Amanda Laugesen is Director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and chief editor of The Australian National Dictionary: Australian Words and Their Origins.

She is also an editor of the Australian Oxford range of dictionaries. Amanda is a historian and lexicographer who has written extensively on the social and cultural history of war, book and publishing history, and the history of Australian English.

Her research has focused on topics as diverse as the kinds of books soldiers read during war, the language of the convict era, the history of swearing in Australia, and war veterans’ magazines. Amanda is also an adviser to the Commonwealth Style Manual.

Amanda’s particular areas of interest and expertise include:
– Australian social and cultural history of war, especially soldiers’ memoirs, soldier and veteran-authored magazines, and the experience of reading and entertainment during war;
– the history of Australian English, especially the lexicon;
– new words/language/issues to do with language usage.

Fields of expertise



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

The soaring popularity of the Australian women’s soccer team after their semi-final run at this year’s FIFA Women’s…

15 November 2023


Bum nuts and chicken in pyjamas: the words Aussies use for food

From pavlovas to lamingtons to snags, food words feature prominently in the lexicon of Australian English. Over the…

7 December 2022


On the hunt for collective nouns for our Australian animals

You might be across the plural of platypus (platypuses not platypi), but do you know what to call…

1 November 2022


Dictionary seeks smorgasbord of Aussie food terms

Do you add chicken salt to your parmy or schnitty? Do you go for a halal snack pack…

12 July 2022


Why language could be crucial in the lead up to election day

From “Manchurian candidate” accusations to talk of “wedge politics”, Australians are already being served up a taste of…


Experts predict Reckoning at polls

As Australia barrels towards the federal election, experts from The Australian National University (ANU) say voters may take…


Battlers and a Bernborough finish: The words of 1946

The Australian National Dictionary is a record of the Australian English lexicon that also tells us stories about Australia and its history. A…

15 December 2021


Frustration over vaccine rollout inspires Word of the Year

Strollout: the slow implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia.  Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout, which made headlines both at…

17 November 2021


Fighting for four-letter words

The English language is full of derogatory words for women. From the negative connotations of Jezebel, spinster, and shrew to the slurs…

4 August 2021


Strewth! Are Aussies the world’s most virulent swearers?

Australians are a nation of creative expletive users who take pride in bad language as part of their…

26 November 2020


Spread the word: the search for our #Familyspeak has begun

The expressions and words unique to families, including new lingo developing during the COVID-19 pandemic, are the subject…

28 May 2020


Voice declared Australia’s 2019 Word of the Year

Voice: a formal channel for Indigenous input into the making of laws and policies affecting Aboriginal and Torres…

9 December 2019


Kwaussie wins Australia’s 2017 Word of the Year

Kwaussie: a person who is a dual citizen of Australia and New Zealand; a New Zealander living in Australia;…

4 December 2017


Democracy sausage wins Australia’s 2016 Word of the Year

Democracy sausage: a barbecued sausage served on a slice of bread, bought at a polling booth sausage sizzle on…

14 December 2016


Where did the phrase ‘boat people’ come from?

What’s in a name? In late 2013, not long after the Coalition won power, Federal Immigration Minister Scott…

21 January 2016


The history of the ten pound Pom

Australian English has long reflected the varied migration that has come with the European colonisation of Australia. Two…


Sharing economy – the term that defined 2015

Sharing economy: an economic system based on sharing of access to goods, resources, and services, typically by means…

9 December 2015


Shirtfront picked as 2014 Word of the Year

shirtfront: v. 1. Chiefly Aust. Rules To deliver an aggressive front-on bump to (an opponent). 2. Fig. To challenge…

10 December 2014

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