More than 2000 Australian words added to Oxford dictionary 18



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As news comes this week that an Australian first coined the term ‘selfie’, it’s no surprise then that a few more of our words could get global recognition.

In the latest update to the Oxford Dictionary, Australian English has taken over, with 2000 new words added. They range from ‘lamington drives’ to ‘magic puddings’ to ‘mushies’ and even ‘savs’.

The awesome update to the revered dictionary shows just how diverse and original our language is.

According to Oxford Dictionaries, “There are many colourful phrases found in Australian English that are not as well known as they were in the past, but that can still be encountered in literature and in the speech of older generations”.

Other phrases that have been added to include: what do you think this is – bush week?; send her down Hughie; rough as gutsblood is worth bottling and the night’s a pup.

So more words included in the update have the suffix ‘kangaroo’ at the beginning, including kangaroo bar; kangaroo dancekangaroo jack and kangaroo route

Happily, our cultural heritage has been shown in the inclusion of more Aboriginal words, with kadaitcha shoes (shoes made of emu feathers which are worn by a kadaitcha man); maban (an Aboriginal healer believed to have spiritual powers); makarrata (an Aboriginal ceremonial ritual symbolising the restoration of peace after a dispute; a treaty or agreement); mindi (in Aboriginal mythology: a creature in the form of a huge snake that brings disease); pukamani pole (a decorated pole used in burial rituals by the Tiwi people of Bathurst and Melville Islands); and wilgie (the pigment red ochre used to paint the body on ceremonial occasions) added to the scholarly book.

Lexicographer Mark Gwynn has compiled a more extensive list in his recent blog.


Tell us: what is your favourite Australian slang term or word? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. what do you think this is – bush week? rough as guts; blood is worth bottling and the night’s a pup. are all old Aussie slang..used them all at one time or another but have never used the Aboriginal terms..yet 🙂

  2. Surely the use of the word kangaroo at the beginning is a prefix. A suffix is added at the end e.g. love lovely

  3. perhaps not added to any dictionary but a phrase that caused all sorts of explanation was when staying with (non English speaking) rellies in Europe and kids( 6 & 7) were being noisy and running around I told them ‘ to go play in middle of road’.

  4. here is a few oldies..stone the crows, he is or she is an ankle biter, she will be apples, bloody oath

  5. Nice to know that Australian slang is now being recognized as part of our languidge

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