The Macquarie Dictionary was first published in print in 1981 and has been online since 2003. Its reputation has gone from strength to strength and it is now nationally and internationally regarded as the standard reference on Australian English.

The Macquarie Dictionary Online gives you access to the most up-to-date database of Australian English, with annual updates of new words, along with its companion reference the Macquarie Thesaurus. You can subscribe or get a free trial here.

Features

The Macquarie Dictionary & Thesaurus Online features the following:

  • the complete record of English as it is used in Australia, from the colourfully colloquial to the highly technical
  • thousands of new words and senses, such as fiscal cliff, social reading, apera, green tape, fugitive emissions, hobo glove, konjac, mummy blog, fibro majestic, blade runner, computer forensics. Words are constantly coming into use in Australian English, from many different sources
  • words relating to business, science and technology such as guanxi, rogue robot, silo mentality, growth hacking, crowdfunding, citizen science
  • words and phrases from regional Australia, many gathered from Australian Word Map, a joint online project of Macquarie and ABC Online, such as black snow, hydro pole, maisonette, marron, musset hut, nointer, schnitter
  • encyclopedic entries such as Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Ban Ki-moon, Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Haiyan                                            
  • easy, comprehensive and interactive searching of over 138,000 headwords and phrases and over 210,000 definitions, with the ability to search either the dictionary, thesaurus or both
  • annual updates of words, definitions and encyclopedic entries
  • illustrative material from Ozcorp, Macquarie's database of Australian writing, which continues to be increased and updated
  • etymologies for words as well as for some of the more interesting phrases in English. Where does 'save someone's bacon' come from? And what about 'on the wallaby'?
  • extensive usage notes, audio pronunciations and extra features including grammar and punctuation guides, crossword resources, Word of the Day and Aussie Word of the Week

Macquarie Dictionary Seventh Edition

It is not just the meaning of a word but the feel of a word that counts. The end result when we wish to compile a list of these particular words is a dictionary that characterises us as a community.

– Kate Grenville

Since the Macquarie Dictionary was first published in 1981, its reputation as Australia's national dictionary has gone from strength to strength. It is now nationally and internationally regarded as the standard reference on Australian English. A comprehensive and up-to-date account of our variety of English, it not only includes all those words and senses peculiar to Australian English, but also those common to the whole English-speaking world.

The Macquarie Dictionary Seventh Edition features:

  • a comprehensive record of English as it is used in Australia, with evidence from corpus data, including Macquarie's own corpus of Australian English, Ozcorp
  • thousands of new words and senses, such as grandcare, rumbler alarm, fitspirationmodest wear, cool burn, freecyclegrolar beardigital tattoo, listicle, captain's call, robopoll, vamping, spiraliser and slackpacking
  • illustrative phrases, many from Australian literature, which clearly show how a word is used in context 
  • words and phrases from regional Australia, such as boondie, prickly jack, bungarra, dragon's teeth and goose club
  • words, both formal and informal, that date back to the Australian military experience of WW1, such as gezumpher, bullring and green envelope
  • extensive usage notes
  • etymologies of words and phrases
  • foreword by Kate Grenville, international award-winning Australian author

History

The Macquarie Dictionary was first published in 1981 after a decade of research and planning. Amid much praise from such notable figures as Manning Clark, Thomas Keneally and others, the dictionary established a firm footing in Australian culture as Australians responded warmly to the idea of having their own national dictionary.

Since 1981, a whole family of dictionaries and thesauruses have been developed from the original database. This was followed by the second edition of the complete dictionary which was published in 1991, introducing encyclopedic entries for people, places and events to the headword list.

In 1997 the third edition was published, building on the work of the previous two, and incorporating the many changes that had occurred in the Australian language since 1981. Of special interest was the range of items from the Englishes of South-East Asia, many of which made their appearance in a general dictionary for the first time. The third edition also saw the inclusion of thousands of citations drawn from Australian literature, using Macquarie's extensive language database, OzCorp.

In 2005 the fourth edition was published with expanded citations and with the origins of phrases given. Like previous editions, it included the many new words that had appeared in Australian English in a broad spectrum ranging from the international to the uniquely Australian.

The fifth edition was published in October 2009. In addition to updates of the headword list, this edition responded to the community's wish to engage with the debate on the environment by revising and expanding its coverage of environmental terms.

The sixth edition was published in October 2013. Aside from hundreds of new entries and senses, this edition also covers words, both formal and informal, that date back to the Australian military experience of WWI.

The seventh edition was published in March 2017. You can find out more in the Seventh Edition tab or on our news page.

Macquarie sets the standard for English in Australia and can now be regarded as an Australian tradition. Our history is reflected in our language, and so the dictionary has the role of being a faithful record of our language choices. In addition it is an up to date language reference for contemporary words giving their spellings, pronunciations, meanings, origins and usage - all in the context of Australian English.

Our language is close to our hearts and so the Macquarie Dictionary has become an icon of Australian culture.