Using the Dictionary (Video)

Look up a word, learn it forever.

Start typing and see what we mean.

Click into the text box at the center of the top of the screen.  Start typing and we’ll make our best guess as to what word you’re looking for. If you see your word in one of the first five choices, you can click on it to see that word's page, or if your word is number one, we’ll choose it for you.


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!


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


Meet the family.

Use our word-family display to explore all the words that are closely related to the word you looked up.  


Read more: Understanding the Word Family Display


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 congregation

Read more: Tracking Your Progress on Words You Are Learning


Can I hear each word pronounced?

Yes, by an opera singer! We've collaborated with New-York based opera singers to pronounce every word 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.

Read more: Listening to Pronunciations


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


How does the "Primary Meanings" display work?

The dictionary page may include a Primary Meanings viewer above the definition listings. This is a fast way to view all of the definitions of a word by rolling over the squares. Clicking on a square takes you to the detailed definition lower on the page.

Have more questions? Contact Us