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The 2016 Word of the Year Down Under? ‘Democracy Sausage’.

Categories: Oceania, Australia, Elections, Food, Politics

Democracy Sausage - By Silent Billy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons [1]

Democracy Sausage. By Silent Billy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

‘Democracy sausage’ has been awarded the Oz word of the year [2] by the Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC).

ANDC's definition reads, ‘A barbecued sausage served on a slice of bread, bought at a polling booth sausage sizzle on election day’. (Australia held its national election on 2 July 2016.)

It seems confusing that two words can win. Not everyone liked the idea:

ANDC explained: “Because it’s a compound, defined as ‘a word made up of two or more existing words’. A compound has a specific meaning that we can’t necessarily deduce from knowing the meaning of each part.”

It had some stiff competition:

#CensusFail was a viral twitter hashtag resulting from the crash of the national census website [11] in August 2016. These contenders and others are explained in detail here [12].

This kind of thread inevitably brings out the punsters (or people who play on words):

‘Snag’ (sausage) is an Australianism, as is ‘sausage sizzle’ (fundraising barbecue). Both can be found in the latest edition of the Australian National Dictionary [15] launched in August 2016.

The snags in the case of democracy sausage are part of fundraising that not-for-profit organisations do on election day. Parents and friends groups are the most common as many polling booths are located in schools:

During the election in July, some weren't happy about missing out:

And some just weren't happy about their local BBQ:

Democracy sausage may be the word of the year down under, but ‘post-truth’ must be a hot favourite to be the global word of the year.