Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Bestie to Boyzillian, It's All by the Book; Changing Nature of Australian Vernacular Is Represented in Newest Dictionary Edition

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Bestie to Boyzillian, It's All by the Book; Changing Nature of Australian Vernacular Is Represented in Newest Dictionary Edition

Article excerpt

SKINNY jeans, besties and the boyzillian wax have made the cut in the latest edition of the Macquarie Dictionary.

The dictionary's editor, Sue Butler, has selected 5000 new words for the book's fifth edition, released this month, and admits some of the more colloquial ones aren't in her everyday vernacular.

"Lace eyelashes (decorative false eyelashes) and skinny jeans and ear gauging (an ear piercing that stretches the earlobes) and boyzillian waxes (a Brazilian for men) might not be something I have in my personal experience," she says from her Sydney office.

"But I am quite confident that there is a younger community out there that's perfectly familiar with them all."

She says the biggest growth areas in Australian vocabulary over the past five years are in technology ("to Google"), fashion ("mouth grills") and environment, with the introduction of 14 new "eco" words such as "eco house", "ecocentrism" and "ecolabel".

Butler, who has been on the Macquarie Dictionary team since 1970, has spent the past five years working on the fifth edition with a team of six researchers, scouting new words for the 1952 pages.

"We keep a little notebook, a computer notebook these days, and jot down all the sorts of things that we find reading the paper, listening to the news, listening to the radio, listening to people at parties, listening to conversations," she says.

"Almost anything that you encounter can present you with a possibility for a word that ought to be in the dictionary.

"After that I have the fun of going through this rat bag of possibilities and sorting out the ones which I think are truly dictionary entries."

Butler has to consider if "you can't guess their meaning" and how widespread the use is within the community or a specific interest group or demographic.

To make room for the new words, Butler only culled one word from the hefty book -"finnan haddock"- a haddock from Findhorn, a fishing port in Scotland.

"In the big dictionary we would very, very rarely cull," she says. …

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