Arts and culture

Sue Butler

9 September 2021

Weaponising Words
How to insult people effectively

In a world of media and political ‘spin’ we need to be aware of the ways words are weaponised to influence the reader and listener.

There are several ways of influencing debate with words. There is the blunt-weapon approach. Then more subtle ways which turn straightforward and positive meanings on their heads by the application of irony. Finally, to empty a word of all meaning and fill it with the meaning you want it to have against your opposition.

About the speaker

Sue Butler

Sue was the Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, Australia’s national dictionary, and, as Editor, was largely responsible for the selection and writing of new words. In 2017 the Seventh Edition of the dictionary was published, with a revised and updated range of dictionaries in print, online and in digital and app forms. Susan retired as Editor at the end of 2017.

She has written The Dinkum Dictionary published in its third edition in 2009. In 2014 she wrote The Aitch Factor a commentary on usage matters in Australian English. She published an e-book called New Words Changes in Australian English in early 2020 and has published another book on language matters, Rebel without a Clause, in October 2020.

She is also a regular commentator on Australian English on radio, television and the internet and was a TEDxSydney speaker in 2015.
In 2021 she was a speaker at the Adelaide Writers’ Week. She is, as of June 2018, an Honorary Lecturer at the ANU in the College of Asia and the Pacific.
In June 2018, she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

more about Sue Butler