An Encyclopædia Britannica Company
A selection of words from the chillier parts of the lexicon
Take our 10-question quiz to find out!
Not everyone is on board
Rare and Amusing Insults
Lookups for the word spiked after Carter used it to describe Trump
There, there. We'll sort it out.
Singular 'their' might be a better choice
Editor Peter Sokolowski talks about our Word of the Year selections.
The fascinating story behind many people's favorite word.
It is in fact a real word (but that doesn't mean you should use it).
You don't have to end all your adverbs in -ly to talk right.
How the irregular snuck sneaked into the dictionary
How to amuse-bouche without begging pardon for your French
They started as same word, but their meanings have drifted apart over time.
'Poets laureate'? 'Court-martials'? The curious history of postpositive adjectives in English.
Why does it sound strange to say 'funner' or 'funnest?'
Which is right? The answer is complicated.
When to use each (and when not to get annoyed about their use).
Some practical guidance, and interesting history, about a common mistake.
'Between you and __'? Simple guidance for a tricky pronoun.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
'Mischievous,' 'nuclear,' and other words to pronounce with caution.
Bizarre origins of the world's most recognized word.
Noah Webster: the man who changed the way we spell... up to a point.
From torture to tailgating—the origins of an American football term.
The surprising history behind this controversial abbreviation.
What's the correct plural of 'octopus': 'octopuses' or 'octopi'? Yes – and then some.
Editor Emily Brewster clarifies the difference.
Many of today's grammar rules can be traced to the opinions of one 18th century writer.
When you're not sure which is right, try to remember to use 'try to.'
One goose, two geese. One moose, two... moose. What's up with that?
December comes from the Latin word for 'tenth.' So then why is it our twelfth month?
It's probably not what you think it is, and here's the short, sweet reason why.
The most common vowel sound in English causes many spelling problems.
An old-fashioned rule we can no longer put up with.
The inside scoop behind our 2014 Word of the Year selections.
'Rain on your wedding day' and other disputed usages.
Why both words are equally good for you.
Often used, often confused. Here's some guidance and insight.
Contrary to what your teachers may have said, we believe the popular usage of this word is correct. Hopefully you agree.
The story of an imaginary word that managed to sneak past our editors and enter the dictionary.
Good news for those who feel stuffy saying 'whom.'
The landmark edition that transformed the way dictionaries are made.
Where the 'and' symbol comes from.
Here's the lowdown on what may be the most confusing pair of words in the English language.
What our editors are looking for when they choose words for Merriam-Webster's.
How an ancient philosophical movement devoted to the pursuit of virtue came to describe eye-rolling criticism.
Michael Jackson's death sent many people to the dictionary. What did they look up?
How to _amuse-bouche_ without begging pardon for your French
When to use one or the other, and 'an' historical exception or two.
Webster's legendary editions - from 1828 through today.
The story of those iconic illustrations.
How the irregular _snuck_ sneaked into the dictionary
'Cougar,' 'Crowdsourcing,' 'Bromance' & more — the latest additions to America's best-selling dictionary.
Both words imply motion, but the difference may be all in your head
Once a chemistry term, now used increasingly in politics
Everyone's looking for 'amnesty'. Again.
Mano a Mano
Cruz challenged Trump to a 1-on-1 debate
What is 'the evangelical vote', and when did we start calling it that?
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
This kind actually exists
From "long shot" to "giant leap"
Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!
SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!
How many of January's Words of the Day do you remember?