Words of the Year for 2010

Macquarie Dictionary is reviewing the words of 2011 and asking for people to vote on their favourite word of the year. The list makes for a fascinating picture of what interested us in the last 12 months as well as introducing a few playful expressions to your vocabulary.

We were surprised to learn that koala ears has little to do with the marsupial. With two definitions: “thick tufts of hair growing over the ears, especially those occurring when a hairstyle is growing out” and perhaps more disturbingly “patches of pubic hair protruding from the leg openings of a swimming costume or underwear”.

Masterchef has had an impact with the verb “plate up” (meaning “to arrange (food) on an individual plate or plates for serving: to plate up the main course”) earning a place alongside the facetious corkage replacement: “screwage” (“a charge made by a restaurant, etc., for serving liquor not supplied by the house, but brought in by the customers”).

But the areas of technology and computing yield the most additions to our lexicon. In 2010 many of us found our “googleganger” (“a person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one’s own among search results for one’s name”), while the volume of communication gave us “email fatigue” (“the sense of being overwhelmed by a high volume of incoming emails, resulting in an inability to deal with them effectively”). As it’s Friday you might also want to mention at the water cooler that you’re feeling lowbat - referring both to low batteries in your mobile, but more fun with the colloquial definition: “Colloquial tired or exhausted: I was lowbat for days after the party”.

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