Did you know?

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


 - definitions and thesaurus

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.



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 term pronunciation in British English /tɜː(r)m/
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable] a word or phrase used for referring to something

    a technical/medical/legal/scientific term

    In simple terms, you need more exercise.

    The president condemns terrorism in the strongest possible terms.

    coin a term (=create a new term):

    Darwin originally coined the term ‘natural selection’.

    1. a.
      [countable] [often plural] a word or phrase used as a name or for describing someone

      All his teachers speak of him in glowing terms.

      a term of endearment:

      We called our daughter ‘Princess’ as a term of endearment.

  2. 2


    [plural] used for saying which aspects of something you are considering or including

    In practical terms, this change is unlikely to affect many people.

    in political/economic/artistic terms

    in terms of:

    The savings, both in terms of time and money, could be considerable.

  3. 3
    [countable] one of the periods of time into which the year is divided for students. In the UK, there are usually three terms: the autumn term, the spring term, and the summer term

    What classes are you taking this term?

    the end of term:

    How many weeks is it till the end of term?

    term time:

    He trains five times a week during term time.

    1. a.
      [countable] [usually singular] a period of time during which a government, court, or other official organization regularly meets

      The Supreme Court’s term always begins in October.

  4. 4
    [countable] a period of time during which a politician or other official holds their job

    In 1988 he was re-elected for a five-year term.

    term of/in office:

    Her term of office ends in September.

  5. 5
    [countable] the period of time that someone must spend in prison

    She’s serving a 15-year term.

    prison/jail term:

    He received a prison term of six months.

  6. 6
    [countable] a period of time that a legal, business, or financial agreement lasts

    Finance costs are collected over the term of the loan.

    fixed term:

    I was employed on a fixed-term contract of two years.

  7. 9


    [plural] the conditions of a legal, business, or financial agreement that the people making it accept

    He had little choice but to accept their terms.

    term of:

    We have agreed the terms of the lease.

    under the terms of something:

    The committee was set up under the terms of a voluntary agreement.

    terms and conditions:

    Do you agree to these terms and conditions?

    negotiate terms:

    He negotiated the terms for their release from prison.

    1. a.
      the conditions you accept when you buy or sell something

      His terms are very reasonable.

      on easy terms (=paying small amounts over a long time):

      The bank makes loans on easy terms.



… a teaching method in which groups of children learn independently using a computer linked to the internet

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a derogatory word used for referring to people in the banking and investment industry who are thought of as taking serious risks in order to increase their own earnings …

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