Milkshake duck: Macquarie Dictionary's word of the year

BBC | Published: January 15, 2018 14:58:29 | Updated: January 17, 2018 12:14:01


Photo Courtesy: Oxford Dictionaries Blog

Defeated by "youthquake" to be Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year, "milkshake duck" has - perhaps fittingly - won some redemption.

The term denotes someone who gains widespread positive attention, only to be suddenly criticised when new information is made public.

The debate typically happens online.

Despite famous US examples, milkshake duck was named Macquarie Dictionary's word of 2017 on Monday - highlighting its Australian origins.

Where did it come from?

Macquarie Dictionary, considered an authority on Australian English, attributed the term to a 2016 viral tweet by Ben Ward, a local cartoonist.

Mr Ward created the character of "Milkshake Duck" to amusingly describe debates online.

It has since been used as shorthand for real-life examples, including in prominent instances:

After US boy Keaton Jones shared a video about being bullied last month, his family experienced an online backlash over allegations they had racist views (which they denied).

Ken Bone, a man who become famous for asking a question at a 2016 US presidential debate, was later condemned for having made objectionable comments online.

A Florida policeman who was dubbed "hot cop" because of a meme, but was then investigated over alleged anti-Semitic Facebook posts.

Australia has seen similar examples.

In 2016, an audience member on a live television programme was celebrated for questioning why low-income Australians would miss out on a tax cut.

He was then publicly criticised when it emerged he had criminal convictions.

Macquarie Dictionary said the term "in many ways... captures what 2017 has been about".

Despite some Australian news outlets querying whether the term was well known, the dictionary said it was an "absolute winner".

"There is a hint of tall poppy syndrome in there, which we always thought was a uniquely Australian trait, but has been amplified through the internet and become universalised," it said.

The word youthquake, describing young people who drive political change, beat five contenders including milkshake duck to be Oxford Dictionaries' 2017 favourite.

Last month, the Australian National Dictionary Centre selected the word "kwaussie" - a hybrid of Kiwi and Aussie - as its word of the year.

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