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“Matilda” Dubbed Australia’s 2023 Word Of The Year

The Matildas won the hearts of the nation, and now have been awarded this year’s word of the year.

Each year, the Australian National Dictionary Centre chooses a word which gained prominence in the country over the last 12 months.

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This year, following their women’s world cup success culminating in a semi-final appearance, the word “Matilda” has been chosen as the 2023 word of the year.

The recognition of the team names includes its singular form (Matilda), plural (Matildas) as well as their nickname (Tillies).

Centre director Amanda Laugesen said the team’s rise in popularity meant for an easy selection.

“From the 1880s matilda was one of the names for a swag, a bag of possessions carried by an itinerant man looking for work. These days most people would only know this in relation to the song Waltzing Matilda,” Dr Laugesen said.

“It’s only since the mid-1990s that the women’s soccer team has been called the Matildas, but after this year’s World Cup the word has once again cemented itself in the Australian lexicon.”

The origins of the word in Australian English are unclear, however Dr Laugesen said it came from the female name.

“The original German name refers to strength in battle so it’s an appropriate name for a team that has inspired so many people this year, particularly young women and girls,” she said.

The shortlist for this year’s word of the year was dominated by those associated to the unsuccessful Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.

“Noer” (a no voter), “yesser” (a yes voter) and truth-telling were among those considered.

In 2019, “Voice” was named the word of the year.

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