Skip to Content

What is a Bogan? The meaning from an Australian explained

What is a bogan did I hear you ask?

If you have been living or working in Australia for a while you might have come across the word “Bogan”. It is not in the Oxford dictionary so there is little point in looking it up that way.

But rather it is a common word used in Aussie Slang, that is passed down from one generations of Australia to the next. If you wanna be a true blue Aussie you are gunna need to know what one is. It is seriously a key part of the Australian lifestyle to know what a bogan is.

What is a Bogan?

Sometimes pictures paint a thousand words. This little cartoon is a good indication of the meaning of an Australian bogan – wife beater (singlet) on, beer in hand, taking little care of their physical appearance or shape with a very easy, down to earth personality.



There is no clear indication of when the term began but the most common train of thought is it began in Melbourne’s outer suburbs in the late 1970s.

It did not become commonly known and popular in Australian culture until Kylie Mole in the series The Comedy Company started frequently using the term in the late 1980s.

What makes someone a bogan?

Things bogans like include (but are not limited to):

  • Mullets
  • Wife beater (singlets)
  • Footy
  • The simple life while living the Australian dream. If they are a rich bogan, they might have a custom home.
  • Often overweight but proud of your “Rig”
  • Enjoy holidays in Bali
  • Drives a Holden or a Ford
  • Has a kelpie, blue heeler or a staffie
  • Enjoya a smoko break (smoke break) at work followed by an ice coffee
  • Refer to all your friends names with a “za” e.g. Bazza (Barry), Lazza (Larry) etc

What is the British version?

The British version would be a chav.

There are a few differences however, between a bogan and a chav. A chav is usually a working-class youth with aggression and poor education.

A bogan is someone of tacky taste, who does not appreciate the finer things in life or look after themselves. They are not necessarily aggressive or have poor education. They are more kind-hearted, laid back, “come and have a beer mate” type people.

What is the American equivalent?

The American version is a redneck.

There are a few differences however, between a bogan and a redneck. A redneck is usually a racist word to define a white person who works outdoors. By contrast, a bogan does not mean a particular race, any race can be a bogan and does not necessary mean someone who works the land. A bogan can be a rich person with tacky taste.

Is the term Offensive?

The term is not of itself offensive in that it is not a racially driven phrase etc but it can be offensive as you are essentially calling someone tacky and lacking class.

In saying that, some Australians embrace being referred to as a bogan as it is someone who is considered down to earth and not pretentious – also endearing characteristics that most Australians wish for.