Macquarie Dictionary


Word of the Year 2021 | Shortlist

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year voting is open now. The below shortlist was chosen from the 15 categories under consideration for Word of the Year 2021.

You can review the words and definitions below. Find out which word became the Word of the Year 2021 here.

Access a pdf of the shortlist here.

You can also view the entire longlist here.


brain tickler

noun Colloquial a nasopharyngeal swab, as used for COVID-19 testing.



noun a strategy designed to encourage customers to shop at bricks-and-mortar stores rather than online, as by providing personalised service, pleasant surroundings, etc.

Also, brick bait.



noun a variant (B.1.617.2) of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.

Also, Delta variant.


dignity suit

noun adaptive clothing in the form of a jumpsuit elasticised at the waist, with a zip at the back to prevent the wearer from undressing, especially as designed for people living with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.


dry scooping

noun the practice of ingesting powdered pre-workout supplements or protein powder without mixing with water or milk as directed.


dump cake

noun a cake which is prepared by combining the ingredients directly in the cake tin or dish in which it is to be baked.



verb (tColloquial to betray (someone) openly, without subterfuge.

Also, front stab. –front-stabber, noun



verb (t) Internet to link oneself to (a site on a social network) even though one dislikes or disagrees with the content being shared.


humane washing

noun the misleading marketing of a product sourced from animals, deceptively giving the impression that the animals have been treated humanely.


last chance tourism

noun tourism to locations with endangered landscapes or geological features, or which are habitats for endangered species.

Also, last-chance tourism.



noun Colloquial a breakdown in one’s mental health.

Also, menty b.



noun a unique digital certificate which uses blockchain technology to certify ownership, authenticity and scarcity of a digital asset, such as a digital image, video, tweet, domain name, etc.; non-fungible token.


porch pirate

noun Colloquial a person who steals parcels which have been left outside a home by a deliverer.

porch piracy, noun


range anxiety

noun the stress experienced by the driver of an electric vehicle when they are unsure of reaching their destination or a recharging point before the vehicle’s battery runs out of power.


shadow pandemic

noun an increase in mental health problems and domestic and family violence attributed to living with the stresses and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.


sober curious

adjective having an interest in reducing one’s consumption of alcohol or in giving it up altogether.



noun Colloquial (humorous) the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia, with reference to the perceived lack of speed.


third place

noun the social environments where people spend time away from home or work.

Also, third space.



verb (t) 1.  to rebuke (a person) for having beliefs that are perceived to be accepting of prejudice or discrimination.

noun 2.  a person who issues such rebukes.

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