tip of South Island. From Cape Reinga to The Bluff - from one end of NZ to the other.


Someone who runs a small, especially power-driven, boat.

bobsy-die, to kick up

To make a great fuss




An unexpected result


(referring to car) Very old car in disrepair 

bomb out

To end a relationship

Bombay Hills, the Bombays

Demarcation point between Auckland and rest of country, eg, "south of the Bombay Hills they think differently"


Car hood 


Something or someone outstanding, superior of a kind.

boo, before one can say

Very quickly

boo-hai, boo-ay, boo-eye etc.

Remote rural districts, eg, "up the boo-ay". From an alteration to Puhoi, a township north of Auckland.

boot in, to put the

To kick a prostrate foe, to kick a vulnerable, disabled person

boots and all

With no holds barred, wholeheartedly. Often to do with questionable, violent tactics


The old English word used as: booze artist (a heavy drinker), boozer, booze barn (former hotel given over to bars for the rapid service of liquor), booze barn mentality (the attitude of swilling large quantities of beer quickly before closing time).

bot, the

A passing illness, usually nasal or bronchial. Originated from term for sheep's lung worm.


Someone or something outstanding, excellent, superior. "He's a bloody bottler, a real beaut!"

bowser A word now largely out of fashion, but included here because a few of the older generations, especially from the Mainland, still refer to it. This was the first type of petrol pumps in NZ, from the 1920s and '30s.

box of birds

Cheerful, happy, very good, healthy, chirpy. Often in reply to a greeting. "How yer getting' on, mate? Boxa birds, eh?" "Boxa birds all right, mate. All shit and feathers, eh."

box on

To keep going, to persevere

box seat

To be on top of the situation, in a favourable position, to have the upper hand.


Young hoon in fast car with loud stereo

brassed off

Disappointed, annoyed





brilliant, brill

Excellent, great, wonderful

bring a plate

Bring food

brown eye

To display the bare bum in contempt or defiance. Also "down trou" and "mooning".

Brown's Cows

"To be all over th' place/road like Brown's Cows". Disorganised, to be behind in a job, to lag, to wander aimlessly.


A dollar

buck at

To object, be reluctant. 

Buckley's chance

An Australian expression, occasionally heard in NZ. Little or no chance at all.


Expressing surprise, disbelief or disapproval. A catch-all term in NZ and Australia. "bugger me Charlie," "bugger me days," "bugger that for a game of soldiers," "bugger that for a joke!"

bugger all

Not much, very little



bugger off

Piss off. Shove off, get out


Bullet-shaped portion of cannabis leaf wrapped for sale. Also: tinny.

bullshit/dust artist

One dealing in lies or boastful nonsense, an empty boaster


Euphemism for bullshit




Social gathering with food. Sometimes derogatory.

bung, to go

To go bankrupt, to fail (of business), become broken or ruined (of equipment)


Person who carries ready-to-eat foods around offices for sale to workers

burl, to give it a

To give it a go, a spin, a try. From fishing term burley, bait spread on the water. 


Native (indigenous) forest

bush, to go

To leave urban life for that of the rural outdoors, to revert to a rough, outdoors way of life

bush, to take to the

To seek refuge in the bush.

bush lawyer

A layman who likes to display, often argumentatively, some knowledge of law or regulations.


Expert in the bush

bush telegraph

Rumour circuit, kumara vine

bust a gut

Make an intense effort

buster, to come a

To come a cropper, to take a fall.

busy as a blowfly

Very busy indeed

buzzy bee

NZ pull-along wooden toddlers toy painted and shaped like a bee and makes a clicking noise. 


cabbage tree

Several species of palm-like tree of the cabbage family, ti-kouka, Cordyline


Left-handed; southpaw


To ask for something that cannot be given back, ie. a cigarette, a cuppa.

candy floss

Cotton candy, sold at festivals, A&P shows, etc.

Captain Cooker

Wild pig, dark, hairy with tusks, up to 80cm high and 135kg, Sus scrofa, supposedly descendant of those released by the explorer c1769. (Maori for pig is poaka.)

cardie, cardy

Woollen, button-up-the-front jersey; cardigan

carked it

Died, kicked the bucket 


Small cocktail sausage


Good-bye; thank-you 

chilly bin

Polystyrene container to keep food cool (called esky in Oz)

chippy, chippie

Builder, carpenter. Also a fish-and-chip shop proprietor.


Completely full (also: chock-a-block-full)


Slang for chicken. Chook house = hen house, chicken coop. "Here, chook, chook, chook, chook ..." - call at chickens' feeding time. Silly old chook = silly old woman.

chop, to be not much

Not up to much, useless.

Christmas tree, NZ

The red-flowering pohutukawa tree. NB: "a Christmas tree" is the usual pine tree.




To vomit (Also: ralph)

clapped out Exhausted (people); no longer serviceable (machines).


Pseudo, sham - from former Australian TV ad for a non-alcoholic drink - "the drink you're have when you're not having a drink"

clock, to wind back the

In terms of vehicles, the illegal practice of winding back the odometer (the clock).


A cry of encouragement.


West Coaster (SI)


(formerly) Lookout for illegal game poachers, Australian origin.


Farmer; eg, cow cocky, sheep cocky, wheat cocky

cods wollop

Untrue statement or remark is referred to as "a load of old cods wallop."


Upset stomach 

come again? "Please repeat what you have just said. More clearly, this time."
come away In terms of plants, meaning establish, grow larger, succeed.


Compensation. In NZ, Accident Compensation.

con artist

A trickster, a shrewdie.


A call for attention, within coo-ee - within calling distance (from Oz aboriginal?)


Noun: something or someone surpassing excellence, also used ironically.adjective, adverb: fine, enjoyable, very well.


A person very sick or injured; one incapacitated, especially by liquor.


Fine, excellent, outstanding.


Bach, holiday cottage (also miner's lunch)




Wrong, sick (bit crook = UK's "proper poorly"); go crook - become angry. (When playing up some ATMs display "I'm a bit crook" - and who said banks weren't honest?)

cuff, a bit on the

Beyond what is normal, excessive


Cup of tea, coffee, or milo

curly one, a bit of a

Difficult, especially of a question.

cut cat, to go (run) like a 

Speedy withdrawal

cut out the rough stuff

Command to cease doing or saying that considered rough by the speaker. Also "don't go the rough stuff" = don't attempt violence.