Home | Workforce | Strictly speaking (page 6)

Strictly speaking

Shipping

One of the favourite pastimes of fans of a TV or book series is to imagine beloved characters as a romantic couple. For example, Harry Potter and Hermione seemed a natural pairing as they grew to maturity, only for JK ...

More »

HIPSTER

Hipster and hippie/hippy both owe their existence to the older adjective hip/hep meaning “smart”, in its twin senses of “street-wise” and “stylish”.  But the Oxford English Dictionary online notes that the 1976 record for all three entries is currently being ...

More »

A wine by any other name would taste as sweet

The sixth edition of the Macquarie Dictionary has just published and among the many new Australianisms featured is the word apera – derived from aperitif – now the official name for Australian sherry. Wine-naming has long caused controversy. While it’s ...

More »

Twerking, badassery

These two words from American slang came together by coincidence in the Oxford Dictionary Online’s 2013 list of additions to its database.  Neither is exactly new, but they have both suddenly become more prominent in the world of English for ...

More »

Aquamation

The process of disposing of human corpses is not usually considered an area of great innovation. So conservative have we been, in Western societies at any rate, that the now common method of cremation was not officially sanctioned in Australia ...

More »

Scumble and scumball

Visitors to the JMW Turner exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia may come across scumble, a curious word from the C19 art world.  It refers to the technique of applying a thin coating over lighter paint colours, so they ...

More »

Astroturfing

The practice of astroturfing involves an interested party creating the illusion of public support, to push a particular agenda. For example, the alliance of Australian retailers was set up in 2010 as a front for tobacco companies to campaign against ...

More »

2012 Words of the Year

The Macquarie Dictionary recently announced its winners of word (or phrase) of last year. Those chosen by the selection committee and the general public to represent the zeitgeist reflected a similar theme. The committee’s choice was phantom vibration syndrome, or ...

More »

DINKUM

Colloquial words that come from nowhere can be redeployed and radically redesigned in different times and places. Dinkum is one such, which probably originated in C19 Northern English dialects, though in Australia it’s sometimes thought to consist of two Chinese ...

More »

Iron Lady

The recent death of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has given rise to a spate of articles about the Iron Lady’s legacy. This famous nickname was first given to her by the Soviet army magazine Red Star in 1976. ...

More »