Culture

Forget “Youthquake”: Macquarie Dictionary Has Correctly Named “Milkshake Duck” Word Of The Year

Better late than never.

Remember that time Oxford Dictionaries named “youthquake” as the 2017 word of the year, despite there being precisely zero recorded uses of that word in human history?  Or the time the Australian National Dictionary Centre chose “Kwaussie” (Kiwi + Aussie, fyi), despite it also being a totally fake word?

Well, we’re pleased to announce that third time’s the charm: Macquarie Dictionary announced today that their Word of the Year 2017 is “milkshake duck”, which is actually two words but also the right call.

Unlike “youthquake” and “kwaussie”, “milkshake duck” is a term you’ve probably seen at least once if you used the internet in 2017. Quick refresher if you missed it: it was coined by the excellent Twitter account @pixelatedboat (aka Aussie cartoonist Ben Ward) back in June 2016, in the following, now-iconic tweet.

“The whole internet loves Milkshake Duck, a lovely duck that drinks milkshakes! *5 seconds later* We regret to inform you the duck is racist”, the tweet reads. It’s come to be shorthand for any situation where social media scrambles to venerate someone or something, only to very quickly turn on them as further information leaks out.

Used in a sentence, you might say that a once-beloved person we’ve just discovered to be an alleged sexual predator has been “milkshake ducked”. See for example one of the most infamous milkshake ducks: the case of Ken Bone, the sweet, red-sweater-wearing guy who became an internet darling after asking a question during a 2016 presidential debate, only to abruptly plummet from the world’s esteem once his sketchy Reddit comment history came to light.

2017 was, well and truly, the year of the Milkshake Duck. It’s hard to count just how many people, brands, and other things we’ve hastily celebrated only to even more hastily distance ourselves from. As the Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year Committee put it “this is an absolute winner! Even if you don’t know the word, you know the phenomenon”.

So yeah, Milkshake Duck is a good call for 2017’s word of the year. Sadly, it will probably be with us well into 2018 also, as people continue to do terrible things and disappoint us. Even Milkshake Duck’s creator has tweeted that it’s basically his sword of Damocles — it’s only a matter of time before @pixelatedboat, too, is milkshake ducked, destroyed by his own creation.

I mean, who knows — maybe even Milkshake Duck will have its milkshake duck moment. Only time will tell.