The Dictionary

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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.

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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.

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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.
prostate/ prostrate

Oh, for the want of a letter! Prostate is a gland found in male mammals, but prostrate, with an r, means to lie face down. Get them mixed up and you’ll thoroughly confuse your doctor. Continue reading...

formidable/ formative

Formidable describes a foe you’re slightly afraid of, but formative describes what formed you. Perhaps a formidable gymteacher scared the pants off you during your formative years in grade school, and now you’re a world-class athlete. (Or a bookworm, depending on how you react to formidable foes.) Continue reading...

flaunt/ flout

Flaunt is to show off, but flout is to ignore the rules. Rebels do both — they flaunt their new pink motorcycles by popping a wheelie, and flout the law by running a red light. Continue reading...

ingenious/ ingenuous

Ingenuous means innocent, artless, simple, while ingenious refers to something original, creative, inventive. Continue reading...

All Choose Your Words »
FEATURED WORD

adopt

You can adopt an air of nonchalance, a fake British accent, or even a stray dog. When you adopt something, you consciously select it and accept it as your own.

The word adopt has many different shades of meaning, but most relate to the notion of taking something on and treating it as if it’s your own. You’re probably familiar with what happens if you adopt a child: you take on parental responsibilities and accept the child as if it’s your own. You can adopt other things — such as a plan, a method, or a point of view — in a similar way. For example, when you adopt a particular attitude — such as a respectful attitude — you select that as a way to present yourself and behave as if it is natural.