From the category archives:

global English

  • Open Dictionary Word of the Month: pop

    Posted by on October 19, 2015

    Only 89 new entries made it into the Open Dictionary in September, a sharp drop from the two previous months. The overall number of submissions was slightly down too, and many submissions failed to meet the admissions criteria. These are that the word or phrase should be used by more than just one person or […]

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  • Open Dictionary Word of the Month: shabbify

    Posted by on September 22, 2015

    Just under 180 of your submissions were accepted into the Open Dictionary in August, up from 159 the previous month. Many new entries came from Kerry Maxwell’s regular BuzzWord feature, which has focused on a newsworthy neologism almost every week for the past twelve years. Inevitably not all of these words have stood the test […]

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  • Open Dictionary Word of the Month: smoko

    Posted by on August 10, 2015

    Submissions to the Open Dictionary in July continued the theme of food words from around the globe. So we have added, among others, aloo tikki (‘a famous Indian snack made of potato and spices’), kreplach (small dumplings filled with meat or cheese, eaten on Jewish holidays) and lahmacun (a type of middle Eastern pizza). A […]

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  • Open Dictionary Word of the Month: icy pole

    Posted by on July 13, 2015

    Following the integration of the Open Dictionary into Macmillan Dictionary earlier this year, we thought it was time to celebrate again the success of our crowdsourced dictionary. This series of posts will highlight the contribution made by our worldwide band of contributors by picking out some of the most interesting submissions made to the Open […]

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  • Dialects and dictionaries

    Posted by on June 02, 2015

    There is an old story about a sign on a level crossing (the place where a road crosses a railway line, known as a “grade crossing” in the U.S.). The sign was designed for the safety of car drivers, and it said: “Wait here while the red light flashes”. But it had to be replaced because […]

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  • Get your gas mask on – toot sweet! World War I, and its impact on English

    Posted by on July 28, 2014

    There’s a popular song from World War I about a soldier going off to the front. It starts with the lines: Brother Bertie went away To do his bit the other day (You can hear an original recording here.) “Doing your bit” – taking your fair share of a job that has to be done […]

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  • What goes in the dictionary when the dictionary is online?

    Posted by on July 15, 2014

    The familiar question of “how words get into the dictionary” is harder to answer when the dictionary is online. Printed dictionaries have limited space, so we have to be selective. This contributes to the popular view of lexicographers as “gatekeepers” – the people who decide, on behalf of the rest of the population, which words are […]

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  • Are you -ish, -ic, -ese or -ian? (Or none of these?)

    Posted by on April 09, 2014

    Most people in Spain are Spanish and speak Spanish. Most people in Italy are Italian and speak Italian. There are many countries that give their name, plus a suffix, to both a language, and an adjective for things from the country. Of course there are lots of languages without countries, and plenty of countries that […]

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  • 248 changes in Macmillan Dictionary’s new update

    Posted by on April 02, 2014

    After a hard day at work — so busy you had to have your lunch al desko — you’re home at last. Time to change into something comfortable (so, maybe not the spray-on jeans today) and settle down to chainwatch your latest box set — perhaps one of those scary Nordic noir thrillers. Well, you […]

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  • These three things

    Posted by on July 01, 2013

    For the past six months we’ve had the absolute pleasure of having Gill Francis as one of our regular contributors on the blog. Gill’s written some fantastic posts and asked some very poignant questions about language change in general and grammar in particular. Following in Gill’s footsteps is Jonathan Marks. We welcome Jonathan as our […]

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