Duck float
Milkshake duck is Macquarie Dictionary's word of 2017 - Representational image REUTERS/Aly Song

For those of us not particularly active in the Twitter-verse, Macquarie Dictionary's word of 2017 is bound to flummox. The Australian dictionary has selected "milkshake duck" to represent the past year and its penchant for "fake news" and viral outrage.

As per Macquarie, "milkshake duck" is a phenomenon that has become popular in the social media era.

"Milkshake duck stood out as being a much-needed term to describe something we are seeing more and more of, not just on the internet but now across all types of media," the dictionary's blog explained. "It plays to the simultaneous desire to bring someone down and the hope that they won't be brought down. In many ways, it captures what 2017 has been about.

"There is a hint of tall poppy syndrome in there, which we always thought was a uniquely Australian trait, but has been amplified through the internet and become universalised."

Coined in June 2016 by a cartoonist who uses the Twitter handle @pixelatedboat, the term has gone on to reference "a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity".

One popular example of a milkshake duck is the case of Kenneth Bone, a voter who became an internet darling after he questioned Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump about their energy policies during a US presidential debate. However, soon after opening up about his sexual history and describing the shooting of a 17-year-old African American boy as "justified" on a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, his fandom immediately dwindled and he was labelled a villain.

Then there was the case of 11-year-old Keaton Jones, who described being a victim of bullying in a teary video that went viral on social media. Jones received widespread support from celebrities and the media but took a hit later after Facebook posts of his mother standing in front of the Confederate flag started circulating.

Aside from "milkshake duck", other honourable mentions of 2017 included "endling", "family" and "dopamine dressing".

Read the complete list of the top 15 words of the past year below:


big sugar

(Noun) The major companies in the sugar industry, viewed collectively.



/ˈplændəd/ (say 'planduhd)

(Noun) A photo which appears to be a snapshot taken in an unguarded moment but which is actually carefully arranged.




/ˈdaɪgaʊ/ (say 'duygow)

(Noun) 1. a person outside China who purchases goods, usually luxury items, but also items in demand, such as formula milk for babies for a customer in mainland China.

2. This system of personal shopping.

[Chinese: buying on behalf of]



/ˈfræməli/ (say 'framuhlee)

(Noun) A group of people who are not related by blood but who constitute an intimate network.




(Noun) A tweet posted about a particular person without tagging the target's username, thus excluding them.

Eating and drinking


/ˈpoʊkeɪ/ (say 'pohkay)

(Noun) (in Hawaiian cookery) A salad comprising diced raw fish, seasoned with a Japanese-style sauce of soy, green onions and sesame, usually served with a variety of vegetables, pickles, etc. on a bed of rice.

[Hawaiian: to slice off or cut up]



(Noun) An individual that is the last of its species, its death resulting in the extinction of the species, as the last known thylacine, which was kept in Hobart Zoo until its death in 1936.



dopamine dressing

/ˈdoʊpəmin / (say 'dohpuhmeen)

(Noun) The practice of wearing bright colours in an extroverted style in order to lift one's spirits.


General interest


(Noun) A location, as a warehouse, provided for craftspeople, artisans, designers, etc., who are using technological advances to create new products.



text neck

(Noun) Neck and back pain associated with looking down at one's phone while text messaging for long periods of time.


milkshake duck

(Noun) A person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity.

[from an internet meme started in 2016 by an Australian cartoonist who posted a tweet about a duck supposedly made famous for its adorable nature and habit of drinking milkshakes, but which is almost immediately discovered to be racist]


dark state

(Noun) The people within a state's bureaucracy, intelligence agencies and security forces who align to form a secret force which aims to control and subvert democratic processes and institutions. Also, deep state.

Social interest

bike sharing

(Noun) A system of making bicycles available for people to use as they need them, riders using an app to pay for, unlock, and relock the bike, and then leaving it in a public place for someone else to use.


technology doping

(Noun) The practice of using sports equipment improved by technological advances, like a high-performance swimsuit, to gain a competitive advantage.



(Noun) The belief that science and technology will make it possible in the future for human beings to go beyond current physical and mental limitations.

– transhumanist, adjective, noun