Gain access to thousands of additional definitions and advanced search features—ad free! JOIN NOW
An Encyclopædia Britannica Company
Test your knowledge of strange human behaviors.
When English borrows from another alphabet
How we chose 'feminism'
The distinction is clear (now).
'faker or fraud'
Why don't they call it the Merriam-Webster comma?
How we chose 'surreal'
Is 'alright' all right?
Or both? Or neither?
You don't have to end all your adverbs in -ly to talk right.
Or, Why Pig Meat is Called 'Pork' and Cow Meat is Called 'Beef'
"The public is a hot mess"
We'll tell you all the perpendiculars
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.
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?'
Some practical guidance, and interesting history, about a common mistake.
'Between you and __'? Simple guidance for a tricky pronoun.
How an ancient philosophical movement devoted to the pursuit of virtue came to describe eye-rolling criticism.
The story of those iconic illustrations.
Noah Webster: the man who changed the way we spell... up to a point.
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Many of today's grammar rules can be traced to the opinions of one 18th century writer.
'faker or fraud'
'a person of low moral character'
'government by the worst people'
'a morally repulsive or odious person'
'arousing or appealing to sexual desire'
Odd Habits and Quirks Quiz
Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.
Why not both?
No, it's not a coiffure trend
How many of these commonly confused words do you know?
SCRABBLE® fans, sharpen your skills!