Quidditch is Oxford Dictionary’s Newest Word… and “the Future of Sports”


Quidditch players from the University of Sydney (red) and University of Technology Sydney (teal) at the UNSW Village Green.

Dictionary companies are turning to social media to source new words by looking at trends in word usage. This leads to some surprising new additions.

One of Oxford dictionary’s newest words has both sports people and Harry Potter fans rejoicing. But what makes this word so special?

Allison Hore reports.


Audio transcript:

Allison: Oxford University press is officially adding “quidditch” to their dictionary. That is, quidditch with a lowercase Q, the very real sport played by over 500 teams around the world. Pop culture fans would recognise the sport as the one played in JK Rowling’s bestselling novels. But players say it is about more than just Harry Potter.

The sport first came to Australia in 2011. Since then it’s grown significantly here, with our team, the drop bears, beating 20 other teams to take home the win in the 2016 quidditch world cup.

Today, 11 teams from around NSW are battling it out in the first regional tournament for the year.

I talked to chairperson of Quidditch NSW, Danny Fox, about what he wishes more people knew about quidditch.

Danny: Quidditch is an insanely complex and intense fun sport.

Allison: Quidditch is a mixed gender, full contact sport. Which means that teams can only have 4 players who identify as the same gender on pitch at any one time.

Danny: We recognise all genders rather than just the binary, so, because of that, we see a lot more transgender [people] and women playing the sport than we see in other sports which are much more dominated by male presences. And, similarly the culture of the sport, because we have diversity, is very different than we might get in other sports as well.

Allison: The quidditch community is also why Ana Barciela, who started playing quidditch five years ago as an exchange student, decided to come back to Australia.

Ana: So, it’s just a really friendly atmosphere while still maintaining a competitive level. Which is, I think, hard to find. Like, every time I tried sport as a kid it was just people trying to win. And this is like… Yeah, we’re trying to win, but we also want to have fun.

I guess it’s like the future of sports where it’s inclusive whilst still being competitive and still involving contact.

Allison: The fantasy origins of the sport are still embraced and it’s often a drawcard for new players.

Ava: As a kid, all I wanted to do was play quidditch and I thought it was the coolest thing. So being able to do it in real life was like a dream come true.

Allison: And, to answer the question that you’re all thinking, yes quidditch is played on brooms. But, unfortunately the technology just isn’t there for them to fly yet.


To find out more about quidditch in NSW visit the QNSW facebook page. To find teams in your area or see upcoming quidditch events around Australia check out the Australian Quidditch Association’s website.


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