For her latest Oscar-nominated role, Cate Blanchett had to learn how to conduct, play the piano, and speak German with ease. But today, she’s in the professor’s seat to teach her native Australian slang—from the terms you may be familiar with, like “brekkie” (breakfast), to those that are brand-new, such as “mystery bag” (“Is that what men call what they put in their pants?” Blanchett quips). 

As she graces the cover of Vanity Fair’s awards issue, the two-time Oscar winner gamely breaks down key lingo. Some are rather easy to explain: “oldies” are your folks, “dunny” is the toilet, and “dinky-di” stands for ingenuity. But Blanchett is “a real ripper” at colorfully describing other phrases:

“Back of Bourke” is an extremely remote place, or as she puts it, “bumfuck nowhere.” 

“Rort” is something that’s fraudulent, or as Blanchett says: “basically what all the corporations in America are doing right now.”

“Pash” means a passionate kiss or “tonguie,” as Blanchett explains: “When you really get in there with a big ol’ smooch that often ends up in a love bite.”

And “shonky” is something that’s “so badly made, like most of the films that I’ve been in” the actor says, before cheekily promoting her latest project. “Except for Tár—it’s good, you gotta see it.”

Who better to teach the ways of the Aussies than one of its national treasures? As Yellowjackets star and native New Zealander Melanie Lynskey tells VF, “She has that Australian thing that’s just like, get in the trenches, do the work, don’t make it hard for anyone else. We don’t really let each other get too full of ourselves. It’s part of the national psyche.” 

Don’t be a piker—defo watch the full video of Blanchett besting Aussie slang above. 


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