Macquarie Dictionary


Macquarie shortlist of words of the year | Environment

The 2019 Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year longlist features fifteen categories, each containing five words for a total of seventy-five words (you can check the full list out here). That’s a lot of words and definitions to go through! Now our Comittee is in the process of whittling these down 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 the highlights from the environment category. 

Environmental words have already claimed the Word of the Year crown in other contests around the world. Neither climate strike nor climate emergency, the respective words of the year for the Collins and Oxford Dictionaries, have made our shortlist. Instead we have passive design, a concept about environmentally friendly building design, and pyrogeography, the study of the distribution of fires, which is highly relevant in the current Australian context of the devastating bushfires. 

passive design

noun a style of architecture which utilises natural energy sources, orientation, insulation, building materials, etc., in such a way as to reduce or eradicate the need for mechanical systems for heating and cooling.

A builder who has experience with passive design will know how to incorporate an effective overhang and recommend other methods of shading such as deciduous trees.

To support its entry into the Australian housing sector, Ichijo Technological Homes used the concept of passive design as the foundation of its heat recovery ventilation system to achieve over eight stars in the NatHERS rating. 


noun the study of the distribution of fire, its ecological effects, and its relationship with human geography.

As bushfires rage across NSW and Queensland, scrutiny has fallen on management practices, with some including Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce blaming the Greens and environmental activists for stymieing hazard reduction burns. Pyrogeography and fire science expert David Bowman says that argument is disingenuous. 

The pyrogeography synthesis group of TERN’s Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) facility has successfully mapped Australia’s fire regimes, helping contextualise regional approaches to fire management. 

Eco-anxiety, flight shaming and sponge city make up the enviroment category shortlist for 2019. Former Word of the Year finalists in the envionmental category include 2017 Comittee’s choice runner-up endling and 2006 category winner water trading, which once again seems relevant in this time of drought. 

The shortlisted word from this category for 2019 was so difficult to decide that the Committee selected two to go through These words are eco-anxiety and flight shaming. Eco-anxiety has the additional bonus of being one of three Honourable Mentions, alongside the collloquialism, thicc, and a word that has moved into English from the Pitjantjatjara language, ngangkari. You can find more information on the shortlist and vote here.

Image of Word of the Year Macquarie Dictionary eco-anxiety feelings of distress and fear brought on by the effects of climate change.

Image of Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year flight shaming criticism or ridicule directed at someone travelling by air because of the carbon emissions and consequent environmental damage produced by such travel.

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