Username Policy

Your username is the unique name that you use to identify yourself on M-W. When you register, you should choose a username that you like and will remember, but keep in mind that M-W usernames:

  • Can't be obscene or profane;
  • Can't contain an email address or web address (URL), or the words Merriam-Webster or M-W;
  • Must be at least 3 characters long; and
  • Can't contain a third party's trademark or brand

You also must follow the following formatting guidelines when creating your username:

Allowed - Usernames can contain:

  • Letters (a-z), numbers (0-9), and some symbols;
  • An element of an email address or web address (URL) that identifies you or your brand. For example, if your website is, your username can be mikes_bikes.

Not allowed - Usernames can't contain:

  • The @, &, ', (, ), <, or > character;
  • Spaces or tabs;
  • Elements that imply an email address or web address (for example,, including but not limited to .com, .net, .org, .edu or any variation of such (for example, _com or -com);
  • Consecutive underscores __;
  • An underscore _, hyphen -, or period . at the beginning of a username (for example, -pezcollector);
  • The words Merriam-Webster or letters M-W (only M-W employees can use the words Merriam-Webster or letters M-W in their usernames);
  • Obscene or profane words;
  • A term that is similar to, or might be confused with, a third party's trademark or brand (for example, BritannicaWords).

Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, you may be subject to a range of actions, including suspension of your account.

If you see a username on the site that you think violates this policy, report it. If you're having trouble signing in to M-W or can't remember your username or password, get help.

Why does M-W have this policy?

We want all our users to choose a username they like, but we don't allow users to choose a username that might be offensive to others, might violate a copyright or trademark, or might mislead or confuse other users.