Love English

Competition: “Say the Word” and win £30 in eBook vouchers

Last week, Michael Rundell talked in his blog post about how the music of The Beatles had an impact on the English language. The famous band from Liverpool mainly used common English words in their songs (words like you, I, me, sun, and love). Michael also writes that over 91% of the words on the album Abbey Road appear in the General Service List; a list of the 2,000 commonest English words which roughly corresponds to the 3-star red words in the Macmillan Dictionary.

So, most of the words The Beatles used are ‘red words’ and very familiar to us. But what about the other words – the so-called ‘black words’?

We are challenging you to find all the words in Beatles songs that are not red words in the Macmillan Dictionary. To make it even more difficult, we’ll exclude names, proper nouns, or made-up words. Here’s one give-away as an example:

The word sermon (in the song ‘Eleanor Rigby’: “Father Mackenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear”) is a black word as it doesn’t appear in the Macmillan Dictionary as one of the 7,500 ‘red words’.

Are you up for this Beatles word game? For every word you find, please also say which Beatles song it appears in.

The person who can give us the most ‘black’ words will win a £30 voucher from the Macmillan eBookstore.

Answers should be sent to and the winning entry will be announced and made available here on Macmillan Dictionary Blog. Please send your entries to us before 25th April, 2013 2nd May, 2013 and include your name and email address. Before submitting your answers, please make sure you have read the full Terms and Conditions of this competition.

Important change!
The deadline for entries has been extended to Thursday, 2nd May, 2013. Please email your entry, including your name, to Thank you!

Email this Post Email this Post

About the author


Saskia Iseard