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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  • The best thing since sliced bread!

    Apr 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

    We still say it – or at least the older generation does because they are still living in a world where sliced bread is a staple – for toast in the morning, for school lunches. Cutting a crusty loaf yourself is regarded, from that point of view, as some sort of throwback to Neanderthal times... Read more...


  • The shifting sounds of words.

    Apr 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

    The pronunciation that bothers me most is one that I shouldn't really be fussed about at all. It is the shift in the pronunciation of worry which used to rhyme with hurry but now rhymes, more and more, with sorry.

    This word has had various forms and pronunciations in its history in the English language. It started out as an Old English word wyrgan meaning 'to strangle' (from which we got the idea of the dog worrying the sheep, from which we got the notion of feeling upset and anxious). Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Apr 04, 2017 | 1 Comment

    April 2017

    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...


  • Mantle and dismantle

    Mar 24, 2017 | 1 Comment

    A dictionary user has commented ‘I can agree to disagree but if I can dismantle, why can’t I mantle?’ Read more...


  • Mateship and friendship

    Mar 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

    It is my feeling that mateship is a stronger and tougher relationship than friendship, having been forged in adversity.

    The basic sense of friend is a person with whom you have achieved a degree of intimacy that is entirely unfettered by a sense of obligation. Friendship excludes the bonds of affection that are there between blood relations or between lovers. Read more...


  • Should these words go in the Macquarie Dictionary?

    Mar 01, 2017 | 2 Comments

    March 2017

    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...


  • Classic, antique cards from the Macquarie Dictionary catalogue

    Feb 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

    Here at the Macquarie Dictionary, we have maintained our card catalogue from the early 1980s. It's in more or less pristine condition, and contained within are hundreds of thousands of original words and definitions from the very first edition of our dictionary. Read more...


  • Expanding your vocabulary with the Macquarie Thesaurus

    Feb 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

    A thesaurus is a treasure trove of new words for you to discover. More people write now than ever before, whether it be in messages, emails, articles, stories, or anything else. It's important to keep the mind sharp and the vocabulary growing and one of the many ways to do this is to utilise a thesaurus.... Read more...


  • The Editor's take on the Word of the Year 2016

    Jan 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

    My father was trained as a journalist in the days when newspapers cared about their reputations as disseminators of information that was accurate and reliable. It wasn’t just a legal anxiety, it was an organisational pride in the quality of their news reporting. He told me that you can’t half-know something. You either know it or you don’t. Read more...


  • What's your Word of the Year?

    Dec 23, 2016 | 1 Comment

    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...