Buzzword Bingo: Word of the Year
Word of the Year, aka WOTY

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If you want to change the way people think, teach them a few carefully chosen new words.
- Learning Notebook

WOTY, aka the Word of the Year, is given by various organizations and highlight language which reflect the popular discourse. This guide features our growing collection of contemporary buzzwords. We also highlight the competitions from the American Dialect Society, the Macquarie Dictionary and others.

Headlines 2017

Ron Mader: My favorite #woty is #macqwoty.

Macquarie Dictionary will be announcing its Word of the Year January 25, 2017. "We let the year end before we decide that our haul of new words is finished. We have a basic policy that all the candidates are drawn from words which have been selected and researched and written into the dictionary during the year, so there is no doubt that our words are real words and have been accepted into the dictionary. We do sort them into common categories because it is easier to comprehend than one long list, but apart from that we let the words speak for themselves."
Twitter: @MacqDictionary


Headlines 2016

Headlines 2015

Our Favorite WOTY Competition

My personal favorite Word of the Year competition? Easily the one with online voting: Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year wisely waits until the start of the following year to assess what gained traction in the previous 12 months. What's found on the deep dive are linguistic treasures and a snapshot not only of 2015 but the year to come as unfamiliar words gain currency. Here's the English language in motion.

What I love about #macqwoty is its embrace of global culture and local Aussie heritage. It's difficult to understand the country's political turmoil of 2015 without understanding former PM Abott's embrace of the captain's call. I wish the committee would include the year's most used hashtags. #Libspill was outstanding political entertainment.

Personal faves:

Captain's Call = Decision made by a political or business leader without consultation with colleagues.

Deso = Designated driver.

Ex Situ Conservation = Conservation process by which animals or plants threatened with extinction in their native habitat are preserved by removing them to zoos, captive breeding programs, botanical gardens, aquariums, or by storing their genes in a gene bank.

Fridge-to-fridge party = Party in which participants ride on bicycles from one home to another, consuming alcoholic drinks stocked in the fridge at each location.

Impact Investing = Investing in companies which will have a beneficial impact on the public good as well as generating a financial return for the investor.

Medical Detection Dog = Dog trained to respond to body odours which are indicative of the presence of cancer, the effects of diabetes.

Selfie Drone = Drone quipped with a camera so that it can take photographs and videos from the air of the owner posing or performing various actions.

Among my favorites: Canned Hunting, Cat Cafe, Crash Grazing, Dog Surfing, Green Electricity, Greylisting, Lifehacking, Mansplain, Microplastics, Share Plate, Typosquatting, Voluntold, Wikiwash

Warning: once you start voting, you cannot click backwards. The Interface is old school, but who am I to complain?


crash grazing
/ˈkræʃ greɪzɪŋ/ (say 'krash grayzing)
noun a system of grazing animals on small sections of available land for short periods in rotation, each section being given six months to a year to recover, the benefit being better pasture and improved soil with better water retention.
/ˈwɪkiwɒʃ/ (say 'wikeewosh)
verb (t) 1. to edit (an article on Wikipedia) to suit one's particular purposes, as for self-promotion or advocacy.
–verb (i) 2. to edit Wikipedia in such a way.
General Interest
cat cafe
/kæt kæˈfeɪ/ (say kat ka'fay)
noun a cafe which provides, in addition to the usual cafe fare, a number of cats with which the customers may interact.
Social Interest
/ˈlaɪfhækɪŋ/ (say 'luyfhaking)
noun the application of strategies or shortcuts used to simplify or improve any aspect of one's life.
–lifehacker, noun
/ˈpæntsə/ (say 'pantsuh)
noun a fiction writer who does not work to a plot or outline but improvises freely (opposed to the plotterwho works out the structure in advance).
[from the phrase fly by the seat of one's pants]
Eating and Drinking
share plate
/ˈʃɛə pleɪt/ (say 'shair playt)
noun a serving in a restaurant designed as multiple small portions so that several diners can share the same dish.
/ˈgreɪlɪstɪŋ/ (say 'graylisting)
noun a method of dealing with spam emails, in which emails are temporarily rejected if they are from a sender that is not recognised, on the basis that legitimate emails will be resent by the original sender, spam email usually being sent only once.
canned hunting
/kænd ˈhʌntɪŋ/ (say kand 'hunting)
noun trophy hunting for animals kept in a restricted area to increase the chance that the hunter will obtain a kill; banned or restricted in some countries.
[the ease of killing an animal likened to the ease of having food delivered in a CAN²]
/ˈmænspleɪn/ (say 'mansplayn)
verb (t) 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.
[MAN + (EX)PLAIN with s inserted to create a pronunciation link with explain]
–mansplaining, noun
/maɪkroʊˈplæstɪks/ (say muykroh'plastiks)
plural noun small particles of plastic in the environment, formed as larger plastic items degrade; considered to be a particular threat in the marine environment where they enter the food chain as fish eat them.
/prəˈkɛəriət/ (say pruh'kaireeuht)
noun a social class comprising people whose lives lack security and predictability, particularly in relation to jobs, income and material wellbeing.
dash cam
/ˈdæʃ kæm/ (say 'dash kam)
noun a camera installed on the dashboard of a motor vehicle, designed to video the road ahead, in particular to provide evidence in the event of an accident.

Twitter: @MacqDictionary
Hashtags: #MacqWOTY #WOTY

Headlines 2014 - @bgzimmer

Headlines 2013

Wörter des Jahres 2013 dubs ‘privacy’ their word of the year. But visiting their homepage sets 90 cookies,0,4438774.story,0,4519626.story

Headlines 2012

American Dialect - Twitter
Nominations for Words of the Year can be submitted all year long to All previous winners are listed here.
American Dialect Society - “Hashtag” is the 2012 Word of the Year
WOTY - Wikipedia
Urban Dictionary

New Words

Macquarie Dictionary hosts an annual Word of the Year competition.
Twitter: @MacqDictionary

Word of the Year, 2012 - Blog
Word of the Year, 2011
Word of the Year, 2010 - Blog
Word of the Year, 2009
Word of the Year, 2008
Word of the Year, 2007
Word of the Year, 2006

Macquarie also features the Aussie Word of the Week

Among the favorites we've incorporated into our vocabulary:

food mile - a unit of measurement of the distance which a food product has to travel before it reaches the place where it is consumed; regarded as a measure of sustainable development, since the fewer food miles a product travels the fewer harmful effects it has on the environment.

slow travel - travel conducted at a slow pace to enjoy more fully the places visited and the people met or such travel seen as environmentally friendly through its lack of reliance on air transport. [modelled on slow food]

digital native - a person who grows up using digital media and communications systems, and thus has complete familiarity with them.

digital detox
/dɪdʒətl ˈditɒks/ (say dijuhtl 'deetoks)
noun a period during which an individual refrains from using digital devices, to reduce dependency, promote good health, etc.

/rifəˈtɒgrəfi/ (say reefuh'togruhfee)
noun a genre of photography, particularly online, in which a photograph from an earlier period is lined up beside a contemporary photograph in the same location, or one in which the subjects dress in the same way and reproduce the surrounds of the original photograph; now-and-then photography.

undorse: 1. to make public one's negative opinion of a politician, cause, product, etc #macqWOTY

2013 WOTY

Word of the Year 2013

Showrooming, freedom camping, eye tracking, one-punch law, yolo or mud run? This is just a taste of the new entries for 2013.
The time to vote for the 2013 Word of the Year is here!
Voting for the annual Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year closes at midnight 31st January 2014. Last year's winners were 'phantom vibration syndrome' and 'First World problem'. What will this year's winners be? Read more...
Vote now!