Chloe Crossing, 13, of Lismore, loves learning new words.
Chloe Crossing, 13, of Lismore, loves learning new words. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Macquarie wants a word with you

WAS IT fracking, planking, disaster porn or photobombing?

Voting is now open for the Macquarie Dictionary's word of the year - that bit of jargon or vernacular that has popped up in the past 12 months, giving an insight into our lives and how we define ourselves by the words we use.

Fracking is a strong contender on the Northern Rivers where the opposition is strong to coal-seam gas mining companies fracturing underground rock formations to release and capture the natural gas trapped within.

Or how about pre-commitment technology, where gamblers are recognised by the machines they use, and kept to a limit of expenditure?

Or in business, a "stretch goal" - a goal set high in order to increase the company's productivity?

This has been a year when worldwide, millions of new users started "tweeting" on twitter.com, or they became tweeps - people who follow other's tweets.

Other words recently to come into the language are meggings (mens' leggings), disaster porn (when the media puts horrific or tragic images on a 24-hour loop, and then refers to the events portrayed as an "unspeakable tragedy" after they've been speaking of little else for days), guyliner (mens' eye make-up), and thongage (a surcharge on thong-wearing patrons at restaurants, intended to deter them).

The word of the year quest began in 2004. Macquarie Dictionary editor Susan Butler told The Northern Star she was hoping to attract a record number of votes this year.

"The idea is gaining momentum," she said.

"So many people love words, and many love it when new words come into the language for them to play with.

"We have listed categories so that people can vote for words in many different areas of our lives - from agriculture to the arts, technology, eating and drinking."

It's all on the website, www.macquariedictionary.com.au.

Voting started this week and closes on January 27 at 5pm.



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