Posted on 4 February 2021

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade winner is...

After a truly bumper year for new words, and with the ticking over of a new decade, the Macquarie team decided that the time was perfect for thinking about a Word of the Decade. Taking the winners of Word of the Year for the past ten years, we asked all of Australia to vote for the words which resonated most as the first official Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade.  After a week of voting from the shortlist, we would like to announce fake news as the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade!   After a record-breaking number of votes, fake news beat out mansplain by the thinnest of margins, with First World problem finishing a close third. The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade: fake news The Committee’s Choice for 2016, fake news is Macquarie’s Word of the Decade. While we think of fake news as a coinage of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, it was around before then. However, it became emblematic of that campaign and the four years that followed it. It became part of our lives so quickly and was so overwhelming that school courses had to be developed to teach children strategies for detecting fake news. Since 2016, fake news has gained a second definition in the Macquarie, as a term used to refer to information that is viewed as being opposed or detrimental to someone’s own position – whether it is factual or not. Words are powerful and the ease with which we see this term being thrown around to instantly rob something of its credibility can be very damaging.  It looks like it’s a term that’s here to stay. Runner-up: mansplain Right up until the close of voting, mansplain was jostling with fake news for the top gong. It was the Committee’s Choice in 2014, and was very contentious at the time. Regarded as sexist by many men, it was applauded by women as a simple description of a phenomenon long suffered by females, and it’s obviously still resonating. The word is a clever coinage, one of a number of humorous constructions such as mancation, manterrupt and, of course, manspread, another neat word to describe something far from neat. Of course there are many who do not find these remotely clever or humorous, and so the controversy lives on. Runner-up: First World problem First World problem was the People's Choice vote in the 2012 Word of the Year. This has proved to be a much sounder choice than the Committee’s winner that year – phantom vibration syndrome (what?).  Like mansplain, First World problem succinctly sums up a sprawling concept, and makes the surrounding conversation easier and clearer. It’s often used humorously, but, even so, carries an acknowledgement of those far less fortunate. The fact that it scored one of the highest numbers of votes for Word of the Decade indicates that the term and the concept are still relevant. THE BOTTOM LINE They were the top three choices for Word of the Decade. So which were at the other end – the least popular words? share plate Voted in as the People’s Choice in 2014, share plate came a very definite last in the ballot for Word of the Decade. Perhaps the thought of such a thing in the time of COVID sounded such loud alarms and warnings that voters were scared off. phantom vibration syndrome While we still experience the phenomenon of feeling our phones vibrating in our pockets or bags when they aren’t, this name for it really never took off. The Committee chose it as the winner in 2012, but it does seem a little cumbersome. In retrospect, the runner-up crowdfunding would have been a better bet. framily People’s Choice 2017. This one could have been a star – a portmanteau which very neatly describes that group of friends who are so close they could be family. But, while it showed promise early on, it basically failed to launch.
Posted on 27 January 2021

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade shortlist

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade is a celebration of Australian English. The shortlist below features the good, the bad, and the sometimes baffling winners of the last ten Word of the Year competitions as selected by our Committee and as voted for by you.  Check out the shortlist below to see how our language has changed in the past ten years. Which words stuck with you? Which words have fallen out of favour with you? There are twenty-one words in total, so take your time and don't forget to vote for your Word of the Decade! burkini noun a swimsuit designed for Muslim women, comprising leggings and a tunic top with a hood. Also, burqini. cancel culture noun the attitudes within a community which call for or bring about the withdrawal of support from a public figure, such as cancellation of an acting role, a ban on playing an artist's music, removal from social media, etc., usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment. Also, call-out cultureoutrage culture. captain's call noun a decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues.  covidiot noun Colloquial (derogatory) a person who refuses to follow health advice aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19, as by not social distancing, taking part in large gatherings, etc., as well as buying large amounts of perceived staples, especially toilet paper. doomscrolling noun Colloquial the practice of continuing to read news feeds online or on social media, despite the fact that the news is predominantly negative and often upsetting. Also, doomsurfing. –doomscroller  fake news plural noun disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic, the incorrect information being passed along by social media. first world problem noun a problem that relates to the affluent lifestyle associated with the First World, 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.  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; fracking.  framily noun (plural framiliesColloquial a group of people who are not related by blood but who constitute an intimate network.  halal snack pack noun a fast food comprising layers of hot chips, grated cheese, halal doner kebab meat, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce and chilli sauce.   infovore noun a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices.  Karen noun Colloquial (derogatory) (a term used predominantly to refer to a middle-class white woman, often of generation X, who is regarded as having an entitled, condescending and often racist attitude.)  mansplain verb Colloquial (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.  Me Too  adjective of or relating to an accusation of sexual harassment or sexual assault, especially as having occurred at some time in the past and which has since remained undisclosed. milkshake duck noun a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity.  onesie noun a loose-fitting one-piece suit, usually of a stretch fabric, gathered at the wrists and ankles and loose at the crotch.  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 has not. Also, phantom phone vibration syndrome.  robodebt noun a debt owed to the government by a present or past welfare recipient, arising from an overpayment of benefits calculated by an automated process which compares the recipient's income as stated by them to the government with their income as recorded by the taxation authority, a notice of discrepancy being automatically generated. Also, robo-debt.  rona noun Colloquial COVID-19: we met online during the ronarona wrecked their wedding plans. Also, Rona'rona'Rona.  share plate noun a serving in a restaurant designed as multiple small portions so that several diners can share the same dish.  single-use adjective intended for disposal after only one use: single-use plastic bagsingle-use cup.
Posted on 27 January 2021

Vote now for your Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Decade

What will it be? Which word, from those added to the Macquarie over the last decade, will be chosen as the WORD OF THE DECADE? The shortlist is the collection of words which were selected in each of the years from 2011 to 2020 – both the Committee’s Choice and the People’s Choice. The choice of the Word of the Decade will be entirely up to you, the Macquarie community. There will be no Committee’s Choice. Looking back over the decade’s selections, there are words which captured the serious preoccupations of the time, but also a few that were perhaps less earnest, like onesie, share plate and halal snack pack. The words relating to the environment – fracking and single-use – are still front and centre for most of us, but a few words have petered out over the years. Framily didn’t really take off, and phantom vibration syndrome has completely ghosted the party.  There are some that result from a convergence of social issues and social media – Me Too and cancel culture are both social phenomena, but inextricable from the internet, which spread and enabled both. Milkshake duck, which has (surprisingly to some) lasted, and is holding its own, was a comment on the influence of social media, and our engagement with it. Politics has provided some stayers – fake news, captain’s call (the only one that was both the Committee’s and the People’s Choice), and robodebt. And then 2020 provided us with so many new words, thanks to the rona, we had to have two sections. It will be interesting to see if last year still looms so large that the previous years’ words pale into insignificance for the voters. Find the definitions for shortlisted words.  Voting has closed! The winner will be announced on Thursday 4th February.  Word of the Decade shortlist The Committee's Choice winner is on the left, and the People's Choice winner is on the right. 2011   2012   2013   2014   2015 Captain's call was both the Committee's and People's Choice this year. 2016   2017   2018   2019   2020 In 2020, there was a second category created solely for words related to the COVID-19 pandemic.    
Posted on 18 January 2021

Check out that Darwin-rig

Aussie Word of the Week

Fashion! It never goes out of style, that's why this week's Word of the Week is the Darwin rig, more commonly known as a Territory rig. The rig is the peculiar formal dress used in the Top End by men. Essentially, as it is so hot in the Top End, there is no need for a jacket. Territorians replace the tie and collared shirt with an open-necked shirt, and swap out long trousers for shorts and long white socks. Thongs, stubbies and T-shirts are not required. Classy.  This blog has featured Aussie fashion words many times over the years. We have even written about underwear. We just can't help ourselves. Fashion even makes up one of the fifteen categories in our Word of the Year competition. In 2020, the words on the fashion longlist were quite different from the Darwin rig. The list included adaptive clothing, a type of clothing which has been designed to facilitate dressing for someone with a physical or intellectual disability; French tuck: a style of dressing in which the front portion of a shirt, T-shirt, etc., is tucked into the waistband of a skirt or trousers with the rest of the top hanging loose, and period underwear: underpants designed to absorb menstrual blood and prevent leakage, comprising multiple layers which act to wick moisture away from the body, with an impermeable outer layer. With 2021 well under way, we look forward to seeing what's fashionable in Aussie wardrobes this year.  Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.  
Posted on 4 January 2021

Heading down to the bowlo

Aussie Word of the Week

This week we are closing up shop early on our suburban shopping strip and heading across the road to the bowlo for a few schooners and a game of lawn bowls. Chiefly an Eastern states word, bowlo is short for bowling club.  Aussies love pubs and clubs, and why not? You'll find just about everything you need at the local club: a feed, a drink, a meat raffle, and of course a ragtag cover band belting out 80s hits over a dodgy sound system. So what if the carpet is a bit sticky and has one of those patterns that is definitely hiding something, we still book our kid's birthday party at the RSL: the Returned and Services League club or rissole if you like. The RSL has a long history in Australia. First appearing in 1916 as the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, the organisation grew out of the spirit of camaraderie and concern for the welfare of fellow servicemen during and after World War I. As with the RSL, many Aussie clubs are associated with societal groups, especially sports clubs. Leagues clubs are any of various clubs run by bodies associated within the Australian Rugby League competition, offering food, drinks, entertainment, and other services to members, such as funding junior teams. These are also a particularly fun place to be if your team has just won the Grand Final. Add to this a variety of clubs set up by the various immigrant communities who call Australia home, like the Polish Club in Sydney's inner west, and it's clear how much we love our clubs! Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.