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The various ways of expressing "Australia"


Alright here we go. I’m Australian and I want to make sure that I’m using the right term when telling Chinese people where I’m from. The two main ones I’ve seen are:

澳洲 - Àozhōu - I was told by a Taiwanese friend in his 30’s that this is a more general term, that can include the islands and stuff around Australia. So I guess we’d call this “Oceania”

澳大利亚 - Àodàlìyǎ - Transliteration, feels very clunky and forced. Same Taiwanese friend told me this specifically refers to the country Australia, rather than the general part of the globe (like 澳洲 does)

土澳 - Tǔ ào - A different friend (from Zhejiang, 20 years old, currently living and studying in Australia) told me this is the word her and her friends use. She told me it meant “Old Australia” and was an affectionate term.

I’m worried that 土澳 might be something that is specific to young people, or only Chinese students in Australia, or that she was having a joke at my expense. I want to be able to refer to my country with affection, but I also want to be able to be understood by whoever I’m talking to.

Can anyone shed some light on the subtleties of the differences between these 3 terms? And is there any others I’m missing?



I’ve never heard of the 3rd one but from my understanding, 澳洲 is a contracted form of 澳大利亞(州). I get the sense 澳洲 is more the continent rather than the specific country since the character 州 means continents and is present in 非洲 (Africa)美洲 (American Continent).

@Constance_Fang any thoughts on this. Which is most commonly said?

You may also find this blog interesting:

(Read the comments where they discuss Australia specifically)


I’m an Australian living in Gaoxiong, and I always say I’m from 澳洲. I think what @GwilymJames says is spot on, but I think (purely based on my understanding of Taiwanese people’s understanding) is that so few Taiwanese understand much about Australia that they would not factor ‘outlying islands’ into the equation. I think they just see 澳洲 as the continent+country and 澳大利亞 as just the country.

Although for many Taiwanese, they aren’t even aware of that distinction - I’ve had not a few Taiwanese ask "what is the difference between 澳洲 and 澳大利亞? Are the the same thing?’