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Burqini revealed as Word of the Year 2011


2 February 2012

Burqini has been named Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2011 (image: Flickr, brimfulofsasha)
Burqini has been named Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2011 (image: Flickr, brimfulofsasha)

Nigella Lawson made waves when she wore one at Bondi Beach in 2011; now 'burqini' will be an official part of the Australian vernacular after winning the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year 2011.

Burqini (a swimsuit designed for Muslim women, comprising leggings and a tunic top with a hood) overcame other popular words from 2011 such as planking, superfruit and food porn to be included in the annual update of the Macquarie Dictionary online.

Burqini was chosen because of its representation of Australia's multiculturalism and love of the beach.

"Burqini seemed to be a very cute and successful coinage, and what lay behind it was a fusion of culture in an area of life which is so Australian... life on the beach," said Susan Butler, Editor of Macquarie Dictionary.

Based at the University of Sydney, Macquarie Dictionary is the publisher of Macquarie Dictionary Online, the most up-to-date Australian dictionary available.

"The University of Sydney is a richer place for having the Macquarie Dictionary based here," said Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor of the University. "The 2011 Word of the Year is a wonderful reflection of our multicultural modern Australia."
The winner was chosen by the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee, chaired by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney, Dr Michael Spence. Other committee members included Stephen Garton (Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney), Les Murray (Poet and Fellow of the University of Sydney), Susan Butler (Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary) and David Astle (freelance journalist, Radio National book reviewer and a long-time 'word tragic').

"As a wordsmith I am delighted by a word that has Q without U and ends with an I," said Astle.

The People's Choice Award, which was derived from the online votes of thousands of members of the public, went to 'Fracking'. Fracking is defined as a process in oil and gas mining by which fractures are made in rock by the application under pressure of chemically treated water mixed with sand to natural or man-made openings in order to gain access to oil or gas supplies. The process is considered by some to be associated with groundwater contamination.

Honourable mentions were given to:

  • Patchwork economy: noun an economy characterised by areas of growth reflecting regions which are booming, and areas of decline reflecting regions which are less prosperous.
  • Dairyness: noun the productivity of a cow in terms of the quality and quantity of its milk, assessed by udder shape and size, pedigree, genomic screening, etc.; used as a judging criterion in competitions.
  • Announceable: noun Politics an item made public by the government, usually in a media release, as good publicity for the government or as a distraction from bad publicity.

A full list of category winners, nominated words and their definitions can be found on the Macquarie Dictionary website.

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Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809, katie.szittner@sydney.edu.au