word

noun
\ ˈwərd How to pronounce word (audio) \

Definition of word

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : a speech sound or series of speech sounds that symbolizes and communicates a meaning usually without being divisible into smaller units capable of independent use
(2) : the entire set of linguistic forms produced by combining a single base with various inflectional elements without change in the part of speech elements
b(1) : a written or printed character or combination of characters representing a spoken word the number of words to a line sometimes used with the first letter of a real or pretended taboo word prefixed as an often humorous euphemism the first man to utter the f word on British TVTimewe were not afraid to use the d word and talk about death— Erma Bombeck
(2) : any segment of written or printed discourse ordinarily appearing between spaces or between a space and a punctuation mark
2a : a brief remark or conversation would like to have a word with you
b : something that is said
c words plural
(1) : talk, discourse putting one's feelings into words
(2) : the text of a vocal musical composition
3 : order, command don't move till I give the word
4a : news, information sent word that he would be late
b : rumor
5 : promise, declaration kept her word
6 : a quarrelsome utterance or conversation usually used in plural they had words and parted
7 often capitalized
a : the expressed or manifested mind and will of God
c : logos
8 : the act of speaking or of making verbal communication
10 : a number of bytes processed as a unit and conveying a quantum of information in communication and computer work
11 : a verbal signal : password
12 slang used interjectionally to express agreement
good word
1 : a favorable statement put in a good word for me
2 : good news what's the good word
in a word
: in short
in so many words
1 : in exactly those terms implied that such actions were criminal but did not say so in so many words
2 : in plain forthright language in so many words, she wasn't fit to be seen— Jean Stafford
of few words
: not inclined to say more than is necessary : laconic a man of few words
of one's word
: that can be relied on to keep a promise used only after man or woman a man of his word
upon my word
: with my assurance : indeed, assuredly upon my word, I've never heard of such a thing

word

verb
worded; wording; words

Definition of word (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to express in words : phrase a carefully worded reply

Synonyms for word

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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What makes a word a real word?

The word word has a wide range of meanings and uses in English. Yet one of the most often looked for pieces of information regarding word is not something that would be found in its definition. Instead, it is some variant of the question, What makes a word a real word?

One of the most prolific areas of change and variation in English is vocabulary; new words are constantly being coined to name or describe new inventions or innovations, or to better identify aspects of our rapidly changing world. Constraints of time, money, and staff would make it impossible for any dictionary, no matter how large, to capture a fully comprehensive account of all the words in the language. And even if such a leviathan reference was somehow fashioned, the dictionary would be obsolete the instant it was published as speakers and writers continued generating new terms to meet their constantly changing needs.

Most general English dictionaries are designed to include only those words that meet certain criteria of usage across wide areas and over extended periods of time (for more details about how words are chosen for dictionary entry, read "How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?" in our FAQ). As a result, they may omit words that are still in the process of becoming established, those that are too highly specialized, or those that are so informal that they are rarely documented in professionally edited writing. But the words left out are as real as those that gain entry; the former simply haven't met the criteria for dictionary entry–at least not yet (newer ones may ultimately gain admission to the dictionary's pages if they gain sufficient use).

However, in preparing your own writings, it is worth remembering that the dictionary encompasses the most widely used terms in English. Words that are left out may have usage limited to specific, isolated, or informal contexts, so they should be used carefully.

Examples of word in a Sentence

Noun How do you spell that word? “Please” is a useful word. Our teacher often used words I didn't know. What is the French word for car? Describe the experience in your own words. The lawyer used Joe's words against him. She gave the word to begin. We will wait for your word before we serve dinner. Verb Could we word the headline differently? tried to word the declaration exactly right See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Adolfo Cruz, a 69-year-old air conditioning repairman, remained outside the school Tuesday night, waiting for word about his 10-year-old great-granddaughter, Eliajha Cruz Torres, whose whereabouts remained unknown to family. Jim Vertuno And Heather Hollingsworth, Chron, 25 May 2022 There’s very little direct dialogue in the early part of the novel, not because no one’s talking, but because Hakan can barely understand a word. Jonathan Dee, Harper’s Magazine , 25 May 2022 Everett Directed by Michael Winterbottom and billed as an art-house romance drama, this film can be summed up in one word: horny. Deanna Janes, Harper's BAZAAR, 25 May 2022 Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 25 May 2022 Hint #2: Some synonyms of today's word include: affirm, confirm, corroborate, verify. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 25 May 2022 Onna House—named after the word for woman in Japanese—will hold a permanent collection as well as rotating exhibits three times a year. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 25 May 2022 Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children. Eugene Garcia And Dario Lopez-mills, Anchorage Daily News, 25 May 2022 While undoubtedly intentional—Saban does not utter a word without a distinct message attached—they were not intended to inflict disparagement. Roy S. Johnson | Rjohnson@al.com, al, 24 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Gerritson said the new standards simply re-word the old standards. Trisha Powell Crain | Tcrain@al.com, al, 29 Mar. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 However, Hoffman would not say how the plan came together or whether the electors received advice on how to word the document. Richard Ruelas, USA TODAY, 14 Jan. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'word.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of word

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Verb

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for word

Noun

Middle English, from Old English; akin to Old High German wort word, Latin verbum, Greek eirein to say, speak, Hittite weriya- to call, name

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Time Traveler for word

Time Traveler

The first known use of word was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near word

Worcestershire sauce

word

wordage

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Statistics for word

Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Word.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/word. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for word

word

noun
\ ˈwərd How to pronounce word (audio) \

Kids Definition of word

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sound or combination of sounds that has meaning and is spoken by a human being
2 : a written or printed letter or letters standing for a spoken word
3 : a brief remark or conversation I'd like a word with you.
4 : command entry 2 sense 1, order We are waiting for the word to begin.
5 : news sense 1 Has there been any word on how they are?
6 : promise entry 1 sense 1 I give you my word.
7 words plural : remarks said in anger or in a quarrel We had words yesterday.

word

verb
worded; wording

Kids Definition of word (Entry 2 of 2)

: to express in words : phrase I don't know how to word my idea.

More from Merriam-Webster on word

Nglish: Translation of word for Spanish Speakers

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about word

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