The 2012 word of the year is 'green-on-blue'

THE word of the year for 2012 was green-on-blue, followed closely by brotox, fossil farming, qubit and fourth age, the Australian National Dictionary Centre said on Tuesday.

Based at the Australian National University, the dictionary centre includes a team of English and social science experts who edit Australian dictionaries for the Oxford University Press.

The centre chooses their top words or phrases each year, based in the increased use of the terms in popular Australian culture.

Centre director Dr Amanda Laugesen said military conflicts had historically created many words which entered the Australian vernacular, including digger and Anzac.

She said the term "green-on-blue", while not exclusively Australian, came to prominence this year due to the number of Australian soldiers who were killed in such attacks.

"In these circumstances we felt it appropriate to recognise what has undeniably become a part of our national consciousness, our history and our language, especially amongst younger generations," she said.

Other words like qubit and brotox, were short-listed for the Word of the Year, based on a rise in their usage in Australian society.

She said a team of Australian scientists had this year made a major breakthrough in creating a quantum computer, which would use qubits, or "quantum piece of information".

"The issue of drugs - in particular, the abuse of prescription drugs - has led to the term fossil farming, which denotes the activity of buying prescription drugs from elderly people for personal use or illegal sale," Dr Laugesen said.

Australia's ageing demographic has seen fourth age, people aged 85 and over, begin to be spoken about in the media.

Dr Laugesen said while the term brotox - or the use of botox by men - had been around since 2011, it grew in popularity this year, in part due to Australian's growing fascination with the "ongoing transformation of Shane Warne".

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