Macquarie Dictionary


Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year

Word of the Year 2022

Announcing the Macquarie Dictionary Committee’s Choice and People’s Choice Word of the Year 2022. You can review the final shortlist here (and for those interested, the longlist here). Thank you for helping us decide the defining new word for 2022!

Committee’s Choice Word of the Year 2022

Teal embodies the year that’s been, and truth-telling is the year that’s to come – let’s hope that’s the case. They’re both really important concepts, central to Australian culture and politics. – COMMITTEE

This year, our Committee consisted of Macquarie Dictionary Editors, Alison Moore and Victoria Morgan and Publisher, Melissa Kemble. They were joined by crossword maker, radio host, and writer, David Astle; and language research specialist at the ABC, Tiger Webb. After a robust discussion of the shortlist, the Word of the Year was agreed to be teal.

It’s hard to go past teal as an emblem of Australia’s political landscape in 2022. It’s not a brand-new word, but it is a brand-new sense that no-one saw coming. – COMMITTEE

However another word was flagged as being indicative of how 2023 may unfold, and that word is our first runner up in Word of the Year history, truth-telling.

With increased discussion of the First Nations Voice to Parliament, there is a sharp focus on the need for clear, unembellished truth-telling about our past. – COMMITTEE

Word of the Year 2022 - teal Word of the Year 2022 - truth-telling


Committee’s Choice Honourable Mentions

With the winning Word of the Year decided, it was time to note the three Honourable Mentions. Words that could easily have illustrated the year that was just as well. There are three this year, goblin mode, spicy cough and bachelor’s handbag (more on that later for the People’s Choice).

On these words, the Committee had this to say:

Bachelor’s handbag is a funny, clever coinage – so quintessentially Australian, summing up the role of a BBQ chook perfectly.
COVID continues to provide a source for new words, and spicy cough follows the trend in Australian English of treating serious issues with humour and informality. 
The meaning is not immediately obvious, but once decoded, it’s perfect. After the enforced isolation of lockdowns, it seems that we are now deliberately setting aside time for the unexpected joys of goblin mode.

Word of the Year 2022 - goblin mode Word of the Year 2022 - spicy cough Word of the Year 2022 - bachelor's handbag hon mention

People’s Choice Word of the Year 2022

And finally, after a record-breaking number of votes and fervent online discussion from all walks of Australian life, the People’s Choice Word of the Year 2022 was decided by Australia as bachelor’s handbag!

Word of the Year 2022 - bachelor's handbag



bachelors handbag Barbiecore

bossware brigading

clapter e-change

gigafire goblin mode

hidden homeless nepo baby

orthosomnia pirate trail

prebunking quiet quitting

skin hunger spicy cough

teal truth-telling


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