Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

word - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     word pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] a single unit of written or spoken language

    The Latin word for a table is “mensa.”

    The first word that many babies can say is “Mama.”

    Can you read the words on this page?

  2. 2
    [singular] a short conversation or discussion, usually without other people listening
    want a word (with someone):

    David wants a word with you.

    have a word (with someone):

    Can I have a word with you?

    1. a.
      [countable] a short speech on a particular subject
      say a few words (=give a short speech):

      I would just like to say a few words about our guest.

      word about/on:

      Let me say a word on the subject of security.

  3. 3
    [singular/uncountable] news or information about someone or something

    We haven’t received any word from Brian yet.

    word spreads:

    Word of the incident spread quickly.

    send word (=send a message):

    He sent word that they had arrived safely.

  4. 4
    [countable] [usually singular] if someone gives you a word of something such as advice, praise, or warning, they advise, praise, or warn you

    A word of advice: Don’t take anything Gina says too seriously.

  5. 5


    [plural] someone’s words are things that they say

    I was remembering the words of my old friend.

    in your own words:

    Tell us in your own words how the accident happened.

    1. a.
      used about the words of a song, rather than the music

      I can hum the tune, but I don’t know the words.

    See also eat, mark
  6. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    word up a phrase used to express confirmation, agreement

    A: I will meet you at the gym at 5. B: Word up.

    Submitted from United States on 26/03/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play