‘Strollout’ named 2021 word of the year by Australian National Dictionary Centre

Damien Larkins 17 November 2021 31
Strollout the Australian word of the year 2021

Strollout has been picked from a range of pandemic-related words in 2021. Photo: Damien Larkins.

The term ‘strollout’ has been picked as Australia’s 2021 word of the year, for capturing the frustrations over the slow pace of our COVID-19 vaccination rollout.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC), based at the Australian National University, chose the word from a long list of pandemic-related terms.

The term is defined as “the slow implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia”.

The ANDC says the word highlighted Australia’s mood in a year once again dominated by the coronavirus.

Centre director Dr Amanda Laugesen says it was inevitable there were many words related to the pandemic.

“These became part of our everyday language,” she says.

“In Australia, the rollout was initially described by political leaders as ‘not a race’. For many Australians, the pace of the rollout was considered too slow.”

READ ALSO: No symptoms and not a contact? A COVID-19 test will cost you

The 2021 word of the year shortlist included:

  • Double-vaxxed: having received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Clayton’s lockdown: a lockdown considered to be inadequate to slow the rate of COVID-19 community transmission.
  • Fortress Australia: the concept that Australia was protected and isolated from other countries during the pandemic.
  • AUKUS: a security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States centred on the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Net zero: a target of offsetting the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity through reduction measures.

Strollout gained prominence in Australia and quickly spread across the world.

It even made its way into international publications like The Washington Post.

“It’s yet another example of how a truly Australian expression can make waves globally,” Dr Laugesen said.

“It’s also captured a very particular moment in our nation’s history. The pandemic has had a profound impact on our society and lives.”

Other terms which came to the fore in 2021 include vaccination hub, vaccine hesitancy, vaccine passports and vaccine rollout.

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31 Responses to ‘Strollout’ named 2021 word of the year by Australian National Dictionary Centre
David P David P 1:35 pm 21 Nov 21

Like so many of these wannabe neologisms – doesn’t make the cut.

Acton Acton 7:00 am 21 Nov 21

I nominate ‘doublejabbed’, which is in common use and not just a twitterism like strollout.

Stephen Walker Stephen Walker 7:36 am 19 Nov 21

I have never heard this word or seen it published

Jess Varley Jess Varley 9:57 pm 18 Nov 21

It's like the Stramboled eggs you can get at Scoopys on Bribie, hey mum Helen Gibbs ? Oh wait ... QLD... say no more...

astro2 astro2 6:50 pm 18 Nov 21

Gosh! There’s a few very sensitive right-wing snowflakes on this thread! Gotta admit the “vaccine stroll out” was a thing and a funny play on words. Just lighten up a bit guys, it’s called ‘freedom of speech’. It’s a thing. Just because you in particular never heard of the phrase, doesn’t mean it isn’t a thing. You just need to get out a bit more and widen your reading (and listening) circle.

Phil Phil 10:11 am 18 Nov 21

I do not think I have ever heard this word, and that is despite agreeing with the sentiment it carries. Where was it even used?

Political words would be fine if they were high profile, but this sounds like a one off quip from a journalist or politician.

The only decent choice on their shortlist was “Double-vaxxed”.
“Clayton’s lockdown” and “Fortress Australia” both never heard of, also like one-off quips.
“AUKUS”, obviously only included to appeal to certain people.
“Net zero” neither uniquely Australian nor 2021, clearly a virtue signal.

Last year they made the decent choice of “iso” though.

Josette Noble Josette Noble 8:33 pm 17 Nov 21


Adam Rolls Adam Rolls 8:06 pm 17 Nov 21

If by word of the year they wanted something that no one has heard of or uses then thats as good a choice as any I guess.

Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 7:44 pm 17 Nov 21

I thought SloMo would have been a shoe-in.

Jay Bee Jay Bee 6:19 pm 17 Nov 21

Interesting comments from people proudly displaying their ignorance of the word as if that’s a badge of honour.
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t heard this word.
Perhaps it depends on whether or not you reflexively close your ears to any criticism of our great and masterful leader.

    chewy14 chewy14 8:09 am 18 Nov 21

    I think instead what you’ve highlighted is that it’s very silly to choose a “word of the year” that has such a politically partisan basis.

    A word that has typically been used by one side of politics and their echo chambers, meaning it’s broad ranging appeal, exposure and use was limited.

chewy14 chewy14 5:59 pm 17 Nov 21

It’s funny that they chose this politically based word when our vaccination program has now been extremely successful despite the early difficulties.

So much so that we are now becoming one of the most vaccinated nations in the world, even with recent slowdowns in uptake which are solely around individual choice rather than vaccine availability.

The speed and takeup in recent months was truly remarkable.

Lisa LaMaitre Lisa LaMaitre 4:48 pm 17 Nov 21

This is the first time I’ve heard the term.. I would have gone with languishing!

Martin Budden Martin Budden 3:22 pm 17 Nov 21

It was slow at the start, sure. But for the last few months we've had one of the fastest vaccination programs in the world. This word is already well past its use-by date.

    Peta Arthur Peta Arthur 2:19 am 21 Nov 21

    Peter Mackay

    Definitely won’t be voting for him. Never did

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 4:40 am 21 Nov 21

    Peta Arthur So your vote will have zero effect at the next election as a force for change. It’s thoughtful, swinging voters who decide elections.

    Me, I always vote the same way: for female independents.

Stephen Harden Stephen Harden 1:56 pm 17 Nov 21

Scomo lives on in Dictionary history....

    David Moncrieff David Moncrieff 1:59 pm 17 Nov 21

    Stephen Harden how good is that!!

    Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 3:29 pm 20 Nov 21

    Stephen Harden that will be his only legacy. All spin and no substance.

Lynette Clifton Lynette Clifton 1:11 pm 17 Nov 21

Considering over 90% are vaxxed it's redundant already.

    Jackie White Jackie White 12:16 pm 18 Nov 21

    Lynette Clifton actually it's only 60-something % of the total population. The national figures only count people over 16.

Sandra Naden Sandra Naden 12:46 pm 17 Nov 21

Never heard it used .

Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 12:46 pm 17 Nov 21

Ridiculous, never heard it

    Stephen Harden Stephen Harden 1:58 pm 17 Nov 21

    Janet Ilchef It comes from when Scomo said that the vaccination rollout "wasn't a race" because the Federal Government hadn't sorted enough supply - journalists then called it a "Vaccine Strollout"

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:06 pm 17 Nov 21

    Janet Ilchef agreed, never heard it until this article

    Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 3:22 pm 17 Nov 21

    Linda Stapleton thanks. I don’t know anyone who has heard it. Read somewhere today that 3 of the 4 Sunrise presenters had never heard it, the other had but never used it. So it’s not just us

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:35 pm 17 Nov 21

    Janet Ilchef gotta wonder how it made word of the year lol

    Janet Ilchef Janet Ilchef 3:39 pm 17 Nov 21

    Linda Stapleton absolutely!

John Moulis John Moulis 10:14 am 17 Nov 21

Never heard of it. ANDC indulging in fantasy again, like they do at this time each year. Is this agency government funded? If so I would suggest their funding be cut and it be disbanded. They don’t seem to be serving any worthwhile purpose

    Eóin Tomás Ó Corraidh Eóin Tomás Ó Corraidh 2:23 pm 17 Nov 21

    Your criticism of a research centre you clearly know nothing about serves no worthwhile purpose

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