Launch of Macmillan Dictionary Online

Oxford, United Kingdom (PressExposure) May 27, 2009 -- It began with the credit crunch and culminated in a global financial crisis. 2008 witnessed one of the most significant periods of economic downturn since the Second World War. From a linguistic point of view however, the news was not all bad. This dire economic situation spawned a whole new area of lexical creativity, as well as providing the opportunity to fling relatively obscure financial terms into the limelight, and thereby allow them into the vocabulary of the masses. It was surely no surprise when in January 2009, the American Dialect Society crowned ‘bailout’ as its overall Word of the Year for 2008. Given the chain of financial crises which unfolded in 2008 and the catastrophic implications for the banking industry, it’s easy to see why they picked this otherwise seemingly unexciting item of vocabulary. In a year which saw the meltdown of the global economy, the financial lexicon went mainstream.

But if you are struggling to keep up with this meltdown lexicon encompassing affluenza, bankster, bear market, quantitative easing and stagflation, there is a new source of help at the new Macmillan Dictionary website –

Launched this month, this new online edition of the award‐winning Macmillan English Dictionary, already used in print and CD‐ROM format by English speakers in 140 countries worldwide, makes a remarkable resource freely available for the first time. But this online dictionary goes far beyond simply providing definitions. The 7,500 words which native English speakers use 90% of the time are marked in red and graded with stars to indicate their frequency. Extensive examples are given, along with comparisons between American and British use. Every word also has an audio pronunciation guide in both British and American English and each meaning has its own thesaurus entry with a list of synonyms or related words. Help boxes accompany dictionary definitions, showing different word forms, metaphors and frequently co‐occurring words.

"This represents a major step forward in Macmillan's digital dictionary strategy. It makes available to a whole new audience the rich resource that is the Macmillan English Dictionary, and is just the beginning of an extensive series of exciting new initiatives," said Sue Bale, Publishing Director, Macmillan Dictionaries.

Alongside the dictionary is the mPulse resource – a treasury of fascinating insights into current language trends by the Macmillan Dictionary team of lexicographers, but which is also open to contributions from any visitor to the site. By keeping up to date with the weekly BuzzWords, you can beat the recession blues by proudly claiming to be a recessionista or staycationer. Seen another new word in the press? Submit it to the Open Dictionary. Read our choice picks from the web about English today in Web Pulses or check out the Macmillan lexicographers’ musings about current language trends in the blog.

Macmillan lexicographers have always used the latest technology to analyse English as it is used today. The Macmillan English Dictionary is based on a growing corpus of over 220 million words, drawn internationally from all forms of written and spoken English language communication, from telephone calls, websites and emails to radio and legal texts. ‘Lexical profiling’ software then reveals a wealth of underlying truths about the modern language, such as the relative frequency of words, their distribution across different types of text and speech, and the ways in which they are used in sometimes unpredictable combinations. Now with the launch of, we can all gain deeper insights into how dictionary writers monitor language change as it happens, amongst English speakers around the world.

About Macmillan Publishers Limited

For more information, please contact Susannah Sallé, Senior Marketing Executive, Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
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Press Release Submitted On: May 26, 2009 at 9:17 am
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