The Meeting Place

And Macquarie Dictionary's 'word' of the year is ...

Macquarie Dictionary has announced its 2019 ‘word’ of the year – cancel culture.

The dictionary describes  cancel culture as “the attitudes within a community which call for or bring about the withdrawal of support from a public figure”.

“In a way, it’s an attempt to wipe them out, as a punishment,” says Victoria Morgan, senior editor of Macquarie Dictionary.

“If you're a musician, it could be taking your music off a streaming service or radio station.”

Macquarie’s word of the year committee says cancel culture is “an attitude which is so pervasive that it now has a name. Society’s cancel culture has become, for better or worse, a powerful force.”

It says the term is also known as “callout culture” or “outrage culture”. Sometimes, it involves intense criticism for things celebrities have said or done in the past, such as an offensive tweet.

Honourable mentions went to ngangkari, an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine; eco-anxiety, feelings of distress and fear brought on by the effects of climate change, and thicc, curvaceous, voluptuous.

You can vote from the following words for the people’s choice word of the year:

Anecdata – information presented as if it were based on systematic research, but which is actually based on personal observation or experience

Cleanskin – someone without any tattoos

Healthwashing – the marketing practice of presenting a food brand or product as being more nutritious or wholesome than it actually is

Robodebt – a debt owed to the government by a welfare recipient, arising from an overpayment of benefits calculated by an automated process, a debt recovery notice being automatically generated and sent to the welfare recipient

Big minutes – a period of time spent by a player on the field, court, etc, during which they maximise their impact, having a substantial effect on the game

Drought lot – a type of sacrifice paddock in which livestock are kept with provisions of water and feed, the confinement allowing the stock to maintain their condition while pasture paddocks can recover more quickly, and erosion damage can be minimised in periods of drought

Hedonometer – an algorithm using language data to analyse levels of happiness, especially data from the social media platform Twitter

Silkpunk – a subgenre of science-fiction which draws on Asian history and culture for setting and aesthetic Cancel culture

Eco-anxiety – feelings of distress and fear brought on by the effects of climate change

Mukbang – a broadcast streamed online in which someone films themselves eating, often a large amount, and speaking to their audience.

Thicc – curvaceous, voluptuous

Cheese slaw – coleslaw to which grated cheese has been added

Flight shaming – criticism or ridicule directed at someone travelling by air because of the carbon emissions produced by such travel

Ngangkari – an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine

Whataboutism – a technique used in responding to an accusation, criticism or difficult question, in which an opposing accusation or criticism raised

Last year’s winner was ‘me too’ and in 2017 the word of the year was ‘milkshake duck’.


Maybe I'm missing something but isn't that two words?

Yep, you are right. It is two words and they need to change to "Word or Words" in their adverts.


You will also find that the term cleanskin, has for a long time, been a reference to a person with no criminal record. Luckily, I don't know anybody that would use any of the above co-existing words. If they did I would immediately switch off and go and talk to some who knows a little more about the English language and can use big boy words and not hobbled together nonsense.

My favourite word from the list is 'cleanskin' as i uaually dislike most multiple tattoos ugly and not at all attractive.

And the word Ngangkari is the Pitjantjatjara [and related Western Desert Aboriginal languages] for a traditional healer - who does lots more than just bush medicine.   

Personally I rather like 'whataboutism', I see that in practice frequently.  Also referred to by some as 'look over there' - a common diversion tactic.



Thought cleanskin was already in use for people without a crim record. Like hedonometer - wonder if the adjective is hedonistic?

Cleanskin is also the name given to a wine with no labels on the bottle Reag. Cheap plonk.

Ngangkari is a good word.

My favourite would have to be

" Anecdata – information presented as if it were based on systematic research, but which is actually based on personal observation or experience"

Regular use by media then call it evidence for news

Anecdata is rife on this forum! 

It will be very interesting to see how the non-cleanskins (people with multiple tattoos) will look when they are older. Tattoos have a tendency to become quite blurred on ageing skin. I have seen quite a few elderly sailors of World War II vintage with anchors and other symbols tattooed on their arm which now look like indistinct blobs. Those with multiple tattoos nowadays always look dirty or massively bruised to me.

  Good one Horace !!

I must have no life, I've never heard of any of these words except Robodebt, which I wish I hadn't.

Are we sure they don't just make them up to have something to add to the dictionary?  At least none of them are text speak.


My favourite is "anecdata" and I can't resist indulging in a little bit of history!

Both anecdata and anecdota are cousins of anecdote, a 17th-century loanword from French that goes back to the Greek word anecdoton, meaning “something unpublished”. The earliest English citations have it in the plural form anecdota and glossed as “secret history/histories” (Oxford English Dictionary online). In the modern scientific paradigm, anecdotes (or anecdota) are not highly regarded because they provide only a limited a basis of evidence.

The late 20th-century variant anecdata carries similarly negative connotations in learners’ resources such as the Longman Dictionary online: it defines anecdata as information that is “based on what someone thinks but cannot prove”. The earliest citation for anecdata (1992) dubs it “a journalist’s approach to reality” – associating it with low- rather than high-quality journalism.

Yet anecdata can also be used affirmatively, as by the American website,establishedto “crowd-source data readings and anecdotal reports about our changing climate”. Vital observations of shifting seasonal patterns and life cycles of plants and animals in specific locations can be made by farmers, orchardists and wine-growers, whose livelihoods depend on natural cycles and coincidences between them. Scientific discoveries have often emerged through serendipity, i.eby “accident and sagacity” (Horace Walpole 1754). Individual observations, when pooled as anecdata, become multifaceted evidence that could scarcely be obtained by experimental methods.

Very interesting read Sophie. So it's not a new word at all!

I wish more Aboriginal words would appear in our dictionaries.

Surely the word of the year should be "taboola".


A little bit of history. Amazing how new words and expressions creep/bust into our language LOL.

The following is the list of winning words since the Macquarie Word of the Year first began in 2006: