No worries

A tire cover on the back of an SUI displays the slogan.
An automobile in Australia displays "No worries"

No worries is an Australian English expression, meaning "do not worry about that", "that's alright", or "sure thing". It is similar to the American English no problem. The phrase is widely used in Australian speech and represents a feeling of friendliness, good humour, optimism and "mateship" in Australian culture. The phrase has been referred to as the national motto of Australia and has influenced a similar phrase used in the Tok Pisin language in Papua New Guinea.



"No worries" is an Australian English expression, meaning "do not worry about that",[1] or "that's alright".[2] It can also mean "sure thing"[3] and "you're welcome".[4] Other colloquial Australian terms which mean the same thing include "she'll be right".[5] The expression has been compared to the American English equivalent "no problem".[6] In their book Australian Language & Culture: No Worries!, authors Vanessa Battersby, Paul Smitz and Barry Blake note: "No worries is a popular Australian response akin to 'no problems', 'that's OK' or 'sure thing'."[7]


Anna Wierzbicka writes in her 1991 book Cross-cultural Pragmatics that the expression "permeates Australian speech", "serves a wide range of illocutionary forces" and displays a "casual optimism".[8] In her 1992 book Semantics, Culture, and Cognition, Wierzbicka classifies the phrase as "among the most characteristic Australian expressions", along with "good on you".[9] Wierzbicka comments that the expression illustrates important parts of Australian culture, including: "amiability, friendliness, an expectation of shared attitudes (a proneness to easy 'mateship'), jocular toughness, good humour, and, above all, casual optimism".[9] She concludes that along with "good on you", the expressions reflect the "national character" and "prevailing ethos" of Australia.[10] Richard D. Lewis writes in his 2005 book When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures that the phrase is a form of expression of the laissez-faire attitude in Australian culture.[11] The term can also be used in the context of an apology.[12] The phrase "no wucking furries" has the same meaning in Australia; as a spoonerism of "no fucking worries",[1][13] and is contracted to the phrases "no wuckers" and "no wucks".[1] The phrase is now also widely used in British English, with usage increasing from the early 90s onwards, around the same time that massively popular Australian soap operas such as "Neighbours" and "Home and Away", other Australian dramas and children's TV programmes like "The Tribe", "Round the Twist", "Blue Heelers and "Prisoner: Cell Block H" began to dominate UK television. [14]


"No worries" was referred to as "the national motto" of Australia in 1978,[9] and in their 2006 work, Diving the World, Beth and Shaun Tierney call "no worries, mate" the national motto of the country.[4] Writing in The New York Times Book Review, Annette Kobak calls the expression a "ritual incantation" which has "particular charm".[15] The phrase "no waris" in the Papua New Guinea language Tok Pisin is derived from the Australian English term.[16][17]

According to The Sunday Mail a 2004 newspaper report notes that "no worries" has begun to be used in American English.[18] Writing in a 2004 article for The Advertiser, Samela Harris comments: "The Americans have no idea of the etymology of 'no worries'. So, while they may cheerily adopt our 'no worries' mantra, 'no worries' will never catch on as an attitude."[19] According to Tom Dalzell, author of two books on slang usage in the United States, linguistics experts are not certain how the expression became popular in that country.[20] Usage of the term by Steve Irwin on The Crocodile Hunter, as well as attempts by members of the American press to imitate the expression during the 2000 Sydney Olympics, have been put forth as theories explaining the pervasiveness of the expression in the United States.[20] Linguistics professor Kate Burridge writes in her 2004 book Weeds In the Garden Of Words that expressions including "no worries", "absolutely", and "bottom line" have become less prevalent in favor of newer sayings.[21] The phrase has had some usage in Canadian English.[22][23]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Partridge, Dalzell & Victor 2006, p. 1390
  2. ^ Stuart-Hamilton 2007, p. 161
  3. ^ Angelo & Butler 1998, p. 22
  4. ^ a b Tierney & Tierney 2006, p. 32
  5. ^ Nolan & Hinkelman 1996, p. 274
  6. ^ Morrison, Conaway & Borden 1994, p. 9
  7. ^ Battersby, Smitz & Blake 2007, p. 33
  8. ^ Wierzbicka 1991, p. 56
  9. ^ a b c Wierzbicka 1992, p. 388
  10. ^ Moon 1998, p. 271
  11. ^ Lewis 2005, p. 209
  12. ^ Bowe & Martin 2007, p. 56
  13. ^ Goddard 2006, p. 72
  14. ^ "No worries infiltrates British English". National Nine News ( Retrieved 12 January 2011. 
  15. ^ New York Times staff 2001, p. 1499
  16. ^ Romaine 1991, p. 148
  17. ^ Biber & Finegan 1994, p. 63
  18. ^ Whiting, Frances (25 July 2004). "It's, like, out of control". The Sunday Mail: p. 018. 
  19. ^ Harris, Samela (20 May 2004). "No worries, mate, she'll be right, and have a nice day". The Advertiser: p. 020. 
  20. ^ a b McKenna, Michael (22 January 2003). "Crikey, strine takes over". The Courier-Mail (Queensland Newspapers): p. 3. 
  21. ^ McGarry, Helen (12 September 2004). "Language - Books Extra". The Sun Herald: p. 72. 
  22. ^ Molloy, Matt (10 September 2009). "No medals, no worries". The Beacon ( Retrieved 21 February 2010. 
  23. ^ Keller, Mike; Gregg Keizer (18 February 2009). "No WiFi? No worries - transform your iPhone into a wireless modem". ( Retrieved 21 February 2010. 


  • Angelo, Denise; Butler, Sue (1998), Australian Phrasebook: Language Survival Kit, Lonely Planet, p. 22, ISBN 0864425767 
  • Battersby, Vanessa; Smitz, Paul; Blake, Barry (2007), Australian Language & Culture: No Worries!, Lonely Planet, p. 33, ISBN 1740590996 
  • Biber, Douglas; Finegan, Edward (1994), Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Register, Oxford University Press US, p. 63, ISBN 0195083644 
  • Bowe, Heather Joan; Martin, Kylie (2007), Communication Across Cultures: Mutual Understanding in a Global World, Cambridge University Press, p. 56, ISBN 0521695570 
  • Goddard, Cliff (2006), Ethnopragmatics: Understanding Discourse in Cultural Context, Mouton de Gruyter, ISBN 3110188740 
  • Lewis, Richard D. (2005), When Cultures Collide: Leading Across Cultures, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, p. 209, ISBN 1904838022 
  • New York Times staff (2001), The New York Times Book Reviews 2000, Taylor & Francis, p. 1499, ISBN 1579580580 
  • Moon, Rosamund (1998), Fixed Expressions and Idioms in English: A Corpus-Based Approach, Oxford University Press, p. 271, ISBN 9780198236146 
  • Morrison, Terri; Conaway, Wayne A.; Borden, George A. (1994), Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: How to Do Business in Sixty Countries, Adams Media, p. 9, ISBN 1558504443 
  • Nolan, James L.; Hinkelman, Edward (1996), Australia Business: The Portable Encyclopedia for Doing Business with Australia, World Trade Press, p. 274, ISBN 1885073038 
  • Partridge, Eric; Dalzell, Tom; Victor, Terry (2006), The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Taylor & Francis, p. 1390, ISBN 041525938X 
  • Romaine, Suzanne (1991), Language, Education, and Development: Urban and Rural Tok Pisin in Papua New Guinea, Oxford University Press, p. 148, ISBN 0198239661 
  • Stuart-Hamilton, Ian (2007), An Asperger Dictionary of Everyday Expressions, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, p. 161, ISBN 1843105187 
  • Tierney, Beth; Tierney, Shaun (2006), Diving the World: A Guide to the World's Coral Seas, Footprint Travel Guides, p. 32, ISBN 1904777597 
  • Wierzbicka, Anna (1991), Cross-cultural Pragmatics: The Semantics of Human Interaction, Walter de Gruyter, p. 56, ISBN 3110125382 
  • Wierzbicka, Anna (1992), Semantics, Culture, and Cognition: Universal Human Concepts in Culture-specific Configurations, Oxford University Press US, p. 388, ISBN 0195073266 

Further reading

  • Leonard, Rosemary; University of Western Sydney Social Justice and Social Change Research Centre (2004), A Fair Go: Some Issues of Social Justice in Australia, Common Ground, pp. 152–153, ISBN 1863355618, "Iconic Theme: No Worries, She'll be Right, Not my Problem, Mate..." 

External links

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