Susan Butler, Editor
The words that a language community chooses to use end up being, collectively, a mirror to the changes that are happening around us. The task of the dictionary is to keep track of these changes as one way of recording our culture. This blog will allow me to note the detail of language change as it happens, analysing current use and perhaps following a thread into history. I hope that it will be an important preliminary to decisions that are made about what should go into the dictionary.

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  • What's your Word of the Year?

    Dec 23, 2016 | 0 Comments

    Here at Macquarie Dictionary, we like to let the year end completely before we make a decision on which word to crown Word of the Year. We have a basic policy that all the candidates are drawn from words which have been selected and researched and written into the dictionary during the year... Read more...


  • Your top ten blogs of 2016

    Dec 14, 2016 | 1 Comment

    Counting down from popularity, here's what you and the rest of Australia (and the world) wanted to know about in 2016. Read more...


  • What does it all mean?

    Dec 06, 2016 | 0 Comments

    how to read a definition

    Many words have more than one definition, and these are listed in each entry numerically. But is there any order to this or is it organised chaos? In this case, thankfully, there are specific rules for how definitions are ordered. In a word such as joke or kangaroo or any word where there are multiple meanings, the following applies... Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Dec 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

    November 2016

    We are always on the lookout for new, emerging and interesting words to add to the Macquarie Dictionary. In a time of global instant communication, these words are popping up faster and in vaster quantities than ever before. Read more...


  • Odd encounters with inflected forms

    Nov 17, 2016 | 0 Comments

    Odd encounters with inflected forms

    The English language has the capacity to create new forms, often by fusing two existing words to create one word with a new meaning, such as gasbag or chinwag. This is by far the most common way of expanding our lexicon. Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Nov 07, 2016 | 3 Comments

    October 2016

    We are always on the lookout for new, emerging and interesting words to add to the Macquarie Dictionary. In a time of global instant communication, these words are popping up faster and in vaster quantities than ever before. Read more...


  • How well do you know your phobias?

    Oct 31, 2016 | 1 Comment

    Take the quiz to find out!

    How well do you know your phobias? Take the Halloween edition phobia quiz to find out!


  • Words that last

    Oct 19, 2016 | 4 Comments

    quill book

    Recently I gave a talk at Nunawading Library in Melbourne. The discussion afterwards was on various current usage problems, including the use of the word literally as a marker of emphasis with no real meaning but a functionality that seems to be much enjoyed by many people in spoken and written language... Read more...


  • Reflecting Australia's gerrys

    Oct 04, 2016 | 1 Comment

    A friend of mine in Singapore reported that the Singaporean government has taken up the term pioneer to refer to anyone old enough to have contributed to Singapore’s early nationhood from 1955 onwards. Pioneers... Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Oct 03, 2016 | 1 Comment

    September 2016

    We are always on the lookout for new, emerging and interesting words to add to the Macquarie Dictionary. In a time of global instant communication, these words are popping up faster and in vaster quantities than ever before. Read more...


  • Wibble-wobble and boing

    Sep 22, 2016 | 4 Comments

    jelly on a plate

    My attention has been drawn to the creation of the new verb, to wibble-wobble, meaning ‘to prevaricate’.  This is a contribution of Mathias Cormann who made reference to the nursery rhyme, Jelly on a Plate which has the verse... Read more...


  • English words of Indigenous origin for NAIDOC Week 2016

    Sep 14, 2016 | 1 Comment

    This NAIDOC Week, we celebrated Indigenous culture by highlighting some of the many words that have become a part of Australian English from various Indigenous languages. Read more...