Macquarie Dictionary


Word of the Year 2011

The Committee’s choice of Word of the Year 2011 is:


noun a swimsuit designed for Muslim women, comprising leggings and a tunic top with a hood.

[Trademark; burq(a) + (bik)ini]


Burqini seemed to be a very cute and successful coinage and what lay behind it was a fusion of culture, in an area of life which is so Australian… life on the beach.” – Susan Butler, Editor of Macquarie Dictionary


“As a wordsmith I am delighted by a word that has a Q without U and ends with an I.” – David Astle


The Committee would like to give honourable mention to:


patchwork economy

noun an economy characterised by areas of growth reflecting regions which are booming, and areas of decline reflecting regions which are less prosperous.

[patchwork + economy]



noun the productivity of a cow in terms of the quality and quantity of its milk, assessed by udder shape and size, pedigree, genomic screening, etc.; used as a judging criterion in competitions.



noun Politics an item made public by a government, usually in a media release, as good publicity for the government or as a distraction from bad publicity.


The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee comprises:

Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney
Professor Stephen Garton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
David Astle, crossword compiler and word enthusiast
Les Murray, renowned Australian poet
Susan Butler, Publisher of the Macquarie Dictionary


The People’s Choice Award for 2011 goes to:


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; hydraulic fracturing.

[shortened form of fracturing


Category winners:

Agriculture dairyness
Arts beatboxing
Business patchwork economy
Colloquial devo
Communications disaster porn
Crops superfruit
Eating and drinking food porn
Environment fracking
Fashion burqini
General Interest photobomb
Health food coma
Internet planking
Politics soy cap intelligentsia
Social Interest party house
Sport stair climb
Technology jailbreak

Download the pdf below to view all the entries considered for Word of the Year 2011.

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