National Dictionary Centre on the lookout for town nicknames

7 August 2019

It's no secret Australians love a good nickname. We create them for our close friends, our most senior politicians, and even our favourite places.

It's a habit that's caught the attention of the Australian National Dictionary Centre (ANDC), based at The Australian National University.

The ANDC is launching its first ever annual appeal for contributions for the Australian National Dictionary - a dictionary of Australian words and their origins, published by Oxford University Press Australia and New Zealand.

This year's theme is "nicknames for places".

The ANDC is collecting the unique names we have for the places we live in, drive through and visit.

"The informality and humour commonly found in Australian English obviously extends to naming places as well," said ANDC Editor, Mark Gwynn.

"If there's a place in Australia that hasn't received a nickname yet, it's only a matter of time."

Mr Gwynn says these nicknames can give people a sense of ownership of their hometown.

"The informality can also make visitors feel welcome," Mr Gwynn said.

When it comes to picking a favourite, there are plenty of options.

Some describe attributes of a place, like 'the Top End' (for the Northern Territory) or 'Apple Isle' (for Tasmania). Others are simple abbreviations - think 'Freo' (for Fremantle) or 'the Gong' (for Wollongong), while others could be considered more derogatory, such as 'Brisvegas' (for Brisbane).

"If you have a nickname for your special place, we want to hear from you," said ANDC Director Dr Amanda Laugesen.

"Contributions from the public are a very important way of alerting us to new words," she said.

"That's why we plan to have an annual appeal, based on a particular topic or theme, that we hope will encourage contributions from the public and prompt discussion about our language and words."

If you'd like to be part of the appeal, visit the ANDC Facebook page or Twitter @ozworders.