This paper offers a reassessment of the role of web data in diachronic linguistic analysis. We introduce the diachronic search facilities provided by the WebCorp Linguist’s Search Engine, including the use of a new ‘heat map’ graph for the analysis of changes in collocational patterns over time. We illustrate how web data can be used to supplement data from standard corpora in lexicological studies. Our focus is on the vogue phrase credit crunch and the paper compares examples from standard corpora (BNC, Brown, LOB, Frown, LOB) with those found in web-accessible newspaper texts. Contrary to previous studies, we do not rely on the web solely for the most up-to-date usage examples. Instead, we show how web-accessible texts dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century can be used to fill gaps in and sharpen the picture provided by standard corpora.