Word of 2010: Googleganger

By Carolyn Barry 8 November 2013
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Borrowing heavily from popular culture, these new words have made it into the Macquarie Dictionary for 2010.

HAVE YOU ECO-SURFED to check your googleganger, played toad golf, seen a tart noir or had a fauxmance? Maybe you’ve had a big night of binge listening and inadvertently pocket dialled. If you have, then you’re well on top of the trendiest words of 2010.

These and other recently evolved words have made the list of the Macquarie Dictionary‘s people’s choice awards for their favourite terms of 2010. Shockumentary topped the list of popular idioms.

But the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year committee itself, chose googleganger, a noun meaning “a person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one’s own among search results for one’s name.”

No doubt, Google is happy that another term has made it into the official language books, after the verb, ‘to google’, snagged a spot in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006.

The committee gave an honourable mention to vuvuzela, that annoying instrument which buzzed its way into the ears of soccer fans around the word during the World Cup in South Africa.

A few words are not new, but have found their way into the general lexicon of homes around Australia. Plate up, for example, has been used by chefs for eons, but thanks to the popularity of MasterChef, the term has worked its way into the vocabulary of home cooking enthusiasts around the country.  So, too, for toad golf, which has been around – in Queensland anyway – since, well, toads themselves hopped along.

Fauxmance is one of those newer words, piggy-backed on a traditional sentiment – think bromance (male friendship) and romcoms (romantic comedies). The latest Aussie fauxmance may be Liz Hurley and Shane Warne (a renowned pocket-dialler). There sure has been enough binge-reading on the topic.

Here are the Macquaire Dictionary’s words of 2010:

Grass fever
(Noun). A surge in the price of livestock, occasioned by the need of many rural properties to restock to take advantage of the abundant feed produced by rain.

Tart noir
(Noun). A genre of crime fiction in which the female investigator is a woman who is tough, independent, and sexy. (Think Girl With the Dragon Tatoo)

Black swan event
(Noun; in the modelling of future outcomes). A major event which is so improbable that it is not likely to be predicted. Coined by Lebanese-born statistician, Nassim Taleb, in The Black Swan (2007), from the idea that, prior to European contact with Australia, the only swans known in the rest of the world were white, and no-one envisaged the possibility of a black one.

Gym bunny
(Noun). A young woman who works out at a gym on a regular basis because of a desire to perfect her body shape and muscle tone, especially one seen as being obsessive in her training and as flaunting her supposed resulting attractiveness. Plural: gym bunnies.

(Noun). A sham romantic relationship between two celebrities, fabricated as a means to gain publicity.

(Noun). A person with the same name as oneself, whose online references are mixed with one’s own among search results for one’s name.

(Noun). A food with such a high concentration of nutrients, especially of vitamins and minerals, that only a small amount has to be consumed in order to gain the health benefits thought to be associated, as the release of antioxidants, etc.

Toad golf
(Noun). The activity of hitting cane toads with a golf club, swinging at them as if they were golf balls, partly for amusement and partly to rid the environment of them. Also, cane toad golf

Brand slut
(Noun). A person who buys one brand of a product after another without developing any brand loyalties.

Plate up
(Verb). To arrange (food) on an individual plate or plates for serving: to plate up the main course.

General Interest
(Noun). A plastic horn, up to one metre in length, which emits a loud buzzing sound; commonly played in South Africa by fans at soccer games. In Zulu, vuvu is to make a noise.

Binge listening
(Noun) 1. Periodic exposure to damagingly high levels of sound as part of a leisure activity, as when listening to loud music for many hours at a party, nightclub, rock concert, etc., or listening to music on headphones at a loud volume.
2. The practice of listening to a favourite piece of music or music performer to the exclusion of all else over a period of time until one’s enthusiasm wanes.

(Verb). To search the internet for instances of one’s own name, as in mentions in text, links to one’s blog, etc.

(Noun). Politics the attempt to secure (a particular electorate) against a feared swing in the vote by making election promises targeted at that electorate.

Charismatic megafauna
(Noun). Large animals which have an appeal for the general public, such as whales, pandas, gorillas.

Social Interest
(Noun). Something bought for oneself as a personal indulgence. Also self-gifting, noun; and, self-gifted, adjective.

(Noun). A betting system in which bets are placed on particular outcomes within a sporting event, such as, in a cricket match, a particular delivery or the number of runs scored in a specified over.

(Verb). To make an unintended call from a mobile phone by accidentally activating the speed-dial function while the phone is in one’s pocket, as by sitting down, bumping into something, etc. Also pocket-dialed, pocket-dialling.