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Macmillan Dictionary keeps on growing

new entries in Macmillan English Dictionary September 2014Following our recent redesign, a new “edition” of the Macmillan Dictionary went live this week, this time including 130 new headwords, 40 new phrases or meanings, and over 100 tweaks to improve what’s already there. As usual, new technology provides its share of additions (with words like bioprinting, phablet, wireframe, and the software-testing use of sandbox), as do fields such as physics and astronomy (exoplanet, multiverse, geoengineering). Education is undergoing big changes as the opportunities offered by the Internet continue to be explored, and these are reflected in new vocabulary. MOOCs and blended learning entered the language some time ago, and we’ve now added entries for virtual learning environment (and VLE), flipped (as in “the flipped classroom”), and the newer meaning of adaptive, used especially for describing learning technologies which continuously adapt content and presentation to match learners’ developing needs and capabilities – all of these being part of what is now known as EdTech.

This may be just an accident, but a surprising number of our new words describe some of the more negative features of contemporary life, such as diabesity, social cleansing, bigorexia, and the all-too-familiar sense (even if we’re lucky enough to be cash-rich) of being time-poor. Added to these are words which hint at the stresses and frustrations that go with living in a permanently “connected” world. The abbreviation TL;DR (“too long, didn’t read”) used in emails and other messages, is a symptom of information overload, while halfalogue alludes to the irritation we can feel when hearing only one half of someone else’s phone conversation. Even the interjection whatevs has a world-weary ring about it. And words like zenware and digital detox testify to many people’s desire to just switch off and escape the endless distractions of being always-on.



As in previous updates, a good percentage of our new entries (including many of the ones mentioned here, and others such as revenge porn, mindfulness, and the Australian word spruik) originally appeared in the crowd-sourced Open Dictionary, having been submitted by our users. We’re grateful for all these contributions, which help us to keep the dictionary up to date. Keep them coming!

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Michael Rundell

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