Definition of word noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//wɜːd//
    ; NAmE NAmE//wɜːrd//
    Religious texts, Grammar
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    unit of language
  1. 1  [countable] a single unit of language which means something and can be spoken or written Do not write more than 200 words. Do you know the words to this song? What's the Spanish word for ‘table’? He was a true friend in all senses of the word. Tell me what happened in your own words. I could hear every word they were saying. He couldn't find the words to thank her enough. Words fail me (= I cannot express how I feel). There are no words to say how sorry we are. I can't remember her exact words. Angry is not the word for it—I was furious. I can never put my feelings into words. Wordfinderaccent, alphabet, dialect, grammar, language, literacy, literature, pronunciation, translate, word see also buzzword, four-letter word, household word, spoken word, swear word Wordfinderconnotation, definition, dictionary, homonym, meaning, pronunciation, spelling, synonym, vocabulary, word Synonymswordterm phrase expression idiomThese are all words for a unit of language used to express something.word a single unit of language which means something and can be spoken or written:Do not write more than 200 words. He uses a lot of long words.term (rather formal) a word or phrase used as the name of something, especially one connected with a particular type of language:technical/​legal/​scientific terms ‘Old man’ is a slang term for ‘father’.phrase a group of words which have a particular meaning when used together:Who coined the phrase ‘desktop publishing’? In grammar, a phrase is a group of words without a finite verb, especially one that forms part of a sentence: ‘the green car’ and ‘on Friday morning’ are phrases.expression a word or phrase:He tends to use a lot of slang expressions that I’ve never heard before.idiom a group of words whose meaning is different from the meanings of the individual words:‘Let the cat out of the bag’ is an idiom meaning to tell a secret by mistake.Patterns a word/​term for something a new word/​term/​phrase/​expression a technical/​colloquial word/​term/​phrase/​expression a slang word/​term/​phrase an idiomatic phrase/​expression to use a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom to coin a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression a(n) word/​term/​phrase/​expression/​idiom means something See related entries: Grammar
  2. something you say
  3. 2  [countable] a thing that you say; a remark or statement Have a word with Pat and see what she thinks. Could I have a quick word with you (= speak to you quickly)? A word of warning: read the instructions very carefully. words of love She left without a word (= without saying anything). I don't believe a word of his story (= I don't believe any of it). a man of few words (= who doesn’t talk very much) I'd like to say a few words about future plans. Remember—not a word to (= don't tell) Peter about any of this. He never breathed a word of this to me.
  4. promise
  5. 3  [singular] a promise or guarantee that you will do something or that something will happen or is true I give you my word that this won't happen again. I give you my word of honour (= my sincere promise) We never doubted her word. We only have his word for it that the cheque is in the post. to keep your word (= do what you promised) He promised to help and was as good as his word (= did what he promised). He's a man of his word (= he does what he promises). I trusted her not to go back on her word (= break her promise). I can't prove it—you'll have to take my word for it (= believe me).
  6. information/news
  7. 4[singular] a piece of information or news There's been no word from them since before Christmas. She sent word that she would be late. If word gets out about the affair, he will have to resign. Word has it that she's leaving. The word is they've split up. He likes to spread the word about the importance of healthy eating.
  8. Bible
  9. 5 the Word (also the Word of God) [singular] the Bible and its teachings See related entries: Religious texts
  10. Word OriginOld English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch woord and German Wort, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin verbum ‘word’.Extra examples ‘Necessary’ is one of the most commonly misspelt words in English. ‘Technology’ comes from the Greek word ‘techne’. ‘Window’ derives from a Norse word meaning ‘eye of the wind’. ‘Would you like to help us?’ ‘In a word= briefly, no.’ A word to the wise: just because it’s a bargain doesn’t mean you have to buy it. And now a word from our sponsors… Before we begin, I’d like to say a few words about who I am. Bold words denote chapter headings. By emphasizing particular words you can change the meaning. Can I have a quick word with you? Can I have a word in your ear about tomorrow’s presentation? Despite all their fine words, the council have never done anything to improve road safety. Despite his brave words, I don’t believe he can save the factory from closure. Don’t breathe a word to anyone about what I’ve told you! Don’t waffle in your essay just to get the right word count. Every word he utters is is considered sacred. Every word he utters is treated as sacred text. He chatters away at about 200 words per minute. He chose his words carefully when commenting on her work. He doesn’t mince his words when he talks about his ex-boss. He enunciated the word with extreme care. He felt after the interview that the police officers had been trying to put words into his mouth in. He gave me his word of honour that he wouldn’t tell anyone. He hasn’t a good word to say for anybody. He kept shouting the word ‘No!’ He never says a harsh word about his experiences. He promised to help and was as good as his word. He repeated word for word what the boy had said to him. He ruined her self-confidence with a few well-chosen words. He said I could stay at his house any time, so I took him at his word. He seemed nice. But ‘seemed’ was the operative word. He sent word to his family that his captors were treating him well. He tried to calm her with soothing words. He types 80 words per minute. He uses big words to impress people. He uses lots of long words. He wanted to tell her how he felt about her, but the words stuck in his throat. He was nervous, and his words came out in a rush. He whispered a few words of prayer. He whispered the word to me. He wrote down a few key words to help him remember what to say. Health workers spread the word about the benefits of immunization. Her last words were for her children. Her parting words were ‘I’ll be back’. Her teacher’s words echoed in her ears. Her words conjured up a strange picture in her mind. Her words were drowned out by the roar of the engine. His exact words were, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it.’ His name has become a household word since he first appeared in the series. His words faded to silence as he saw she didn’t believe him. His words fell into the silence like stones. How is this word pronounced? I couldn’t find the right word to express the concept. I daren’t even mention the word ‘money’ to him. I don’t believe a word of what she said. I find even everyday words difficult to spell. I found several misspelled words and grammatical errors. I haven’t seen his work, but I’ll take his word for it that it’s finished. I knew he’d been drinking because he was slurring his words. I let my words hang in the air. Maggie was no fool: she must realize I meant it. I listened to his words of wisdom. I misheard the word ‘sick’ as ‘thick’. I usually exchange a few words with him when I see him. I want to say a few words about Christina. I wanted to tell you that she’d phoned, but you were talking so much I couldn’t get a word in edgeways. I wanted to tell you, but I couldn’t get a word in. I was about to say we should cancel the trip, but she took the words right out of my mouth. I’m not sure what he said but the word sounded like ‘bull’. I’m sorry I doubted your word. I’ve had a few words with John, and he’s quite happy for you to stay. If it’s your word against the police officer’s, the jury are going to believe him. If word gets out about the affair, he will have to resign. If you run into the boss, put in a good word for me! In her speech she echoed the President’s words. It’s a slang word meaning ‘boy’ or ‘person’. Just say the word and I’ll go. Mark my words, this film will win an Oscar. No polite words of gratitude came. Nobody’s uttered a word to me about it. Once he has made a promise, he never goes back on his word. People who overeat are not addicts in the true sense of the word. Rearrange the letters to form a word. Remember - not a word to Peter about any of this. Remember - not a word to= don’t tell Peter about any of this. Seconds after uttering the fateful words ‘this is easy!’ he crashed. She combines visual images and the spoken word to great effect in her presentations. She could feel her temper boiling as his words sank in. She deleted ‘girl’ and substituted the word ‘woman’. She felt angry at how the journalist had twisted her words. She gave him her solemn word that she would give up drugs. She gave me a promise, and I’m willing to trust her word. She had blurted the words out before she realized it. She had memorized all the words to the song. She had some harsh words to say about her colleagues. She has given us a warning, and we should heed her words. She instantly regretted her words. She left without a word. She looked the word up in the dictionary. She used loaded words like ‘bully’ when describing his actions. She was a true friend in all senses of the word. She was charmed by his friendly smile and polite words. She was so furious, she almost spat the words out: ‘You idiot!’ She whispered words of comfort in his ear. Spanish has no word for ‘understatement’. Thank you for those kind words. The Chairman always has the last word on financial decisions. The Chairman always has the last word= the final decision on financial decisions. The audience mouthed the words to all the songs. The book uses simple words and pictures to explain complex processes. The children are asked to think of rhyming words. The government’s promises on nurses’ pay turned out to be weasel words. The journalists hung on his every word as he spoke of his ordeal. The look in her eyes filled in the unspoken words in her sentence. The manager had a quiet word with Alison, and she gave him no more problems. The play is full of four-letter words. The police use code words for their major operations. The portmanteau word ‘synergy’ combines ‘synthesis’ and ‘energy’. The restaurant does not advertise, but relies on word of mouth for custom. The same word can carry numerous meanings. The students had to retell the story in their own words. The word ‘cruise’ conjures up images of a luxury. The word ‘e-commerce’ was coined to refer to business done over the Internet. The word has two meanings. The word is they’ve split up. The word on the street is there’s going to be a takeover. The words at the end of the lines all rhyme. The words lingered in his mind long after they were spoken. These students have very poor word-recognition skills. They exchanged whispered words of love. They told me in so many words that I was no longer needed. They told me in so many words= directly that I was no longer needed. They’re letting me go - in other words, I’ve been sacked. Those mocking words haunted me for years. Those were her very words. True to her word, she returned next day. We didn’t get word of her arrest until the next day. We didn’t say a single word to each other all day. We never heard anyone say an unkind word about her. We only have her word for it that she sent the payment. We recall the words of Martin Luther King, ‘Free at last’. We soon got word of his arrival. What’s a word beginning with ‘c’ that means ‘a small wood’? What’s the French word for ‘snail’? When a new fruit is first imported, its name is usually also imported as a loan word. When he told her she would fail, she swore she would make him eat his words. Word has it that she’s leaving. Word that he had died spread fast. Words can’t express how happy I am. Words fail me. Work is a dirty word to Frank. You can’t always find the right word when you’re translating. You needn’t worry about him not paying you back - he’s a man of his word. You said we were about to make a big mistake, and never was a truer word spoken! a more polite word for the same thing a word of advice/​warning a word that is often misused the immortal words of Neil Armstrong as he stepped onto the moon words describing body parts He likes to spread the word about the importance of healthy eating. He’s a man of his word. I can’t remember her exact words. I give you my word that it won’t happen again. I never doubted her word. She was as good as her word. She won’t go to the police. You can take my word for it. Tell me what happened in your own words. The word ‘politics’ is derived from a Greek word meaning ‘city’. There’s been no word from them since before Christmas. They claimed that the minister had gone back on her word. We only have his word for it that he wasn’t there that night. You can trust me. You know I always keep my word. You gave me your word of honour.Idioms
    actions speak louder than words
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    (saying) what a person actually does means more than what they say they will do
    bandy words (with somebody)
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    (old-fashioned) to argue with somebody or speak rudely to them
    to be a subject or an idea that people think is bad or immoral Profit is not a dirty word around here. to be so surprised, confused, etc. that you do not know what to say See related entries: Surprise because people tell each other and not because they read about it The news spread by word of mouth. to admit that what you said was wrong (saying) people sometimes say Famous last words!when they think somebody is being too confident about something that is going to happen ‘Everything's under control.’ ‘Famous last words!’ This phrase refers to a collection of quotations of the dying words of famous people.
    (right) from the word go
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    (informal) from the very beginning
    (not) get a word in edgeways (British English) (North American English (not) get a word in edgewise)
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    (not) to be able to say anything because somebody else is speaking too much When Mary starts talking, no one else can get a word in edgeways.
    hang on somebody’s words/on somebody’s every word
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    to listen with great attention to somebody you admire
    have a word in somebody’s ear
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    (British English) to speak to somebody privately about something
    have/exchange words (with somebody) (about something)
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    (especially British English) to have an argument with somebody We've had words. Words were exchanged.
     used to introduce an explanation of something They asked him to leave—in other words he was fired. Language Banki.e.Explaining what you mean Some poems are mnemonics, i.e. they are designed to help you remember something. Some poems are mnemonics, that is to say, they are designed to help you remember something. Mnemonic poems, that is poems designed to help you remember something, are an excellent way to learn lists. A limerick’s rhyme scheme is A–A–B–B–A. In other words, the first, second, and fifth lines all rhyme with one another, while the third and fourth lines have their own rhyme. In this exercise the reader is encouraged to work out the meaning, or rather the range of meanings, of the poem. This is a poem about death, or, more precisely, dying. He says his poems deal with ‘the big issues’, by which he means love, loss, grief and death.
    (not) in so/as many words
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    (not) in exactly the same words as somebody says were used ‘Did she say she was sorry?’ ‘Not in so many words.’ He didn't approve of the plan and said so in as many words.
    (informal) used for giving a very short, usually negative, answer or comment ‘Would you like to help us?’ ‘In a word, no.’
    in words of one syllable
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    using very simple language Could you say that again in words of one syllable?
    the last/final word (on something)
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    the last comment or decision about something He always has to have the last word in any argument. I’m willing to wait one more week, and that’s my final word on the subject.
    the last word (in something)
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    the most recent, fashionable, advanced, etc. thing These apartments are the last word in luxury.
    (informal) used to tell somebody to say nothing about something and keep it secret
    not have a good word to say for somebody/something
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    (informal) to never say anything good about somebody/something Nobody had a good word to say about him.
    to say something in a direct way even though it might offend other people They were severely criticized by the chairman, who was not a man to mince his words. used to emphasize that a particular word or phrase is the most important one in a sentence I was in love with her—‘was’ being the operative word. the humorous use of a word or phrase that can have two different meanings synonym pun what is published in books, newspapers, etc. the power of the printed word
    put in a (good) word for somebody
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    to praise somebody to somebody else in order to help them get a job, etc.
    put words into somebody’s mouth
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    to suggest that somebody has said something when in fact they have not
    to give an order; to make a request Just say the word, and I'll go.
    take somebody at their word
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    to believe exactly what somebody says or promises
    take the words right out of somebody’s mouth
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    to say what somebody else was going to say
    too funny, silly, ridiculous, etc. for words
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    extremely funny, silly, ridiculous, etc.
    a bitter argument or disagreement over a period of time between two or more people or groups the political war of words over tax to choose your words carefully so that you say exactly what you mean He spoke slowly, weighing his words. (old-fashioned) used to show that you are surprised about something  in exactly the same words or (when translated) exactly equivalent words She repeated their conversation word for word to me. a word-for-word translation
    somebody’s word is their bond
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    somebody’s promise can be relied on completely
    used to show that you are giving the general meaning of what somebody has said rather than the exact words He told me to leave—or words to that effect. language expressed in writing rather than in speech the permanence of the written word
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: word