Macquarie Dictionary


Useful phrases for the useless

Australians have been diligent in coining ironic phrases to denote the completely useless, and a warning, some of these phrases get quite colourful! Firstly, there are those with a rural flavour. Such as useful as a bucket under a bull, a dead dingo’s donger, a dry thunderstorm, a sore arse to a boundary rider, a wether at a ram sale, tits on a bull, or two knobs of billy-goat poop.

Then there are anatomical similes, including useful as a witch’s tit, a wart on the hip, a c*nt full of cold water (or boiled snow) or a third armpit. Other phrases tend to associate objects that functionally don’t go together, such as useful as a glass door on a dunny, a pocket on a singlet, a roo bar on a skateboard, a submarine with screen doors, an arsehole on a broom, a glass eye at a key hole, and an ashtray on a motorbike.

Finally, there are those that refer to things out of place, to wit: useful as a nun at a buck’s night, a pork chop at a Jewish barbecue, a spare dick at a wedding, or a tart at a christening.

For more slang words from across our states and regions, visit our Australian Word Map.

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