Macquarie Dictionary launches its fifth edition

27 October 2009

Ever pondered the true meaning of the global financial crisis? Struggled to understand emissions trading? Confused about Generation Z, who is your bestie or whether or not to buy skinny jeans?

The Macquarie Dictionary Fifth Edition -compiled by an editorial team based at the University of Sydney - may provide some clues.

Launched this week (October 27), the updated edition contains over 5000 new words* that have become part of Australian vernacular since the fourth edition.

The Macquarie Dictionary takes its name from the colonial governor, Lachlan Macquarie, who 200 years ago transformed NSW from a penal colony to a free settlement, planting the seeds for Australia's foundation.

In similar fashion the Macquarie Dictionary has also planted seeds … for the validation of Australian words, creating a permanent record of the linguistic melting pot that is the cultural history of Australia.

Editor and publisher Sue Butler, who is based at the University of Sydney, said the fifth edition is an entertaining, informative reference with a uniquely Australian point of view.

"As the world changes so too does the information become more timely," Ms Butler said.

"The growing concern about climate change has led to an emphasis on the environment, prompting the inclusion of many new words relating to our environment, renewable energy and sustainable development."

A selection of new environmental words in the fifth edition includes baseline-and-credit, biochar, cap-and-trade, climate wars, ecotax, ecowarrior, emissions trading, global warming potential, guerilla gardener, water footprint, wave farm.

New economic related entries include moral hazard, ninja loan, toxic debt and zombie debt.

New words related to popular culture include Boyzilian wax, pimp cup, scene kid, shwopping (combination of shopping and swapping through the internet), and treggings.

Professor Stephen Leeder from the University of Sydney's Institute for Sustainable Solutions commends the Dictionary's Fifth Edition for its environmental focus.

In the Dictionary's Introduction he writes: "In this edition of the Macquarie, words of the vocabulary of climate change have been harvested from the sciences and from general speech and use. This serves a clear social purpose. Confucius, one of the philosophers interested in social organisation and government, argues that if we wish to improve our relationships and patterns of social management then we must first rectify our language."

Since its first publication in 1981 the Macquarie Dictionary has backed Australia's efforts to defeat the cultural cringe. It has lovingly embraced all the new words that continually come to the fore with its annual Macquarie Word of the Year and like an old friend it is trustworthy and loyal to the Australian vernacular.

For the first time the print dictionary is accompanied by a free e-book edition available from the website. A variety of iPhone applications will also be released this year.

The Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2009 will be chosen from the new words in the fifth edition by a committee including the University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence and University of Sydney Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton, and will be announced in February 2010.

For more information visit the Macquarie Dictionary Fifth Edition website.

Media contact: Sarah Stock 02 9114 0748 or 0419 278 715.

* Words in this context include lexical items, which are two or more words combined together to form a singular meaning