People's Choice Word of the Year

Vote now in the People's Choice Word of the Year. 

We'd love to hear what you think and look forward to finding out what will be your Word of the Year.

Go to our Word of the Year 2020 page to see the Committee's choice Word of the Year, as well as the shortlist. 


Posted on 30 November 2020

The Macquarie Dictionary COVID Word of the Year shortlist

The Macquarie Dictionary COVID Word of the Year is rona. The word was chosen from a list of 20 COVID-related words. You can see the shortlist below.  Though there are 15 categories in this year's Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year, we decided to create a special COVID category to isolate the huge number of pandemic-related words from the rest our shortlist, which you can view here. Don't forget to vote for your word of the year in our People's Choice Word of the Year poll. boomer remover noun Colloquial (humorous) COVID-19. [BOOMER + remover, with reference to COVID-19's greater death rate among older people] bubble noun a zone comprising two or more countries or states between which people can travel without border restrictions, such as the need to quarantine, especially as established by various governments during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic: a trans-Tasman bubble; a border bubble. Also, travel bubble. contact tracing noun (in epidemiology) the practice of locating people who have been in close proximity to someone diagnosed with an infectious disease, such as an STD, meningococcal disease, measles, coronavirus, etc.  –contact tracer, noun convalescent plasma noun plasma taken from someone who has recovered from a disease, the antibody-containing plasma to be infused with the plasma of a person at risk of or suffering from the same disease, thought to boost immunity to or reduce the severity of symptoms of the disease. cough cloud noun the mass of aerated sputum, mucus, etc., expelled by a cough. covidiot noun Colloquial (derogatory) a person who refuses to follow health advice aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19, as by not social distancing, taking part in large gatherings, etc., as well as buying large amounts of perceived staples, especially toilet paper.  [blend of COVID-19 and IDIOT] COVID normal noun a way of living in which a community takes precautions against the transmission of COVID-19, prior to the availability of an effective vaccine, as a natural part of day-to-day life. Also, COVID-normal. doughnut day noun Colloquial a day in which zero cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 are recorded in a region. Also, donut day. [so called from the resemblance of a doughnut to the numeral zero] elbow bump noun a tap on someone's pointed elbow with one's own pointed elbow, used as a greeting instead of a handshake, kiss, hug, etc., to reduce the risk of transmission of infection, especially during a pandemic. hub verb (i) (hubbed, hubbing) to form a hub; to be part of a hub: *Starc is thankful he can walk down the street in Adelaide for a coffee while hubbing for the Sheffield Shield. –CANBERRA TIMES, 2020. infodemic noun a situation in which there is such an abundance of information available on a particular subject, that it is difficult to ascertain which is reliable and which is not.  [INFO(RMATION) + (PAN)DEMIC] iso- a word element used, often humorously, to form words relating to self-isolation, as in isolationship (a relationship formed during self-isolation), isoreading (reading undertaken during self-isolation). long COVID noun a debilitating condition suffered by a person who has recovered from COVID-19, but who continues to experience a wide range of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, breathlessness, a persistent cough, etc., and sometimes suffers damage to major organs. maskhole noun Colloquial (derogatory) an anti-masker.  [MASK + (ARSE)HOLE] quarantini noun a mixed alcoholic drink made at home during a time of enforced social isolation, as during a pandemic, such as COVID-19.  [humorous blend of QUARANTINE and MARTINI] R number noun (in epidemiology) the number of people, on average, to whom one infected person will pass on an infectious disease. Also, R value. [R(EPRODUCTION) + NUMBER] rona noun Colloquial COVID-19: we met online during the rona; Rona wrecked their wedding plans. Also, Rona, 'rona, 'Rona. [(CO)RONA(VIRUS)] sentinel surveillance noun the testing of a subset of a population for a particular disease, the results of the sample being taken as representative of the presence or prevalence of the disease in the wider population.  Also, sentinel testing. social distancing noun (especially in epidemiology) the practice of maintaining a distance, usually specified by a health authority, between individuals, as a means of limiting transmission of an infectious disease.  Also, physical distancing. WFH working from home.
Posted on 30 November 2020

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year shortlist for 2020

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year for 2020 is doomscrolling. The word was chosen from a longlist of 75 that was whittled down to 15 by the Macquarie Word of the Year Committee. Check out the 15 words on the shortlist below. For insight into individual categories, see our Word of the Year blog series. In light of the pandemic, this year we also decided to create a COVID category to isolate the many words arising from this global crisis. Go here to find out which word won the special COVID category. Don't forget to vote for your word of the year in our People's Choice Word of the Year poll. adaptive clothing noun clothing which has been designed to facilitate dressing for someone with a physical or intellectual disability, incorporating such features as velcro, different positions for fastenings, special fabrics, etc. Also, adaptive wear. bee vectoring noun a form of crop pest control in which hived bees are used to transport an organic powdered pesticide to any flora they pollinate, the bees having to pass through the pesticide as they leave the hive, with the powder attaching to their fine body hairs. cottagecore noun Colloquial a lifestyle characterised as being rustic or old-fashioned, involving such pastimes as handcrafting, baking, gardening, etc.  [COTTAGE + (HARD)CORE] doomscrolling noun Colloquial the practice of continuing to read news feeds online or on social media, despite the fact that the news is predominantly negative and often upsetting.  Also, doomsurfing. –doomscroller, noun HIA noun (in sport) a procedure which determines if a player who has sustained contact to the head has suffered concussion, the player being allowed to return to the field if cleared.  [h(ead) i(njury) a(ssessment)] inclusion rider noun a clause in the contract of an actor, filmmaker, etc., which specifies a level of diversity to be met in the project's staffing, especially in relation to gender, race, sexuality and disability. Karen noun Colloquial (pejorative) (a term used predominantly to refer to a middle-class white woman, often of generation X, who is regarded as having an entitled, condescending and often racist attitude.) [Karen being a common name of this generation] lo-fi adjective (of wine) produced with minimal processing or intervention.  [modelled on HI-FI; generalised from specific music context, with sense of simplicity, low intervention, etc.] panda bashing noun Colloquial (derogatory) criticism of a Chinese government policy, action, etc., by another country, especially a western country.  –panda basher, noun profit-for-purpose adjective of or relating to a business which directs a portion of its profits towards a specific area of social or environmental welfare: a profit-for-purpose organisation; the profit-for-purpose sector. pyrocumulonimbus noun a cumulonimbus which forms above a source of intense heat, such as a bushfire, volcanic eruption, etc. seened adjective Colloquial of or relating to a text message, post, etc., which is registered as having been viewed, but which has not been responded to. sky puppy noun (plural sky puppies) Colloquial a bat, especially a flying fox. stalkerware noun a type of spyware which a person installs on another's smartphone or other digital device, usually without the user's knowledge or consent, through which the installer can remotely monitor the user's location, communications, search history, etc.  Also, creepware. suicide first aid noun emergency mental health support given to a person who is seen to be at risk of taking their own life, until the services of a professional can be obtained.  –suicide first aider, noun
Posted on 28 July 2020

Selected new words from award-winning author Kim Scott

Each new edition of the Macquarie Dictionary features a foreword written by an esteemed Australian writer. For the Eighth Edition, we were honoured to welcome Kim Scott, author Taboo and the Miles Franklin Award winning That Deadman Dance. The words below represent a selection of those that stood out for Kim, which in turn represent just a fraction of the 3500 new entries included in the Macquarie Dictionary Eighth Edition. Kim’s foreword focuses on some of the Indigenous words included in the Eighth Edition. Kim notes that many of these words would once have been labelled simply as 'Aboriginal' but have since been updated with more understanding of their place within Indigenous culture and language groups. Take for example Ngangkari, from the Pitjantjatjara language, one of many Indigenous words included in the Macquarie Dictionary Eighth Edition.  ngangkari noun an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine; healer. Kim Scott’s other word selections are often humorous or food related. Each of the six words below reflects changes to the way Australian English is used by the public. To read the rest, order your copy of the Macquarie Dictionary Eighth Edition and read the foreword for yourself.  hair doughnut noun a doughnut-shaped sponge or similar material used as the support for a doughnut bun or similar updo. rat tamer noun Colloquial a psychologist or psychiatrist. sadfishing noun Colloquial the practice adopted by some people, especially on social media, of exaggerating claims about their emotional problems to generate sympathy. schnitty noun Colloquial a schnitzel, especially a chicken schnitzel. stepmonster noun Colloquial (humorous) (sometimes derogatory) a stepmother. zoodle noun a spiralised strand of zucchini, sometimes used as a substitute for pasta.
Posted on 8 October 2019

A quick look at the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia

The Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, Second Edition is a unique tool for exploring and understanding the lives and cultures of Australia's First Peoples. Combining the magic of maps with the latest data from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Atlas allows us to explore a visual history of Indigenous Australia.  About the contributors This second edition of the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia is a collabroative publication of the Australian National University, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Macquarie Dictionary. General Editors Bill Arthur and Frances Morphy have been researching Indigenous affairs and working closely with Indigenous communities for several decades. In 2001 they began working on the first edition of the atlas, which took out the award of Overall Winner in the 2006 Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing (EEPA). In 2017, they began working on this second edition of the Atlas. Across both editions, there have been over 40 contributors who have researched, written and mapped the content in the Atlas under the general editorship of Bill and Frances. One of the primary aims for this second edition was to increase the presence of Indigenous people contributing to the project. These contributors are drawn from a wide variety of places and professions - from academia, the arts world, Indigenous organisations and the public service. A full list of chapter contributors is available here. About the cover art The cover art, titled Kungkarrangkalpa Tjurkurpa, is a collaborative painting made by Anawari Inpiti Mitchell, Angilyiya Tjapitji Mitchell, Lalla West, Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell, Eileen Tjayanka Woods, Lesley Laidlaw and Robert Woods at the Papulankutja Artists group in the Northern Territory. The Seven Sisters Songline refers to the Pleiades constellation. It travels from the west to the east across the far western and central deserts. The sisters are pursued by a man, Yurla in the west and Wati Nyiru further east, who is a shapeshifter with transformative powers. He becomes particularly besotted with one of the sisters and pursues them endlessly in order to possess them. Today, this saga is visible in the Orion constellation and the Pleiades star cluster as a constant reminder of the consequences of attempting to possess something through wrongful means. Cover Art: "Kungkarrangkalpa Tjurkurpa", 2015, a collaborative painting made by Anawari Inpiti Mitchell, Angilyiya Tjapitji Mitchell, Lalla West, Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell, Eileen Tjayanka Woods, Lesley Laidlaw and Robert Woods  About the maps There are several types of maps in the atlas. Among those featured are thematic maps which indicate the occurrence of phenomena across parts of the country, or an event or feature at particular locations and chloropleth maps which show the distribution of socio-economic data. Also featured are choropleth maps, maps with proportional symbols, column maps, as well as graphs, charts and illustrations. More information is available within the atlas itself. Earlier attempts to map Indigenous people at the national level include Norman Tinsdale's iconic map 'Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia', based on research that had been carried out between 1930 and 1974. This map is discussed in detail within the book, but it was "significant in the genesis of the atlas." The version of the map used in the Atlas is an adaptation of Tindale's map. It includes "Indigenous group boundaries existing at the time of first European settlement in Australia, as far as they could be determined. It is not intended to represent contemporary relationships to land." Earlier examples of national mapping tended to deal with just single subjects. While acknowledging and drawing on them, this atlas surveys a comprehensive range of cultural, social and economic traits in a large set of national maps. Find out more The Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia is available in hardback and as a fixed-layout ebook. This ebook is available as part of Apple's Volume Purchase program which allows educational institutions to purchase copies in volume and distribute to students and teachers for use in the classroom and at home. There is also a comprehensive Teacher's Guide available for free download.
Word of the Day
Posted on 1 December 2020


A morbid dread or intolerance of light, as in iritis.