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Avoid these words. Seriously.


[wurd] /wɜrd/
a unit of language, consisting of one or more spoken sounds or their written representation, that functions as a principal carrier of meaning. Words are composed of one or more morphemes and are either the smallest units susceptible of independent use or consist of two or three such units combined under certain linking conditions, as with the loss of primary accent that distinguishes black·bird· from black· bird·. Words are usually separated by spaces in writing, and are distinguished phonologically, as by accent, in many languages.
(used in combination with the first letter of an offensive or unmentionable word, the first letter being lowercase or uppercase, with or without a following hyphen):
My mom married at 20, and she mentions the m-word every time I meet someone she thinks is eligible.
See also f-word, n-word.
  1. speech or talk: to express one's emotion in words;
    Words mean little when action is called for.
  2. the text or lyrics of a song as distinguished from the music.
  3. contentious or angry speech; a quarrel:
    We had words and she walked out on me.
a short talk or conversation:
Marston, I'd like a word with you.
an expression or utterance:
a word of warning.
warrant, assurance, or promise:
I give you my word I'll be there.
news; tidings; information:
We received word of his death.
a verbal signal, as a password, watchword, or countersign.
an authoritative utterance, or command:
His word was law.
Also called machine word. Computers. a string of bits, characters, or bytes treated as a single entity by a computer, particularly for numeric purposes.
(initial capital letter). Also called the Word, the Word of God.
  1. the Scriptures; the Bible.
  2. the Logos.
  3. the message of the gospel of Christ.
a proverb or motto.
verb (used with object)
to express in words; select words to express; phrase:
to word a contract with great care.
at a word, in immediate response to an order or request; in an instant:
At a word they came to take the situation in hand.
be as good as one's word, to hold to one's promises.
eat one's words, to retract one's statement, especially with humility:
They predicted his failure, but he made them eat their words.
have a word, to talk briefly:
Tell your aunt that I would like to have a word with her.
have no words for, to be unable to describe:
She had no words for the sights she had witnessed.
in a word, in summary; in short:
In a word, there was no comparison.
Also, in one word.
in so many words, in unequivocal terms; explicitly:
She told them in so many words to get out.
keep one's word, to fulfill one's promise:
I said I'd meet the deadline, and I kept my word.
man of his word / woman of her word, a person who can be trusted to keep a promise; a reliable person.
(upon) my word!, (used as an exclamation of surprise or astonishment.)
of few words, laconic; taciturn:
a woman of few words but of profound thoughts.
of many words, talkative; loquacious; wordy:
a person of many words but of little wit.
put in a good word for, to speak favorably of; commend:
He put in a good word for her with the boss.
Also, put in a word for.
take one at one's word, to take a statement to be literal and true.
take the words out of one's mouth, to say exactly what another person was about to say.
weigh one's words, to choose one's words carefully in speaking or writing:
It was an important message, and he was weighing his words.
Origin of word
before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch woord, German Wort, Old Norse orth, Gothic waurd; akin to OPruss wirds, Latin verbum ‘word’, Lithuanian var̃das ‘name’
Related forms
interword, adjective
outword, verb (used with object)
well-worded, adjective
5. statement, declaration. 6. pledge. 7. message, report, account. 8. catchword, shibboleth. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for well-worded
Historical Examples
  • Theodore received his well-worded congratulations with an ill-concealed scowl.

    Fanny Herself Edna Ferber
  • But to his sober and well-worded proposals Elsa gave the same replies that she gave to her more impetuous adorers.

    A Bride of the Plains

    Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • It was a well-worded appeal, signed by the four class presidents and Manager Lowell, but it failed of its purpose very largely.

    Center Rush Rowland

    Ralph Henry Barbour
  • In well-worded generalities something was promised to all the classes and parties of France.

  • Mr. Jerningham had written a well-worded lengthy report,—which never certainly would be read.

    Marion Fay

    Anthony Trollope
  • Once they had it, they took no further trouble; it was their passport; and with a well-worded passport one can go a long way.

  • A neat, straight, well-worded sentence is not a mere literary luxury.

    To My Younger Brethren

    Handley C. G. Moule
  • The letter requesting a relative or friend to serve as godfather or godmother must be tactful and well-worded.

    Book of Etiquette Lillian Eichler
  • There is what may be called a Dead-prayer Office, and thousands of well-worded petitions get buried up there.

    In Answer to Prayer W. Boyd Carpenter
British Dictionary definitions for well-worded


noun the Word
(Christianity) the 2nd person of the Trinity
Scripture, the Bible, or the Gospels as embodying or representing divine revelation Often called the Word of God
Word Origin
translation of Greek logos, as in John 1:1


one of the units of speech or writing that native speakers of a language usually regard as the smallest isolable meaningful element of the language, although linguists would analyse these further into morphemes related adjective lexical verbal
an instance of vocal intercourse; chat, talk, or discussion: to have a word with someone
an utterance or expression, esp a brief one: a word of greeting
news or information: he sent word that he would be late
a verbal signal for action; command: when I give the word, fire!
an undertaking or promise: I give you my word, he kept his word
an autocratic decree or utterance; order: his word must be obeyed
a watchword or slogan, as of a political party: the word now is ``freedom''
(computing) a set of bits used to store, transmit, or operate upon an item of information in a computer, such as a program instruction
as good as one's word, doing what one has undertaken or promised to do
at a word, at once
by word of mouth, orally rather than by written means
in a word, briefly or in short
my word!
  1. an exclamation of surprise, annoyance, etc
  2. (Austral) an exclamation of agreement
of one's word, given to or noted for keeping one's promises: I am a man of my word
put in a word for, put in a good word for, to make favourable mention of (someone); recommend
take someone at his word, take someone at her word, to assume that someone means, or will do, what he or she says: when he told her to go, she took him at his word and left
take someone's word for it, to accept or believe what someone says
the last word
  1. the closing remark of a conversation or argument, esp a remark that supposedly settles an issue
  2. the latest or most fashionable design, make, or model: the last word in bikinis
  3. the finest example (of some quality, condition, etc): the last word in luxury
the word, the proper or most fitting expression: cold is not the word for it, it's freezing!
upon my word!
  1. (archaic) on my honour
  2. an exclamation of surprise, annoyance, etc
word for word
  1. (of a report, transcription, etc) using exactly the same words as those employed in the situation being reported; verbatim
  2. translated by substituting each word in the new text for each corresponding word in the original rather than by general sense
word of honour, a promise; oath
(modifier) of, relating to, or consisting of words: a word list
(transitive) to state in words, usually specially selected ones; phrase
(Austral, informal) (transitive) often foll by up. to inform or advise (a person)
See also words
Word Origin
Old English word; related to Old High German wort, Old Norse orth, Gothic waurd, Latin verbum, Sanskrit vratá command
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for well-worded



Old English word "speech, talk, utterance, word," from Proto-Germanic *wurdan (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian word, Dutch woord, Old High German, German wort, Old Norse orð, Gothic waurd), from PIE *were- "speak, say" (see verb).

The meaning "promise" was in Old English, as was the theological sense. In the plural, the meaning "verbal altercation" (as in to have words with someone) dates from mid-15c. Word processor first recorded 1973; word processing is from 1984; word wrap is from 1977. A word to the wise is from Latin phrase verbum sapienti satis est "a word to the wise is enough." Word of mouth is recorded from 1550s.

It is dangerous to leave written that which is badly written. A chance word, upon paper, may destroy the world. Watch carefully and erase, while the power is still yours, I say to myself, for all that is put down, once it escapes, may rot its way into a thousand minds, the corn become a black smut, and all libraries, of necessity, be burned to the ground as a consequence. [William Carlos Williams, "Paterson"]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for well-worded



  1. An exclamation of agreement and appreciation, used when someone has said something important or profound: If it's really meaningful, ''Word, man, word'' should be used (1980s+ Black teenagers)
  2. word up

Related Terms

eat one's words, fightin' words, from the word go, weasel words, what's the good word

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with well-worded
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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