Contest Rules

Merriam-Webster, Incorporated ("MW") invites you to submit a digital photograph ("Photograph") that illustrates our definition of "serendipity" ("Entry"). This is a skill-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of winners.

  1. Who Can Enter
    You must have a Facebook account and be at least the age of majority (18 in most states of the U.S.) where you live to submit an Entry. If you are younger, you may have your parent or legal guardian submit an Entry; in that case, in the photo description the parent or guardian should note your name, age and relationship to them. Employees of MW, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, online agencies, and their immediate family or household members (related or not) are not eligible. Also ineligible are residents of Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Quebec, New Jersey, and Vermont.
  2. How to Enter
    Click on Submit an Entry and follow the step-by-step instructions on that page. There is no limit on the number of entries you can submit. Only online entries will be eligible.
  3. When to Enter
    MW will accept submissions beginning on July 16, 2013 through July 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time.
  4. Prizes
    Each winner will have his or her entry published on, along with his or her name, and hometown. MW may also publish winners' Facebook picture. The first place winner will also receive a $150 gift certificate from The second, third, and fourth place winners will be published on and will also receive one item of their choice from the MW store at Prizes may not be transferred by winners.
  5. Judges
    MW editors will evaluate the submissions on the basis of creativity and originality. In selecting top entries, our editors are looking for photos and definitions that come together in a thought-provoking, clever, or humorous way. MW retains full editorial control over the selection of, and the decision not to select, any particular entry for publication. All decisions of the judges are final.
  6. Technical Specifications
    Photographs must be no larger than 10MB. MW will consider no Entry that it identifies as obscene, provocative, or otherwise containing objectionable content.
  7. Photographs Must be Original
    By submitting an Entry, you represent and warrant that your Photograph is your own original work, it has not been copied from others, and does not violate any rights of any other person or entity. You represent you are the owner of copyright in the Photograph.
  8. Ownership and Licenses
    You retain all of your ownership rights in your Photograph. However, by submitting an entry, you grant MW (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the Photograph, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with MW products and services. MW may license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in your Photograph as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote MW products and services.
  9. People, Works of Art, and Locations in Your Photograph
    If recognizable people appear in your Photograph, you must have the permission of those people, authorizing MW's publication of the Photograph. If original works of art owned by third parties appear in your Photograph, you must have permission of the third party copyright holder, authorizing MW's publication of the Photograph. If a prominent and recognizable location (e.g. Disneyland) appears in your Photograph, we will be unable to accept your Photograph for publication. By submitting an Entry, you represent and warrant that you have all necessary releases.
  10. Use of Your Name, Facebook Picture, and Hometown
    By entering, you grant permission to MW and its affiliates to publish your Facebook picture, your name and your hometown for purposes of crediting your Entry to the winner on and in all other licensed uses without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  11. Indemnification and Release from Liability
    By entering, you agree to hold harmless and indemnify MW against any and all claims and causes of action related to any issues of rights or permissions regarding the Photographs you submit to the Contest. By entering, you also release and hold harmless MW, its employees, officers and directors from any and all claims, injuries, damages and liability of any kind associated with this Contest, without exception.
  12. Winners
    Names of prize winners will be available one week after the submission deadline, at Contest winners will be notified by email within three days of the submission deadline. If there are recognizable people or original works of art a winning photograph, MW may require the winner to sign a release of liability.
  13. Sponsor
    Merriam-Webster, Incorporated is the official sponsor of the Looking at Words Photo Contest. Its snail mail address is 47 Federal Street. P. O. Box 281, Springfield, MA 01102.
  14. Privacy
    By entering, you agree that MW may use the data you submit for the purposes of this Contest, including to notify you to verify eligibility and to credit your Photograph to you if you are a winner.
  15. Additional Rules
    All U.S. federal, state and local municipal and provincial laws and regulations apply. MW is not responsible for incomplete, lost, late, damaged, illegible or misdirected entries or for any other technical problems.


MW reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process. MW reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend the Contest should a virus, bugs, or other causes beyond its control corrupt the administration, security or proper operation of the Contest. In the event of termination, a notice will be posted. MW reserves the right to modify the contest or disqualify entrants if fraud, misconduct or technical failures destroy the integrity of the contest as determined by MW, in its sole discretion.

These Official Rules are subject to U.S. law. By entering, you are subjecting yourself to U.S. venue. Void where prohibited by law. By participating in this contest, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and the decisions of MW.

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