The Committee's Choice for Word of the Year 2015 goes to...

Jan 21, 2016


The Committee's Choice for Word of the Year 2015 goes to... captain's call.  

captain's call

noun a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues.

Captain’s call perfectly encapsulates what happened in Australia over the past year. There has been an interesting change in usage; an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket makes the leap into politics and is now being used generally with an ironic tinge to it that is very Australian. THE COMMITTEE


Honourable mentions go to...


noun an urban male who wishes to associate himself by his appearance with a rugged outdoors way of life, as by wearing outdoor clothes such as check shirts, jeans and large boots combined with a beard as typical of a lumberjack.

It used to be all about women’s fashions, but the words are now being dominated more and more by those related to men’s fashion. Lumbersexual is an organic phenomenon that someone has identified and named. It is a neat coinage and perfectly describes this style that peaked in Australia over the past year. THE COMMITTEE




noun Colloquial a designated driver. Also, deso driver. 

The idea of deso is very topical. It combines a drinking culture with that of a law-abiding society. The word structure itself is typically Australian – a shortened form with an -o ending. It is astonishing how quickly and smoothly the deso became part of our lives. THE COMMITTEE



(Artwork by Yeesum Lo)

Vote now for the People’s Choice Word of the Year 2015

Now that the Committee has decided, it's YOUR turn to have a say. Do you agree? Vote now for the words you think are the most valuable contributions to Australian English in 2015. 

Word of the Year 2015 book pack

Voting is open from 21-31 January. The public vote determines the People's Choice winner which will be announced on 2 February 2016. 

Vote now



All voters will automatically be entered into a draw to win one of three fantastic book packs from Pan Macmillan Australia, including Only Time Will Tell from international bestselling author Jeffrey Archer as well as books from Andy GriffithsJamie ZimmermannJuliet Marillier and Claire Varley.   

Word of the Year category winners

Nominations for Word of the Year are selected from new words included in the annual update of the Macquarie Dictionary Online in 2015. There are a number of categories for selection, with five words nominated in each category. The Committee's Choice and the People's Choice winning words are picked from the same word list.

The Committee's favourites in each category are:

 Agriculture  wombat gate
 Arts  abandoned porn
 Business  price baiting
 Colloquial  deso
 Communications   listicle
 Eating and Drinking   Frankenfruit
 Environment  cool burn
 Fashion  lumbersexual
 General Interest  grolar bear
 Health  fitspiration
 Internet  dox
 Politics  captain's call
 Social Interest  fur baby
 Sport  slackpacking
 Technology  selfie drone

Download the Committee's Choice category winners.

The Word of the Year 2015 Committee

The Committee members this year are:

Word of the Year 2015 Committee photo

Anne Bell, Director of University Libraries at the University of Sydney.
Stephen GartonProvost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.
Joe Hildebrand,
opinion editor and columnist, The Daily Telegraph; co-host Studio 10.
Susan ButlerThe Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary.
Mark Di Stefano, political editor for BuzzFeed News.
Nick Enfield, Professor of Linguistics and Chair of Department at the University of Sydney.


Have you voted yet? Let us know what you think the winning word should be and why in the comments below. Do you agree with the Committee's Choice?  


Join the discussion!


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Damaris Wilson - Jan. 21, 2016, 11:52 a.m.

Of the words listed in the categories above, I've only heard captain's call and fur baby used. I agree with the Committee's decision, although I do like fur baby, with its association harking back (for me) to childhood's stories of Brer Rabbit and the 'tar baby' ...

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