Oxford Australian Children’s
Word of the Year 2023

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Children’s Word of the Year has revealed 'cost' is a top concern for students

Data from Oxford University Press in partnership with Storyathon, Australia’s largest online story-writing event for students, reveals ‘cost’ as the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year (CWOTY) 2023 with a 33.57% increase in usage from the previous year.

Oxford Australian
Children's Word of the Year 2023:

Students discussed ‘cost’ in a variety of contexts with money, inflation and affordability appearing frequently as concepts students are writing about. This was reflected in the frequent usage of related words like, ‘dollar(s)’, ‘money’ and ‘price(s)’. Students are showing an awareness of the cost-of-living crisis and budgets, writing about the cost of various items, things that cost less money as affordable alternatives and free activities.

The increase in the usage of the word ‘cost’, and other related or similar words, appear to be indicative of the cost-of-living crisis and the increasing pressures on families due to rising costs. Many families are being significantly impacted by rising interest rates, energy prices, the rental crisis and many other general cost increases. Students seem to be more aware of issues related to money, affordability, how much things cost and the increasing prices/costs of utilities.

Partnering with Writing Legends

The Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year is one of the ways Oxford Children’s Language Australia and OUP engages with the ever-changing language of Australian children. We’ve proudly partnered with Writing Legends, Australia's largest online story-writing platform, to help us determine the 2023 Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year.

Our experts comments on the Oxford Australian CWOTY:

Damon Thomas

Damon Thomas is a senior lecturer in literacy education. Damon completed his PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2015, where he began lecturing in 2014 before taking up a senior lecturer position at the University of Queensland in 2021. Prior to this, Damon taught as a primary school teacher in Tasmania.

Lee Walker

Lee is Director of Publishing, Editorial and Design at OUP ANZ and is also President of the Australian Publishers Association. She has almost 30 years’ experience in Australian educational publishing and is passionate about digital innovation.

Previous Words of the Year







Explore what we learned from the children's stories

Children from all around Australia wrote their stories. Here's what we learned.

Theme 1: Economic climate

  • An awareness of money and cost was apparent with many students’ writing reflecting the impact of increasing prices and the cost-of-living crisis. Concepts such as inflation and affordability are filtering into students’ writing across many contexts.

Theme 2: Environment

  • Environmental issues and concerns continue to be strong themes in students’ writing. The concept of pollution continues to be a major concern for its current and ongoing impacts upon the environment and animals.

Theme 3: Health and wellbeing

  • Students are writing about health, fitness and wellbeing. While there was some focus upon physical health, health conditions and diseases, there were also many students discussing social and emotional wellbeing as key health concepts.

Theme 4: Society and learning

  • Students are writing about the skills and qualities such as leadership and teamwork that are important to learn and obtain for future employment. Societal emphasis on key skills to develop and gain for future success appear to have had a strong influence on the prominence of this theme.

The top 20 trending words of 2023

Top trending words, 1-10

(Change in use over time)

Rank Word Frequency Rank change number
1 the 155,987 0
2 and 107,372 0
3 i 94,996 0
4 to 92,183 0
5 a 83,924 0
6 it 55,750 1
7 was 53,518 -1
8 you 52,911 3
9 of 44,532 -1
10 in 39,902 -1

Top trending words, 11-20

(Change in use over time)

Rank Word Frequency Rank change number
11 is 36,579 2
12 that 33,620 0
13 he 33,112 -3
14 my 29,799 0
15 but 27,399 0
16 they 27,151 0
17 so 26,616 1
18 for 25,295 -1
19 we 23,280 -2
20 on 22,045 -1

Read a selection of the children's stories

Please note spelling and grammar has been corrected in the samples presented. Citations are faithful to the original stories.

But then they just figured that they have just $56.50 which isn't that much because of inflation stuff cost alot more than usual so they need way to make money extremely quick then thye figured that they could sell there stuff. Year 5 student

Do you know how much it costs to run a zoo, feed animals, electricity, land cost, and the list could go on. I think zoo's Must be shut down due to hygiene, cost, and the horrible noises. Year 4, student

Because I am going to Sydney today I am going to tell what I packed. So snacks, drinks, activities, fidgets and clothing. Also the ride is going to be 9 hours long but it costs 472 dollars per a person. Im no sure what are we going to do when we get there. So I take it as a mistrey surprise but you can come along. Lets go! Year 3 stuent

In a few thousand years earth would be killed by all the heat and pollution from humans. when we go to the upgrade the moon base we can start the new human race up there.Once we have a moon base we will get better knowledge and know more about planets to go explore more planets like mars. and make space ships that go between earth and the moon all the time.The population will grow continually so earth will be full It can also be a back up planet if earth goes extinct. Year 5, male

The burger cost about $6 george had $10 so he had enough to by a burger so he went and got one Year 5 student