by the ANDC team
Photograph of Ned Kelly on the day before his execution
The Oxford Word of the Month is written by members of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and published each month by Oxford University Press Australia. Each Word of the Month looks at an Australian word or term in some detail, providing a history of the term and its role in current Australian society. If you wish to receive Word of the Month by email you can subscribe at the Oxford University Press Australia website.
Our Word of the Month for March 2015 is ‘Ned Kelly beard’: a full beard. Like many men of the late 19th century, Australia’s most famous bushranger Ned Kelly sported a large bushy beard. In recent times the full beard has made a comeback in Australia, and so has the term ‘Ned Kelly beard’ which is first recorded from the 1930s. You can read the full Word of the Month in PDF form on our website or read it in an online format.
Each year the ANDC selects a Word of the Year. The words chosen for the shortlist are not necessarily new, or exclusively Australian, but are selected on the basis of having come to some prominence in the Australian social and cultural landscape during the year. This year one word stood out for its presence in Australian politics and the media. We have selected shirtfront as our Word of the Year 2014.
shirtfront ‘in figurative use, to challenge or confront a person’.
Prime Minster Abbott and President Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane
Shirtfront is transferred from a term used in Australian Rules football, where it refers to a type of hip-and-shoulder bump of an opponent, and is also found in Rugby, where it refers to grabbing an opponent’s jersey. Prime Minister Tony Abbott used the word in a press conference when asked whether he would raise the issue of the downing of flight MH17 with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Continue reading