This is Australia’s word of the year 232



View Profile

Most world leaders manage to get themselves into the history books through the political acts that they and their parties implement or remove. However our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has taken a slightly different route in the quest for historical significance.

Discussing Vladimir Putin earlier this year, Tony commented that he would ‘shirtfront’ the Russian President later in the year at the G20 Summit in Brisbane.

The comment was in regards to Putin’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis, as well as the handling of the MH17 disaster. “Look, I’m going to shirtfront Mr Putin … you bet you are, you bet I am”, Abbott said in October.

Shirtfronting, usually discussed in matter regarding confrontations in football, has been a well-known phrase for many years. However it was the use of the word in a political context by Tony Abbott that earned the word significant media coverage. For this reason the National Dictionary Centre (NDC) was influenced to crown ‘shirtfront’ as Australia’s word of the year.

“We selected shirtfront because we saw it really dominated the media this year,” said NDC director Amanda Laugeson.

However it wasn’t just news media that did the rounds with this word. Social commentators, educators and comedians have been having a field day with the infamous term, spawning a series of funny images and videos.

Source: Daily Telegraph
Source: Opinion Dominion


In addition, politicians alike have had the term shirtfront on their lips. UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have both been quoted as making light of the term.


That’s not to say that there weren’t a number of other words that the NDC considered for the title.

‘Team Australia’, another phrase used by Tony Abbott, was highly considered for the position. While the word has also been around in sporting terms, it was the Prime Minister that changed the nature of the phrase.

“Tony Abbott is obviously using it in a very particular political context and we’ve seen it be picked up across the media and being referred to”, said Ms Laugeson.

In addition, ‘Ned Kelly Beard’ was also shortlisted as word for the year, which refers to the unkempt bushranger style beard that has become trendy amongst younger men in the previous year.

Source: Checks and Spots

Similarly, ‘man bun’, the top knot type of hairstyle popular in younger men, was considered for the position as well. The haircut has become so famous that it has been affectionately shortened to the term ‘mun’ by fans.

Source: The Guardian


What do you think of this decision? Can you suggest a better alternative to shirtfront? Have you heard of any of the finalists for Australia’s word of the year? Let us know in the comments


Starts at 60 Writers

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

  1. What a big pratt great language for a Prime Minister to use

    3 REPLY
    • A brave Prime Minister… The killing of innocent people in the downing of a commercial Jet was no small thing, neither was it a small thing to confront (shirtfront) the leader of a world power in such a manner…

      Your the man Tony… A great example of a real husband and a real leader…

  2. What a stupid word from a very stupid man. We must have been the laughing stock of the world when he opened his mouth

    16 REPLY
    • mike here-we weren’t when abbott said it but we became when he couldn’t say anything because he had his tongue so far up the others back passage.

    • Tony Abbot has a Degree in Law and Economics and a Road Scholar. I know you are not educated and probably don’t have a job. Go beck to school and learn something, Fool

    • June – Your language is equal to your picture. Try again when you get to six years of age.

    • You should look at yourself before you say someone else is not educated. It is Rhode Scholar not ROAD on which we drive. I am still employed in nursing for your information so back off buddy. If you think your opinion is more relevant than others that’s okay but trying to insult people will get you nowhere. Bully boy tactics are for adolescents not adults

    • Have you ever thought we may have it wrong and he is a ROAD scholar? Just like someone we knew always called himself a “Branch Manager”, he trimmed trees. LOL .

    • education does not mean you are better, it just means you had more opportunity. and being rude to people who make comments is not OK

    • Love it when the ignorant do not understand what “shirtfront” means but still comment negatively about it. Makes me think of all the many times “experienced” journalists pilloried Rudd for using “fair shake of the sauce bottle” because they confused it with “fair suck of the teat” and concatenated them in to “fair suck of the sauce bottle.”

    • Well spoken Joe, the downing of that plane was no small thing… Thank you tony for not being the whimp…

      People grasping at spelling mistakes on FB are short of a quid just like the leftist clowns they vote for!

    • Really John. Are you an educated troll then? That big word just means “linked together” so why not just say this instead of trying to make a point. Bet he had to look the word up himself!! I suppose I could be an educated troll since I have a degree in law, english and economics, but I still think shirt front was the wrong word to use for a MP, especially as he an educated POM.

    • Some spelling mistakes are due to the auto keys being in use and sometimes not noticed until one has pressed the “post” key. I know because it’s happened to me.

    • Walk to the nearest mirror in your home and take a good long hard look at YOURSELF… Your disrespect is reprehensible.. A little research will stand you in good stead.

  3. Next election why don’t YOU lot all throw your hats in the ring? You seem to know all the answers to being a perfect Prime Minister.

    22 REPLY
    • Well, I can proudly say I had no part in voting this idiot into power. And I have helped other politicans get into power and they have done a great job.

    • Deceitful, lying and untrustworthy! What kind of a leader of a country is this? What a total disappointment!

    • She is s not in the minority Denise. The reason n this government couldn’t get anything past the senate is because they didn’t get enough votes to govern in their own right they need the support of labor and or independents. They did not get the majority vote.

    • Hey Denise your making a tool of yourself, do your research and you will find that MP is correct they can’t govern in their own right because not enough people voted for them and anyone would be a better prime minister than that poor excuse for a politician! Pond scum !

    • They had a huge victory in the lower house but not in the upper house. You all call Mr. Abbott names but none of you ever tell us what you would do. I cannot believe you people have so much hate for someone. Why? Because he doesn’t shower you with gifts to buy you off like the previous Government? I’d hate to see how you all run your household budget!!!

    • Emily, my household budget is just fine, and I used to work for the Liberals. I knew many years ago that TA would NOT make a good PM and it’s a pity he and his colleagues ousted Malcolm Turnbull. Sometimes people need to come before money too.

    • Negative lot eh Denise. Why? Just because other people don’t agree with your views. As for being negative, I think Mr Abbott did a very good job of being this when he was in opposition. Now he is having a dose of his own medicine. May be we could get Julia to shirt front him.

    • I agree with you Denise, all this poor bugger is doing is to right the bad decisions of the previous prime minister and my haven’t we all got short memories. Please don’t post negative replies back and don’t be rude

    • No matter how you look at it, the PM is an embarrassment. What an irresponsible thing to say about a world leader. Shirtfront him… What dud he even mean? He certainly didn’t do it and he most definitely had it done to him!!! Cringeworthy!! Mr Winky.

    • Denise K. Caltabiano,
      I agree with you. I, too, am embarrassed by all the absolutely vulgar comments directed at Mr. Abbott.

      Some of the Liberal Party’s financial decisions are tough, but many are necessary, after Labor’s stuff-up! I did NOT agree with the far-too-generous maternity leave payments, though.

      I shake my head, too, at Mothers putting children in child care full-time, from babyhood, which the government often heavily subsidises. When children spend MOST OF THEIR WAKING HOURS in childcare, who is really rearing them? Not the parents! Terribly sad.

      However, if the standard of vulgar talk is anything to go by on this Post, then maybe some children would be better off spending LESS time with their parents!

      Motherhood, itself, is a vocation. What a shame that everything is becoming so commercial and governed by corporations! All about MONEY! Motherhood often regarded as an inconvenience by employers.

      So glad that I was able to be home with my children. Widowed young, but learned to be frugal and not wasteful, managing to hang onto our home and keep it repaired! Under both Liberals and Labor.

    • mike here-I wasn’t invited to the baby making party so why should I be involved in paying for their upbringing.

    • Good thought Denise… Exactly, can you imagine the lives lived by the idiot trolls who post their pathetic arguments on the liberal pages…

      Shut your mouth trolls until the next elections then we will see what all Australians think… once again…

      But every generation will pay for their mistakes which is what I said when they first elected Rudd… Yes and we’re paying and will continue to do so…. BILLIONS of dollars…

      It’s a brave government that must face that debt and DEMAND you go without and live within your means…

      Learn to budget trolls!

    • A start to being a good PM would be to actually tell the truth and treat the people you serve decently and with respect (other than your rich friends of course). That and not being a bumbling idiot who says “shit happens” to a soldier who just lost his mate might also be appropriate. Not that hard really.

  4. He would just about have to go down in history as the worst prime minister ever

    7 REPLY
    • If that was the case why did they all want to attend his funeral. The knew they were farewelling a great man who thought of all the people of Australia and not a select few. No bodt will remember this prime minister for being anything but a LIAR

    • It’s called “Honor and respect” Kathy, no other reason than to be seen doing right… as they would any other person who held the highest position in the land… Oh I forgot perhaps leftards don’t… Pardon me…

      Oh and by the way just in case you weren’t aware, labor are the known BIGGEST liars that ever were in power in this country…

    • Nah, Gillard and Rudd easily much worse that Abbott. Every time those two liars came on the TV I would start swearing blue murder and switch the channel. Have never been so angry at politicians than those two.

    • Whatever you think of Gough Whitlam you could never say he didn’t care about Australia and ALL Australians, unlike the current tyrant. And you might like to note that everything he achieved (Medicare, free unit etc. etc.) all seems to be on Grabbitt’s hit list and he is slowly destroying everything many of us love about this know, looking after the less fortunate. “I’m ok, bugger the rest of you” hasn’t been the Aussie way until now.

  5. I do trust or believe anything any politicians says. Listened to their lies and double talk for years. I do not wish to employ any from any party and that includes independents

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *