Australian English Cracks onto OED

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While everybody (well, English majors at least) is talking about the latest additions to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) – LOL, OMG and the heart symbol, ♥ – few have noticed a couple of Australianisms have sneaked in.

In addition to the universal shortcuts made popular through tweeting, texting and IM’ing – “flat white,” “tragic,” and “yidaki” all received the approval of the English language tome of record.

Spending a lot of time Down Under, I’ve learned the fastest way to get a drinkable coffee is to order a flat white, which according to the OED is “a style of espresso drink with finely textured foamed milk”.

You would indeed be “tragic” if you insisted on having your coffee the Starbucks way, and tried to get a cup of American-style black coffee and hunt around the cafe for a full bar stocked with multiple milk and soy choices, not too mention the powdered chocolate. For those unfamiliar with this sarcastic phrase, someone is referred to as tragic per the OED if they are a “boring or socially inept person, esp. one with an obsessive interest or hobby”.

And for the record, a “yidaki” is “an Australian Aboriginal term for the musical instrument better known in English as a didgeridoo.”

Source: OED Latest Update, March 2011.

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