American Living In Australia Reveals The Common English Word She Called Her Boyfriend That He Found 'Wildly Offensive'

"Australians, I need you all to tell me the truth right now."

woman pleading with boyfriend during argument while the two sit on a couch at home Goksi / Shutterstock

Certain words in American culture may seem incredibly normal to say in everyday life, whether you're joking around with friends or making a point to your significant other. Whatever the case may be, it seems some of those words that we don't think twice about may not mean the same thing in other countries.

Such was the case for an American woman named Emily Tollefson who is currently living in Sydney, Australia. She revealed in a TikTok video that she'd used a common word that she never had to think twice about back home when talking to a guy she'd been dating. However, the word didn't go over well with him and now she's wondering why.


Tollefson called her boyfriend a common English word that he found to be 'wildly offensive.'

"Australians, I need you all to tell me the truth right now,"Tollefson urged. She explained that she'd been talking with her Australian best friend the other night about words that are offensive in Australia and may not mean the same thing in America and vice versa. 

Tollefson was told by her friend that the word "champ" is considered to be "wildly offensive" among many Australians, but in America, no one blinks twice if they're referred to by that word. At first, Tollefson figured her friend was joking and trying to pull one over her, because to her, "champ" is just another word for "buddy," "pal," and "mate/friend." It's just a casual word.




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After hearing how the word "champ" was taken in Australian social circles, Tollefson told her friend, Maddy, about how she'd been seeing this man for some time and had sent a text that she now believes may have offended him.

"He'd gone out drinking the night before, so the next morning I sent him a text that says, 'How are you feeling, champ?'" Tollefson recalled. "All he responded was, 'Please don't call me that.'" Laughing as she recounted the story, Tollefson figured that was fair, and maybe some men don't feel good about being called "champ" by women that they are interested in or dating.


"I tell Maddy this story and she goes, 'Oh no. Champ is so offensive in Australia.' Is champ actually that offensive of a word?" Emily questioned. 

Many Australians consider the word 'champ' to be condescending and rude.

Similar to Emily's predicament, a London man named Ryan Rose Evans explained in a TikTok video that he's been living in Australia for the last 4 to 5 years and noticed that Australians become extremely offensive and angry when people refer to them as "champ."



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He pointed out that while living in London, a lot of British people were quite fine with words that other countries would consider rude and derogatory. British people seemingly never have an issue with people calling them certain displeasing names, but as soon as he moved to Australia, he realized that his vocabulary wasn't being well-received.

"In the U.K., you say champ to someone, it would probably be to a boy so I'm guessing it's probably the same thing. It's a bit of a condescending word."

In the subreddit "r/australia" people debated whether "champ" is an insult or not, and the consensus in the comments section claimed that it's all about context. In certain scenarios where the word is used, it could be taken as patronizing, but in others, it could be fine. 



"It's no different to most words. It means different things depending on the context it's used in. If someone just won something it's an acknowledgement of their success. A parent can use it as a term of endearment for their children," one Reddit user wrote.


"Some might just call everyone 'champ' the way some use mate, bud, or dude. Or as some have said, it can be mildly condescending depending on the situation, the person saying it, and the way it's said."

In the end, understanding these language differences can be crucial to navigating social interactions while abroad. So, if you ever find yourself visiting Australia or plan on moving there anytime soon, it might be wise to steer clear of using "champ" to avoid unintentionally offending.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.