Do you add chicken salt to your parmy or schnitty? Do you go for a halal snack pack (HSP) or servo food after a night out? Perhaps you prefer bumnuts to smashed avo on toast. If you love your Aussie food, word boffins from The Australian National University (ANU) want to hear from you. 

The Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC) is looking for new contributions for The Australian National Dictionary, with a focus on food-related words and phrases. 

Forget about vegemite, pavlovas, lamingtons and snags on the barbie; the ANU experts say the 21st century has ushered in a wide range of exciting food choices for the average Australian. We can choose to dine on souvas and potato gems in the evening and wake up to a Tim Tam slam and a flattie in the morning. 

ANDC Director and chief editor of the dictionary Dr Amanda Laugesen says that as culinary culture changes in Australia, so too does the language we use to describe food and the dining experience. 

“There are a much wider range of food choices available now – multicultural dishes, street food, ingredients from native plants and animals. We also like our less formal ways of enjoying food, from sausage sizzles to food festivals,” Dr Laugesen said. 

“All of these changes are reflected in the language we use, and we expect that there are many new Australian food-related terms that we have not recorded. 

“We also welcome contributions that may not be new but you think should be recorded. We’ve collected some older words that should have gone into the dictionary before such as honey joy, tank loaf, bushman brownie and smiley fritz to name a few.” 

Each year the ANDC runs an appeal for contributions from the public for TheAustralian National Dictionary to build on the publication’s collection of Australian words and their origins. 

“Contributions from the public are a very important way of alerting us to new words, or words that may’ve been overlooked in the past,” Dr Laugesen said.

“We look forward to seeing what we discover with this latest appeal.”

It might even finally settle the age-old debate over whether we should call it a potato cake or a scallop.  

You can share your food terms via the ANDC Word Box feature or through the ANDC contact page.

About the Australian National Dictionary Centre 

The Australian National Dictionary Centre at ANU undertakes research into Australian English in partnership with Oxford University Press (OUP) and edits Australian dictionaries for OUP. 

You may also like

Article Card Image

The Matildas waltz in as Australia’s Word of the Year

After an incredible FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, ANU experts have chosen 'Matilda' as their Word of the Year.

Article Card Image

A quest to make Kriol count

Dr Denise Angelo is helping to shine a light on Indigenous 'contact' languages, with the assistance of a Weet-Bix-loving pig.

Article Card Image

The books that shaped Shakespeare

Four centuries after his first collected works were published, the plays of William Shakespeare are still inspiring new creative works – but the story of what inspired him is just as intriguing.

Subscribe to ANU Reporter

Anu Logo

+61 2 6125 5111

The Australian National University, Canberra

CRICOS Provider: 00120C

ABN: 52 234 063 906

EDX Logo
Group of eight Australia Logo