Posted on 4 December 2019

Word for Word #29 Word of the Year 2019

It's that time! Take a peek behind the scenes with us as Macquarie Dictionary chooses its 2019 Committee's Choice Word of the Year, cancel culture. We also delve into the Honourable Mentions, ngangkari, eco-anxiety and thicc. And discuss the longlist in a little more detail. We once again join the Word of the Year Committee meeting, hosted at Macquarie HQ, as they debate which word best represents the year. Guest judges include David Astle (radio host, writer and crossword compiler extraordinaire), Beverley Wang (journalist, producer, podcaster), Rudi Bremer (radio broadcaster and producer) and Tiger Webb (ABC Language). Join us as we explore our language: the ways we use it, the ways we abuse it, and the ways we ultimately change it. Subscribe now on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify or your favourite podcast app to get the latest episode delivered direct to your inbox.   Words & Definitions Macquarie Dictionary defintitions from this episode: cancel culture ngangkari thicc eco-anxiety flight shaming drought lot silkpunk robodebt cyberflashing dogfishing influencer mukbang sealioning cheese slaw anecdata appointment viewing deepfake enby upcycle carbon sink compostable preservation   Additional Links Read more about the topics discussed: Vote now for the People’s Choice Word of the Year for 2019 Why the Word of the Year is made up of two words?  Read more about Word of the Year on our Blog  Words of the Year around the world for 2019  To cheeseslaw or not to cheeseslaw?   Acknowledgements Word for Word is produced by Macmillan Audio Australia for Macquarie Dictionary and Pan Macmillan Australia.  Thanks in this episode are due to Dr Michael Spence, Professor Stephen Garton, Tiger Webb, Rudi Bremer, Beverley Wang and David Astle. 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. If you like Word for Word, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts! It only takes a minute and it helps other people discover the show.  
Posted on 1 December 2019

Why the Word of the Year is made up of two words

For the past five years, our Word of the Year has consisted of two words. In 2015, the word was captain's call. In 2016, it was fake news. In 2017, the controversial milkshake duck took out the top spot. And in 2018, we had Me Too as the Word of the Year. And now, for 2019, the Word of the Year is cancel culture. And so once again we embark on the journey to explain what we, as a dictionary, mean when we refer to something as a word. The English language has the great capacity to create new words and new meanings from existing words. One of the more common ways we form new words in English is by putting together two (or more!) existing words to form a new word with a new meaning. This is technically known as a lexical item or lexical unit. Essentially, a 'word' is the item that you look up in the dictionary to find the meaning. Sometimes one of these new creations ends up as a blended word, known as a portmanteau. For example anecdata [anecdote + data], healthwashing [health + whitewash], or incel [involuntary + celibate]. Sometimes new words are created by the addition of affixes, as in deplatform or destock. And sometimes two whole words are smashed together as in tweetstorm or earthship.   Or, somewhat less dramatically, words are simply placed next to each other, as in Me Too, flight shaming and cancel culture. Find out about these words as part of Word of the Year 2019. In other instances a hyphen may be used to keep things a little cleaner, as in eco-anxiety, or words may be borrowed from another language, like ngangkari and mukbang (which is also a portmanteau!). And of course there are also backformations. Language is a moveable feast. The forms of words can change over time, inserting or removing hyphens and spaces, dropping letters, fusing into a single unit. Take for example electronic mail which then became e-mail and is now most frequently used as email. So when confronted with a word that is made up of two words, like cancel culture, this is counted as a new lexical item which needs a new entry in the dictionary. Because using our existing understanding of cancel  – to decide not to proceed with – and of culture –  a particular state or stage of civilisation, as in the case of a certain nation or period – doesn't really give us the essence of what this new term actually means. And now it's time for you to have your say in the People’s Choice and vote for your favourite lexical item/word.
Posted on 19 November 2019

Global words of the year for 2019

At Macquarie Dictionary, like most dictionaries, we get together at the end of the year and look back at all the new words of the previous 12 months to determine one word worthy of being crowned our Word of the Year. For 2018, that word was Me Too. In 2017, it was the global phenomenon of the milkshake duck. And for 2019, that word is cancel culture! Find out more here on our Word of the Year page. These words are selected and refined into a longlist by our editors from words that have been added to the Macquarie Dictionary throughout 2019. All of our candidates must be new words or meanings. In this, we differ from other dictionaries, as some simply choose the most common word being searched, or most topical word, regardless of its status as 'new'. Of course, part of this is also understanding the definition of 'word' in this context being more akin to a lexical item, but there is more on that here. We will be announcing our Word of the Year very soon, but other dictionaries have already starting naming their words that define 2019. Dictionary.com's Word of the Year is existential. In a move to mirror Collins Dictionary (below), they have cited nonbinary [sic] as the runner-up. In Australia, this is spelt non-binary, but Dictionary.com have it listed as nonbinary. Existential, as a word and theme, was prominent in discussions of topics that dominated 2019: climate change, gun violence, and democratic institutions. It also popped up in lighter stories in popular culture, signaling its place in the cultural zeitgeist. Collins Dictionary have named their Word of the Year as climate strike. Other words that made the Collins shortlist were influencer, deepfake (which was one of our shortlist for 2018) and non-binary (interestingly, we had enby on our shortlist for 2016). The word has seen a four-fold increase since 2013, with news stories and images such as those seen in the BBC’s Blue Planet II steeply raising public awareness of the issue. Oxford Dictionary have named their Word of the Year as climate emergency. Almost all of their shortlist revolved around climate awareness, with words such as flight shame, plant-based, eco-anxiety and climate denial rounding it out. Climate emergency is defined as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’ This year, heightened public awareness of climate science and the myriad implications for communities around the world has generated enormous discussion of what the UN Secretary-General has called ‘the defining issue of our time’. Cambridge Dictionary have chosen their Word of the Year by looking back at their Instagram account. This is an interesting way to make the decision, so we went back through the Macquarie Dictionary Instagram to see what new word we would be beholden to if we did it this way and came out with the niche and controversial cheeseslaw. This word was chosen based on the Word of the Day that resonated most strongly with fans on the Cambridge Dictionary Instagram account, @CambridgeWords. The word … received more likes than any other Word of the Day (it was shared on 4 July 2019). The Australian National Dictionary Centre has named voice as its Word of the Year. Voice increased greatly in usage this year, as the idea of an Indigenous voice became prominent in public discussion. More coming soon!
Posted on 8 October 2019

A quick look at the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia

The Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia, Second Edition is a unique tool for exploring and understanding the lives and cultures of Australia's First Peoples. Combining the magic of maps with the latest data from the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Atlas allows us to explore a visual history of Indigenous Australia.  About the contributors This second edition of the Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia is a collabroative publication of the Australian National University, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Macquarie Dictionary. General Editors Bill Arthur and Frances Morphy have been researching Indigenous affairs and working closely with Indigenous communities for several decades. In 2001 they began working on the first edition of the atlas, which took out the award of Overall Winner in the 2006 Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing (EEPA). In 2017, they began working on this second edition of the Atlas. Across both editions, there have been over 40 contributors who have researched, written and mapped the content in the Atlas under the general editorship of Bill and Frances. One of the primary aims for this second edition was to increase the presence of Indigenous people contributing to the project. These contributors are drawn from a wide variety of places and professions - from academia, the arts world, Indigenous organisations and the public service. A full list of chapter contributors is available here. About the cover art The cover art, titled Kungkarrangkalpa Tjurkurpa, is a collaborative painting made by Anawari Inpiti Mitchell, Angilyiya Tjapitji Mitchell, Lalla West, Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell, Eileen Tjayanka Woods, Lesley Laidlaw and Robert Woods at the Papulankutja Artists group in the Northern Territory. The Seven Sisters Songline refers to the Pleiades constellation. It travels from the west to the east across the far western and central deserts. The sisters are pursued by a man, Yurla in the west and Wati Nyiru further east, who is a shapeshifter with transformative powers. He becomes particularly besotted with one of the sisters and pursues them endlessly in order to possess them. Today, this saga is visible in the Orion constellation and the Pleiades star cluster as a constant reminder of the consequences of attempting to possess something through wrongful means. Cover Art: "Kungkarrangkalpa Tjurkurpa", 2015, a collaborative painting made by Anawari Inpiti Mitchell, Angilyiya Tjapitji Mitchell, Lalla West, Jennifer Nginyaka Mitchell, Eileen Tjayanka Woods, Lesley Laidlaw and Robert Woods  About the maps There are several types of maps in the atlas. Among those featured are thematic maps which indicate the occurrence of phenomena across parts of the country, or an event or feature at particular locations and chloropleth maps which show the distribution of socio-economic data. Also featured are choropleth maps, maps with proportional symbols, column maps, as well as graphs, charts and illustrations. More information is available within the atlas itself. Earlier attempts to map Indigenous people at the national level include Norman Tinsdale's iconic map 'Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia', based on research that had been carried out between 1930 and 1974. This map is discussed in detail within the book, but it was "significant in the genesis of the atlas." The version of the map used in the Atlas is an adaptation of Tindale's map. It includes "Indigenous group boundaries existing at the time of first European settlement in Australia, as far as they could be determined. It is not intended to represent contemporary relationships to land." Earlier examples of national mapping tended to deal with just single subjects. While acknowledging and drawing on them, this atlas surveys a comprehensive range of cultural, social and economic traits in a large set of national maps. Find out more The Macquarie Atlas of Indigenous Australia is available in hardback and as a fixed-layout ebook. This ebook is available as part of Apple's Volume Purchase program which allows educational institutions to purchase copies in volume and distribute to students and teachers for use in the classroom and at home. There is also a comprehensive Teacher's Guide available for free download.
Word of the Day
Posted on 12 December 2019


The graphic record produced by an electroencephalograph.