From a shortlist including brotox, fossil farming, qubit, and fourth age, the Australian National Dictionary Centre, based at ANU, has selected green-on-blue as their 2012 Word of the Year.
Centre Director, Dr Amanda Laugesen, said that military conflict has historically generated many new terms, the most famous of which in the Australian lexicon include Anzac and digger.
“Green-on-blue, used in a military context, refers to an attack made on one’s own side by a force regarded as neutral. It is a term that has gained prominence in Australian and international media due to the ongoing military involvement in Afghanistan,” said Dr Laugesen.
“While green-on-blue is not exclusively Australian, it has come to have significance in Australia in 2012 due to the number of Australian soldiers who have lost their lives in such attacks.
“In these circumstances we felt it appropriate to recognise what has undeniably become a part of our national consciousness, our history and our language, especially amongst younger generations.”
The other terms were shortlisted based on their increased profile in the Australian social and cultural landscape throughout the year.
“While an American scientist theorised that a qubit – a quantum bit or quantum piece of information – might be built, it was a team of Australian engineers who this year made the breakthrough that will lead to the construction of a quantum computer,” said Dr Laugesen.
“The issue of drugs – in particular, the abuse of prescription drugs – has led to the term fossil farming, which denotes ‘the activity of buying prescription drugs from elderly people for personal use or illegal sale’.”
Australia’s ageing demographic has seen fourth age, ‘people aged 85 and over’, begin to be spoken about in the media. While celebrity and personal image motivated the appearance of brotox, meaning ‘botox used by a man’. “Brotox has been around since last year, growing in popularity in 2012, and perhaps has increased relevance for Australians due to our fascination with, and speculation about, the ongoing transformation of Shane Warne,” said Dr Laugesen.
The 2012 Word of the Year and shortlist are selected by the research and editorial staff of the Australian National Dictionary Centre in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, who undertake research into Australian English and edit Australian dictionaries for Oxford University Press.