Finally, a dictionary with a soul.

Our dictionary was written for humans, by humans. Look up a word, and you’ll read a friendly explanation that you'll actually remember. It’s as if your favorite teacher were explaining it to you.

Real world examples, hot off the presses.

Read thousands of example sentences from current newspapers, magazines, and literature. We show you how words live in the wild and give you usage tips so that you're more confident about using the words you learn.

Try the world’s smartest, fastest dictionary.

Find the word you’re looking for faster than with any other online dictionary. Just start typing a word and our 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.

limbo

No, this isn’t the dance where you try to squeeze under a pole by leaning backwards, this limbo refers to an imaginary place for lost or forgotten things. It’s where your socks go when you lose them in the dryer.

Limbo is originally a Roman Catholic term used to describe a place for infants who die before baptism. In common speech limbo can be used in much the same way as “gray area.” It’s a place where nothing is clear or certain. When the law isn’t clear on a specific issue, then that issue is in “legal limbo.” If there is an election that is so close that no one knows who won, that’s “political limbo.”

Choose your words

Caught between words? Learn how to make the right choice.

didactic/ pedantic

Both words relate to teaching, but didactic teaches a lesson and pedantic just shows off the facts.
read more...

pragmatic/ dogmatic

If you're pragmatic, you're practical. You're living in the real world, wearing comfortable shoes. If you're dogmatic, you follow the rules. You're living in the world you want, and acting a little stuck up about it.
read more...

parody/ parity

They're different, but when these words are said out loud it's hard to tell them apart. A parody is a silly spoof and parity is equality, and that's no joke.
read more...

introvert/ extrovert

These two personality types are opposites — introverts focus inward, into their own thoughts, and extroverts focus outward, into the world. But don't get too excited; most people are a little bit of both. read more...

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. read more...

flair/ flare

Flair is a talent for something, like what the pro-wrestler Nature Boy Ric Flair had back in the day. Flare is on a candle or the shape of bell-bottoms that kids rocked back in the heyday of wrastlin’. read more...

See all Choose Your Words articles »
Header Photo Credit: Ben Cooper, Launch Photography

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.