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  • What does 'bogan' mean in 2013?

    Dec 05, 2013 | 0 Comments


    Clive Palmer isn't afraid to embrace his inner bogan, so why should we be? Read more...

  • Catchphrases and memes

    Dec 02, 2013 | 0 Comments


    Catchphrases and internet memes have much in common – you can never tell when one of them is going to take off. Read more...

  • Are you a phubber?

    Oct 11, 2013 | 1 Comment

    When McCann approached us with their idea of creating a word for the activity of ignoring other people in favour of digital devices we welcomed the opportunity to take part in the process of coining a word which they would then launch on to the world. Read more...

  • Spelling matters: programme or program?

    Oct 03, 2013 | 2 Comments

    The Editor gives her view

    The Editor traces the history of this term and gives her thoughts on the recent controversy. Read more...

  • Typos

    Oct 01, 2013 | 0 Comments

    The bane of every writer’s life!  The problem is that we see what we are expecting to see, not what is actually there, particularly if we are caught up in the writing process and most of our brain is preoccupied with the meaning of what we are writing. Read more...

  • Pluralising 'you' to 'youse'

    Aug 30, 2013 | 0 Comments


    Every now and then this despised pronoun pops up for re-examination. It is a hand-me-down from Irish English into both Australian and American English. Read more...



  • Spelling matters: -our or -or?

    Aug 07, 2013 | 0 Comments

    Many words ending in -our, such as colour, honour and vigour, can also be spelt with -or. The Editor discusses how this variation arose. Read more...

  • Thieves and scoundrels

    Jun 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

    The dictionary records 'forty' in the sense of 'a thief or scoundrel' and gives the following etymology: 

    from the Fitzroy Forty, a Melbourne gang of thieves named after Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, in The Arabian Nights' Entertainment. 

    However, our visiting lexicographer, Les Murray, told us... Read more

  • Anzac

    Apr 25, 2013 | 0 Comments



    a soldier from Australia or New Zealand. Originally referred only to Gallipoli campaigners, (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), then to all World War I soldiers, and later extended to any Aussie or Kiwi soldiers. Read more...

  • The difference between licence & license

    Mar 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

    The pair licence/license are often confused. So how can we easily remember when to use which one? Read more...

  • The origin of 'bogan'

    Feb 18, 2013 | 0 Comments

    The origin of 'bogan' is an interesting question. No one can say for sure that it is from the region near the Bogan River in NSW but it does seem the most likely explanation. Read more...

  • How do words get into the dictionary?

    Feb 01, 2013 | 1 Comment


    A common question about Word of the Year time is, 'how do words get into the dictionary'? To earn a place in the dictionary, a word has to prove that the community at large accepts it. That is to say, it has to turn up a number of times in a number of different contexts over a period of time. Read more...