From the category archives:

linguistics and lexicography

  • Sharing the love on Facebook

    Posted by on August 09, 2016

    In case you missed the news – and we’ll excuse you if you did given everything else that’s been going on in the world lately – our Facebook page, MacDictionary, has just reached 100,000 likes. Just to put that in context, that’s more than enough of you dictionary fiends to fill Wembley stadium. Now think […]

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  • Word lovers, meet your match

    Posted by on August 01, 2016

    Macmillan Dictionary’s word of the day and phrase of the week features are a match made in heaven for word lovers and English-language learners. One recent phrase of the week – in the middle of Wimbledon’s tennis matches – was meet your match. Matches, matches, everywhere. Where did they come from, and how are they […]

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  • As You Dislike It

    Posted by on July 04, 2016

    Virginia Woolf’s novel The Waves is rightly celebrated for its lyrical, experimental style. After each session of writing it, when her mind was ‘agape and red-hot’, she read Shakespeare. Her diary entry of 13 April 1930 reveals the awe Woolf felt at the playwright’s ‘word coining power’ and creative speed, producing words that ‘drop so […]

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  • Real Vocabulary: a few concluding thoughts

    Posted by on June 30, 2016

    Our Real Grammar series showed how the evidence of language in use often undermines or contradicts the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people insist on. In this series on Real Vocabulary, with Scott Thornbury, we have brought you blog posts, videos and a quiz that give evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about vocabulary. ______________ As in our earlier […]

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  • Real Vocabulary Quiz, Question 10: Which is right: “less cars” or “fewer cars”?

    Posted by on June 20, 2016

    Our Real Grammar series showed how the evidence of language in use often undermines or contradicts the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people insist on. In this series on Real Vocabulary, with Scott Thornbury, we’re bringing you blog posts, videos and a quiz that give evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about vocabulary. ______________ […]

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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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  • Blethering about blatherskite

    Posted by on June 06, 2016

    Among the recent additions to Macmillan’s Open Dictionary – crowdsourced through reader submissions – is the colourful word blatherskite. This can refer either to ‘a person who talks nonsense’ or to the nonsense itself: blatherskites talk blatherskite. Blatherskite is a compound in two parts. It was formed by joining blather – a noun and verb […]

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  • Language and words in the news – 27th May, 2016

    Posted by on May 27, 2016

    This post contains a selection of links related to language and words in the news. These can be items from the latest news, blog posts or interesting websites related to global English, language change, education in general, and language learning and teaching in particular. Feel free to contact us if you would like to submit a link […]

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  • From aardvark to Zulu: recent developments in South African English

    Posted by on May 23, 2016

    Our latest guest post is by Jill Wolvaardt, the Executive Director of the Dictionary Unit for South African English. The unit, based at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, has been collecting and recording English as it is used in South Africa since 1969. Jill and her colleagues have been working with us recently to improve the […]

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  • Real Vocabulary Quiz, Question 9: can “momentarily” mean “soon” or “in a moment”?

    Posted by on May 19, 2016

    Our Real Grammar series showed how the evidence of language in use often undermines or contradicts the made-up or outdated “rules” which some people insist on. In this series on Real Vocabulary, with Scott Thornbury, we’re bringing you blog posts, videos and a quiz that give evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about vocabulary. ______________ […]

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