Definition of word-for-word

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: being in or following the exact words : verbatim a word-for-word translation

word for word


Definition of word for word (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the exact words : verbatim

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for word-for-word

Synonyms: Adverb

ad verbum, directly, exactly, verbatim

Antonyms: Adverb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of word-for-word in a Sentence


you don't have to record the professor's comments word for word in your notes

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The same assessment, almost word for word, comes from Muhammad Dahlan, a former Palestinian security chief exiled to the United Arab Emirates. The Economist, "The leader of Hamas in Gaza is the most influential man in Palestine," 26 May 2018 The young actor’s sister shared a video of Karras re-enacting, word for word, a scene from the beloved ogre movie during a road trip — and the video rapidly took off on Twitter, going viral over the weekend for Karras’s pitch-perfect voice acting. Raisa Bruner, Time, "People Are Really, Really Obsessed With This Guy's Shrek Impression," 10 July 2018 The idea is to let non-English-speaking audience members follow a show, word for word, on their phones, much as moviegoers or even operagoers have done with subtitles for decades. Charles Passy, WSJ, "In Hopes of Attracting Foreign Audiences, Broadway Tries a Translation App," 4 June 2018 The memo repeats almost word for word one the OMB issued in 2013, in advance of the last partial government shutdown. Eric Yoder, Washington Post, "OMB tells federal agencies to prepare for shutdown," 19 Jan. 2018 Ginsburg writes, quoting word for word from Kennedy’s opinion. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Justice Kennedy Has His Cake and Eats It Too in Gay Wedding Case," 1 June 2018 As a recent video revealed, reporters recite word for word the same script bearing this warning. Josh Mccrain, Washington Post, "Yes, Sinclair Broadcast Group does cut local news, increase national news and tilt its stations rightward," 10 Apr. 2018 Meaning was, word for word, expressed through not only her exacting vocal inflection and her precise facial expression, but even the slightest movement of her hands. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Kathleen Battle, Julia Bullock and the saga of opera singers of color," 5 Apr. 2018 What works in the oral format often doesn’t in the written, and worse, because these pieces were never meant to appear together, the same insights and arguments are repeated throughout, many times nearly word for word. Scott Esposito, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘What Are We Doing Here? Essays,’ by Marilynne Robinson," 21 Feb. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of word-for-word


circa 1611, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about word-for-word

Statistics for word-for-word

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for word-for-word

The first known use of word-for-word was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Comments on word-for-word

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


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!