If a New Zealander gets asked how their day is you will often hear the term ‘flat out‘. This kiwi slang term generally means that you are very busy and so you’ve been flat out. It is often used when people ask how someones job has been going.

There are other meanings to this word depending on what context the question has been asked in, but they don’t always fall into the kiwi slang meaning of the word.

Mike might state that John was going flat out in his car, which means he is going as fast as he can. You could also use flat out when referring to running a race and you ran flat out, meaning you ran really fast. The term can be used for agreeing or disagreeing with someone, like I flat out disagree with Jack. Which translates to, you totally disagree and you don’t hesitiate or give a second thought to your answer. The third scenario is when you lie flat out on the couch or ground as you are exhausted.

Another way to say flat out would be, I’m busy as! Busy as what? You might ask. That is the question but no-one tends to have an answer to that. Busy as, is a phrase that doesn’t get finished with another word, it is just said this way. Kiwis seem to love being busy or showing they have a lot to do.

Next time you are asked if you’ve been busy, just answer with flat out man and kiwis will totally understand you!

As a photographer I’ve always had a passion for creative art and recently I have started to feature some Kiwiana digital prints with sayings, words, phrases and colloquialisms in my Etsy store.

If you’re a home sick Kiwi living abroad, my artwork may just be an ideal solution for a dose of New Zealand artwork to decorate your home or office.