What is a Milkshake Duck and why is it 2017 word of the year

Milkshake Duck – The phrase so famous you never heard of it.

Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary has awarded “milkshake duck” its 2017 word of the year.

On June 12, 2016, Australian cartoonist Ben Ward tweeted it to describe our tendency to foist instant celebrity on some person and its inevitable backlash.

In Ward’s tweet, the cuddly duck is accused of being a vicious racist.

In one year, the tweet gained over 22,700 likes and 9,600 retweets.

Milkshake Duck is defined as “a person who is initially viewed positively by the media but is then discovered to have something questionable about them which causes a sharp decline in their popularity”.

Hmm. Does kinda sum up 2017.

milkshake duck

Milkshake Duck was also a runner-up for Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year

The Macquarie committee agrees: 

“It plays to the simultaneous desire to bring someone down and the hope that they won’t be brought down. In many ways it captures what 2017 has been about”

It has since been used as shorthand for real-life examples, including :


Ward acknowledged Macquarie’s (Macquackrie’s?) choice with a simple “I’m so sorry.”

milkshake duck

Inevitably, the milkshake duck will milkshake duck itself.

Congratulations, and condolences.