This page is about the slang term turps

Australian English


alcohol, alcoholic drinks

For example

  • My mate Barry was on the turps for years before he started going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

  • When I saw Bruce, I said "Geez mate, you don't look too hot. Get stuck into the turps last night, did ya?"

Origin: short for "turpentine", a distilled oil used in mixing paints. Turpentine is not an alcoholic drink, but its smell seems to remind people of a very cheap form of industrial alcohol, and the word "turps" has become a humorous reference to very cheap and strong forms of alcohol.


This is typically used in Australian English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz

I knew Harry had been getting into the turps because he

a. spoke very clearly

b. looked perfectly normal

c. couldn't walk in a straight line
a) spoke very clearly b) looked perfectly normal c) couldn't walk in a straight line

See Slang of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey