Word for Word #26 Polari

Aug 02, 2019
Image of unfocused rainbow lights and text: #26 Polari

Secret languages abound in history and in modern culture, with words occasionally making the leap into the mainstream of spoken English. In this episode we explore the secret language of Polari with Professor Paul Baker and Colleen Windsor of Les Girls. Plus, the Macquarie team discuss which Polari words have made it into the dictionary, and the resurgence of some words on the TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Join us as we explore our language: the ways we use it, the ways we abuse it, and the ways we ultimately change it.

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Words and definitions 

Macquarie Dictionary defintitions from this episode:




shade, throw shade 







Word for Word is produced by Macmillan Audio Australia for Macquarie Dictionary and Pan Macmillan Australia. 

Thanks in this episode are due to Professor Paul Baker and Colleen Windsor. Plus, as always, the whole team at Macquarie.

Music used in this episode is by Broke For Free, available from the Free Music Archive and used by permission of the artist. Find more music by Broke for Free including The Gold Lining; and If.

Our logo is by Amy Sherington.

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