Questions tagged [dictionaries]

Questions about English dictionaries

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Is "Up" an adverb or not?

Since I heard that "He climbed the mountain up" is incorrect, I've been asking people why that is. The composition He (Subject) + climbed (transitive verb) + the mountain (direct object) + ...
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-1 votes
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How does one assess the authoritativeness of a dictionary? [migrated]

I am trying to find the most authoritative English dictionary that is both online and freely accessible. The OED is (controversially?) considered by many to be the most authoritative of the (British) ...
1 vote
0 answers
50 views

What is a dictionary that gives descriptions instead of definitions called?

In Collins Dictionary if you search for a word, it gives you a description of the word, not a definition. Like "if someone is rueful he express..." Is there any term for this kind of ...
0 votes
2 answers
106 views

Is there a difference between the first vowels of ‘bother’ and ‘August’ in American English?

I found, in the Cambridge dictionary, that the first vowels in American English of the two words August and bother are the same. They are all notated as a /ɑː/. However, I found in other dictionaries, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
91 views

Is "before" also an adjective? [duplicate]

I searched "define before" in Google and found out "before" is not listed as an adjective in most dictionaries. Google's built-in dictionary, which is one of the Oxford ...
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Adjective from "Problem Solving Independently" [duplicate]

I need to know whether there's an adjective that could represent this sentence "I will help you to problem-solving independently." I hope that the answer could be similar to word like "...
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0 votes
2 answers
153 views

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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1 answer
63 views

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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1 vote
0 answers
52 views

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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
3k views

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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1 answer
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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. ...
0 votes
1 answer
72 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
55 views

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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
121 views

"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 ...
-3 votes
3 answers
91 views

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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1 vote
0 answers
44 views

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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2 votes
2 answers
125 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
417 views

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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5 votes
3 answers
698 views

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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1 answer
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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
2k views

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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1 vote
0 answers
90 views

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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1 vote
2 answers
75 views

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 ...
1 vote
3 answers
55 views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
931 views

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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0 votes
0 answers
293 views

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 ...
2 votes
1 answer
71 views

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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
60 views

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....
1 vote
2 answers
550 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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2 answers
129 views

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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
81 views

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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
35 views

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 ...
0 votes
0 answers
45 views

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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0 answers
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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 ...
-1 votes
5 answers
169 views

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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0 votes
2 answers
130 views

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 ...
9 votes
4 answers
2k views

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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0 votes
2 answers
50 views

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
104 views

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
643 views

"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" ...
-1 votes
1 answer
51 views

"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
0 answers
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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?
0 votes
0 answers
47 views

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
90 views

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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0 votes
1 answer
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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?
10 votes
2 answers
6k views

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. ...
0 votes
1 answer
155 views

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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