SYDNEY - "Shirtfront", an aggressive Australian sports term used by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to challenge Russia's Vladimir Putin, was yesterday picked as the National Dictionary Centre's word of the year, beating "man-bun".
Two months ago, Mr Abbott vowed to "shirtfront" - an Australian Rules football term in which a player charges an opponent - the Russian president over the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in rebel-held eastern Ukraine.
Some 298 people died in the July incident, including 38 Australian citizens and residents, with the West claiming the plane was blown out of the sky with a missile supplied by Russia, an allegation Moscow denies.
"I'm going to shirtfront Mr Putin - you bet I am," Mr Abbott said of what he would do when he met the Russian leader at the Group of 20 (G-20) leaders' summit in Brisbane last month.
While some critics branded his use of the term as inappropriate, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last month that "it's now entered the diplomatic lexicon of many countries".
The leaders of Britain and India joked about the word when they addressed Australia's Parliament immediately after the G-20.
Amanda Laugesen, director of the National Dictionary Centre at the Australian National University, said "shirtfront" was chosen as it resonated across Australia's social, cultural and political spheres.
"A lot of people didn't know what it meant and so there was a lot of discussion about the word itself, as well as Tony Abbott's use of it in political discourse," she told AFP.
"So we felt it really stood out as a word that people were talking about."
The phrase just pipped "man-bun" - sometimes shortened to "mun" and used to describe a hairstyle sported by men including Australian Thor actor Chris Hemsworth and One Direction's Harry Styles - where the hair is bundled up at the back of the head.