Author Archive

  • Speedcubing – language and words in the news

    Posted by on August 20, 2009

    Speedcubing is the new BuzzWord this week on Macmillan Online Dictionary. Speedcubing is about solving a Rubik’s Cube at speed. We had a Rubik’s Cube at primary school, which seemed an odd and cruel place for it, although perhaps the teachers were hoping a prodigy might come along, and you have to catch those really […]

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  • Notspot – language and words in the news

    Posted by on August 13, 2009

    Notspot is the new BuzzWord this week on Macmillan Online Dictionary. A notspot is what afflicts you when you’re not in the right spot when you want to access the internet from your mobile phone. Don’t think you’ll be spotted on Facebook any time soon, because you will not. Your Hotmail account may as well […]

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  • Bitching, bodacious, braw or bog standard? Argy-bargy between American and British English

    Posted by on August 12, 2009

    The subject of American English vs. British English is an ornery, troublesome one, and regularly appears in our blog posts. I’m particularly embroiled in this endless debate because I, an Englishman, have an American girlfriend. Now, ladies, please don’t cry. I know what’ll cheer you up: some comparative etymology. Never fails. Usually we just banter […]

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  • The elephant in the headlines

    Posted by on August 10, 2009

    They come in waves, unstoppable forces sweeping across journalism and the media. Quite often you don’t notice them, perhaps not even until you’re saying one of them glibly to a friend. They’re the fashionable news sayings and idioms, like ‘the elephant in the room’, or ‘the perfect storm’. Both idioms are legitimate sayings of longstanding […]

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  • Britalian – language and words in the news

    Posted by on August 06, 2009

    Britalian is the new BuzzWord this week on Macmillan Online Dictionary. It’s one of these classic nomenclatures that save you a syllable when having to describe someone who’s of both British and Italian descent, or an Italian who has emigrated to the UK from Italy. Might I suggest the future use of Americanadian, Thailandorran, Vietnamibian […]

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  • Carrotmob – language and words in the news

    Posted by on August 04, 2009

    Carrotmob is the new BuzzWord this week on Macmillan Online Dictionary. Contrary to what you might think, it’s nothing to do with angry red-haired people taking to the streets to redress the injustice and persecution they suffer; let’s get that idea right out of the way. Nor is it a mob of genetically-modified carrots on […]

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  • New BuzzWord: pwnd

    Posted by on July 16, 2009

    Pwnd is the new BuzzWord this week on Macmillan Dictionary Online and is an internet phenomenon originally centred on the world of gaming, but broadened out to encompass most humorous situations which involve someone winning and, more importantly, someone conspicuously losing. Parents today have it hard. They grew up being beaten by kindly but quietly […]

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  • The collective corrective

    Posted by on July 15, 2009

    Collective nouns are tricky beasts. Or is the concept of collective nouns a tricky beast? The question of whether a collective noun requires a singular or plural verb to agree with it is one many find difficult to grasp, including myself, but then I have the mighty brains of the dictionary team here to help […]

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  • Adverbs still have something to add (to verbs)

    Posted by on July 09, 2009

    Adverbs are lovely. Except lovely is an adjective. Now I love snooker, but there’s one aspect to watching it on television that drives me potty. Certain commentators on the BBC, who shall remain nameless, have got into the habit of acting as if adverbs don’t exist, continually saying such things as: “He’s hit that one […]

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  • New BuzzWord: transliterate

    Posted by on July 06, 2009

    Transliterate is the new BuzzWord on Macmillan Dictionary Online. To get the most from the myriad sources of information available in the world today, one must be truly transliterate. If you’re reading this blog, well done, it’s a good first step. Now go and read a newspaper, send some mobile phone texts, and you’ll be […]

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