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'Onesie' is Macquarie Dictionary's most popular word

Onesie, that loose-fitting one-piece suit that inexplicably made it from infants to adult leisure wear, has polled as people’s favourite word in a Macquarie Dictionary ballot of new words deemed to have made it into broad public currency.

And infovore, the phrase coined to describe a person addicted to the 24/7 rush of digital information, has been named the dictionary’s word of 2013.

Every year a panel of wordsmiths select words from the Australian lexicon, often plundered from the internet and pop culture, for inclusion in the dictionary’s online version.

Of those new words in popular usage last year, the five-member committee including the dictionary’s editor Susan Butler favoured the noun infovore.

A compression of the words information and herbivore or carnivore, it suggests a feeder of information who achieves instant gratification from discovering on their smart phone immediately what they want to know. 

‘‘It’s common enough that there is a joke version of infovore called info-whore which is a good indication of frequency,’’ Butler said.


An honourable mention went to firescape, which means to landscape with the possibility of bushfire in mind.

‘‘There is a sense that the lexicon is expanding with the expanding significance and intensity of bushfires in our lives,’’ Butler said.

Cli-fi, a genre of science fiction based on the premise that climate change fundamentally changes the way human beings live, was also runner-up. Mummy porn, erotic fiction targeted at women, was recently included in the sixth print edition of the Macquarie Dictionary, owing its inclusion to the bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey.

Fashion has given us the fingerless hobo gloves, and the burkini, bikinis designed for Muslim women.  But it was the onesie that was voted by the dictionary’s readers as the most popular phrase of the past year. It’s a noun meaning a loose fitting one piece suit, usually of stretch fabric, gathered at the wrists and ankles and loose at the crotch.