[ wurd ]
See synonyms for: wordwordedwordingwords on Thesaurus.com

  1. 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 the one-word blackbird (primary stress on “black”, and secondary stress on “bird”) from black bird (primary stress on both words). Words are usually separated by spaces in writing, and are distinguished phonologically, as by accent, in many languages.

  2. (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 C-word, F-word, N-word.

  1. words,

    • speech or talk: Can you express your feelings in words?Words mean little when action is called for.

    • the text or lyrics of a song as distinguished from the music.

    • contentious or angry speech; a quarrel: We had words and she walked out on me.

  2. a short talk or conversation: Marston, I'd like a word with you.

  3. an expression or utterance: Before you do anything rash, let me give you a word of warning.

  4. warrant, assurance, or promise: I give you my word I'll be there.

  5. news; tidings; information: We received word of his death.

  6. a verbal signal, as a password, watchword, or countersign.

  7. an authoritative utterance, or command: His word was law.

  8. Also called machine word. Computers. a string of bits, characters, or bytes treated as a single entity by a computer, particularly for numeric purposes.

  9. the Word, Christianity.

    • Also called the Word of God, God's Word . the Scriptures; the Bible.

    • the Logos, identified with Christ.

    • the message of the gospel of Christ.

  10. a proverb or motto.

verb (used with object)
  1. to express in words, or to select words to express; phrase: The way they’ve worded these instructions is confusing.

  1. Slang. what you have just said is true: “Raising a kid is the hardest thing you’ll ever do.” “Word.”

Idioms about word

  1. at a word, in immediate response to an order or request; in an instant: When I was ill, they came at a word and took the situation in hand.

  2. be as good as one's word, to hold to one's promises.

  1. eat one's words, to retract one's statement, especially with humility: They predicted he'd fail, but he made them eat their words.

  2. have a word, to talk briefly: Tell your aunt that I would like to have a word with her.

  3. have no words for, to be unable to describe: She had no words for the sights she had witnessed.

  4. in a word, in summary; in short: In a word, there was no comparison.: Also in one word.

  5. in so many words, clearly or bluntly and without hedging; explicitly: She told them in so many words to get out.

  6. keep one's word, to fulfill one's promise: I said I'd meet the deadline, and I kept my word.

  7. man of his word / woman of her word, a person who can be trusted to keep a promise; a reliable person.

  8. (upon) my word! (used as an exclamation of surprise or astonishment.)

  9. of few words, not talkative; laconic or taciturn: a woman of few words but of profound thoughts.

  10. of many words, talkative; loquacious; wordy: a person of many words but of little wit.

  11. 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.

  12. take someone at their word, to take someone's statement to be literal and true.

  13. take the words (right) out of one's mouth, to say exactly what one was about to say: “It’s a long way, so we should leave early.” “You took the words right out of my mouth!”

  14. weigh one's words, to choose one's words carefully in speaking or writing: He paused to weigh his words before speaking.

Origin of word

First recorded before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Dutch woord, German Wort, Old Norse orth, orð, Gothic waurd, waúrd, all from Germanic wurdam (unattested); akin to Latin verbum “word,” Greek rhḗtōr (dialect wrḗtōr ) “public speaker, orator, rhetorician,” Old Prussian wirds “word,” Lithuanian var̃das “name”

Other words for word

Other words from word

  • in·ter·word, adjective
  • out·word, verb (used with object)
  • well-word·ed, adjective

Words Nearby word

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use word in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for word (1 of 3)


/ (wɜːd) /

  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

  2. an instance of vocal intercourse; chat, talk, or discussion: to have a word with someone

  1. an utterance or expression, esp a brief one: a word of greeting

  2. news or information: he sent word that he would be late

  3. a verbal signal for action; command: when I give the word, fire!

  4. an undertaking or promise: I give you my word; he kept his word

  5. an autocratic decree or utterance; order: his word must be obeyed

  6. a watchword or slogan, as of a political party: the word now is ``freedom''

  7. computing a set of bits used to store, transmit, or operate upon an item of information in a computer, such as a program instruction

  8. as good as one's word doing what one has undertaken or promised to do

  9. at a word at once

  10. by word of mouth orally rather than by written means

  11. in a word briefly or in short

  12. my word!

    • an exclamation of surprise, annoyance, etc

    • Australian an exclamation of agreement

  13. of one's word given to or noted for keeping one's promises: I am a man of my word

  14. put in a word for or put in a good word for to make favourable mention of (someone); recommend

  15. take someone at his word or 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

  16. take someone's word for it to accept or believe what someone says

  17. the last word

    • the closing remark of a conversation or argument, esp a remark that supposedly settles an issue

    • the latest or most fashionable design, make, or model: the last word in bikinis

    • the finest example (of some quality, condition, etc): the last word in luxury

  18. the word the proper or most fitting expression: cold is not the word for it, it's freezing!

  19. upon my word!

    • archaic on my honour

    • an exclamation of surprise, annoyance, etc

  20. word for word

    • (of a report, transcription, etc) using exactly the same words as those employed in the situation being reported; verbatim

    • translated by substituting each word in the new text for each corresponding word in the original rather than by general sense

  21. word of honour a promise; oath

  22. (modifier) of, relating to, or consisting of words: a word list

  1. (tr) to state in words, usually specially selected ones; phrase

  2. (tr often foll by up) Australian informal to inform or advise (a person)

Origin of word

Old English word; related to Old High German wort, Old Norse orth, Gothic waurd, Latin verbum, Sanskrit vratá command

British Dictionary definitions for Word (2 of 3)


/ (wɜːd) /

nounthe Word
  1. Christianity the 2nd person of the Trinity

  2. Scripture, the Bible, or the Gospels as embodying or representing divine revelation: Often called: the Word of God

Origin of Word

translation of Greek logos, as in John 1:1

British Dictionary definitions for -word (3 of 3)


n combining form
  1. (preceded by the and an initial letter) a euphemistic way of referring to a word by its first letter because it is considered to be in some way unmentionable by the user: the C-word, meaning cancer

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with word


In addition to the idioms beginning with word

  • word for word
  • word of honor
  • word of mouth, by
  • words fail me
  • words of one syllable, in
  • words stick in one's throat
  • words to that effect
  • word to the wise, a

also see:

  • actions speak louder than words
  • at a loss (for words)
  • at a word
  • break one's word
  • eat one's words
  • famous last words
  • fighting words
  • four-letter word
  • from the word go
  • get a word in edgewise
  • give the word
  • go back on (one's word)
  • good as one's word
  • hang on someone's words
  • have a word with
  • have words with
  • in brief (a word)
  • in other words
  • in so many words
  • keep one's word
  • last word
  • leave word
  • man of his word
  • mark my words
  • mince matters (words)
  • mum's the word
  • not breathe a word
  • not open one's mouth (utter a word)
  • of few words
  • picture is worth a thousand words
  • play on words
  • put in a good word
  • put into words
  • put words in someone's mouth
  • swallow one's words
  • take someone at his or her word
  • take the words out of someone's mouth
  • true to (one's word)
  • weasel word
  • weigh one's words

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.