Words from our Word Box: update 9

Click on the logo to go the Word Box page

Click on the logo to go to the Word Box page

by the ANDC team

This is the final update for 2014 on contributions to our Word Box, the website feature you can use to alert us to new or unfamiliar words and phrases. These contributions allow us to identify new material for our archive of Australian words, and also for our general Australian Oxford dictionaries. We encourage you to contribute—just click on the Word Box image to the left to post your word. A few of the more interesting contributions from the last three months are discussed below; some are new to us, and some we already know. We welcome any comments about your understanding or experience of these words. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Word Box this year.


brinner – an evening meal that consists of food traditionally eaten for breakfast. This term is a blend of ‘breakfast’ and ‘dinner’, following the pattern of ‘brunch’ (a blend of ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’). The term has become popular as dining habits have changed, and meals including eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns can now be found on the evening menu of some restaurants and cafes. There is evidence for brinner from 2005, but its use has increased in 2014.


Eshays and lads unite

eshay – a member of a youth sub-culture, often associated with Sydney’s western suburbs, and characterised by the wearing of polo shirts, peaked caps, and brand labels such as Nike, Nautica, and Adidas. This term has a number of meanings, some of which are hard to pin down. While it can refer to an individual it is also used by eshays to mean ‘yes’, ‘cool’, or ‘session’ (in the sense of a drinking or smoking session). Some commentators have suggested that eshay is a pig Latin corruption of ‘yes’, but it could equally be a pig Latin corruption of ‘session’. Evidence for the term can be found in the media from 2009. A Sydney Morning Herald article from 2010 provides a good summary of ‘tribal’ groupings in Sydney, and more information on eshay.

gustnado – a tornado-like storm formed by strong gusts of wind. A blend of ‘gust’ and ‘tornado’, a gustnado has the cylindrical, twisting appearance of a tornado, but is weaker, less damaging, and shorter-lived. In November a gustnado associated with severe storm activity hit the town of South Ripley, Queensland. The term first appears in 1985.

lawnmower parent – a parent who actively removes personal and social obstacles in the way of their child’s success. This term is influenced by the older term helicopter parent, with the ‘lawnmower’ element emphasising a parent’s role in clearing a path for the child.  Lawnmower parent is found frequently on parenting blogs, and while the term is not exclusively Australian, it does appear early and frequently in Australian sources, from 2010.

One example of the lumbersexual look

One example of the lumbersexual look

lumbersexual – a young urban male who affects a rugged look, wearing a check shirt and a beard. The term has appeared very recently and is modelled on the word ‘metrosexual‘, although the lumbersexual’s adoption of a traditionally working-class, blokey look is in contrast to the city style of the metrosexual. The ‘lumber’ element is derived from ‘lumberjack’, a North American word for a timber worker, frequently associated with check shirts and jackets as workwear. The first evidence for lumbersexual occurs in 2014.

mun – a male hairstyle where the hair is drawn back into a coil or knot at the back of the head. This term is a blend of another neologism, ‘man-bun’, which has become a popular hairstyle recently, and made the ANDC Word of the Year shortlist. Celebrities who sport the mun include actors Chris Hemsworth, Orlando Bloom, and Leonardo DiCaprio. There is evidence for mun from 2013, including the following observation on its popularity:

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth sporting a mun

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth sporting a mun

If hairstyles could fall under the category of invasive species, the mun certainly would fit the definition. Would the men of Boston really gather up their locks like a harried ballerina and pin it to the back of their heads? … But a trip to Manhattan and Brooklyn last week confirmed my fears. The mun had spread from a few early adopters to a wide swath of the city. This eyesore seemed to be moving through New York faster than the zombies in ‘World War Z’. (Boston Globe, 4 July)

twitchfork mob – an aggressive campaign via Twitter expressing hostility towards, or anger about, a person or issue. Twitchfork is a blend of ‘Twitter’ and ‘pitchfork’. The pitchfork is traditionally associated (as a weapon of choice) with an unthinking, angry mob baying for blood. Today’s twitchfork mob can range from an organised protest against a multinational company, to a personal attack by fans on an individual who has criticised a popular artist or celebrity. Twitchfork mob first appears in print in 2011.pitchfork mob