Did you know?

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

Hail Mary pass - 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.

  1. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    in basketball, a pass from one end of the court to another in a desperate attempt to score a basket when time has nearly run out

    His Hail Mary pass was caught by Alexander Belov, who brushed off Jim Forbes and Joyce and sunk a lay-up before running back to his team-mates, arms aloft like a track athlete who has just crossed the finishing line.

    Submitted by Harris Park from United Kingdom on 16/11/2011
  2. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    used figuratively to refer to any action that is made in desperation with little hope of success

    Is Rick Perry’s proposal to overhaul Washington (including cutting pay of Congress in half) a good idea … or a Hail Mary pass by his campaign?

    Submitted by Harris Park from United Kingdom on 16/11/2011


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