Author Archive

  • Seachangers, salad days and skim milk

    Posted by on November 28, 2016

    In her third and final post about the links between the language of Shakespeare and the language of today, BuzzWord author Kerry Maxwell shows how the Bard’s metaphors live on in modern English. _____________ In Australian English, the word seachanger has in recent years become the catchy new way to describe a person who shuns […]

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  • Quoting Shakespeare – of icebreakers and idioms

    Posted by on November 09, 2016

    In the second of her posts about the links between the language of Shakespeare and the language of today, BuzzWord author Kerry Maxwell considers the Bard’s role in coining idioms we use without a second thought. _____________ English is a language rich in idioms and fixed phrases, language forms that trip unconsciously from the tongues […]

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  • From Bard Words to BuzzWords – parallels in word formation

    Posted by on June 13, 2016

    For many years now, Macmillan Dictionary’s popular BuzzWord posts have been examining some of the latest additions to the English lexicon, and with a back catalogue of over 500 words and expressions, they’ve looked at the full range of weird and wonderful linguistic innovations, from amazeballs to ambush marketing, zonkey to zorbing. Though outwardly these […]

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  • Stories behind Words: oblong

    Posted by on May 22, 2013

    I’m sure I’m not alone in having really enjoyed reading this series so far, and one thing that’s struck me is how often ‘Dads’ seem to feature in people’s anecdotes on lexical encounters. Well, here’s yet another one … My Dad, God rest his soul, was (unlike myself!) never much of a talker. Dad bought […]

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  • Happy 10th birthday, BuzzWord!

    Posted by on February 19, 2013

    In 2003, my son was 8 years old, tablets were still the things the doctor prescribed to make you better, and no-one had much of a clue about tweets, smartphones and apps. Yes, a lot can happen in 10 years – my son is now on the cusp of ‘adulthood’, I own a tablet, tweeting […]

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  • Word of the day: paraskevidekatriaphobia

    Posted by on January 13, 2012

    What do the months of January, April and July 2012 have in common? Here’s a clue: they might cause problems for anyone who suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia. Still none the wiser? Okay, well, how about if I told you that any month in which the first day falls on a Sunday has a clash of day […]

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  • Terms of endearment

    Posted by on December 07, 2011

    If I’ve had a tough day, there’s nothing that gives me greater pleasure than to curl up on the sofa watching telly, with a nice cuppa, a bar of choccy, maybe a few biccies too, and in case I feel the need for virtual company, my beloved lappy  at my side … If you’re wondering […]

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  • For the twelfth word of Christmas
    my true love gave to me …

    Posted by on January 05, 2011

    Twelve tweets a-tweeting Eleven dumbphones ringing Ten memes a-spreading Nine nonliners surfing Eight followers following Seven days of glamping Six pairs of jeggings An oilpocalypse Four spot-fixing scandals Three election worms Two pineberries And an earsplitting vuvuzela No romp through the word formation highlights of 2010 could be complete without at least some reference to […]

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  • For the eleventh word of Christmas
    my true love gave to me …

    Posted by on January 04, 2011

    Eleven dumbphones ringing Ten memes a-spreading Nine nonliners surfing Eight followers following Seven days of glamping Six pairs of jeggings An oilpocalypse Four spot-fixing scandals Three election worms Two pineberries And an earsplitting vuvuzela There was a time when mobile phones were just phones. However, in a world dominated by mobile communication and the technology […]

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  • For the tenth word of Christmas
    my true love gave to me …

    Posted by on January 03, 2011

    Ten memes a-spreading Nine nonliners surfing Eight followers following Seven days of glamping Six pairs of jeggings An oilpocalypse Four spot-fixing scandals Three election worms Two pineberries The idea of an ‘inside joke’ has been taken to a whole new level with the concept of the Internet meme. Whether it’s a catchphrase, a joke or […]

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