Why You’re An Infovore (Even Though You Don’t Know What One Is)

Why You’re An Infovore (Even Though You Don’t Know What One Is)

The Macquarie Dictionary has released its Word of the Year for 2013. And the winner is… ‘Infovore’. We’re willing to bet that most of you have never seen or heard this phrase before. However, it’s actually something that adequately describes our readers.

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Each year, the Macquarie Dictionary tasks a committee of academics and wordsmiths with choosing the best new words of the year. Previous winners and finalists have included ‘muffin top’, ‘bromance’, ‘crowdfunding’, ‘toxic debt’ and ‘pod slurping’ (don’t ask). This year, the committee chose to crown ‘infovore’ as its word of the year. The Macquarie definition can be found directly below:

infovore: noun a person who craves information, especially one who takes advantage of their ready access to it on digital devices.

“The Committee thought that the coinage infovore was a response to the perception that we now had access to information all the time,” the organisation explain on its website.

“The smartphone made it possible to find out immediately what we wanted to know. For some people knowing that whatever questions life threw at us the answer was a click or two away was a liberating experience. Indeed they were in danger of becoming addicted to this rush of instant information. This was a word that reflected a significant change in how we conducted our lives. It was also a neat coinage.”

So there you have it. Macquarie Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year essentially describes a voracious consumer of information. If you’re a Lifehacker reader you’re probably an infovore.

Honorable mentions included ‘firescape’ (to landscape an area with the possibility of bushfire in mind), ‘cli-fi’ (a genre of speculative fiction based on the premise that climate change will give rise to fundamental changes in the way human beings live) and the People’s Choice winner ‘onesie’ (a loose-fitting one-piece suit, usually of a stretch fabric, gathered at the wrists and ankles and loose at the crotch).

You can read more about the reasoning behind each word choice at the Macquarie Dictionary website.

We feel it’s worth noting that ‘vore’ is also a slang word for a sexual fetish involving the oral consumption of living creatures and/or sentient objects. In other words, you might want to refrain from calling yourself an ‘infovore’ in case people think you get off on eating dictionaries.

Macquarie Dictionary Word of the Year [Macquarie Dictionary]


  • The Macquarie Dictionary did cli fi i coined it is there any way to get this into USA news cycle too. see cli fi central blog dan bloom

  • I’m not going to lie, this article nicely stroked my pressing need for intellectual validation 😉

  • Chris a man in USA named Brian Stokes claims he coined INFOVORE in 1996 see his blog notes here: true or not? worth finding him to find out? re: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2009

    FYI: The term “infovore” was coined by BRian Stokes, circa 1996. Hmmph.
    Don’t you hate it when you hit upon an idea and don’t do much with it, let it sit around for years and years — then suddenly, you find articles about someone else being credited for doing something significant with your idea? This happened to me today while reading BoingBoing, and an Urban Dictionary entry, and a blurb about some neuro-scientists who claim to have coined the term (2006) for that craving humans have for novel things.

    But as far as I know, I was first. Came up with the word sometime in the mid-90s and used it to describe myself at an Oracle interview in 1996. Had anyone used it before me? Maybe. Please comment below if you have evidence.

    Since everyone was purchasing domains back then, I bought infovore.com in 2000 or so, but let it slide. (Now it’s owned by somebody in France).

    At least I still have mediavore.com. And anyway, as Douglas Rushkoff has since written, we are more consumers of meaning than information.

    What I need now is a word to describe this situation: discovering an idea, sitting on it, then later finding that others have since done something with it.

    • The origin of modern words is certainly an interesting and sometimes contentious area of study. The Macquarie Dictionary is chiefly concerned with definitions though. For accreditation, you’d need to contact a leading etymology dictionary like the Oxford and provide them with proof.

  • Chris i was interviwed by a major Australian academic website this week for a interview story that will appear over the weekend. can you pick up and relay the news re cli fi, if interesting for your readers there or send link to usa or uk sites.? danbloom at gmail dot com if need msg me,

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