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‘Democracy sausage’ wins Aussie word of the year

By AFP 14 December 2016

If you've ever struggled to decipher Australian English, then 'democracy sausage' -- the 2016 word of the year Down Under -- may lead to blank faces with its obscure origins in election campaigning.

The Australian National Dictionary Centre defined it Wednesday as a barbecued sausage served on bread and bought at a polling booth “sizzle” on election day, which fell on July 2 this year.

How it came to be selected may baffle all but close observers of Australian politics.

But other contenders such as ‘smashed avo’, ‘census fail’ and ‘Ausexit‘ could have been even more difficult to digest for outsiders. And the 2015 winner, ‘sharing economy’, is yet to find popular appeal.

The dictionary centre tried to explain its choice.

“Arguably, the democracy sausage has been one of the best things to come out of a tumultuous year in politics and political campaigning,” said centre director Amanda Laugesen.

“Its use was also boosted by a controversial incident where Opposition (Labor) leader Bill Shorten -– who noted his sausage sandwich was ‘the taste of democracy’ -– ate his sausage from the middle,” she said.

Sausage sizzles are barbecues for good causes, which proliferate outside big shops, schools and local sports events  across the vast country. 

The term democracy sausage was first recorded in 2012, but usage soared during the forgettable federal election which saw the Liberal-National coalition government cling on to power.

Census fail refers to the failure of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ website on national census night on August 9, igniting a storm of public criticism.

Smashed avo on toast is a popular cafe breakfast item which hit the headlines when the avocado dish was linked to young people allegedly spending money on luxuries rather than saving to buy a house.

The sole candidate that non-Australians might have warmed to — shoey — is the act of drinking an alcoholic beverage out of a shoe, particularly to celebrate a sporting victory.

It’s an Australian phenomenon that shot to fame around the world through the post-race antics of Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo.

Ausexit references the potential cutting of ties with the British monarchy, or even the departure of Australia from the United Nations, a favourite of right-wingers Down Under.

The shortlist was selected by editorial staff at the dictionary centre, which publishes the Australian National Dictionary of words and phrases unique to the country.

bp/grk/fa 

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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