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Open Dictionary Word of the Month: data revolution

Submissions to the Open Dictionary were back up again in March, with 42% of submissions being published, exactly the same percentage as in February.

One aim of the Open Dictionary is to collect words used in different Englishes around the world, and March’s batch didn’t disappoint, with terms like agbada and djellaba submitted from west and north Africa respectively; tuk-tuk (sent in by a contributor in India but used mainly in Thailand); and nothingburger, used in American English to refer to something that seems significant but isn’t. Other world English submissions included the noun and verb lime, Trinidadian English terms used to refer to hanging out in informal gatherings, and lepak, a Malaysian English verb with the somewhat similar meaning of to loaf around. It’s great to expand our coverage with entries like this, so do keep them coming.



Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation submitted a number of entries related to, you guessed it, innovation, including co-creation, MVP or minimal viable product, and thought leader. Terms of this kind can easily pass non-specialists by, so they are very welcome additions that will almost certainly find their way into Macmillan Dictionary.

As usual several scientific terms were added, many of them from the field of life sciences including amastigote, sessile and glial cells, which make up 90% of the brain’s cells.  Indeed the brain was a bit of a theme, with neuromyth, neuroplasticity and neurofeedback also added. The times we live in were reflected in entries like furry, groundscraper, modestwear, off-rolling, platform capitalism and vegangelical.

My Open Dictionary word of the month for March is one submitted by the people at Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation, data revolution. Defined as “a movement that focuses on producing, capturing and developing data to improve the way it is used to facilitate change” it sums up a key aspect of contemporary society, and one that can only become more salient as time goes on.

Thanks for all your submissions and do keep them coming. If there’s a word or expression that you think deserves inclusion in the Open Dictionary you can submit it here. Don’t forget to check first to make sure your word isn’t in our dictionary already.

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Liz Potter

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