Posts by Dictionary.com

  1. Is Veterans Day A Big Grammar Mistake?

    What do apostrophes have to do with this federal holiday? Well, there’s a confusing apostrophe in Veterans’ Day—or is there? Veterans Day is often incorrectly written as “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day.” But, in fact, it’s apostrophe free. “Veteran’s Day” would definitely be incorrect because it means a day for only one veteran. While “Veterans’ Day” does encompass multiple veterans, that spelling is incorrect according …

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    Where Your Favorite Halloween Candy Got Its Name

    Whether you love chocolate or hard candies, we all have our favorites. But, have you ever thought about what the name on your favorite candy wrapper means? Here’s the history behind the names of a few popular confections. Snickers Believe it or not, one of the most beloved candy bars is named after a horse. The Mars family named the candy bar Snickers in memory of …

  3. The Day After Halloween Is Actually Called Hallowmas

    Halloween is actually just the beginning of a string of otherworldly holidays. The tricks, treats, and customs of Halloween, now mostly secular, are based in part on an ancient Celtic and Christian festivals. What is Hallowmas? November 1st is All Saints’ Day, when all Christian saints are recognized. The Roman Catholic Church sometimes calls All Saints Day’ is the Solemnity of All Saints, but an older …

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    Where Does The Word “Dracula” Come From?

    What comes to your mind when you see or hear the word Dracula? Probably vampires, right? But what about ruthless Romanian royalty … or dragons? It’s time for the story of Dracula—the word. Where does the character Dracula come from? We dress up as vampires on Halloween and watch dramas like True Blood thanks in large part to Irish author Bram Stoker, whose 1897 Gothic …

  5. When To Use “Have” Vs. “Has”

    Have and has are different forms of the verb to have. Even though they come from the same word, there are slight differences in the way they’re used. Have is used with I, you, we, and they, while has is used with he, she, and it. The verb to have has many different meanings. Its primary meaning is “to possess, own, hold for use, or …

  6. What Are Present, Past, And Sometimes Perfect Participles?

    Participles. They’re verbs, they’re adjectives, they’re perfect and progressive! Is there anything they can’t do? If you’re wondering what a participle does, you’re not alone. These mighty verbs take many forms and can be tricky to master. Let’s explore the different types. To start, participles are words derived from verbs that can function as adjectives or as parts of verb phrases to create verb tenses. …

  7. How To Get A Word Into The Dictionary

    “I coined a new word. Snacktabulous. It describes a snack, but a really spectacular and fabulous one. How do I get it into the dictionary?” This is one of the most common questions we get—and it’s a great one. How does a word get added to the dictionary? Our lexicographers, the people who write and edit the dictionary, are constantly adding new words to the …

  8. What Is The Difference Between The Words “Immigration” and “Emigration”?

    Sometimes you’ll see the terms being used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand what these words mean so you can use them correctly. Who are immigrants and what is immigration? An immigrant is “a person who has moved to another country, usually for permanent residence.” Immigration is “the act of immigrating, or the act of moving to another country.” The key to remembering what this …

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    What Do “a.m.” And “p.m.” Stand For?

    What does “a.m.” mean? The term we associate with the morning, a.m., is an abbreviation the Latin phrase ante merīdiem meaning “before midday.” What does “p.m.” mean? p.m. is an abbreviation of post merīdiem, meaning—you guessed it—“after midday.” These two terms help keep ambiguity at bay in the 12-hour time system. What does “m” mean? There is a third, lesser-known abbreviation in this system: m. …

  10. Where Does The Name “October” Come From?

    October is here, and in the northern hemisphere, that often means the days are flush with falling leaves, chilling weather, and growing anticipation for the holiday season. The tenth month by our Gregorian calendar, October shares a root with octopus and octagon—the Latin octo and Greek okto, meaning “eight.” So, how did October become the 10th month? The original Roman calendar had only ten months, …

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