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Posted on 2 December 2019

Macquarie shortlist of words of the year | Colloquial

There are a fifteen categories in the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist (you can check the full list out here). Each of these categories is comprised of five words, that's a lot of words to bulk up your vocabulary! The list is then whittled down to just fifteen words that you can choose from in the People's Choice Word of the Year 2019. Before you vote, take a look at the five words that made it through our Comittee's rigorous selection process.  Colloquialisms provide a rich source of new and interesting words. These words are often slang words originating from popular culture that become ubiquitous throughout the year, such as the 2017 People's Choice winner framily. One of the contenders on this year's list is JOMO, or joy at missing out, the opposite of the dreaded FOMO or fear of missing out. Hangxiety is another word on the list. A portmanteau of hangover and anxiety, you can imagine the sort of feeling that might accompany this word!  JOMO noun Colloquial a peaceful and appreciative state of mind induced by choosing not to participate in some activity. [j(oyo(fm(issingo(ut), modelled on FOMO] In 2019 we want to ditch the concept of FOMO – fear of missing out. FOMO is JOMO’s evil twin. It makes us do things purely because we feel like we might miss out on something good if we don’t. But you know what? All those yeses meant I missed out on something altogether more important: time for myself. And it turns out I’m not the only one transitioning from an anxious obsession with FOMO into a love of JOMO.  hangxiety noun Colloquial (humorous) a feeling of anxiousness, worry, guilt, etc., experienced the morning after excessive consumption of alcohol. [blend of HANGOVER and ANXIETY] When you do have hangxiety, what do you do to get you through those hours of hell? Beyond Blue forum Don't be that person at the party. You know the one we're talking about. Have fun, with no regrets or hangxiety the next day.   The remaining three words that make up the colloquial category for the Word of the Year are edgelord, thicc and silver tsunami. You can find the definitions for these words as well as our longlist on our Word of the Year page. The shortlisted word from this category for 2019 is of course, thicc. This word was also selected by our Committee as one of our three Honourable Mentions, with the illustrious company of eco-anxiety and ngangkari. You can find more information on the shortlist and vote here.
Posted on 1 December 2019

Why the Word of the Year is made up of two words

For the past five years, our Word of the Year has consisted of two words. In 2015, the word was captain's call. In 2016, it was fake news. In 2017, the controversial milkshake duck took out the top spot. And in 2018, we had Me Too as the Word of the Year. And now, for 2019, the Word of the Year is cancel culture. And so once again we embark on the journey to explain what we, as a dictionary, mean when we refer to something as a word. The English language has the great capacity to create new words and new meanings from existing words. One of the more common ways we form new words in English is by putting together two (or more!) existing words to form a new word with a new meaning. This is technically known as a lexical item or lexical unit. Essentially, a 'word' is the item that you look up in the dictionary to find the meaning. Sometimes one of these new creations ends up as a blended word, known as a portmanteau. For example anecdata [anecdote + data], healthwashing [health + whitewash], or incel [involuntary + celibate]. Sometimes new words are created by the addition of affixes, as in deplatform or destock. And sometimes two whole words are smashed together as in tweetstorm or earthship.   Or, somewhat less dramatically, words are simply placed next to each other, as in Me Too, flight shaming and cancel culture. Find out about these words as part of Word of the Year 2019. In other instances a hyphen may be used to keep things a little cleaner, as in eco-anxiety, or words may be borrowed from another language, like ngangkari and mukbang (which is also a portmanteau!). And of course there are also backformations. Language is a moveable feast. The forms of words can change over time, inserting or removing hyphens and spaces, dropping letters, fusing into a single unit. Take for example electronic mail which then became e-mail and is now most frequently used as email. So when confronted with a word that is made up of two words, like cancel culture, this is counted as a new lexical item which needs a new entry in the dictionary. Because using our existing understanding of cancel  – to decide not to proceed with – and of culture –  a particular state or stage of civilisation, as in the case of a certain nation or period – doesn't really give us the essence of what this new term actually means. And now it's time for you to have your say in the People’s Choice and vote for your favourite lexical item/word.