Dictionary book

Macquarie Dictionary reveals cancellation of culture as its ‘word of the year’ for 2019


Macquarie Dictionary reveals 2019 ‘word of the year’ – and ‘thicc’ and ‘eco-anxiety’ follow closely behind

  • The term ‘cancel culture’ has been named ‘word of the year’ for 2019
  • Macquarie Dictionary reveals 2019 word of the year is ‘cancel culture’
  • It means boycotting a public figure after they have done something “offensive”.
  • The name has beaten other finalists such as “eco-anxiety”, “ngangkari” and “thicc”










The Macquarie Dictionary chose “cancel culture” as “word of the year” for 2019 – a term to describe a widespread boycott of a public figure after doing something to offend.

The editors of the Australian dictionary explained that the name “captures an important aspect of last year’s Zeitgeist …

They define the term as “attitudes within a community which call for or result in the withdrawal of support from a public figure, such as the cancellation of an acting role, the prohibition on playing the music of” an artist, removal from social media, etc., usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment.

Macquarie Dictionary chose ‘cancel culture’ as ‘word of the year’ for 2019, with people using the term to describe a form of boycott of a public figure.

“Eco-anxiety” also made the “honorable mention”, which the dictionary defines as “a strongly emotional aspect of attitudes towards climate change”

What is the culture of cancellation?

Attitudes within a community which call for or result in the withdrawal of support from a public figure, such as the cancellation of an acting role, the ban on playing an artist’s music, the removal of social media, etc., usually in response to an accusation of a socially unacceptable action or comment.

Also, culture of appeal, culture of indignation

The term comes from the back of American YouTuber James Charles who lost millions of subscribers following his bitter feud with makeup artist Tati Westbrook in May 2019.

The 19-year-old saw her career crumble after her former mentor criticized her in a 43-minute video about her decision to promote a competitor in her business.

The feud saw a number of celebrities no longer follow James from YouTube, including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.

Of the 75 words preselected in the Macquarie dictionary, “cancel culture” was ahead of the other finalists selected by the publisher such as “eco-anxiety”, “ngangkari” and “thicc”.

The editors said the “eco-anxiety” outweighed “the shame of theft” for an “honorable mention.”

“Both terms reflect a strongly emotional aspect of attitudes towards climate change, which is clearly something that has been of great concern in 2019,” the committee said.

Another word that only recently entered Australian English is 'ngangkari, a term to describe an' indigenous practitioner of bush medicine;  healer'

Another word that only recently entered Australian English is ‘ngangkari, a term to describe an’ indigenous practitioner of bush medicine; healer’

“Thicc” has been defined as a “celebration of body positivity that does not conform to conventional white beauty standards”

Another word that only recently entered Australian English is ‘ngangkari, a term to describe an’ indigenous practitioner of bush medicine; healer’.

“It’s lexically remarkable and refreshing because, unlike many borrowings from indigenous languages, it comes directly from Pitjantjatjara – it has not been translated, anglicized or otherwise altered,” the editors said.

And ‘thicc has been defined as a’ celebration of body positivity that does not conform to conventional white beauty standards. ‘

In 2018, the international Me Too campaign was named Word of the Year by the Macquarie Dictionary. And in 2017, the word was duck milkshake.

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