Yearly Archives: 2019

  1. Getty

    “Just Deserts” vs. “Just Desserts”

    Did the dictionary … get it wrong?! We once featured the word comeuppance as our Word of the Day. Comeuppance, as we define it, means “deserved reward or just deserts, usually unpleasant.” More than a few of our brilliant and devoted users, wrote in to inform us that there was a typo in the definition: just deserts should be just desserts. Was an S left out of …

  2. We Can Thank Alexander Hamilton For Giving Us These Words

    He may have been 🎶dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence, impoverished, in squalor🎶 … but by now we all know Alexander Hamilton grew up to be a hero and a scholar. However, did you know the first secretary of the treasury was also quite the linguist? Since Lin-Manuel Miranda turned Hamilton from a mysterious face on our $10 bill …

  3. Slang And Spelling Bees Influence Word Searches Over The Past Three Months

    We’re already halfway through 2019, which means we had to look back at our word search data! We love data, OK. Plus, the search trends on Dictionary.com from April through June 2019 did not disappoint. Politics, of course, drove many of the searches. And, uh, a quick warning: there are some references to adult content ahead. (Hey, we don’t control the words, folks. We document …

  4. This Quiz Is Practically Paradisiacal

    Ignore those orgulous ogres and treat yourself to this Word of the Day Quiz! | July 1 – July 7, 2019 If the quiz doesn’t display, please try opening in the Chrome browser. Tell us your favorite word from this week below (and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter)!

  5. When To Use Motherland vs. Fatherland

    The terms motherland and fatherland both refer to one’s native country, one’s country of origin, or the home of one’s ancestors. So, what’s the difference between motherland and others fatherland? What are the origins of motherland and fatherland? Whether a particular group uses (their language’s equivalent of, if they have one) motherland or fatherland is a matter of culture, tradition, or, in some instances, personal preference. In …

  6. Do You Know The Names For The Different Types Of Fireworks?

    On Independence Day (July 4th), we ooh and ahh at the fireworks bursting in air, but did you know that the different types of fireworks effects have their own names? What’s a peony firework? The peony is one of the most common kinds of aerial pyrotechnic effects. It is named for a variety of plants with large, showy flowers. This firework display has a flower-like explosion …

  7. The Words That Make Us Tick: What Users Are Looking Up On Dictionary.com Every Day

    You may have noticed a nifty new tool scrolling across the top of the homepage of Dictionary.com. But, what makes it tick? What is the trending word ticker, and how does it work? Rather than reading out stock prices, our ticker pulls real-time data on daily word search trends in our dictionary. The percentage is a measurement of how many searches there are for a …

  8. What Did The Word “Nice” Use To Mean?

    What’s the origin of nice? Nice, it turns out, began as a negative term derived from the Latin nescius, meaning “unaware, ignorant.” This sense of “ignorant” was carried over into English when the word was first borrowed (via French) in the early 1300s. And for almost a century, nice was used to characterize a “stupid, ignorant, or foolish” person. Starting in the late 1300s, nice began …

  9. Getty

    What’s The Difference Between “Piqued,” “Peeked,” And “Peaked?”

    English has a rich, extensive vocabulary. Problem is, sometimes those words run into each other, resulting in a tangled set of homophones, words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings. The word set we’re examining today can send writers into a spiral of uncertainty when it comes to word choice, particularly in the context of one expression: piqued my interest, peaked my interest, …

  10. What Does It Mean To Be “Charged,” “Convicted,” And “Sentenced” For A Crime

    Three verbs that mean similar things: charge, convict, and sentence. They appear in the news constantly, but do you know what each term actually describes? What does it mean to be charged with a crime? Let’s begin with charge. When a person is charged with a crime, a formal allegation (a statement not yet proven) of an offense is made. We typically refer to charges in the …

  11. Getty

    Don’t Get Tripped Up By These Ten Tricky Homophones

    March 14 marks one of the geekiest days on the calendar. But, some people might confuse it for one of the tastiest. It’s Pi Day. Not pie, but pi (II, π), the 16th letter of the Greek alphabet. In mathematics, the character is used to represent a constant—the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter—which is approximately 3.14159+. While the infinitely long …

  12. What Word Is Your State Looking Up On Father’s Day?

    Paunchy, winsome, defiance, thaumaturgical. What could this unusual assortment of words possibly have in common? Dads, apparently. Our Data Scientists examined what users looked up on Dictionary.com on Mother’s Day in 2018. Well, Daddy-o, they’ve worked their magic again. Here are the search terms that trended in each state for Father’s Day, 2018. And, compared to our moms, the words tell a very different tale. (A …