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  • Plum Pudding

    Dec 07, 2012 | 0 Comments


    Where are the plums in the plum pudding?

  • A Letter From the Editor on 'misogyny'

    Oct 17, 2012 | 0 Comments


    As Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, I picture myself as the woman with the mop and broom and bucket cleaning the language off the floor after the party is over. And in this case it was quite a party. Read more...

  • Kindys or kindies?

    Oct 03, 2012 | 0 Comments


    A contributor recently pointed out the appearance of 'kindys' in a local newspaper headline. Read more...

  • Literally screaming with excitement

    Aug 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

    We have long been aware of the use of 'literally' to give emphasis to what follows. This is another one of those usage debates that has gone on for centuries. Read more...


  • Difference between dependent & dependant

    Jul 03, 2012 | 0 Comments

    What is the difference between dependent and dependant?

  • Bogan

    Jun 21, 2012 | 0 Comments


    The word bogan entered Australian English in the 1980s and was included in the second edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, published in 1991. Read more...

  • The change in meaning of 'hoi polloi'

    May 31, 2012 | 1 Comment


    The phrase hoi polloi has amazingly changed its meaning entirely. Read more...


  • Pavlova and Anzac biscuits

    Apr 26, 2012 | 0 Comments


    You may be aware that Australians have reluctantly agreed that the pavlova is not an Australian creation but a New Zealand one. Read more...

  • To 'dispatch' or to 'despatch'?

    Apr 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

    To dispatch or to despatch - that was the question from a dictionary user who had been taught at school that despatch was correct and dispatch was incorrect. Read more...

  • Spelling matters: -ing and -ed

    Mar 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

    We were recently asked about the preferred spelling for focus -- is it focusing or focussing? Read more...

  • The Aussie battler

    Mar 15, 2012 | 0 Comments

    Battler seems to be a homegrown Australian use which derives from phrases like 'battle on' or 'battle around'. A battler was someone who battled on against all odds. Read more...

  • Ghost Words

    Mar 02, 2012 | 1 Comment


    This morning Susan Butler spoke to Adam Spencer about ghost words in dictionaries, that is, words which have crept in by mistake. The example was given of dord which appeared in Webster's New International Dictionary (second edition). Read more...