“If you’re a musician, it could be taking your music off a streaming service or radio station”.
Of cancel culture, the dictionary’s word of the year committee said: “an attitude which is so pervasive that it now has a name, society’s cancel culture has become, for better or worse, a powerful force”.
The term is also known as “call-out culture” or “outrage culture”. Sometimes, it involves intense criticism for things celebrities have said or done in the past, such as an offensive tweet.
Those who are cancelled are often forced to apologise to avoid having their careers harmed further.
“Usually it’s a comment or something that is perceived as unacceptable or wrong,” Ms Morgan said.
“What they’re trying to do is remove their position of power, wipe out the influence that someone may have had up and to that stage.”
It is mostly seen on social media, where momentum can build quickly to have someone cancelled for real or perceived wrongdoing, such as a comedian telling offensive jokes or an actor accused of sexual harassment.
An example of the latter is actor Kevin Spacey, after he faced a series of allegations of sexual assault.
And in Australia, a comedian withdrew from the Melbourne Fringe Festival in August after there was an online backlash against her one-woman show for perpetuating racist stereotypes.
Kate Hanley Corley was due to perform eight renditions of her show Aisha the Aussie Geisha: The Accidental Oriental, however she pulled out after she was criticised for doing material that “borders on yellowface”.
Those who have criticised cancel culture included former US president Barack Obama.
“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly,” he said, adding:
“One danger I see among young people particularly on college campuses is that I do get a sense among certain young people, and this is accelerated by social media, that the way of me making change is to be as judgmental as possible about other people and that’s enough.”
Words that scored an honourable mention from the Macquarie Dictionary were “ngangkari” (an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine), “eco-anxiety” (feelings of distress and fear brought on by the effects of climate change), and “thicc” (curvaceous; voluptuous).
The words chosen must have been added to the dictionary this year.
Past winners include “me too” in 2018 and “milkshake duck” in 2017.
anecdata – information which is presented as if it were based on systematic research, but is
actually based on personal observation or experience.
cleanskin – someone without any tattoos.
healthwashing – the marketing practice of presenting a food brand or product as being more
nutritious or wholesome than it actually is.
robodebt – a debt owed to the government by a welfare recipient, arising from an
overpayment of benefits calculated by an automated process, a debt recovery notice being automatically generated and sent to the welfare recipient.
big minutes – a period of time spent by a player on the field, court, etc., during which they
maximise their impact, having a substantial effect on the game:
drought lot – a type of sacrifice paddock in which livestock are kept with provisions of water
and feed, the confinement allowing the stock to maintain their condition while pasture
paddocks can recover more quickly, and erosion damage can be minimised in periods
hedonometer – an algorithm using language data to analyse levels of happiness, especially data
from the social media platform Twitter.
silkpunk – a subgenre of science fiction which draws on Asian history and culture for
setting and aesthetic
cancel culture (see above)
eco-anxiety – feelings of distress and fear brought on by the effects of climate change.
mukbang – a broadcast streamed online in which someone films themselves eating, often a
large amount, and speaking to their audience.
thicc – curvaceous; voluptuous
cheese slaw – coleslaw to which grated cheese has been added
flight shaming – criticism or ridicule directed at someone travelling by air because of the carbon
emissions produced by such travel.
ngangkari – an Indigenous practitioner of bush medicine; healer.
whataboutism – a technique used in responding to an accusation, criticism or difficult question,
in which an opposing accusation or criticism raised.
Tom Cowie is a journalist at The Age covering general news.