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THE NINTH EDITION of the Macquarie Dictionary has just been released and includes over 3,000 new entries, including ‘situationship’, ‘pyrocumulonimbus’ and the stunningly effective, ‘goblin mode’.

These exciting new words and phrases are a testament to the fact that language is constantly evolving, with global events, pop cultural moments and scientific and technological breakthroughs all informing our expanding vocabulary.

Macquarie’s managing editor, Victoria Morgan says editors found the new words and phrases “in absolutely everything”.

“The main role of the editors who work for the dictionary is to always have our eyes open,” Morgan says. “It doesn’t matter whether we’re reading or watching or listening to something for pleasure, or for work. Anything that just seems a little bit unfamiliar, we’ll jot it down and research later.”

To be honest, this sounds like a heck of a job, essentially casting the dictionary’s editors as society’s stenographers, rustling about in the bushes with notepads in hand, eavesdropping on conversations behind closed doors, waiting patiently for new semantic jewels to be uttered:

“Dude, where’s this going? You never talk about the future. You don’t even call me your girlfriend to your mates.”

At this point the dictionary editor’s ears begin to prick up, sensing something momentous is brewing.

“You’re just happy to come over when you feel like sex. We never go on dates.”

The editor is now feverish with excitement, their pen hovering above their notepad, willing the new word to be spoken into existence.

“Damn it, Kevin, I’m tired of being in a situationship.”

Bingo! The editor jots it down before jumping on the phone to Morgan.

“Morgs, I’ve got one. You’re going to love it. It’s a new noun to describe when two people are in an undefined (well until now, haha, right boss) relationship that lacks commitment.”

Morgan: “Great field work, 77. I think the ninth edition is now complete!”

Of course, that’s probably not how new words are catalogued (or an accurate representation of Macquarie’s work practices) but it is certainly true that new words are being uttered all the time, many of them harvested on social media platforms and thrust after hashtags: ‘barbiecore’, for example, sounds like an internet creation if ever there was one.

It must be thrilling then, if you are the person who first uttered a word or stuck a hashtag in front of it. You coin a phrase, let it drift out into the vast ocean of speech and text, and then one glorious day it comes back to you. The problem is the ocean of words is so vast that you can never truly be sure if you were the word or phrase’s originator or if the collective hive mind saw it spring up from multiple sources at once. In any case, the sad reality for most of us is that you attempt to get a word off the ground and it goes nowhere: “Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen”.  

The criteria for a word to be eligible to make the Macquarie Dictionary is that it “fills a hole” in vocabulary and is widely used in Australian English. In that spirit, let’s try putting a few of these new words into practice.

But before we do, here’s my attempt to make a phrase ‘happen’: ‘dot-death’. The anxiety of waiting for someone to respond to a message. You see the dots then nothing. You die inside. Word to Morgan and her team—time of first use: 11.42am, 8/9/23,

Barbiecore I Warner Bros

Words to the wise


A fashion characterised by an all-pink colour palette, especially bright pink.

Acceptable usage: “Look at Jeanette. Bitch has gone full barbiecore today.”

Goblin mode

A pattern of behaviour characterised by an embrace of indolence and slovenliness.

Appropriate usage: “I was in full goblin mode on Friday night. Had a bag of Doritos and a six-pack and just mainlined Fisk.”


A breakdown in one’s mental health.

Ironic use: “I went totally menty-b after the Matildas lost to England”.


A cumulonimbus forms above a source of intense heat, such as a bushfire or volcanic eruption.

Correct usage: “Dude, did you see that Pyrocumulonimbus on the news last night. Was hectic, hey.”

Words like this, which brim with destructive potency and make you sound clever, are also ripe for ironic usage: “Man, Mrs Wilcox lost her shit in English yesterday. I thought a fuckin’ pyrocumulonimbus was going to come out of her head”.


Insomnia thought to be caused by a preoccupation with obtaining the amount and quality of sleep recommended by a sleep-tracking device, often resulting in anxiety, which can in turn adversely affect sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep.

Appropriate usage: “I’m throwing my sleep tracker out. It’s just not worth the orthosomnia I’m getting”.


The practice of continuing to read news feeds online or on social media, despite the fact that the news is predominantly negative and often upsetting.

Appropriate usage: “So, here’s the plan. I’m going to unpack the shopping, put the dinner on for the kids, which should give me about 15-20 minutes to doomscroll before we have to leave.”

Net zero

An adjective resulting in an even balance of something specified after all calculations have been made.

Unacceptable usage: “You paid me back for that dark web shipment. I gave you 200 grand for that hit on the local councillor’s office, so I think we’re at a net zero”.


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