Gain access to thousands of additional definitions and advanced search features—ad free! JOIN NOW
An Encyclopædia Britannica Company
No tricks, just difficult words.
When each letter can be seen but not heard
Or, Why Pig Meat is Called 'Pork' and Cow Meat is Called 'Beef'
When you push a meeting, where does it go?
"in other respects"
Why don't they call it the Merriam-Webster comma?
How we chose 'surreal'
Is 'alright' all right?
Or both? Or neither?
It is in fact a real word (but that doesn't mean you should use it).
Don't get us started on 'bimonthly'
Because we care
If I were you, I'd watch this
There, there. We'll sort it out.
The awkward case of 'his or her'
How the irregular _snuck_ sneaked into the dictionary
They started as same word, but their meanings have drifted apart over time.
Both words imply motion, but the difference may be all in your head
Editor Emily Brewster clarifies the difference.
'Poets laureate'? 'Court-martials'? The curious history of postpositive adjectives in English.
Why does it sound strange to say 'funner' or 'funnest?'
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.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
When to use each (and when not to get annoyed about their use).
Many of today's grammar rules can be traced to the opinions of one 18th century writer.
One goose, two geese. One moose, two... moose. What's up with that?
"in other respects"
Graham says bill gives power to states
"Don’t mess with the beloved bodega."
Of, relating to, or suggesting a jail or prison
Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!
Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
Its origins are surprisingly murky.
Nobody is immune to this question.
NEW! Additional colors! More obscure than before!
A game of winding words.