background preloader

Dictionary literacy

Facebook Twitter

Glossary of dictionary terms. On this page, you can find an alphabetical list of words that you may come across when using dictionaries, or hear when people talk about dictionaries.

Glossary of dictionary terms

Click on a letter to jump to the relevant section of the alphabet. Labels and Abbreviations. This page contains a list of labels, abbreviations, and symbols that are used in our dictionaries.

Labels and Abbreviations

Grammar codes Nouns [C] countable nouns that are used with a or an or a number and have a plural: car, soldier[U] uncountable nouns that cannot be used with a or an or a number and have no plural: happiness, pasta[singular] nouns that are used with a, an, or the but are never used in the plural: babble, halt[plural] nouns that are used only in the plural and always take a plural verb: cattle, surroundings[often plural][usually plural] nouns that can be used in the singular but are often or usually plural: boundary, fee Verbs [I] intransitive verbs that have no direct object: He paused for a moment. | Could you speak up, please? Adjectives. OUP Companion web site:Extra features in a thesaurus. OUP Companion web site:The right word for the right situation. The right word for the right situation The order in which the synonyms in a thesaurus are arranged is an important indication of which ones are likely to be most useful to you (unless you are using a thesaurus that lists its synonyms in alphabetical order).

OUP Companion web site:The right word for the right situation

There are other elements in thesaurus entries that can help you to pick the best word for a given situation and use it correctly. Different types of English The majority of the words and phrases in a thesaurus will be part of 'standard English', which means that they're suitable for most written and spoken situations. Of course, you still have to use them correctly, taking account of their shades of meaning and grammatical behaviour. Both thesauruses and dictionaries use descriptive markers called labels to show that certain words and phrases are only appropriate for particular types of writing or in particular regional varieties of English. The word after the semi–colon, informal, is a label.

Tips. OUP Companion web site:Choosing the best synonym. OUP Companion web site:Thesaurus basics. Thesaurus basics The basic purpose of a thesaurus is to provide you with synonyms, words that have a similar meaning to one you already have in mind and so can be used as substitutes for it.

OUP Companion web site:Thesaurus basics

Being able to choose the right synonyms and use them appropriately is very important when writing in all types of situations, from essays to job application letters while you are at college and later in your chosen career. OUP Companion web site:How to use a thesaurus. Abbreviations. This list contains the most common abbreviations used in the OED.


Click on a letter to see the abbreviations beginning with that letter. Key to pronunciations (British and Wo... The pronunciations given represent the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England (sometimes called Received Pronunciation or RP), and the example words given in this key are to be understood as pronounced in such speech.

Key to pronunciations (British and Wo...

Consonants The letters b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, and z have their usual English values. Comparative and superlative adjectives. Most adjectives have three different forms, the positive, the comparative, and the superlative: The comparative form is used for comparing two people or things: He is taller than me.

Comparative and superlative adjectives

This puzzle is easier than the last one. The book was more interesting than the film. Word Pronunciation Key. Trending Words on Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Dictionary Search. Sometimes you don't know what word you're looking for or how to spell it.

Dictionary Search

Other times you only know a few letters. For these situations there are "wildcard" symbols available for finding words on S Newbury House Dictionary of American English. Help Contents: Looking Up a Word Simple Search The Look up a word box appears at the top of every page.

s Newbury House Dictionary of American English

Use this box to do simple searches. What are Main Entries in the Dictionary? Main Entries A boldface letter or a combination of such letters, including punctuation marks and diacritics where needed, that is set flush with the left-hand margin of each column of type is a main entry or entry word.

What are Main Entries in the Dictionary?

The main entry may consist of letters set solid, of letters joined by a hyphen or a slash, or of letters separated by one or more spaces: 1alone . . . adjectiveau·to-da-fé. . . nounand/or . . . conjunctionautomatic pilot noun. Merriam-Webster. Free Online Thesaurus from Macmillan Dictionary. Common English Words - Macmillan Dictionary. Did you know that the Red Words and Stars are one of Macmillan Dictionary's most popular features? Watch our video to see what the Red Words and Stars mean for learners of English. We have also created a Red Words & Stars pack with word frequency activities and wordlists which you can download from our resources section. Macmillan Dictionary makes a clear distinction between high-frequency core vocabulary on the one hand, and the less common words which are mostly needed for reference on the other.

Although the English language has up to a million words, native speakers use just 7,500 words for 90% of what they speak or write. These words represent the core vocabulary of English, and they are words that everyone needs to be able to use with confidence. Example Sentences from Macmillan Dictionary. Macmillan Dictionary has a special focus on the most frequent 7,500 words of English. These are words that learners need to understand. Even more importantly, they need to know how to use them. The definitions are clear and clarify the meaning.

But for help with using the language, the examples are especially important, and the 7,500 frequent words are accompanied by a wealth of examples. These examples show a variety of significant features: typical grammatical structures typical collocations typical contexts Examples support the grammatical descriptions and demonstrate how those grammatical features actually work. Like doing something the example clarifies the structure by showing I like going out to parties with friends or watching TV. Clear Definitions From Macmillan Dictionary. The aim of Macmillan Dictionary is to make every definition as clear and easy to understand as possible. To achieve this, we write the definitions using a special defining vocabulary of just 2,500 words. Help - Cambridge Dictionary. These are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Cambridge Dictionary. If you have a question which isn't in this list, or if the answer given does not satisfy you, please contact us with your question.