• synonyms

W, w

[duhb-uh l-yoo, -yoo; rapidly duhb-yuh]
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noun, plural W's or Ws, w's or ws.
  1. the 23rd letter of the English alphabet, a semivowel.
  2. any spoken sound represented by the letter W or w, as in way, bewitch, or row.
  3. something having the shape of a W.
  4. a written or printed representation of the letter W or w.
  5. a device, as a printer's type, for reproducing the letter W or w.
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  1. watt; watts.
  2. withdrawn; withdrew.
  3. withheld.
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  1. watt; watts.
  2. west.
  3. western.
  4. white.
  5. wide.
  6. widowed.
  7. width.
  8. withdrawn; withdrew.
  9. withheld.
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Symbol, Chemistry.
  1. tungsten.
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Origin of W1

From the German word Wolfram wolfram


  1. the 23rd in order or in a series, or, when I is omitted, the 22nd.
  2. Biochemistry. tryptophan.
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  1. with.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for w

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Look at 'is 'orse,—w'ich it aren't; it's a snyle, that's w'at it is.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Eh, but the w'ys o' the Almichty are truly no to be mizzered by mortal line!

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • The corner of the 'W' instead of being clear and distinct, is blunt and defective.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • The "a" was misplaced, the "W" minus its lower right-hand corner.

    The Film of Fear

    Arnold Fredericks

  • In a moment he's onto Emil, an' begins to w'irl his hypnotic rope.

    Faro Nell and Her Friends

    Alfred Henry Lewis

British Dictionary definitions for w



noun plural w's, W's or Ws
  1. the 23rd letter and 18th consonant of the modern English alphabet
  2. a speech sound represented by this letter, in English usually a bilabial semivowel, as in web
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symbol for
  1. watt
  2. West
  3. physics work
  4. chem tungsten
  5. women's (size)
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Word Origin

(sense 4) from New Latin wolframium, from German Wolfram


abbreviation for
  1. week
  2. weight
  3. width
  4. wife
  5. with
  6. cricket
    1. wide
    2. wicket
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abbreviation for
  1. Wales
  2. Welsh
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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

Word Origin and History for w


not in the Roman alphabet, but the Modern English sound it represents is close to the devocalized consonant expressed by Roman -U- or -V-. In Old English, this originally was written -uu-, but by 8c. began to be expressed by the runic character wyn (Kentish wen), which looked like this: ƿ (the character is a late addition to the online font set and doesn't display properly on many computers, so it's something like a cross between lower-case -p- and a reversed -y-). In 11c., Norman scribes introduced -w-, a ligatured doubling of Roman -u- which had been used on the continent for the Germanic "w" sound, and wyn disappeared c.1300. -W- is not properly a letter in the modern French alphabet, and it is used there only in borrowed foreign words, e.g. wagon, weekend, Western, whisky, wombat.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

w in Science


  1. Abbreviation of width
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  1. The symbol for tungsten.
  2. Abbreviation of watt
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  1. A hard, gray to white metallic element that is very resistant to corrosion. It has the highest melting point of all elements, and it retains its strength at high temperatures. It is used to make light-bulb filaments and to increase the hardness and strength of steel. Atomic number 74; atomic weight 183.84; melting point 3,410°C; boiling point 5,900°C; specific gravity 19.3 (20°C); valence 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Also called wolfram See Periodic Table.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.