Word watch: Anzackery

Australian National Dictionary editor AMANDA LAUGESEN, BA (Hons) '97, PhD '01tackles the use of Anzackery.

Anzackery n. the use and promotion of the Anzac legend, especially in ways seen to be excessive or misguided.

In the past year, this word has become part of popular discourse and political debate and bids fair to have continued use in the media and elsewhere as the centenary year of the Gallipoli landings is marked.

The term is likely to have been coined by the Australian historian Geoffrey Serle.

In a 1967 essay in Meanjin Quarterly, Serle discussed the contemporary features and dilemmas of Australian nationalism, writing: "What will the recent flowering of a sense of Australian history, the feeling for the bush tradition, Anzackery, and the rest, amount to in practical terms?"

Serle does not explicitly discuss what he means by the term but it is likely that he is referring to the popular uses of the Anzac legend (where the Australian and New Zealand troops fought for eight months in tough conditions) within the context of a country working out the basis for the development of a sense of nationalism.

We have not been able to trace any instances of the word in print again until 2013, when Canberra-based author Paul Daley used the term in a book review in The Guardian.