Macquarie Dictionary


Macquarie shortlist of words of the year | Arts and Literature

There are a whopping 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, which is a lot of new content and new words to learn! These are whittled down by our Committee to just fifteen words that you can choose from in the People’s Choice Word of the Year 2019.

Before you vote, have a look at this highlight of just one of those categories. Take a look at what the words mean, where they come from and take a minute to tell us what you think of them.

The arts and literature are a huge source of new words, for example with writers creating new coinages (like Lewis Carroll to throw it back a ways) that get picked up for wider use. This year, the words have origins from fan fiction to adult entertainment to (gasp!) government.

One of these words is silkpunk, which is modelled on cyberpunk, and joins a host of other -punk genres such as biopunk, solarpunk and steampunk.

Another word on the list is sensitivity message, which has a similar definition to trigger warning. Trigger warning went in to the Macquarie Dictionary in 2015 and was part of the Word of the Year shortlist for 2015.


noun a subgenre of science fiction which draws on Asian history and culture for setting and aesthetic.

[SILK (in reference to the SILK ROAD) + PUNK, modelled on CYBERPUNK]

Prepare yourself for The Ascent to Godhood, the fourth book in JY Yang’s silkpunk Tensorate series, a wide-ranging, imaginative, engaging playground that the New York Times lauded as “joyously wild.”

I’m not sure how to describe this book. Others have described it as silkpunk (it’s not), Asian fantasy (kind of but not really), or some sort of epic thingy (that’s not written in the style of an epic at all). 

sensitivity message

noun a message appearing on a website, in a publication, etc., warning the reader of possibly culturally sensitive content, such as images of deceased persons; used especially in material relating to Indigenous peoples. Also, sensitivity notice

Sensitivity Message: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material may be culturally sensitive for some individuals and communities.

It is a condition of use of the Pathways website and AIATSIS catalogue that users ensure that any disclosure of the information contained in the website or the catalogue is consistent with the views and sensitivities of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. AIATSIS 

There are three other words that form part of the Arts & Literature category for Word of the Year. We have Mary Sue, ethical porn and beta reader to round out the group. 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, silkpunk. You can find more information on the shortlist and vote here.

Image of Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year silkpunk a subgenre of science fiction which draws on Asian history and culture for setting and aesthetic.

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