Macquarie Dictionary Blog
Posted on 1 December 2020
Word of the Year category insight | Politics
There are a 15 categories in the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist (you can check the full list out here). Each category consists of five words, with the winner of each category forming part of our shortlist and going in to the running for Word of the Year. In light of the pandemic, we also introduced a special COVID category for 2020. You can read about it here. This year, panda bashing won the Internet category. Panda bashing is defined as criticism of a Chinese government policy, action, etc., by another country, especially a western country. Covid wasn't the only thing shaking up our language in 2020. Politics had a big say too, contributing several new words that generated enough clout to make it into the Macquarie Dictionary. Ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to the halls (and bedrooms) of Canberra, see which other words made the shortlist for this category below. Find out which word was voted the People's Choice Word of the Year. ACAB noun Colloquial (an acronym, often represented numerically as 1312, used to indicate anti-authoritarian sentiment towards a police force, especially in protests against a perceived abuse of power.) [a(ll) c(ops) a(re) b(astards)] bonk ban noun Colloquial (humorous) a policy which prohibits employees within the same organisation from having sexual relationships with each other, especially of government ministers and their staff. [BONK + BAN; popularised in 2018 when brought in as part of the government code of conduct by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull] ecofeminism noun a philosophy, theory or movement which combines principles of feminism with environmental issues. –ecofeminist, noun, adjective Magnitsky act noun a law which allows a government to impose sanctions on foreign individuals, companies, etc., who commit human rights violations and engage in corrupt behaviour, as by freezing their assets and placing bans on entry visas. [named after Sergei Magnitsky, 1972–2009, Russian auditor, who reported a misappropriation of funds by Russian government officials and was subsequently held in custody where he died]
Posted on 1 December 2020
Word of the Year category insight | Internet
There are a 15 categories in the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist (you can check the full list out here). Each category consists of five words, with the winner of each category forming part of our shortlist and going in to the running for Word of the Year. In light of the pandemic, we also introduced a special COVID category for 2020. You can read about it here. The 2020 Internet category winner (and overall Word of the Year) is doomscrolling. In a year when bad news seemed to arrive with every news and social media update, we found ourselves doomscrolling: 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. Sounds like fun, right? No! That's why it's called DOOMscrolling and not FUNscrolling. The extra time we spent online this year helped generate a wealth of new words. Check out the four other shortlisted words from the Internet category below. Find out which word was voted the winner in the People's Choice Word of the Year. blackfishing noun Colloquial the practice of a white person pretending to be a person of colour on social media, often for financial gain. [modelled on catfishing (see CATFISH), from the deception practised] finsta noun an additional account on the social media platform, Instagram, which someone creates to share content with select people rather than with the wider public. [F(AKE) + Insta(gram), a social media platform] snitch tagging noun Colloquial (on social media) the practice of tagging a person in a post from which they had originally been excluded because it contained criticism of them. Also, snitch-tagging. –snitch tagger, noun zoombombing noun Colloquial the act of joining a private video meeting while not authorised to do so.
Posted on 1 December 2020
Word of the Year category insight | Colloquial
There are a 15 categories in the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist (you can check the full list out here). Each category consists of five words, with the winner of each category forming part of our shortlist and going in to the running for Word of the Year. In light of the pandemic, we also introduced a special COVID words category for 2020. You can read about it here. This year, sky puppy won the Colloquial. An adorable piece of slang, sky puppy is another name for a bat, especially a flying fox, aww. The Colloquial category was hotly contested during the Word of the Year Committee meeting. See below for the other words the Committee members were cheering for. Find out which word was voted the People's Choice Word of the Year. e-boy noun Colloquial a male member of a social-media youth subculture, influenced by anime, K-pop and other forms of popular culture, with fashion drawing on that of the late 1990s and early 2000s, brightly coloured hair, dark eye makeup and heavy neck chains. Also, eboy. futch noun Colloquial a person, especially a lesbian, exhibiting both butch and femme characteristics. [F(EMME) + (B)UTCH] poggers interjection Colloquial (an exclamation expressing excitement or approval.) Also, pog. [from an emoticon PogChamp used to indicate excitement or surprise on the live streaming site Twitch] spoopy adjective (spoopier, spoopiest) Colloquial of or relating to something generally considered eerie or scary but which has been modified to be humorous: spoopy skeletons dancing; a spoopy movie. [play on SPOOKY]
Posted on 1 December 2020
Word of the Year category insight | Communications
There are a 15 categories in the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist (you can check the full list out here). Each category consists of five words, with the winner of each category forming part of our shortlist and going in to the running for Word of the Year. In light of the pandemic, we also introduced a special COVID words category for 2020. You can read about it here. The winner of the 2020 Communications category is seened. A fresh piece of slang, we defined seened as of or relating to a text message, post, etc., which is registered as having been viewed, but which has not been responded to. Check out the other four words that made up the shortlist for the Communications category. Find out which word was voted the People's Choice Word of the Year. false balance noun a form of bias in which opposing sides of an issue, which are supported by differing levels of reliable evidence, are misrepresented as being equally valid; bothsidesism. lel Colloquial (an abbreviation, originally in digital messaging, used to indicate amusement.) [a play on LOL, which is now considered dated by some younger generations] nowcast noun a report on current weather conditions, or of those forecast in the immediate future.–nowcasting, noun –nowcaster, noun thumb stopper noun Colloquial a news article, comment, image, etc., accessed on a digital device, especially a smartphone, which captures the reader's attention, causing them to pause to read or view it, instead of scrolling to subsequent content. Also, thumbstopper. –thumb stopping, noun, adjective
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. Find out which word was voted the People's Choice Word of the Year. 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. Find out which word was voted the People's Choice Word of the Year. 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 23 November 2020
Are you a couple of lamingtons short of a CWA meeting?
Aussie Word of the Week
Are you a couple of lamingtons short of a CWA meeting? We hope not, because this ingenious phrase means stupid, as in lacking a full complement of intelligence. It's also a little sad, because who wants to attend a meeting that lacks delicious lamingtons? The phrase is part of a long line of short of phrases that speakers of Australian English use to insult each other. Since the 19th century people who are 'not all there' have been described by phrases comparing them metaphorically to some aggregate which is lacking its full complement. One of the earliest examples of this is the Australian phrase a shingle short (of a roof, that is). This dates back to the 1840s. An early British example of similar age is a button short (of a coat). A similar notion is found in not the full quid. Generally things are a 'few' or 'couple' short, as in a few bricks short of a load or a couple of alps short of a range or a few sheep short of a paddock. For some reason, food metaphors are the most common, such as a few bites short of a bickie, or bangers short of a barbie, or sandwiches short of a picnic, or a few Tim Tams short of a packet. Or, in this case, your humble Macquarie blog writer might be a few sentences short of a blog. Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.
Posted on 16 November 2020
Catch the five o'clock wave
Aussie Word of the Week
Surf's up. Grab your board and catch the five o'clock wave, a fictitious wave that passes down the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga Wagga each day. The wave is supposedly created by the release of water from an upriver dam. The tale is told to unwary visitors. If you get your surfboard and hurry down to Wagga Beach you can catch the five o'clock wave. The five o'clock wave inspired us to look at other slang from the New South Wales Riverina. Want to go for a float? That's what a Wagga resident might ask when they want to grab their floaties and go for a ride on the Murrumbidgee River. When the people of Wagga are excited they are fizzin. For example, when I caught the five o'clock wave I was really fizzin. Ride the wave for long enough and it will carry you DT, that's downtown in Wagga-speak. Once you're done with all the water sport you might head to the Old Vic for a schooner, that's Wagga slang for the pub. Explore more slang words from across Australian in our Australian Word Map. Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.
Posted on 11 November 2020
Word of the Year 2020 from around the world
At the Macquarie Dictionary, we are preparing to announce which word survived the battle royale of 2020 to come out on top as Word of the Year. Cancel culture claimed the crown in 2019, while Me Too took the top prize in 2018. Although we can't go there, I can confirm that the rest of the world still exists and that dictionaries from around the globe are announcing their Word of the Year winners. Collins have announced their Word of the Year as lockdown. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic looms large in their shortlist, with coronavirus, social distancing, self-isolate and key worker all making their final selection, while furlough, a British government scheme similar to the Australian Jobkeeper program, also made the list. It’s no surprise that quite a few of the words on Collins Word of the Year 2020 shortlist have one big thing in common: the pandemic. Something that changed everyone’s lives so profoundly – leaving no country or continent untouched – was bound to have a significant impact on our language. BLM, MEGxit, TikToker and mukbang rounded out their shortlist. Mukbang featured on the Macquarie Dictionary shortlist for the 'internet' category in 2019. The Australian National Dictionary Centre have announced their Word of the Year as iso. Not only is iso distinctively Australian in usage, it has also been linguistically productive by combining with other words to form compounds such as iso baking, iso bar, iso cut, and iso fashion. Once again, COVID loomed large in the selection with Covid-normal and bubble (as in travel bubble) making their shortlist alongside Black Summer and driveway, a reference to the ANZAC Day vigils Australians took part in as a replacement for the usual ANZAC Day dawn services. Dictionary.com have named their Word of the Year as pandemic. From our perspective as documenters of the English language, one word kept running through the profound and manifold ways our lives have been upended—and our language so rapidly transformed—in this unprecedented year. That word is pandemic, our 2020 Word of the Year. We will keep this blog updated as announcements roll in from other dictionaries, including the Australian National Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionary, the American Dialect Society and more.
Posted on 9 November 2020
Revving up the Balmain bulldozer
Aussie Word of the Week
Ah, the smell of peak hour traffic, don't you just love it? Well, no, but while you're on the school run, you might find yourself surrounded by a fleet of Balmain bulldozers. A Balmain bulldozer is a derogatory term for a city-only four-wheel drive. This is a vehicle owned by someone living in an urban area and rarely, if ever, used for off-road driving. On holiday, these vehicles stick to the highway and stay well away from outback dirt roads. Balmain bulldozer is only one of a legion of names for these 4WDs. In Sydney alone they are known by the following: Balmoral bulldozer, Double Bay tractor, Mosman tractor, North Shore tank and Turramurra tractor. They are also commonly known as wanker tanks. In fact, just about every city in Australia has a slang name for these urban road warriors. The Melbourne equivalent is Toorak tractor, also known as a Toorak taxi. Perth has the Dalkeith tractor, Adelaide the Burnside bus, and Brisbane the Kenmore tractor. Basically, stick the name of an affluent suburb in front of any large vehicle and you have yourself a suitably snarky name. Beep beep. Drive safe. Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.
Posted on 2 November 2020
Put some onions on that democracy sausage
Aussie Word of the Week
This week we have a piece of chargrilled Aussie slang we can't wait to slather in sauce and sink our teeth into. That's right, we're taking a bite out of the famous democracy sausage. Though it's not a Federal election year, we thought there was enough voting going on around our states and in a certain other country overseas to inspire us to fire up the barbecue. A democracy sausage is a sausage sandwich (or a sausage in bread, or a sausage sizzle...) which a voter can obtain at a polling booth on polling day. This patriotic sausage has become so embedded in Australian culture that on election day you can follow a live map of where voters are chowing down. Democracy sausage has cultural clout. It was the Australian National Dictionary's 2016 word of the year. Perhaps even more famous than the democracy sausage is the cultural phenomenon of the sausage sizzle. Generally, a sausage sizzle is a barbecue at which only sausages are cooked, especially as a fundraising event. We welcomed these grand events back a couple of months ago after they were put on ice during lockdown. With hot days returning, we look forward to towns and suburbs filled with the smell of the sausage sizzle. Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.
Posted on 26 October 2020
Counting our blue swimmers
Aussie Word of the Week
This blog was inspired by the blue swimmer, which as well as being a kind of crab turns out to be a slang name for a ten-dollar note. You might have been tapping your card more than handling notes lately, so here is a reminder of what it's like to handle cold hard cash. Australia's colourful bank notes are known by many colloquial names. The twenty-dollar note is referred to as a lobster, while the fifty-dollar note is called a pineapple, and don't we all want to get our hands on a few jolly green giants, that is, hundred-dollar notes? And what about the dozens of other slang terms relating to money. Well, are you cashed-up and spending your chaff like it's water? Perhaps your dosh is running low and you've been left counting chickenfeed? Are you a soft touch, that is, a generous soul who readily lends money, or are you a stingy miser? Hopefully you aren't broke to the wide: bankrupt, or spending funny money, that is, money made by dubious or dishonest means. In fact, there are so many slang words relating to money that we can't possibly recount them all here. See you on pay day. Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.