The Australian National University Dictionary Centre (ANDC), based in Canberra, confirmed in a statement on Friday that they have selected "bitcoin" as the 2013 Word of the Year.
The 2013 Word of the Year and shortlist are selected by the research and editorial staff of the ANDC in the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences, who undertake research into Australian English and edit Australian dictionaries for Oxford University Press.
According to the ANDC, each year the ANDC selects a Word of the Year. The Word of the Year is chosen for its relevance and prominence in Australian culture and society, but it does not have to be coined or used exclusively in Australia.
The Word of the Year does not have to be a word that was coined in this current year. Most new words often take some time to enter the public consciousness.
For example, the Centre's Word of the Year for 2012 was green- on-blue: "an attack made on one's own side by a force regarded as neutral". Evidence for this term can be found before 2012, but the word gained prominence in the media during 2012 due to Australia's ongoing military involvement in Afghanistan.
Bitcoin is a type of digital crypto-currency in which transactions can be performed without the need for a central bank.
"We selected bitcoin as our Word of the Year because it has featured heavily in the media in 2013, as this form of currency rises in significance and popularity," Centre Director Dr. Amanda Laugesen said.
According to Amanda Laugesen, the word was first used in 2008 in a paper by the founder of bitcoin, who goes by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, but people have only recently seen this term enter the public vocabulary.
Amanda Laugesen said the other words that were shortlisted have also found a place in the Australian and international social and cultural landscape, some for controversial reasons.
"This year we learnt that to 'twerk' is to dance in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance. We saw the term popularized by Miley Cyrus and the American VMA Awards, and, in Australia, by Clive Palmer during the election campaign," Laugesen explained.
And 'FOMO' or 'fear of missing out' refers to the anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
"And Australia's election results this year saw the word microparty come to prominence, in reference to small political parties, often based around a single issue, " Laugesen added.
Other shortlisted words were "snapchat" - a photo messaging application which allows users to share photos, videos, and text which disappear after 10 seconds; and captain's pick - a decision made by a party leader without consultation with their party.