noun \ˈwərd\

Definition of word

  1. 1a :  something that is saidb words plural (1) :  talk, discourse putting one's feelings into words (2) :  the text of a vocal musical compositionc :  a brief remark or conversation would like to have a word with you

  2. 2a (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 elementsb (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 TV — Time we 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 markc :  a number of bytes processed as a unit and conveying a quantum of information in communication and computer work

  3. 3 :  order, command don't move till I give the word

  4. 4 often capitalized a :  logosb :  gospel 1ac :  the expressed or manifested mind and will of God

  5. 5a :  news, information sent word that he would be lateb :  rumor

  6. 6 :  the act of speaking or of making verbal communication

  7. 7 :  saying, proverb

  8. 8 :  promise, declaration kept her word

  9. 9 :  a quarrelsome utterance or conversation —usually used in plural they had words and parted

  10. 10 :  a verbal signal :  password

  11. 11 slang —used interjectionally to express agreement

good word

  1. 1 :  a favorable statement put in a good word for me

  2. 2 :  good news what's the good word

in a word

  1. :  in short

in so many words

  1. 1 :  in exactly those terms implied that such actions were criminal but did not say so in so many words

  2. 2 :  in plain forthright language in so many words, she wasn't fit to be seen — Jean Stafford

of few words

  1. :  not inclined to say more than is necessary :  laconic a man of few words

of one's word

  1. :  that can be relied on to keep a promise —used only after man or woman a man of his word

upon my word

  1. :  with my assurance :  indeed, assuredly upon my word, I've never heard of such a thing

Examples of word in a Sentence

  1. How do you spell that word?

  2. Please is a useful word.

  3. Our teacher often used words I didn't know.

  4. What is the French word for car?

  5. Describe the experience in your own words.

  6. The lawyer used Joe's words against him.

  7. She gave the word to begin.

  8. We will wait for your word before we serve dinner.

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.

Origin and Etymology of word

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

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms




Definition of word

  1. intransitive verb
  2. archaic :  speak

  3. transitive verb
  4. :  to express in words :  phrase a carefully worded reply

Examples of word in a Sentence

  1. Could we word the headline differently?

  2. tried to word the declaration exactly right

First Known Use of word

13th century

WORD Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of word for English Language Learners

  • : a sound or combination of sounds that has a meaning and is spoken or written

  • : a brief remark or conversation : something that a person says

  • : an order or command



Definition of word for English Language Learners

  • : to say (something) in a particular way by choosing which words to use

WORD Defined for Kids



noun \ˈwərd\

Definition of word for Students

  1. 1 :  a sound or combination of sounds that has meaning and is spoken by a human being

  2. 2 :  a written or printed letter or letters standing for a spoken word

  3. 3 :  a brief remark or conversation I'd like a word with you.

  4. 4 :  2command 1, order We are waiting for the word to begin.

  5. 5 :  news 1 Has there been any word on how they are?

  6. 6 :  1promise 1 I give you my word.

  7. 7 words plural :  remarks said in anger or in a quarrel We had words yesterday.




Definition of word for Students




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

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up word? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


cleverly stylish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!