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.


When you preserve something, you maintain its condition, like trying to preserve your good health by exercising regularly and eating right.

The verb preserve describes keeping something as it is now, without a decline in quality. It can also refer to keeping something safe from harm, as in “The group worked hard to preserve the regional ecosystem.” When you preserve food, such as fruit, you keep it from rotting. Jellies and jams are preserves, the noun form. A preserve can also be lands set aside, or preserved, as animal habitats.

Choose your words

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

compose/ comprise

Compose is to make up a whole, and comprise is to contain parts. Poodles compose the dog class because the class comprises poodles. The parts compose the whole, and the whole comprises the parts. Confused? Everybody else is!

lose/ loose

Lose sounds like snooze. If you lose something, you don’t have it anymore. Add an “o” and loose rhymes with goose and describes something that’s not attached.

connote/ denote

Don’t let the rhyme fool you — to connote is to imply a meaning or condition, and to denote is to define exactly. Connote is like giving a hint, but to denote is to refer to something outright.

that/ which

The words that and which point to something — which one? That one! Before a clause or phrase, a that clause goes with the flow, but a which clause starts with a pause. American English makes a big deal out of the distinction but British English doesn't, which may be why it's so dang confusing. read more...

prophecy/ prophesy

One letter separates prophecy from prophesy, and the close relationship is derived from a shared word history. read more...

than/ then

Than compares things, but then is all about time. They sound similar and were even spelled the same until the 1700s. Not anymore! Vive la difference! 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 life-long learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.