Major update for Macmillan Dictionary

08 February 2017

No fake news: Macmillan Dictionary has undergone another major update, with well over 600 additions

Recent additions to Macmillan Dictionary include gaslighting, no-platform, smishing, buyer’s remorse (which trended after the Brexit vote) and mansplaining. New words range from the mildly unpleasant (like chub rub, microaggression), through the charming (cat café, manic pixie dream girl), to the cutting-edge (kompromat, fake news, and alternative fact). Responding to the developing conversation about gender, we’ve included terms such as gender-incongruent, non-binary,intersex, Mx, and gender-fluid. Meanwhile, the dictionary continues to improve its coverage of major world Englishes (beyond British and American English). In our last update, we more than doubled the number of words from South African English, as well as beefing up Australian and Indian vocabulary. Now for the first time we’ve added 30-odd words from the English of the Philippines, including barangay, despedida, and presidentiable.

Our biggest innovation this time is in the area of legal terminology: in collaboration with Kevin Pike, a lecturer in Legal English with many years’ experience, we’ve added several hundred new legal terms, in a comprehensive overhaul of this key area of the English lexicon. For anyone working in, or learning about, the legal profession (students, teachers, or practitioners), Macmillan Dictionary is now the place to go for accurate, easy-to-follow explanations of words like corporate manslaughter, estoppel, rescission, or res ipsa loquitor.

As well as searching for definitions in dictionaries, people often want to know: why do we say that? So we came up with Word Stories, explaining the origin of expressions like down the rabbit hole, opening Pandora’s box, and the currently popular narcissism. So next time you’re wondering why someone has referred to a pyrrhic victory, a black swan event, or a dog-whistle remark, Macmillan Dictionary has the answers. We include almost 250 of these Word Stories, and we add more in every update.

Another recent addition to the dictionary’s website is a helpful guide on English spelling, which – despite appearances – often does follow rules that can be learned.

Commenting on the revisions, Macmillan Dictionary Editor-in-Chief Michael Rundell said:

In a world where every kind of information is so easily available online, dictionaries have to prove they’re still relevant. Keeping pace with our rapidly changing language is a big part of that, but we also need to provide a range of useful resources for anyone with a passion for language – hence features like our blog, our regular BuzzWords column, and a new spelling guide to help people get to grips with English spelling. Our job of staying up to date is made easier by the Open Dictionary, a space where users can submit their own entries for words or phrases we don’t yet cover. Every time we do an update, we mine this crowdsourced archive, and many of the words we “promote” into the dictionary began their journey as Open Dictionary submissions.


Notes to Editors:

Macmillan Education is one of the world’s leading educational publishers, operating in over 120 countries worldwide. We publish ELT and school curriculum materials in print, digital and online formats to suit the needs of classrooms around the world, and we support teachers by offering the training they need to deliver the best experience to their students. For more information, visit

The award-winning Macmillan Dictionary is available free online with a host of features. As the English language evolves, the dictionary and thesaurus are constantly updated with new words and definitions based on analysis of a wide corpus of English texts so learners can always rely on the dictionary’s accuracy and relevance. The site features a blog by authors, teachers and linguists; a crowdsourced dictionary; games, quizzes, and the latest buzzwords. For more information, visit and


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