25 November 2022

So hue knew teal would be the word ... of the year?

| Sally Hopman
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Teal description

For the National Australian Dictionary Centre, there was no other word of the year than teal. Photo: Macquarie Dictionary.

Grease used to be the word but as time slips by, we’ve had to latch on to others – words that mean or say something about our times.

The latest is teal. Yes, it was the word during the federal election campaign and it made for some colourful exchanges between politicians old and new when the former lost so many of their jobs to the shiny, bright independent souls.

Thanks to the Australian National Dictionary Centre and its Word of the Year competition, teal is back – in living colour.

Who knew it had all that was required to draw out such a title, especially when you consider it also means a sort of duck with a stripe on its head. But who are we to argue with a dictionary? Cleary not a pedant.

READ ALSO ANU draws on colourful election campaign for word of the year

So how do they come up with Word of the Year. Do they pick letters out of a bucket and yell out “winner” when the letters actually make some sense? I have got to say that some of the other words on the list were slightly dodgy. Or maybe just my age (150 at last abacus count) is showing.

So who among you, particularly who actually remembers what an abacus is, has ever heard of the word “eshay”? Come on, be honest.

It could almost be the sound someone makes when they sneeze, but we’re probably just grasping at tissues here. Apparently it means a young man who is part of a group, associated with, shock/horror, anti-social behaviour. But wait, there’s more. Turns out said youth also wears a certain brand label when he’s being so anti-social.

And to think that was on the shortlist for 2022 Word of the Year. Words fail me.

Duck

No, not this one. We’re talking the colour blue/green, worn on a lot of t-shirts during the last federal election. This one prefers to duck out of the spotlight and make a splash elsewhere. Photo: File.

Another of the contenders was “quiet quitting” (of an employee) – the brackets are so helpful explaining this one. A quiet quitter is someone who opts not to call their boss what they’d really like to call their boss and only ever does enough work to not get sacked. Clearly they deserve the silent treatment.

Given the choice, my vote for Word of the Year would go to something more onomatopoeiac, clearly because I’m a, duh, sesquipedalian.

READ ALSO When it comes to telling a good yarn, words are only part of the story

No, I really am. And it’s OK, it’s not contagious. Being onomatopoeiac, I love words that sound like what they are – slush, mush and … boing. (Particularly boing because it bounces so easily off the tongue – and right across the room).

But if it has to come down to one word, the word, my vote would go to sesquipedalian – a person who uses long words, or so you would have thought. Us wordsmith-types are never satisfied/pleased, contented/at peace with the world/placated …

Until, that is, we come across the Best. Word. Ever. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia, which means, clearly, a fear of really long words.

Who knew?

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Stephen Saunders5:52 pm 27 Nov 22

Teal – Noun Politics – “A rich and entitled political candidate who is a slight variation on the Green shade, supporting strong UN climate and environment gestures, but also supporting unsustainable population growth, in chronically under-serviced suburbs miles from the candidate’s residence.”

Capital Retro10:30 pm 27 Nov 22

…..with massive electoral funding from renewable energy business promoters.

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