Using the Dictionary


Look up a word, learn it forever.

Start typing and see what we mean.

Click on Dictionary at the top of the website to start exploring our dictionary.  Start typing and we’ll make our best guess as to what word you’re looking for. Once you see your word in one of the first five choices, you can click on it to see that word's page.



The dictionary page with the letters "am" typed in the search bar.


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.  

Try some of our favorites:  hirsutequadrupedsurreallackadaisical — or try a random word!


Ad-free for everyone.

Our dictionary is free from advertisements for every user, with or without an account. Now you can focus on the words without any distractions.


Real world examples, hot off the presses.

Use our Usage Examples panel to 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.

Read more: Using the Usage Example Browser


The Usage Example Browser for the word ambiguous.


See your learning progress right in the dictionary.

Looking up a word you don't know? Click the Start Learning it Now button to add it to your learning program. After you've started learning it, return to the dictionary page to see your progress mastering that word, as well as all the questions you've answered on it.


Progress on the word rigamarole

Read more: Tracking Your Progress on Words You Are Learning


Explore Word Families

The diagram you see on the right-hand side of every dictionary page is a representation of a particular word’s family. In English, many words are closely related to other words, so closely related that we deem them to be in the same family. The Usage diagram indicates how these words are related, and how frequently each word from the family is used in the wild.


Word Family Display for the word international

Read more: Understanding the Word Family Display


Can I hear each word pronounced?

Yes! We've collaborated with New-York based opera singers to pronounce words in our dictionary.  Click the speaker icon to the right of any word to hear it pronounced. If a word has multiple pronunciations, we'll include multiple speaker icons as well as a chart in the right-hand column that will give you more information about when it's appropriate to use each pronunciation.


How does the Advanced Search work?

The Dictionary Advanced Search is a powerful tool to help you find just the right word(s) you need. It uses a series of parameters to help you discover, explore and refine your search. You can limit your search to parts of speech, display synonyms or antonyms of a word, restrict to a syllable range, find rhymes, or only show words that end with a certain letter or suffix. The Advanced Search can also pull words that contain a word or phrase in a definition. Additionally, you can search by type of (e.g. “flower” returns daisy, rose, peony), example of (e.g. “planet” returns Earth, Venus), and parts of (e.g. “computer” returns keyboard, microchip). After you hit the Advanced Search button, your results will be displayed below, and your search string will appear in the dictionary search field above. Try different parameter combinations for fun results.

Read more: Advanced Search

Have more questions? Contact Us