Macquarie Dictionary has revealed its Word of the Year 2022 to be ‘teal’.
The committee also named ‘truth-telling’ as a runner-up word.
And the popular People’s Choice Word of the Year went to ‘bachelor’s handbag’, a term that many people are only learning about now despite buying the item many times.
We all know teal is a colour, and it’s the word’s political connection that led to its top honour thanks to us all getting out and voting this year.
The Macquarie Dictionary defines teal as: “An independent political candidate who holds generally ideologically moderate views, but who supports strong action regarding environmental and climate action policies, and the prioritising of integrity in politics (so called as many of the candidates use the colour teal in their electoral material)”.
“It’s hard to go past teal as an emblem of Australia’s political landscape in 2022,” the committee said. “It’s not a brand-new word, but it is a brand-new sense that no-one saw coming.”
A runner-up word
The committee also chose a runner-up word for the first time in Word of the Year history: ‘truth-telling’.
“With increased discussion of the First Nations Voice to Parliament, there is a sharp focus on the need for clear, unembellished truth-telling about our past,” the committee said.
“Teal embodies the year that’s been, and truth-telling is the year that’s to come – let’s hope that’s the case. They’re both really important concepts, central to Australian culture and politics.”
People’s Choice Word of the Year
While a committee of word gurus selects the Word of the Year, the Australian public gets to vote for the People’s Choice Word of the Year.
This year, after a record-breaking number of votes, Aussies chose ‘bachelor’s handbag’ – a takeaway roast chicken – as their favourite word.
The term comes from the fact that you don’t need to do any further food prep to eat a takeaway roast chook, so it’s an easy meal for a single person. And the plastic bag with its handle resembles a handbag.
The committee described the word as “a funny, clever coinage – so quintessentially Australian, summing up the role of a BBQ chook perfectly”.
The committee also highlighted three words from the shortlist that could have also easily defined our 2022. The first was bachelor’s handbag, spicy cough (a fun colloquial term for covid) and goblin mode (embracing indolence and slovenliness, so as to appear like a goblin).
Teal won out of a shortlist of 19 words that included barbiecore (wearing an all-pink outfit, just like Barbie), quiet quitting (only doing the tasks in your job description and only working the hours you’re paid to do) and yassify (to apply multiple filters to a photo to make yourself look more glamorous and beautiful).