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.

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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.

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Caught between words?

Don't be confused! Learn how to make the right choice.
affect/ effect

Choosing between affect and effect can be scary. Think of Edgar Allen Poe and his RAVEN: Remember Affect Verb Effect Noun. You can’t affect the creepy poem by reading it, but you can enjoy the effect of a talking bird. Continue reading...

peak/ peek/ pique

Let's look at three homophones: peak, peek, and pique. Peak is a topmost point, such as a mountain peak, or to reach that point. Continue reading...

moral/ morale

A moral is the lesson of a story. Add an "e" and you have morale: the spirit of a group that makes everyone want to pitch in and do better. Continue reading...

entomology/ etymology

Don’t bug out! Entomology is the study of insects, but etymology is the study of words. They sound similar and both end in -logy, which means “the study of,” but don’t mix them up unless you like completely confusing people. Continue reading...

All Choose Your Words »
FEATURED WORD

cocoon

Cocoon means a silky web spun around the larvae of many insects; it can also mean a form a self-protection for humans. Famously, caterpillars emerge from their cocoons as butterflies.

For some people, their house is a cocoon, a cozy retreat from which they can escape the world. They cocoon themselves away for a whole weekend, reading, drinking tea, not answering email or the phone. Another word for cocoon is "chrysalis," but only in the context of insects.