Questions about English dictionaries

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29
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13answers
6k views

What is a verb for “illusion”?

What is a verb for illusion? I want to use it in a sentence like the following: The optical effect [illudes] my perception of its real shape. But illude does not exist. But I cannot find illude ...
1
vote
1answer
34 views

word for widestly (adverb of widest)

I am going to paraphrase this sentence: It is one of the mostly used methods in .... and I want to replace mostly with widest, but it is an adjective, not an adverb: It is one of the ...
-1
votes
0answers
25 views

Rating words by ambiguity [closed]

I'm currently working on software that needs to know how ambiguous a keyword is. I'm looking for a table of words similar to a dictionary without a description with a score, or even just ordered by ...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

Categorized dictionary of the English language [closed]

What dictionaries are there available which offer some kind of classification of words into different categories? I am looking for a free alternative to WordStat. I would like to use the ...
3
votes
2answers
297 views

What is the name for “pronunciation spelling”?

Dictionaries often have "pronunciation spelling" listed next to the word. For example: port·man·teau - noun \pȯrt-ˈman-(ˌ)tō\ What is the name for this alphabet/system? Is it a universal ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the difference between “archaic” and “obsolete” in dictionaries?

I have come across both of these terms when searching words via google. Is there a difference between these two terms, or is it just a case of one dictionary prefering one term over another?
4
votes
3answers
286 views

bemustached versus mustached

I’ve just read an article in The Huffington Post in which the phrase “bemustached 26-year-old” was used: Sex and sword swallowing beg some pretty obvious comparisons, but the similarities aren’t ...
3
votes
1answer
706 views

What is the accepted definition of the following words in this sentence?

Quoting DailyWTF: The Matrix! No, not the the uburbulous deprodication errebelously conceived by “The Architect”. What is the accepted definition of the following words in the preceding quote? ...
0
votes
3answers
40 views

“come on as” versus “come across as”

Would you say that both sentences sound correct? On the whole, I think you came ON as sincere and credible, and your soft-spoken demeanor, laced with a dash of wry humor, was quite charming. On the ...
3
votes
4answers
251 views

On the duplicity of “peruse” [duplicate]

The following are the two main definitions of the verb peruse that the editors at Merriam-Webster.com have put forward; : to look at or read (something) in an informal or relaxed way : to ...
0
votes
2answers
68 views

What does the semicolon in the dictionary definition of a word mean?

Many dictionaries use a semicolon in a meaning for a word. For instance for the word impertinent I have seen: "outside the bounds of proper speech or behaviour; impudent; insolent; saucy" Then ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

What's the earliest reference to a non-article word that still exists today?

Assuming around 1800 is "par" for "earliest mention" of an English word by most of our esteemed GR (GR: General Reference) text, is this for any particular reason strongly cut off at that time? I'm ...
28
votes
3answers
4k views

Regulatory bodies and authoritative dictionaries for English

Some languages have a "regulatory body" issuing recommendations and guidelines regarding the use of that language. For example in the case of Spanish it's the Real Academia Española whose status is ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

'Upgradation' not universally accepted?

While copy-editing an article for a journal, I came across the word 'upgradation' underlined red by MS Word (It's underlined red even as I type it in Chrome). The publishers of the journal recommend ...
26
votes
2answers
5k views

How and when did American spelling supersede British spelling in the US?

Considering that Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, is there a recognised tipping point (year, decade, etc.) that marked the move from traditional British spelling to Webster's American? ...
0
votes
2answers
81 views

When are operational definitions appropriate and when can one conclude that a poor word choice was made?

In the book Making is Creating the author, David Gauntlett, seems to use the word "creativity" to refer to the act of creating anything. The example is given that it is creative to make one's own ...
2
votes
1answer
127 views

The word “cooker”

According to Merriam-Webster, one of the definitions of the word "cooker" is "a person who tends a cooking process (a cook)." The dictionary provides the following example sentence: Dad was the ...
7
votes
1answer
358 views

Syllable — Phonetic Online List/Dictionary with word examples

Is there a homepage or online tool that gives you a list of, let's say, the 2000 most common syllables sorted by their international phonetic alphabet spelling? (e.g. /sɜː(r)/ = the first syllable ...
4
votes
4answers
132 views

Source for tracing evolution of specific polysemes, e.g. “catamaran”?

Does anyone know a dictionary (or other resource) that traces the etymologies of words in such detail as to show how two, three ... different meanings may have come to apply to a given word? This ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How do dictionaries cope with new meanings of words? [closed]

Scientists are working on every aspect of our lives and find out different information which is sometimes contradictory to the previous information or definitions. Or sometimes there are some ...
0
votes
1answer
165 views

What is this letter/symbol called?

I found it in an old dictionary and I'm not sure what it means. It looks like the number "3", but the top of the three has been flattened(and slightly curved). I've only seen this in three or four ...
5
votes
5answers
449 views

Can one ever say for certain a word does not exist? [closed]

Can it ever be concluded that an alleged word is not actually a word? Obviously, if a word is not in a particular dictionary, it does not mean the word is any less of a word than the ones that do ...
0
votes
2answers
119 views

Teaching of smuh? [closed]

I was helping my child with her homework and noticed that she has to learn words starting with with sm..., st.... I found word "smuh" which i had never seen before as English is not my native ...
3
votes
2answers
985 views

Is there any dictionary that decomposes an English word into prefix, root, and suffix?

Is there any dictionary that shows the decomposition of each word into these three parts, if application at all? For instance, "incapable" is divided into prefix "in", root "cap", and suffix "able". ...
2
votes
1answer
317 views

The lost English dictionary

There is an old dictionary of the English language where words are defined from a pessimistic/skeptical/sadistic perspective. I seem to have lost the link to that dictionary in my bookmarks. I wonder ...
0
votes
1answer
189 views

Where can I find a dictionary for homonyms?

I want to know where I can find a dictionary that I can look up homonyms of a word. For instance if I type in alien it will show me the word salient. That dictionary should base on the sound itself, ...
6
votes
2answers
33k views

Why are “scaring” and “scarring” confused by some dictionaries? [closed]

Scaring is related to the word scare, while scarring is related to the word scar. Why is it that some dictionaries get these two words confused? For example, when you use Mac OS X Lion's lookup ...
2
votes
2answers
240 views

Historical Basis for “To Graduate” Being Only a Transitive Verb

About nine years ago, I received from a quite insistent source the claim that the verb to graduate is transitive, and, specifically, that the intransitive usage was wrong. For example, the following ...
5
votes
16answers
2k views

What is the word or term used to describe a person who intentionally ignores a rule/regulation/order

There is a girl in my lab who, despite having been corrected numerous times in the past, continues to disregard the lab procedures regarding chain of command. She constantly goes over supervisors' ...
16
votes
7answers
6k views

Another meaning of the vulgar word “slut”

I guess people who speak American and Philippine English will unanimously agree that the word "slut" is a very offensive term referring to a promiscuous woman. However, Merriam-Webster and Oxford ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the meaning of the word “inriation”?

I looked up the definition of the word elation in Webster's Revised Unabridged 1913 dictionary and found the following definition (Page: 476): Elation E*la"tion (?), n. [L. elatio. See ...
10
votes
6answers
31k views

“Smooths” versus “Smoothes”

I am interested in the rapid rise (since about 1993) in frequency of the spelling smoothes as against smooths. An Ngram Viewer graph tracking the frequency of usage of the two words from 1800 to ...
4
votes
2answers
144 views

“Personified” in an OED definition

While writing an answer to this question, I looked up the word ennui in the full version of the Oxford English Dictionary. (I'd give you a link, but I access the OED through my local library's proxy ...
15
votes
5answers
6k views

Where can I obtain an English dictionary with structured data?

I would like to download an English dictionary -- not just a word list -- in a structured format such as TXT, XML, or SQL. Specifically, I need phonetic pronunciation and parts of speech (definition ...
0
votes
3answers
991 views

Creating a new word [duplicate]

If you invent a new word, how do you go about getting this recognised as a real word in dictionaries?
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What part of speech is “methinks”?

Dictionaries call this word a verb, but it doesn't seem to behave like any other verb in the English language. Another question on this site calls it a “conjoined pronoun-verb combination”, which ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

What algorithm decideds whether to retain a word or drop it while downsizing a dictionary? [closed]

One approach I can think of is eliminating most of the words that are very commonly used in spoken English(since a prospective reader is likely to know meaning of most frequently used words, or he/she ...
11
votes
4answers
6k views

Is “criterions” a valid plural for “criterion”?

Is criterions a valid plural for criterion? Dictionary.com says it is, but Oxford does not confirm or reject it.
5
votes
4answers
21k views

Is “pronunciate” a word?

Is "pronunciate" a word? At first it doesn't seem to be, but why not? "Pronunciation" and "pronunciative" seem to be words, so it would seem natural that "pronunciate" would be. After Googling, I ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

From a non-native's standpoint: Which dictionary should I pay attention to when I find semantically contradictory definitions of a word?

[The following is one of dozens of cases I come across on a daily basis] By accident, I have recently noticed that the phrasal verb go through (as in experience) -- which I've been using so far in my ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Online rhyme dictionary/rhyming resource that lists rhymes by vowel sound (assonance)

Anyone know of an online rhyming dictionary or rhyme resource that lists rhymes by vowel sound (assonance)? RhymeZone.com doesn't have such an option.
4
votes
1answer
101 views

Where does “acutilobate” originate from?

I see the claim that acutilobate is a “dictionary-only” word, for example seen in the 1913 Webster’s dictionary. How would a word get into a dictionary that only appears in dictionaries and is not ...
4
votes
0answers
45 views

Looking for a dictionary that would provide information on the “flavor” of the word [closed]

I'm working on my chatbot program and it could really use an extension to its vocabulary. Currently it picks words out of a list of just a few hundred, all entries containing data like the word ...
0
votes
2answers
529 views

Capitalization of bpm/BPM meaning beats per minute

The Oxford English Dictionary defines "bpm" as an abbreviation of "beats per minute" and gives the example: a pulse rate of 40 bpm Is there an explanation for the curious feature that this ...
3
votes
9answers
910 views
7
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5answers
3k views

Is there such thing as an online preposition dictionary?

Is there such a thing as an online preposition dictionary? For example, I want to use the word "interpretation" but I am not sure of its preposition. I don't know if the correct preposition should ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Is there any dictionary to look up for words that have similar vowel pronunciation?

I would like to make smooth-sounding sentences and slogans, so it is important to me to find words with similar pronunciations. Is there any dictionary that can help me find words like that?
0
votes
1answer
244 views

Is “analeptical” correct? Form of “analepses”

My teacher was editing my essay and change analepses (plural of analepsis) to analeptical. I'm trying to use the definition of a flashback. Here is the context: Original sentence: Analepses in ...
-1
votes
2answers
544 views

'Marked by' vs 'having' in dictionary definitions

I've read definitions that differ from each other only by the words marked by and having. E.g. 'Marked by a calm demeanor' and 'having a calm demeanor'. I see this often enough that I suspect ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Can “womenomics” be considered a neologism?

It is not the first time I come cross the term womenomics used to refer to a wider presence of women in the economic activities of a country. In this case it refers to Japan, a country where women ...