I know that Australian English has many spellings in common with British English, but (as with Canadian English) the two are not identical. Are there standard, authoritative dictionaries for Australian English?

Now, I prefer Merrian-Webster when verifying spellings in American English and Cambridge or Oxford when editing British publications, but I don't know of any standards for Australian English.

Resources that lay out rule of grammar and punctuation would be doubly useful, but that may be the domain of style guides.


The Macquarie Dictionary is usually considered the most reliable source for Australian English words, and Australian usage.

There are a range of editions in print, as well as the (paywall) online version.

Another option is the Australian National Dictionary, although it focuses on purely "Australian" words and their first usage. Rather than the real language used in Australia which (like most forms of English) is a mix of British, American and local words.

For basic checking of spelling, your word processor may have an "Australian English" option. Open Office does, and most of the words that are missing (like arvo) are probably a bit colloquial for the web anyway.

For a style guide, see the ABC Radio National Style Guide. Covers very Australian things like the way the Labor Party is spelt like that, and labour is the way the work is spelt.

  • Thanks! Are there any freely available resources as well? – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 26 '14 at 3:40
  • I've updated my answer. The Macquarie is the most useful. Sorry I don't know of a free source. I use an old paper copy I have on my bookshelf so I've never looked for anything else. – Rob Hoare Feb 26 '14 at 3:51
  • Thanks, this is extremely helpful. Are you familiar with the different editions? Which would be best for checking common words used in web copy? – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 26 '14 at 5:16
  • 1
    Sorry no, I just have one that is no longer in print. Added spellcheck suggestion, it probably does most of what you want if you don't need detailed usage. – Rob Hoare Feb 26 '14 at 5:37

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