Word of the Year 2015

Feb 02, 2016

The results are in!

We are delighted to announce the winning word of the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2015.

This year's winner, as chosen by both the Word of the Year Committee and the People’s Choice Award, for the first time ever, goes to captain's call. 

captain's call

captain's call

noun a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues. 

This is a first! The people and the Committee have agreed that captain’s call is the Word of the Year.  Clearly this term has resonated with Australians, possibly because it touches on two of our national passions – cricket and politics – and so has been nominated as the most valuable contribution to Australian English in 2015. –SUSAN BUTLER, THE EDITOR

 Captain’s call perfectly encapsulates what happened in Australia over the past year. There has been an interesting change in usage; an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket makes the leap into politics and is now being used generally with an ironic tinge to it that is very Australian. –THE COMMITTEE


The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

lumbersexual

noun an urban male who wishes to associate himself by his appearance with a rugged outdoors way of life, as by wearing outdoor clothes such as check shirts, jeans and large boots combined with a beard as typical of a lumberjack.

It used to be all about women’s fashions, but the words are now being dominated more and more by those related to men’s fashion. Lumbersexual is an organic phenomenon that someone has identified and named. It is a neat coinage and perfectly describes this style that peaked in Australia over the past year. THE COMMITTEE

deso

noun Colloquial a designated driver. Also, deso driver.

The idea of deso is very topical. It combines a drinking culture with that of a law-abiding society. The word structure itself is typically Australian – a shortened form with an -o ending. It is astonishing how quickly and smoothly the deso became part of our lives. THE COMMITTEE 


The People's Choice runners-up are:

keyboard warrior

noun a person who adopts an excessively aggressive style in online discussions which they would not normally adopt in person-to-person communication, often in support of a cause, theory, world view, etc.

wombat gate

noun a swing gate installed in a ditch going underneath a fence, so that wombats, who follow very predictable patterns at night, can come and go without destroying the fence.

 

The runners-up are two terms from very different environments – the first from the fast and furious world of the internet, and the second from a much slower, more relaxed part of our world.  –SUSAN BUTLER, THE EDITOR


Category winners:  

  Category

  People’s Choice

  Committee’s Choice

  Agriculture

  wombat gate

  wombat gate

  Arts

  slipstream fiction

  abandoned porn

  Business

  digital disruption

  price baiting

  Colloquial

  deso

  deso

  Communications 

  listicle

  listicle

  Eating and Drinking 

  Frankenfruit

  Frankenfruit

  Environment

  heritage tree

  cool burn

  Fashion

  lumbersexual

  lumbersexual

  General Interest

  hoverboard

  grolar bear

  Health

  fitspiration

  fitspiration

  Internet

  keyboard warrior

  dox

  Politics

  captain's call

  captain's call

  Social Interest

  manspread

  fur baby

  Sport

  slackpacking

  slackpacking

  Technology

  selfie drone

  selfie drone


Download the pdf below to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2015.

Download the media release and read more on our News page.


Download:
Macquarie_Word_of_the_Year_2015_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2014

Feb 04, 2015



The results are in!

We are delighted to announce the winning words of the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2014.

This year's winner, as selected by the Word of the Year Committee, is mansplain.

The People’s Choice Award goes to share plate. 


 

 The Committee's Choice for 2014 goes to:

mansplain

verb (tColloquial (humorous) (of a man) to explain (something) to a woman, in a way that is patronising because it assumes that a woman will be ignorant of the subject matter.
[MAN + (EX)PLAIN with s inserted to create a pronunciation link with explain]
mansplainingnoun

The Committee chose mansplain as the word of the year for 2014. They felt that it was a much needed word and it was a clever coinage which captured neatly the concept of the patronising explanation offered only too frequently by some men to women.

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

lifehacking  

noun the application of strategies or shortcuts used to simplify or improve any aspect of one's life.
[LIFE + HACKING2]
lifehackernoun

binge watching

noun the practice of viewing a favourite television series, seeing many episodes in one extended sitting.
Also, binge viewing.

bamboo ceiling

noun a barrier created by prejudice which hampers the progress of Asian Australians to positions of leadership in government and business institutions.
[modelled on GLASS CEILING]

 

The Commitee would also like to give a dishonourable mention to selfie stick for being inescapable.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2014 Committee comprises:

WOTY 2014 Committee

  • Dr Michael Spence (Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney)
  • Professor Stephen Garton (Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney)
  • Anne Bell (Director of University Libraries, University of Sydney)
  • Catriona Menzies-Pike (Arts Editor, The Conversation)
  • John Birmingham (Journalist and author of the cult classic He Died with a Falafel in his Hand, and the award-winning history Leviathan, and After America)
  • Susan Butler (The Editor, Macquarie Dictionary)

The People's Choice for 2014 goes to:

share plate

share plate

noun a serving in a restaurant designed as multiple small portions so that several diners can share the same dish.

 (artwork by Tania @thewriting)

 

The runners-up are lifehacking, binge watching and selfie stick.

 

Category winners:   

 Agriculture  crash grazing
 Arts  binge watching
 Business  drip pricing
 Colloquial  mansplain
 Communications   emoji
 Eating and Drinking   share plate
 Environment  green electricity
 Fashion  loom band
 General Interest  decision fatigue
 Health  ambulance ramping
 Internet  typosquatting
 Politics  defund
 Social Interest  lifehacking
 Sport  urban exploration
 Technology  selfie stick

Download the pdf below to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2014. 

The media release is available for download on the News page.


Download:
2014_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2013

Feb 04, 2014



The results are in!

 

The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2013 is:

infovore

noun a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices.

 

The Committee thought that the coinage infovore was a response to the perception that we now had access to information all the time.  The smart phone made it possible to find out immediately what we wanted to know. For some people knowing that whatever questions life threw at us the answer was a click or two away was a liberating experience.  Indeed they were in danger of becoming addicted to this rush of instant information.  This was a word that reflected a significant change in how we conducted our lives.  It was also a neat coinage.

 


The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

firescape

verb (t) (firescaped, firescaping)
to landscape (an area) with the possibility of bushfire in mind, as by growing fire-resistant plants, creating firebreaks with gravel, concrete, etc., eliminating flammable wood or plastic items.

[FIRE + (LAND)SCAPE


cli-fi

noun 1.  a genre of speculative fiction based on the premise that climate change will give rise to fundamental changes in the way human beings live.

adjective 2.  of or relating to cli-fi.

[CLI(MATE) + FI(CTION) modelled on SCI-FI

 

Each summer now we are constantly aware of a background of major bushfires.  In response to this there is a continuing flow of new words related to bushfires and how we deal with them.  Firescaping is a form of landscaping that reduces the hazard of fire.  The other honourable mention went to cli-fi, a neat coinage, and one that is prompted by environmental change.  The committee thought that it was fair to say that in all the discussions generated by this topic, no one had predicted a new genre of sci-fi as an outcome.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
Anne Bell, Director of University Libraries, University of Sydney
Catriona Menzies-Pike, Arts Editor, The Conversation
Susan Butler, Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary

 

The People's Choice Award for 2013 goes to:

onesie

noun 1.  a loose-fitting one-piece suit, usually of a stretch fabric, gathered at the wrists and ankles and loose at the crotch. 

2.  a one-piece stretch garment for an infant, with or without legs and sleeves, sometimes enclosing the feet.

[one + -s- + -ie] 


Category winners:


Agriculture  dining boom
Arts  fanfic
Business  showrooming
Colloquial  facepalm
Communications  churnalism
Eating and Drinking  coffee cupping
Environment  firescape
Fashion  onesie                  
General Interest  watch and act
Health  enabler 
Internet  Streisand effect 
Politics  marriage equality 
Social Interest  generation debt 
Sport  barefoot running 
Technology

 dumb phone 

Download the pdf to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2013.


Download:
2013_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2012

Feb 06, 2013



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2012 is:

phantom vibration syndrome

noun a syndrome characterised by constant anxiety in relation to one's mobile phone and an obsessional conviction that the phone has vibrated in response to an incoming call when in fact it hasn't.

Also, phantom phone vibration syndrome.

 

The committee thought that phantom vibration syndrome (which they suggest should be abbreviated to PVS in the spirit of the times) was an indication of how attached we have become to this technology which has had such an impact on all our lives.

They enjoyed the self-deprecating tone of First World problem and acknowledged that it is frighteningly true how adept small children (technomites) are with new technology. They thought that the origins of Aussie Rules in the Indigenous game marngrook should be recognised and observed the democratisation of knowledge and enterprising activity in the term crowdfunding.

 


The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

crowdfunding

noun the obtaining of small donations from individuals contacted through social networks, as to fund a project, support a cause, etc.

Also, crowd source funding
crowdfundedadjective


technomite

noun (humorous) a young child who is adept in the use of digital media.

[techno- + mite (a very small child)]


marngrook

noun a type of football played by Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia before European settlement, being characterised by large numbers of players covering a wide area of ground, a ball made from stuffed animal skin, and a style of play which involved dropping the ball onto the foot and kicking it, and leaping high above others to catch it; seen as an influence on Australian Rules.

[in various Victorian Aboriginal languages: game ball]


First World problem

noun a problem that relates to the affluent lifestyle associated with the First World, and that would never arise in the poverty-stricken circumstances of the Third World, as having to settle for plunger coffee when one's espresso machine is not functioning.


The People's Choice Award for 2012 goes to:

First World problem

noun a problem that relates to the affluent lifestyle associated with the First World, and that would never arise in the poverty-stricken circumstances of the Third World, as having to settle for plunger coffee when one's espresso machine is not functioning.


Category winners:


Agriculture peachcot
Arts yarn bombing
Business silo mentality
Colloquial wine flu
Communications phantom vibration syndrome
Eating and Drinking apera
Environment green tape
Fashion hobo glove
General Interest solidarity tourism
Health diabesity
Internet crowdfunding
Politics Sputnik moment
Social Interest First World problem
Sport marngrook
Technology

technomite

Download the pdf to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2012.


Download:
2012_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2011

Feb 06, 2012



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2011 is:

burqini

noun a swimsuit designed for Muslim women, comprising leggings and a tunic top with a hood.

[Trademark; burq(a) + (bik)ini]

 

Burqini seemed to be a very cute and successful coinage and what lay behind it was a fusion of culture, in an area of life which is so Australian… life on the beach.” - Susan Butler, Editor of Macquarie Dictionary

 

"As a wordsmith I am delighted by a word that has a Q without U and ends with an I." - David Astle

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

 

patchwork economy

noun an economy characterised by areas of growth reflecting regions which are booming, and areas of decline reflecting regions which are less prosperous.

[patchwork + economy]

 

dairyness

noun the productivity of a cow in terms of the quality and quantity of its milk, assessed by udder shape and size, pedigree, genomic screening, etc.; used as a judging criterion in competitions.

 

announceable

noun Politics an item made public by a government, usually in a media release, as good publicity for the government or as a distraction from bad publicity.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
David Astle, crossword compiler and word enthusiast
Les Murray, renowned Australian poet
Susan Butler, Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary

 

The People's Choice Award for 2011 goes to:

fracking

noun (in oil and gas mining) a process by which fractures are made in rock by the application under pressure of chemically treated water mixed with sand to natural or man-made openings in order to gain access to oil or gas supplies, considered by some to be associated with groundwater contamination; hydraulic fracturing.

[shortened form of fracturing

 

Category winners:

Agriculture dairyness
Arts beatboxing
Business patchwork economy
Colloquial devo
Communications disaster porn
Crops superfruit
Eating and drinking food porn
Environment fracking
Fashion burqini
General Interest photobomb
Health food coma
Internet planking
Politics soy cap intelligentsia
Social Interest party house
Sport stair climb
Technology jailbreak

Download the pdf to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2011.


Download:
2011_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2010

Feb 06, 2011



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2010 is:

googleganger

noun a person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one's own among search results for one's name.

[google + (doppel)ganger ]

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

vuvuzela

noun a plastic horn (def. 13), up to one metre in length, which emits a loud buzzing sound; commonly played in South Africa by fans at soccer games.

[? Zulu vuvu to make a noise]
 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
Evan Hannah, Group Editorial General Manager, News Ltd.
Les Murray, renowned Australian poet
Susan Butler, Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary

 

The People's Choice Award for 2010 goes to:

shockumentary

noun (plural shockumentaries

1. a documentary film or television show featuring footage of accidents or violence.

2. a documentary film or television show which gives damaging information about government bodies, industries, etc., often presented in such a way as to magnify the inherent shock value of the facts.

[shock1 + (doc)umentary] 

 

Category winners:

Agriculture aquaponics
Arts, Literature, Theatre               shockumentary
Business presenteeism
Colloquial gym bunny
Communications fauxmance
Computing email fatigue / googleganger                      
Crops superfood
Eating and Drinking screwage
Environment flying cane toad
Fashion vajazzle
General Interest vuvuzela
Health binge listening
Internet camel case
Politics sandbagging
Psychology neurosexism
Social Interest self-gift
Sport rail trail
Technology pocket-dial

 

 

 


Download:
2010_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2009

Feb 06, 2010



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2009 is:

shovel-ready

adjective (of a building or infrastructure project) capable of being initiated immediately as soon as funding is assured.

 

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

 

tweet2

verb (i) 1. to post a message on the social network site Twitter.
verb (t) 2. to post such a message to (someone).
noun 3. such a message.

 

heritage media

noun media, as print newspapers, television, etc., which, although strong and influential in the past, are thought to be losing viability in the face of changing methods of communication. Compare social media.

 

petrichor

noun a mixture of natural oils and terpenes released by eucalypts which, when washed by rain into watercourses, is a signal to fish, invertebrates, etc., that the season is sufficiently wet to support breeding. [Greek petros stone + ichor fluid; coined by Australian geochemists Richard Grenfell Thomas and Isabel Joy Bear in 1964]

 

head-nodder

noun a supporter of a politician or other media figure who stands beside them in the frame of a television shot and nods his or her head in agreement with what the speaker is saying.
head-nodding, noun

 

cyberbully

noun (plural cyberbullies) 1. a person who bullies another using email, chat rooms, social network sites, etc.
verb (t) (cyberbullied, cyberbullying) 2. to bully (another) in this way. Also, cyber bully, cyber-bully.
cyberbullying, noun

 

roar factor

noun Sport the influence that a home crowd has on a referee or umpire in making adjudications. [from the roar of protest from the crowd at a perceived infringement by a player]

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
Peter Fray, Editor of the Sydney Morning Herald
Les Murray, renowned Australian poet
Susan Butler, Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary

 

 

The People's Choice Award for 2009 goes to:

tweet2


verb (i) 1. to post a message on the social network site Twitter.
verb (t) 2. to post such a message to (someone).
noun 3. such a message.

 

 

Category winners:

Agriculture green harvesting
Arts, Literature, Theatre poverty porn
Business elevator speech
Colloquial man crush
Communications tweet
Eating and Drinking truffle dog
Ecology virosphere
Environment bushfire survival plan
Fashion geek chic
General Interest staycation
Health social phobia
Internet noob
Politics slacktivism
Psychology brain fade
Social Interest friend with benefits
Sport roar factor
Technology mashup

 

 


Download:
2009_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2008

Feb 06, 2009



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2008 is:

toxic debt

noun debt which, although initially acquired as a legitimate business transaction, proves subsequently to be financially worthless, as the subprime loans which precipitated the GFC.

 

The committee, in the course of its review of the words that had been added the Macquarie Dictionary, considered the important events of 2008. The concern with the environment was an obvious issue and there were many words reflecting this, water footprint having considerable appeal. But the event of 2008 which overshadows all our lives was the GFC, itself a term now added to the lexicon. In this category toxic debt was thought to be the root cause, the lingering blight on our lives, and in addition it had, as a lexical creation, a visceral impact. It needed no explanation but said it all.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney
Les Murray, renowned Australian poet
Susan Butler, Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary 

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

bromance

noun Colloquial a non-sexual but intense friendship between two males. [bro + (ro)mance1]

 

textaholic

noun Colloquial someone who sends an excessive number of text messages.
--textaholism, noun

 

guerilla gardener

noun a person who plants gardens in areas controlled by councils or other organisations but neglected by them in terms of vegetation, as nature strips, roundabouts, council-maintained gardens, etc. Also, guerrilla gardener.

 

lawfare

noun the use of international law by a country to attack or criticise another country, especially a superior military power, on moral grounds, that is, by accusing it of having violated international law. [(international) law + (war)fare]

 

flashpacker

noun Colloquial a backpacker who travels in relative luxury. [flash(y) + (back)packer]
--flashpacking, noun

 

 

The People's Choice Award for 2008 goes to:

flashpacker

noun Colloquial a backpacker who travels in relative luxury.  [flash(y) + (back)packer

--flashpacking, noun

 

Category winners:

Business toxic debt
Colloquial bromance
Communications textaholic
Eating and Drinking guerilla dining
Ecology ecocentrism
Environment guerilla gardener
Fashion scene kid
General Interest nomophobia
Genetics divorce gene
Health baby brain
Internet lolcat
Law lawfare
Politics climate porn
Social Interest helicopter parenting
Specialist audiation
Sport chicken-wing tackle
Technology uberveillance
Tourism flashpacker

 

 


Download:
2008_entries.pdf

Word of the Year 2007

Feb 06, 2008



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2007 is:

pod slurping

noun the downloading of large quantities of data to an MP3 player or memory stick from a computer.

 

In this increasingly tech-savvy world we live in, it seems pod slurping really is the new memory bank for us busy bees. Why carry around vast reams of documents, or CDs or anything for that matter, when you can download absolutely everything!

Pod slurping has an inventive and sensuous appeal. The committee felt that the most important criterion for word of the year should be linguistic creativity and evocativeness, rather than simple worthiness or usefulness. Pod slurping also dips its lid to pod, a potent little word of our times.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor Gavin Brown
Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, Professor Stephen Garton
Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary, Susan Butler. 

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

infomania

noun the tendency to give immediate attention to incoming messages such as email, text messages, etc., resulting in constant distraction and a corresponding drop in the recipient's attention levels and work performance. [info(rmation) + -mania]
infomaniac, nouninfomaniacal, adjective

Infomania is a neat coinage for an obsession to which many of us can so easily succumb, and a word which was created in the early 1980s - very much ahead of its time.

 

carbon footprint

noun the carbon dioxide emissions for which an individual or organisation can be held responsible, as by their travel, fuel consumption, diet, energy requirements, etc.

Obviously carbon footprint is one of the environmental words which is of significance to us all, and a very useful term to express a new social concept

 

The People's Choice Award for 2007 goes to:

password fatigue

noun a level of frustration reached by having too many different passwords to remember, resulting in an inability to remember even those most commonly used.

 

Password fatigue was the most popular word in the online voting, clearly registering a widespread dilemma of the online world.

 

Category winners:

Business infomania
Carbon Terms carbon footprint
Colloquial floordrobe
Eating and Drinking tart fuel
Environment food mile
Fashion arse antlers
General Interest password fatigue
Health incidental exercise
Media fauxtography
Music nerdcore
Online cyber cheating
Politics Great Firewall of China
Social Scene slummy mummy
Specialist Terms facial mapping
Sport cyberathlete
Technology bloatware

Download:
2007_entries.pdf

Inaugural Word of the Year 2006

Feb 06, 2007



The Committee's choice of Word of the Year 2006 is:

muffin top

noun Colloquial the fold of fat around the midriff which, on an overweight woman, spills out over the top of tight-fitting pants or skirts. 

 

This seems to be an Australian creation which has spread around the world, carried on by the popularity of Kath and Kim. It made news in New York in 2005 and was one of the words nominated for the American Dialect Society's Word of the Year Most Creative section. It was pipped at the post by whale tail, the bit of the g-string or thong that shows above the waistband at the back of pants.

The Committee thought that the vivid imagery of this word with its sense of playfulness and the fact that it is an Australianism made it the clear winner.

 

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Professor Gavin Brown
Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, Professor Stephen Garton
Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary, Susan Butler

 

The results in each category were determined by voting on the Macquarie Dictionary website and were as follows:

General Interest   affluenza
Colloquialism   muffin top
Specialist terms   administrivia
The Political Scene   plausible deniability
Eating and Drinking   ethical eating
Fashion   ubersexual
Travel   envirotourism
Technology   cyberstalking
The Environment   water trading
Sport   blood doping
Health   norovirus

 

The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:

affluenza

noun the dissatisfaction that accompanies consumerism as a path to happiness.

The definition which seems current for the rest of the world is 'the psychological malaise suffered by wealthy young people with symptoms of lack of motivation and feelings of guilt'. In Australia the meaning has been generalised to cover a widespread social phenomenon, not just a malaise of the rich.

The Committee felt that this word framed a concept that was significant in the community and for which there was no other word. The coinage was neat, almost too neat, and, unlike many attempts at creating new words by blending, did lead to a reasonable grasp of the meaning from an analysis of its parts (affluent + influenza).

 

administrivia

plural noun  the miscellaneous organisational details relating to the administration of a project, organisation, etc.

This again is a blend, in this instance of administration and trivia, but trivia in the sense of miscellaneous and often seemingly unrelated detail. The word has been in use in some organisational circles for almost a decade but seems to have gained wider use in the community, perhaps in response to the feeling that more people now have to do their own administrivia rather than pass it on to someone else.

 

plausible deniability

noun a carefully crafted situation in which a member of government can deny any association with any illegal or unpopular activities carried out by servants of the government in the event that these activities become public.

This term was first used by the CIA in relation to their activities in the Kennedy Administration. It does seem to have become a key feature of the American, British and Australian governments over the last decade.