Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [dictionaries]

Questions about English dictionaries

34
votes
3answers
10k 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 ...
34
votes
4answers
12k 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
3answers
2k 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?
23
votes
5answers
13k views

Where can I obtain an English dictionary with structured data? [closed]

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
6k views

When does a word become a 'word'? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Creating a new word The rule of thumb used to be that when a word hit the Oxford Dictionary, it was considered to be an accepted word - this, however, seems to have ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there an 'official' way to suggest a new word become part of the English language? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Regulatory bodies and authoritative dictionaries for English Creating a new word What are the criteria to adopt new words into English? I've always been told, at least in ...
11
votes
6answers
11k views

Online tools to look up words from pronunciation

Are there online tools to look up words from their pronunciation? For example, when I hear /bεə/, I want it to tell me that there are words bear and bare that are pronounced /bεə/.
24
votes
5answers
4k views

Is “iff” considered a real word or just an abbreviation?

I wonder if "iff" is considered a real word (as LEO says) or is it just an abbreviation (as in Wiktionary)?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Different syllabic boundaries in various dictionaries?

Consider, for instance, the word "university": American Heritage: u·ni·ver·si·ty Collins Cobuild: uni|ver|sity Merriam Webster: uni·ver·si·ty As you see, syllabic boundaries differ. I read ...
5
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
31k views

Is it all right to use “in hopes of” to mean “with the aim of”?

Recently I browsed through the definition of hope in New Oxford American Dictionary (provided by Apple in the dictionary app) to double confirm with its usage as I answered a word-choice question and ...
4
votes
4answers
814 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
31k views

Largest open-source dictionary w/ brief definitions (not wiktionary) [closed]

What's the largest open-source dictionary that includes brief definitions of each word? Wiktionary is a great resource but: There are over 200K words in the scowl list that aren't in wiktionary. I'...
12
votes
7answers
4k views

What does “akin to” mean in etymologies in dictionary entries?

Many etymologies in dictionaries say that some word is “akin to” a word in some other language. For example, here is part of the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary entry for salt: Main Entry: 1salt ...
10
votes
4answers
19k views

US Equivalent to the Oxford English Dictionary

Apologies if this question is inappropriate for the site. In the US, what would be equivalent to the OED? The de facto standard. I know there's the New Oxford American Dictionary but in the US does ...
18
votes
4answers
86k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
15k views

Definition of “kissing cousins”— Are the dictionaries wrong/incomplete?

With relatives in the US south, I always thought that the definition of "kissing cousin" was a second cousin (or more distant) whom you could kiss and subsequently marry (FWIW I never did either!). ...
7
votes
1answer
454 views

Why do dictionaries transcribe the nasal in 'think' and 'language' with /ŋ/, yet 'input' and 'inbox' with /n/, not /m/?

In English, coda nasals assimilate to the following consonant, so 'n' in "in mail" and "own goal" is pronounced with [m] and [ŋ] respectively, right? If so, then why do most dictionaries transcribe ...
6
votes
3answers
21k 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 system, ...
0
votes
2answers
5k views

Best resources for word popularity [closed]

I am looking for a good resource that can give me some idea of how popular or commonly used a word is. Some of these may be: WordCount.org -- Indexes the words based on the popularity count. For ...
3
votes
10answers
5k views

What word describes interpreting evidence in such a way as to reach a desired conclusion?

Does anyone know what it's called when you interpret evidence to reach the conclusion you want?
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there any grammar rule for the usage of the re- prefix?

I've read carefully this question posted 4 years ago: Adding "re" prefix You can't use the prefix re- in any verb. Rebe, rebelieve, rehave, etc. However there are plenty of verbs that use ...
0
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

American refusal of the IPA: why?

Are there any historical or political reasons for the rather consistent refusal of the International Phonetic Alphabet on the part of American academics? Did Mark Twain's home-made-English-spelling-...
12
votes
5answers
21k 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.
7
votes
3answers
5k views

Why isn’t “hermeticity” easily found in the dictionaries?

The word hermeticity as (for the lack of better definition, hence the question) “the quality of being hermetic” (not to be confused with mathematical hermiticity, which is also absent from the general ...
5
votes
4answers
697 views

Source for etymological study

It has always been interesting for me to know how words are made and where they are coming from. Is there any reliable source for etymological studies? any books, or dictionaries out there?
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any online phrase dictionary available?

I use WordWeb which is available online for vocabulary. But, is there any equivalent for getting the meaning and origin of phrases ?
0
votes
2answers
86 views

In the OED, are definitions that don't explictly indicate it is figurative use always with literal examples only, or can they be figurative?

In the OED, are definitions that don't explicitly indicate it is figurative use always with literal examples only, or can they be figurative? My recent answer has caused quite some confusion among ...
9
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
16answers
128k 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' ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
345 views

Is this the right definition of literal?

I just asked whether dictionaries (specifically the OED) might, for one lemma, state several different definitions which are literal. And there seems to be some confusion about my use of 'literal' ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

How to find a word to fit a meaning?

I need to find a word that would have a reasonably close meaning to: a collection of facts and arguments used to arrive at an explanation [of some (thing|concept|idea|...)] More generally, I ...
6
votes
3answers
330 views

Are published books to be considered an official reference for spelling? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Regulatory bodies and authoritative dictionaries for English Many times I searched across several books for the usage of some words and many times I've found my results quite ...
4
votes
3answers
672 views

What were the British equivalents of Webster's dictionary and the Simplified Spelling Board that standardized spelling and usage?

I am familiar with questions about when to double 'l' and differences between British and American spellings. However, I stumbled across this image. As you can see, several words end in the double 'l'...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Why some abbreviations ended with a period, but some not?

I have just bought an Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. This is it's first page showing some abbreviations used in the dictionary. My question is: why some abbreviations ended with a period (...
4
votes
5answers
445 views

On what juristic basis are students corrected when making mistakes in an English class? [closed]

I've learned that there is no authoritative dictionary for English. I wonder on what juristic basis students are corrected when making mistakes in an English class. How can someone say that whatever ...
1
vote
4answers
6k views

What is the adverbial form of “communicational”?

I tried communicationally, but the Free Dictionary doesn’t find it to be a word. What I am trying to express is that someone is communicationally challenged, basically meaning they can’t communicate ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

English word list with pronunciation [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where can I obtain an English dictionary with structured data? Where can I find a digital English-language dictionary or word list containing pronunciation? I would prefer ...