Questions tagged [dictionaries]

Questions about English dictionaries

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Phonetic symbols for Port are different: Webster Internet vs Webster paper

Phonetic symbols are different for the same word Port. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary on the Internet: port noun (1) \ ˈpȯrt \ Definition of port (Entry 1 of 10) 1: a place where ships may ride ...
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Phonetic symbol - superscript h in Which [duplicate]

Q1) What is the meaning of the small h (superscript h) in the phonetic symbols of which shown in Collins? ʰwɪ̠tʃ the small h means 'complete silence' (= just ignore h) the small h means 'pronounce ...
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What is the meaning of "used to show disapproval" in dictionaries?

I see some words and phrases in Longman dictionary and there is a sentence at the end of their definition: "used to show disapproval". I'm not sure what exactly it means. For example, I ...
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How common is the secondary pronunciation of chestnut (non-silent t) [closed]

Until recently, I was convinced that the first t in chestnut is silent. However, the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary includes ['tʃestnʌt] as a secondary variant. Interestingly, the Oxford Learner's ...
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3 answers
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What is the status of the verb "booster"? (1) Should we say "Get boosted" or "Get boostered"? and (2) Its use in AmE meaning "to promote"

I'm interested in booster as a verb with regard to two meanings: (1) to get or give a booster shot and (2) to act as a promotor of something or somebody. (1) I haven't found booster as a verb in ...
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Google Oxford dictionary word differences

I want to know on what basis do dictionaries place certain equivalent words into separate sections. Below is an example when performing a Google search (which uses Oxford dictionary) for the word fly. ...
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1 answer
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4 dictionaries give "at face value" a slightly different meaning, what should I do? [duplicate]

I notice someone had asked What does "to take someone at face value" mean? before. But my question is a bit different. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/at-face-value ...
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Disinterested vs Uninterested [duplicate]

I've always understood 'disinterested' to mean impartial and 'uninterested' to mean not interested. Using 'disinterested' to mean not interested is wrong based on my experience and various sources ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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"man" vs. "men" pronunciation in American English

Here are 10 audio clips taken (more or less randomly) from a book narrated by a professional American narrator. In 5 of them, he is saying man, and in the other 5, men. Is it possible for a native ...
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-3 votes
3 answers
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Passive voice non-existent in the active

III. Passive, to be concerned. This occurs in some senses which are non-existent or obsolete in the active; in other senses it is much more used than the active. https://www.oed.com/oed2/00046215 Are ...
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Is there a word in a dead or lost language that we lost the definition to? [closed]

Is there a word we lost the definition to? A word whose definition we lost to history? Something that is a part of our history but we forgot the meaning with time
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What does Merriam-Webster mean by "being such in practice or effect"?

I was looking at the definition of "practical" and found a phrase that I couldn't understand. The phrase that I'm talking about is being such in practice or effect And also, according to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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Which is correct in using "consider as" of Cambridge and Oxford dictionary?

I get a bit confused when counterchecking the dictionaries of Cambridge and Oxford against one another. In the Cambridge dictionary, it is written that "We don’t use 'as' with 'consider'" ...
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3 answers
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Publick or Public? in the 18th and 19th Century Britain

The spelling of -ck was more popular than -c in many words in Britain. But in America, Noah Webster proposed around 1800 to replace -ck by -c, which caused the widespread of this -c spelling in US. In ...
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‘Thank you’ has an exceptionally special place among ‘good’ words used as irony?

A. A. Milne, best known for his books about Winnie-the-Pooh, is much less noted as a prolific playwright of about forty plays. They are carefully crafted works that continue to entertain and delight ...
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14 votes
4 answers
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Is there a distinction between “victuals” and “vittles” that exists in writing but not in speech?

As I set out on this project I noticed that there are already several questions at EL&U referring to the words here in question. But what can I do? In Merriam-Webster’s entry for victuals, it is ...
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How hard would it be to create a truly free dictionary? [closed]

How many words would be required for a comprehensive English learners dictionary and what level of effort would be required to create such a dictionary from scratch? "Comprehensive" means it ...
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2 answers
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What are some antonyms for salvation? [closed]

I'm writing an essay on how immigrants came to the US in the 1900s for salvation, but instead, they got the opposite. However, I'm looking for a more complex word; it'll sound boring if I just say it ...
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1 vote
3 answers
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What is the word for digressing from a topic to talk passionately about something?

Basically when someone jumps to a kind of related topic and talks about it very passionately for a while. What is the word for that? As in, "I hate to go on a -------- but I want to tell the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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How is 'chortle' different to 'laugh'?

Chortle is a very common synonym for 'laugh', although arguably more specific in the type of laugh. I've been ignoring this word for some time since whenever I think I finally know how to use it I see ...
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Uncorrect vs. Incorrect; Do the two words have the same meaning?

I often heard professors at the University I was enrolled in use the word "uncorrect." The word 'uncorrect' is in some reputable English dictionaries, and conspicuous by its absence in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why don't dictionaries employ both positive and negative claims when defining a word?

Although a definition can take the form of a positive claim, often employing language such as "of or relating to", or a negative claim, employing similar language as "not of, relating ...
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1 answer
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Translating the Phrase from 20th to the 18th century [closed]

Needing to write a novel that is set in the 1800's finding the correct phrases and words used back then is challenging. I just want to know where I can find the correct phrases and words for the novel....
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1 vote
2 answers
454 views

What is "pursue an agenda" meaning?

I have read a "pursue" word meaning here https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/pursue?q=pursue, but I can't understand the second meaning, especially one of its ...
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Do dictionaries make negative claims?

Although as stated in this question (concerning the seemingly contradictory senses of the definition of peruse) it's like saying "peruse is A" and "peruse is not A" The senses ...
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1 vote
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I wish to know meaning of phrase / expression wacky duck

I am writing a story at the moment about one villain from a horror movie and I often need rhymes. English is not my mother tongue. I read on Urban Dictionary that "wacky duck" means a hit to ...
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Is there any dictionary look-up frequency list?

The Online Portuguese Dictionary Dicio offers a (arbitrarily long) list of words ordered by look-up frequency. I find such a list very useful when selecting words to learn as a native speaker because ...
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Names for the levels of a dictionary entry

What are the names for the different "levels" of a dictionary entry, especially for the Oxford English Dictionary entries displayed by Google? E.g., I find a LOT of levels in the dictionary ...
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The meaning of “caterpillar” as a verb

From "Dunkirk: Fight to the Last Man" by Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, quoting RWS's Captain Walter Clough-Taylor: "... I noticed there were girders, rising to about a foot in height in the ...
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-1 votes
5 answers
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Can a Secondary Definition Violate/Negate the First Definition

I have a specific word in mind, but I'd rather not use it to avoid potential bias. I'll edit and post the word if I need to. Hypothetically, I have a word, "CanHoldWater", defined by Merriam-...
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definition and usage for whipsaw?

My understanding of the whipsaw term is that can, according to Wiktionary, be used rhetorically as in these examples: verb (transitive) To defeat someone in two different ways at once. 2014 November ...
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9 votes
4 answers
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What is the difference between fervor and ardor?

I am trying to increase my vocabulary skills and I have a hard time seeing the nuanced differences between these two words. Both have intense passion and enthusiasm as their common dictionary meaning. ...
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What's the word for "synonyms of a phrase"?

I'm looking for multiple ways to say "Call the Police". When searching the thesaurus, I couldn't find anything. In my head, I can come up with "report to the authorities", or "...
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1 vote
4 answers
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Free hand: uncountable

Free hand [countable; singular] ​ Unrestricted freedom or authority: They gave the director a free hand to cut the budget wherever she wanted​ https://www.wordreference.com/definition/free%20hand ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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"turn me into" idiom for hobbies

I have a vague memory of an idiom involving "turn me into" and hobbies, but I can't find it on dictionaries online. Maybe I'm using a wrong word? "My friend turned me into DJing" ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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"then" used after "but"

THEN adv Used after but to qualify or balance a preceding statement Idiom: then again https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=then Wiktionary has an entry for but then again as an "...
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1 vote
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What means share the feelings of another? [closed]

I understand it like having the same feelings (experience the same feelings of another), that's right?
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Plural affix in the Oxford English Dictionary

I cannot find an entry for the plural affix in the OED (-es, -s , 's, s), unlike say for -en. Also for -ed we have : -ed, suffix1, -ed, suffix2, -d, -t, suffix1, -t, suffix2, etc. What are the ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Is a villian neccesarily evil?

Webster's dictionary gives one definition of villian as somone who opposes the hero giving no qualifications on whether the villian is evil or not. merriam-webster.com On the other hand, other ...
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The meaning of "bestatued" [closed]

From "The Magus" by John Fowles: "Beyond that rose the Regency façade, bestatued, many and elegantly windowed, of Cumberland Terrace." What does "bestatued" mean here?
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10 votes
2 answers
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Is the word "psithurism" really used in English?

‎ I have seen people using this word to refer to the sound wind makes as it moves through trees. However, 1. No reputable dictionary seems to have acknowledged this term as a valid english word. 2. ...
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1 answer
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How is malice different from aggression?

I am having trouble understanding exactly what malice is and how it is different from aggression? In social psychology, aggression (which is contrasted with accidental harm) is defined as intentional ...
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1 vote
0 answers
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Italics Usage in Dictionaries

I've only recently realized that the example sentences in many English dictionaries are italicized. And I've yet to find out any other medium that uses italics in examples. What is the history of ...
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Grammatical terms used in the definitions of the Oxford English Dictionary

For example, the entry for the noun "counsel" reads: (Usually a collective plural, but sometimes treated as a numeral plural; formerly, in ‘to desire the benefit of counsel’, treated as a ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
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Why is "pen" of "submarine pen" not in the dictionary?

I saw this word a long time ago while playing red alert https://cnc.fandom.com/wiki/Submarine_pen_(Red_Alert_1) Since then i had forgotten about it, until a watched a youtube video on u-boats https://...
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2 answers
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Why are names of proteins not in dictionaries and not considered to be words?

It makes sense to not include unwieldy scientific names in dictionaries, as they would cause dictionaries to swell in size unreasonably. However, I was wondering how and when this decision was made ...
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1 answer
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unparallleled versus unprecedented

I am looking up these two words and they seem to have the same meaning. I thought that they mean same.Reading one of each definitions of these below, I undestood they meant same. unparalleled - ...
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Conjuring is listed as a noun on Google and Longman but then why does it appear as an adjective in the examples listed at these places?

E.g., on Google, the meaning is: "the performance of tricks which are seemingly magical, typically involving sleight of hand." But the given example is: "a conjuring trick". Similarly, the example in ...
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Get around (intransitive): say or do something at last

Get around (intransitive verb): finally to say or do something after delay, hesitation, or being involved with other things I wondered when you'd get around to telling me that. Microsoft® ...
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measure of quantity: a hundred of bricks

According to the entry of "hundred" in the OED Only in measures of quantity, the structure is a hundred of bricks. What does measure of quantity mean here, especially as opposed to a hundred ...
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