BuzzWords: recording 10 years of language change

Macmillan Dictionary’s popular BuzzWords column celebrates its 10th anniversary this month. First published in 2003 as weekly online articles, the BuzzWords column was created to identify and capture new words and phrases as they emerged in the English language.

Looking back, Kerry Maxwell, author of the BuzzWord articles, recalls the daunting task of starting BuzzWords 10 years ago:

“I thought the prospect of starting a weekly column about new developments in the English language sounded interesting, but challenging, too. Were there really enough new words out there and where would we find them?”

Soon Maxwell found that there was plenty to write about, and the BuzzWord column grew to become a significant dictionary resource that captured language development, and identified the social and political changes that influenced those changes.

“By recording these changes as they happened”, Maxwell explains, “we’ve managed to keep our finger on the pulse of language change, and made observations at a pace which would have been unthinkable 20 years ago”.

It’s no surprise to anyone that changes in language occur with major developments, but the BuzzWords column has managed to keep track of these changes as and when they happened, capturing future trends in words and phrases, before they became mainstream.

Kerry Maxwell’s full article on 10 years of BuzzWords is available on our blog:

Notes to Editors

Kerry Maxwell has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Manchester. She has worked in academic research and as a lexicographer in the publishing industry. She lives in York, UK, where she works as a freelance author and editor. Kerry is author of Brave New Words: A Language Lover’s Guide to the 21st Century (2007) and has been writing the Macmillan Dictionary BuzzWord column since 2003.

Macmillan Dictionary's 50 favourite BuzzWords are now available online in the form of a flip book:

Macmillan Dictionary is a division of Macmillan Education:

For more information, please contact
Saskia Iseard | PR, Graded Readers and Dictionaries | Macmillan Education
Tel: +44 (0)1865 405 903 | |

Company ownership Offices and representatives Macmillan Publishing Group Macmillan Education in London Macmillan in the community What we stand for History Corporate Brochure Corporate Video
School Curriculum eLearning English Language Teaching Educational services General interest Digital publishing Catalogues
Authors Educational partnerships Educational professionals Outsourced publishing services Rights and permissions Third party distributors and booksellers
Requirements Who to approach
News Awards and information Brand guidelines Logos