Ask a Local

When I was recently in Australia, the Aussies kept calling me a "seppo." What does that mean and where did that word come from?--John Marcus, San Francisco, CA

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, John, but you've just been identified as a certifiable foreigner. South of the border you're a gringo, in Hawaii you're a haole. In Australia, you're a septic tank--seppo for short. The term was originally derived from rhyming slang: Yank= septic tank. Not exactly sure on the logic there, but the term has also been said to reference Americans' tendency to be "full of sh-t." Don't take it too personally though; as long as it wasn't preceded by an irate expletive, you can consider it a term of endearment.

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