What Does "Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie" REALLY Mean?!?

So I am American and I am traveling to Australia in about a month and I was just curious, because I've heard this saying be defined as grilling / putting shrimp on the barbecue, I get that, but why is it so taboo to say the exact phrase "throw another shrimp on the barbie" in Australia? What meaning does this actually have over there? Is it something homosexual or what?? I cannot find any internet sources on this, only people saying to NEVER ever say this phrase in Australia, so why not?

13 Answers

  • Penny
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    Please don not come over here and "Try to speak Australian"--just be a normal person and speak the way they do in the States. Believe it or not--we understand more of what you are saying then you might think.

    Learning the way we refer to different things is a educational experience, making a fool out of yourself or worse--saying something which will insult is another.

    The phrase came from a promotional campaign which was aimed at the US in hopes it will bring up the tourism. To me--it means nothing.

    We do not have shrimp--we have prawns--barbie is short for the barbeque.

    Come on over and enjoy your holiday!

  • armiso
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Shrimp On The Barbie

  • 1 decade ago

    Saying "throw another shrimp on the barbie" is taboo in Australia because saying the word "Shrimp" immediately marks you as a "dumb American". Australians don't throw shrimp on the barbie. The proper phrase is "throw another prawn on the barbie". Shrimp are not naturally found anywhere in Australia. The only reason Americans are so used to the shrimp one is because of a certain advertising campaign by the Australian tourism board that had Paul Hogan (of Crocodile Dundee fame) saying that because the American culture is so insular they would not have known what a prawn was.

    Source(s): Australian ,,,^..^,,,
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Simply - We do not have shrimp here we have prawns. The phrase was used by Paul Hogan in a 1980s TV commercial which was exclusively aired in the USA. The use of the word shrimp was because an American wouldn't know what a prawn was.

    Here is a link for the TV ad.


    Youtube thumbnail


    There is no double meaning but for some reason we all seem to get annoyed by the phrase.

    Edit: I forgot to say I hope you have a wonderful holiday (vacation) here.

  • What do you think of the answers? You can sign in to give your opinion on the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Drago = best answer I've ever seen on Yahoo Answers. Edit: No way, he got dragged!

    Yet, the reason you shouldn't say that in Australia is because we do not refer to them as 'shrimp' unless they are smaller than a dime. In Australia that family of crustaceans are called Prawns.

    'Barbie' is an accurate Australian shortening of Barbeque but "shrimp" was used in the advertisements instead of 'prawn' as otherwise Americans would have not understood what he meant.

    People have warned you not to use the phrase:

    a) because 'shrimp' is your word not ours,

    b) because it will remind them that on an international stage, Australia is often misrepresented

    c) because many foreigners (and especially Americans) attempt to use Australian slang in an attempt to show cultural awareness- yet unfortunately it is often so awkward an attempt it seems like mockery.

    d) It makes many Australians angry that stereotypes are all Americans seem to know about our country.

    Other things to keep in mind:

    Fosters; we export that crap as no one drinks it here.

    Koalas; yes they are cute, but they are also surly little bastards who don't appreciate being handled (and as marsupials have zero relation to 'bears' and should not be referred to as that)

    Australia is highly diverse, as a continent the size of the US we have a vast range of environments and our people are as diverse as well. It is a young country but highly multicultural, these days even in regional centres.

    The majority of Australians are very secular and tend not to be nationalistic yet are very proud of our country, its history, traditions and culture. Most are very open and honest with both the good and the bad of history, but it seems that often the bad is all that makes news overseas possibly because we don't have a culture of talking ourselves up and tend to lampoon tall poppies that do. I'm sure just about anyone will be very willing to discuss any topic or issue you might read or hear about, even those you might feel are sensitive. Just keep in mind how you would broach such topics at home and you should be fine.

    Hope you have a great time and get to a barbie or two.

  • 5 years ago

    Yup, I m a New Yorker now living in Australia and they don t say that here. But since I married an Aussie, and like they say here, I like "to take the piss out" of him I say it for a reaction. He knows I m joking, obviously. Then he does his best attempt at speaking "American". Always good times here hahaha. Also, Americans DO KNOW what prawns are. We know them to be much larger than shrimp and particularly known down south, like Louisiana for example where they catch some big-ass crustaceans. Stereotypes exist everywhere of course, always influenced by the dumbing down brought to you by television for the most part.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Because we dont EVER say that except to American tourists but really in saying that we are mocking them and having a good old laugh to ourselves because im sure it was the Americans who decided we say this phrase not the Australians!

    It means put a prawn on the barbeque, Ive never been to a bbq where they had prawns on it either!


  • 1 decade ago

    It's not a taboo, it's just a stereotype that we're all tired of hearing. I think it's kind of funny when people say it to be honest, but I've lived in Australia all my life and I've never heard anyone say it seriously.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It's damn annoying because NO ONE uses that expression over here ...I mean NO ONE ! It's an Americanised expression designed to catch your attention in an attempt to entice you Down Under instead of Up Over ...

    Funny thing is ...IT WORKED ! lol

    edit...@ Alex...I may be surly , even bad tempered but I'm NOT a bastard ... okay ? lol

    Source(s): J...
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/aw2So

    There is nothing taboo about it nor does it have any other meaning.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.