The Dictionary

Try the world’s smartest, fastest dictionary.
Start typing a word and get instant results.

Our dictionary zeroes in on the word you’re looking for and its meaning faster than any other online dictionary. Just start typing a word and the dictionary will display the most likely results. We want you to find the word’s definition as quickly as possible, without having to look through a lot of clutter.

Read friendly, easy-to-understand definitions.

Our dictionary goes beyond definitions. We explain words in a way you can easily understand. For most vocabulary words, you'll find explanations that break down meanings using language that is clear, accessible, and fun to read.

See millions of usage examples.

The best way to understand a word is to see examples of its use “in the wild.” For every word in the dictionary you’ll find examples from real-world sources, covering everything from literature to breaking news. We have tens of millions of example sentences, and we’re adding more every day.

Look up a word and learn it forever.

Learn words you look up in the dictionary by adding them to The Challenge. We’ll assign you the words so you can start mastering their meanings right away. Create vocabulary lists to keep track of the words you’re interested in and share your favorites with others.

choose your words

Caught between words?

Don't be confused! Learn how to make the right choice.
gibe/ jibe

To gibe is to sneer or heckle, but to jibe is to agree. Funny thing is, though, jibe is an alternate spelling of gibe, so surprise! People get them mixed up. Continue reading...

persecute/ prosecute

What is it about pursuing legal action that makes people think of harassing someone? Although we're not sure, it turns out that people have been confusing persecute and prosecute from the start. Continue reading...

empathy/ sympathy

Empathy is heartbreaking — you experience other people’s pain and joy. Sympathy is easier because you just have to feel sorry for someone. Send a sympathy card if someone’s cat died; feel empathy if your cat died, too. Continue reading...

formerly/ formally

Formerly is something that happened before, like when a pop star changed his name to a squiggle, he became known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince. But formally comes from formal, or fancy, like the prom. Continue reading...

All Choose Your Words »
FEATURED WORD

mistrial

When a judge cancels a trial, she declares a mistrial. In other words, she decides that some mistake has been made and the trial must begin again from the start, with a new jury.

There are several reasons that a judge might declare a mistrial, including a hung jury, which is when the jury can't come to a unanimous decision. There might also be misconduct by an attorney, or improperly introduced evidence. A mistrial usually means having to start all over again. The noun mistrial begins with the prefix mis-, which comes from Old English and means "bad or wrong."