9. Vocab Breakdown

Topic Progress:

Pete was driving along in the Outback when, all of a sudden, a storm rolls in and he’s caught off guard.

  • The Outback – the remote and usually uninhabited inland districts of Australia.
  • Roll in – often used to describe the way in which the clouds roll over one another as storms approach, so a common collocation is for a “storm to roll in”.
  • Catch (someone) off guard – surprise someone; catch someone unaware

Someone looking out of their window sees him in trouble and rushes out to invite him inside to safety.

  • In trouble – experiencing difficulties; in a difficult or tough situation.

Stranger: Hey! You okay? What’re you doing out here?

Pete: Yeah, caught with my pants down by the looks of it. This storm came out of nowhere.

  • Caught with one’s pants down – caught in a vulnerable situation or position.
  • By the looks of it – as it appears.
  • Come out of nowhere – to appear suddenly and unexpectedly.

Stranger: It certainly did. Have you got somewhere to go? If not, come inside out of this weather until it clears.

  • To have somewhere to go – often used to refer to a location someone is going and staying in.

Pete: Yeah, I’m not a local, so I don’t know anyone around here. That’s really kind of you, though. Thanks so much!

  • A local – someone from the local area.
  • Around here – nearby this location.

Stranger: No worries. Let’s head in and get out of this rain.

  • Let’s head in – let’s go inside; let’s move inside.

Pete and the stranger hastily walk inside out of the storm.

  • Hastily – with excessive speed or urgency; hurriedly.

Pete: Sorry, I didn’t catch your name. I’m Pete.

  • I didn’t catch your name – often used when meeting someone for the first time and wanting them to tell you their name, whether or not they have already mentioned it.

Dillon: Dillon. Nice to meet you, Pete. Where’re you from and what brought you to my little town of Broken Hill?

  • Nice to meet you – a standard response when being introduced to someone for the first time.
  • What brought you to + location? – what’s the reason you came to + location?
    • Used as a more casual way of starting a conversation about why someone came somewhere.
    • It sounds less interrogative compared to “Why are you here?!”.

Pete: Good question. I’m actually from Melbourne. Yeah, I know it’s a bit random. I decided to go for a road trip to see Central Australia earlier this year. Always wanted to check out the desert and those less well-trodden parts of Australia, you know.

  • Good question – said to indicate that someone has been asked a particularly tricky or interesting question, often used when you don’t know the answer.
  • A bit random – a little surprising or inexplicable.
  • A road trip – a journey made by car, bus, etc.
  • Check something out – examine or look at something.
  • Well-trodden – much frequented by travellers.
    • If you “tread” on something, you stand on it.

Dillon: Yeah, there’s a certain beauty to the interior of this country, I tell you what. It’s a shame so many city slickers never get to appreciate it. Where’re you heading next?

  • the interior of a country – the part of a country that is found on the inside, away from the outer edges.
  • I tell you what – used to emphasise a statement.
  • It’s a shame – used to show you think something is unfortunate or sad.
  • A city slicker – a person with the sophistication and values generally associated with urban dwellers.

Pete: The plan was to head into South Australia, and then up north into the Northern Territory. I wanted to check out Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Have you been?

  • The plan was to… – What I had decided to do was…
    • Here the past tense is used “was” because you’re referring to your plan in the past as you had made it.
  • Uluru – also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia.
  • Kata Tjuta – a group of large, ancient rock formations about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) away from Uluru in Australia’s Red Centre.
  • Have you been? – this shortened sentence is used here instead of “have you been to either Uluru or Kata Tjuta before?” or even “have you been there?”. You don’t need to say all of that because the context makes it obvious what you’re asking about.

Dillon: Yeah, it’s a mesmorising and breath-taking place. Went there a few years back with the missus and kids before we got divorced.

  • Mesmorising – capturing one’s complete attention as if by magic.
  • Breath-taking – astonishing or awe-inspiring in quality, so as to take one’s breath away.
  • A few years back – a small number of years in the past.
  • The missus – (Australian slang) one’s wife or long-term girlfriend.
  • Divorced – no longer be married.

Pete: Mmm… I’m sure it’ll live up to its reputation. Sorry to hear about the divorce.

  • Live up to something’s reputation – for something to be as good as it is said to be.
  • Sorry to hear about something – used when you hear sad or unfortunate news.

Dillon: Don’t be. She was a total ball-breaker. I’m glad it’s all done and dusted now. Both of us are definitely happier for it.

  • Don’t be. – used here as a short way of saying “don’t be sorry (about…)”.
  • Total – complete; real; used to emphasise something.
  • A ball-breaker – a dominating or threatening woman who destroys a man’s self-confidence; a tough disciplinarian or taskmaster.
  • Done and dusted – completely finished or over.
  • Be happier for something – be glad that something occurred.

Pete: Okay, good to hear then!

  • Good to hear (it) – used to show you are happy to hear about what someone has just told you.

Dillon: I’m parched. You want a cuppa or something to eat, mate?

  • Parched – very thirsty.
  • A cuppa – (Australian slang) Either a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.
  • Mate – used informally to be friendly, usually used between men.

Pete: Yeah, a cup of coffee would be brilliant. Thanks, Dillon.

  • Something would be brilliant – something would be great, awesome, perfect!

Dillon: No worries, Pete. Make yourself at home and I’ll be back in a jiffy.

  • Make yourself at home – feel at ease and relaxed in my home.
  • Be back in a jiffy – return very soon.

Pete: Too easy!

  • Too easy – No worries; okay.
    • Used to show something isn’t a problem. It’s a short way of saying “what you’ve asked is too easy and I can do it”.