- "Eshay": Australian youth subculture associated with streetwear brands and crude language. Don't judge a book by its cover, even if they appear eshay.
- "Real Dog": Unacceptable or messed up. Harper embarrassing Dusty was a real dog move. Don't date your friend's ex, it's real dog.
- "Have a Yarn": To chat or tell a story. Malakai cheated on Amerie with Harper and tried to have a yarn to explain, but it was too late. What a real dog thing to do.
Netflix's hit Australian drama Heartbreak High has introduced audiences worldwide to new phrases and slang Australian terms that can be learned and incorporated seamlessly into everyday speech. While every generation has adopted slang from other cultures, Australian Gen Z slang is some of the most interesting. From "eshay" to "arced up," it's always fun learning new words and applying them to everyday lexicons.
Heartbreak High has been praised for its realistic depiction of today's teens. For older generations, while the fashion and language may be different, the drama that the teens go through is a tale as old as time. Season 1 depicts the falling out between two life-long friends, Amerie and Harper, played by Ayesha Madon and Asher Yasbincek, and the ways in which they and their peers cope with love, family, and identity. Despite the drama, the show itself is a fun and easy watch and a great opportunity to learn new words in the process. Here are 9 Australian slang terms from Heartbreak High, their definitions, and how to use them correctly.
Noun: an Australian youth subculture linked to streetwear brands such as Nike and Adidas, hip hop culture and distinctive language, typically of a crude or vulgar nature. Derived from the word “sesh” or "session" in Pig Latin, which means to hang out and drink with friends, eshays tend to be associated with disruptive and immature behavior. ex. "Should I get this hat, or does it make me look like an essay?"
Ca$h, portrayed by Will McDonald in Heartbreak High, plays an eshay that deals drugs and steals cars after school. Despite his troubling behavior, he is a softy with a heart of gold that is just trying to find where he belongs. His character proves that you should never judge a book by its cover, no matter how eshay it may appear.
8 "Real Dog"
Adjective: Something that is unacceptable or a person who frequently commits acts considered unacceptable in their friend group. Something or someone that is "messed up." It's often used to express disappointment or disapproval. For example, Harper embarrassing Dusty (Joshua Heuston) in front of the whole school at the basketball game was "a real dog move." But he did kind of deserve it. ex. "I can't believe you went on a date with Sasha's ex! That's real dog."
7 "Have a Yarn"
Verb: To have a chat. It can also mean to tell a story, which at any given moment contains an overabundance of exaggeration. Likely comes from the phrase "to spin a yarn," which means to tell a long, far-fetched story. After Malakai (Thomas Weatherall) cheats on Amerie with Harper, he tries numerous times to "have a yarn" with her in order to explain. By that time, the damage had already been done. What a real dog thing to do. ex. "Let's sit down and have a yarn. There's something I have to tell you."
Noun: A toilet or bathroom, but very informal. The term "dunny" has its origins in the mid-20th century when outdoor toilets, often located in separate, outdoor spaces, were common in many homes. These toilets were sometimes referred to as "dunnies." While indoor plumbing has now largely replaced outdoor toilets, the slang term "dunny" continues among Australian youth as a quirky and nostalgic reminder of the past. When the students protest the firing of Ms. JoJo by locking themselves in Woodsy's office, they must resort to using her potted plant as a funny. ex. "Excuse me? Where can I find the dunnies?"
Verb: To intentionally intimidate or adopt an intense pose and intense stare with the purpose of asserting dominance or degrading a weaker individual. Inversely, the term can be used to describe someone who is loyal and supportive or committed. For example, if a friend stands by you in a difficult situation, you might say, "He's a staunch mate." Ca$h, however, after developing feelings for Darren (James Majoos), starts to question his eshay ways. When confronted about it by his friends, he begins to staunch in preparedness for an altercation. Luckily, nothing came of it, but had it, staunching would have helped. ex. "Are you staunching me, bro? Do you want to fight?"
4 "Arced up"
Verb: To get upset, irritated, or angry. This phrase describes a person's emotional response or trigger emphasizing their heightened state of irritation or anger. It's a colorful expression used to convey emotional intensity in everyday conversations. The origins of this term possibly come from the sometimes violent way a spark, also known as an electrical arc can jump between two electrodes. When Quinni (Chloe Hayden) has an unfavorable time at the book signing because of Sasha's (Gemma Chua-Tran) oblivious and inconsiderate behavior, she begins to get "arced up," much to Sasha's confusion. ex. "Hey, calm down. There's no need to get arced up."
Noun: Refers to chips, fries, or any fried potato snack. A common linguistic feature known as diminutive formation is done with many words in Australian English. This is done by adding a -y or -ie to words to make a word more affectionate or informal. Common Australian diminutives include "barbie" for barbecue, "Chrissy" for Christmas, and "Aussie" for Australian. The kids on Netflix's Heartbreak High enjoy discussing all the dramatic events happening around them over a bag of chippies. ex. "Mate, pass me those chippies."
Noun: This term refers to an after-party or a continued social gathering after the main event or party has ended. It can also be used as a verb to suggest extending the fun and socializing into the wee hours of the morning. For example, someone might say, "After the concert, let's kick on at my place" or "Will there be any kick-ons tonight after the concert?" While the origins are unclear, it's likely rooted in the idea of "kicking it" or hanging out with a group of people. In American English, there's a similar phrase, "kick back," which is a small gathering of people spending time together. After Amerie's impromptu Resurrection party is ruined by Malakai trying to jump off the roof, many of the kids were on the hunt for a kick-on. ex. "The cops are here. Kick on at my place. My parents are out of town."
1 "Rack off"
Verb: An informal and somewhat impolite way of telling someone to go away or leave. The phrase's origins are not exactly documented, but it has been a part of Australian slang for several decades. A rack was a slang term for a motorbike for older Australians. Getting on a bike and riding off was known as "racking off." While a bit brusque, to rack off is a less rude way of saying an alternative, more common expression. All season, Amerie has been trying to understand what happened between her and Harper, but every time she tried to get answers, Harper kept telling her to rack off. ex. "Hey, rack off, will ya?"