- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /wɜːd/
- (General American) enPR: wûrd, IPA(key): /wɝd/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)d
- Homophone: whirred (accents with the wine-whine merger)
From Middle English word, from Old English word, from Proto-West Germanic *word, from Proto-Germanic *wurdą, from Proto-Indo-European *wr̥dʰh₁om. Doublet of verb and verve; further related to vrata.
word (countable and uncountable, plural words)
The smallest unit of language that has a particular meaning and can be expressed by itself; the smallest discrete, meaningful unit of language. (contrast morpheme.)
- 1897, Ouida, “The New Woman”, in An Altruist and Four Essays, page 239:
- But every word, whether written or spoken, which urges the woman to antagonism against the man, every word which is written or spoken to try and make of her a hybrid, self-contained opponent of men, makes a rift in the lute to which the world looks for its sweetest music.
- 1986, David Barrat, Media Sociology, →ISBN, page 112:
- The word, whether written or spoken, does not look like or sound like its meaning — it does not resemble its signified. We only connect the two because we have learnt the code — language. Without such knowledge, 'Maggie' would just be a meaningless pattern of shapes or sounds.
- 2009, Jack Fitzgerald, Viva La Evolucin, →ISBN, page 233:
- Brian and Abby signed the word clothing, in which the thumbs brush down the chest as though something is hanging there. They both spoke the word clothing. Brian then signed the word for change, […]
- 2013 June 14, Sam Leith, “Where the profound meets the profane”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 1, page 37:
- Swearing doesn't just mean what we now understand by "dirty words". It is entwined, in social and linguistic history, with the other sort of swearing: vows and oaths. Consider for a moment the origins of almost any word we have for bad language – "profanity", "curses", "oaths" and "swearing" itself.
- The smallest discrete unit of spoken language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more phonemes and one or more morphemes
- 1894, Alex. R. Mackwen, “The Samaritan Passover”, in Littell's Living Age, volume 1, number 6:
- Then all was silent save the voice of the high priest, whose words grew louder and louder, […]
- 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter IV, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
- Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
- 2006 Feb. 17, Graham Linehan, The IT Crowd, Season 1, Episode 4:
- I can't believe you want me back.
You've got Jen to thank for that. Her words the other day moved me deeply. Very deeply indeed.
Really? What did she say.
Like I remember! Point is it's the effect of her words that's important.
- I can't believe you want me back.
- The smallest discrete unit of written language with a particular meaning, composed of one or more letters or symbols and one or more morphemes
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
- Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
- 2003, Jan Furman, Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon: A Casebook, →ISBN, page 194:
- The name was a confused gift of love from her father, who could not read the word but picked it out of the Bible for its visual shape, […]
- 2009, Stanislas Dehaene, Reading in the Brain: The New Science of How We Read, →ISBN:
- Well-meaning academics even introduced spelling absurdities such as the “s” in the word “island,” a misguided Renaissance attempt to restore the etymology of the [unrelated] Latin word insula.
- A discrete, meaningful unit of language approved by an authority or native speaker (compare non-word).
- 1896, Israel Zangwill, Without Prejudice, page 21:
- “Ain’t! How often am I to tell you ain’t ain’t a word?”
- 1999, Linda Greenlaw, The Hungry Ocean, Hyperion, page 11:
- Fisherwoman isn’t even a word. It’s not in the dictionary.
- Something like such a unit of language:
- Hypernym: syntagma
- A sequence of letters, characters, or sounds, considered as a discrete entity, though it does not necessarily belong to a language or have a meaning
- 1974, Thinking Goes to School: Piaget's Theory in Practice, →ISBN, page 183:
- In still another variation, the nonsense word is presented and the teacher asks, "What sound was in the beginning of the word?" "In the middle?" and so on. The child should always respond with the phoneme; he should not use letter labels.
- 2003, How To Do Everything with Your Tablet PC, →ISBN, page 278:
- I wrote a nonsense word, "umbalooie," in the Input Panel's Writing Pad. Input Panel converted it to "cembalos" and displayed it in the Text Preview pane.
- 2006, Scribal Habits and Theological Influences in the Apocalypse, →ISBN, page 141:
- Here the scribe has dropped the με from καθημενος, thereby creating the nonsense word καθηνος.
- 2013, The Cognitive Neuropsychology of Language, →ISBN, page 91:
- If M. V. has sustained impairment to a phonological output process common to reading and repetition, we might anticipate that her mispronunciations will partially reflect the underlying phonemic form of the nonsense word.
- (telegraphy) A unit of text equivalent to five characters and one space. [from 19th c.]
- (computing) A fixed-size group of bits handled as a unit by a machine and which can be stored in or retrieved from a typical register (so that it has the same size as such a register). [from 20th c.]
- 1997, John L. Hennessy; David A. Patterson, Computer Organization and Design, 2nd edition, San Francisco, California: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., §3.3, page 109:
- The size of a register in the MIPS architecture is 32 bits; groups of 32 bits occur so frequently that they are given the name word in the MIPS architecture.
- (computer science) A finite string that is not a command or operator. [from 20th or 21st c.]
- (group theory) A group element, expressed as a product of group elements.
- The fact or act of speaking, as opposed to taking action. [from 9th c].
- 1811, Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility:
- […] she believed them still so very much attached to each other, that they could not be too sedulously divided in word and deed on every occasion.
- 2004 September 8, Richard Williams, The Guardian:
- As they fell apart against Austria, England badly needed someone capable of leading by word and example.
- (now rare outside certain phrases) Something that someone said; a comment, utterance; speech. [from 10th c.]
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Matthew XXVI:75:
- And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
- 1847, Alfred Tennyson, The Princess:
- She said; but at the happy word "he lives", / My father stooped, re-fathered, o'er my wound.
- 1853, Charles Dickens, Bleak House:
- There is only one other point on which I offer a word of remark.
- 1945 April 1, Sebastian Haffner, The Observer:
- "The Kaiser laid down his arms at a quarter to twelve. In me, however, they have an opponent who ceases fighting only at five minutes past twelve," said Hitler some time ago. He has never spoken a truer word.
- 2011, David Bellos, Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, Penguin_year_published=2012, page 126:
- Despite appearances to the contrary [...] dragomans stuck rigidly to their brief, which was not to translate the Sultan's words, but his word.
- 2011, John Lehew (senior), The Encouragement of Peter, →ISBN, page 108:
- In what sense is God's Word living? No other word, whether written or spoken, has the power that the Bible has to change lives.
- (obsolete outside certain phrases) A watchword or rallying cry, a verbal signal (even when consisting of multiple words).
- 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III:
- Our ancient word of courage, fair Saint George, inspire us with the spleen of fiery dragons!
- c. 1623, John Fletcher and William Rowley, The Maid in the Mill, published 1647, scene 3:
- I have the word : sentinel, do thou stand; […]
- (obsolete) A proverb or motto.
- 1499, John Skelton, The Bowge of Court:
- 1599, Ben Jonson, Every Man out of His Humour:
- Let the word be 'Not without mustard'. Your crest is very rare, sir.
- 1646, Joseph Hall, The Balm of Gilead:
- The old word is, 'What the eye views not, the heart rues not.'
- (uncountable) News; tidings [from 10th c.]
- 1945 August 17, George Orwell [pseudonym; Eric Arthur Blair], chapter 1, in Animal Farm […], London: Secker & Warburg, →OCLC:
- Word had gone round during the day that old Major, the prize Middle White boar, had had a strange dream on the previous night and wished to communicate it to the other animals.
- Have you had any word from John yet?
- I've tried for weeks to get word, but I still don't know where she is or if she's all right.
- An order; a request or instruction; an expression of will. [from 10th c.]
- He sent word that we should strike camp before winter.
- Don't fire till I give the word
- Their mother's word was law.
- A promise; an oath or guarantee. [from 10th c.]
- I give you my word that I will be there on time.
- Synonym: promise
- A brief discussion or conversation. [from 15th c.]
- Can I have a word with you?
- (meiosis) A minor reprimand.
- I had a word with him about it.
- (in the plural) See words.
- There had been words between him and the secretary about the outcome of the meeting.
- (theology, sometimes Word) Communication from God; the message of the Christian gospel; the Bible, Scripture. [from 10th c.]
- Her parents had lived in Botswana, spreading the word among the tribespeople.
- Synonyms: word of God, Bible
- (theology, sometimes Word) Logos, Christ. [from 8th c.]
- 1526, [William Tyndale, transl.], The Newe Testamẽt […] (Tyndale Bible), [Worms, Germany: Peter Schöffer], →OCLC, John ]:
- And that worde was made flesshe, and dwelt amonge vs, and we sawe the glory off yt, as the glory off the only begotten sonne off the father, which worde was full of grace, and verite.
In English and other languages with a tradition of space-delimited writing, it is customary to treat "word" as referring to any sequence of characters delimited by spaces. However, this is not applicable to languages such as Chinese and Japanese, which are normally written without spaces, or to languages such as Vietnamese, which are written with spaces delimiting syllables.
In computing, the size (length) of a word, while being fixed in a particular machine or processor family design, can be different in different designs, for many reasons. See Word (computer architecture) for a full explanation.
- vocable; see also Thesaurus:word
- action word
- babble word
- bad word
- breathe a word
- compound predicate word
- compound word
- content word
- curse word
- cuss word
- description word
- directed acyclic word graph
- dirty word
- Dyck word
- empty word
- famous last words
- fighting word, fighting words
- five-dollar word
- fossil word
- four-letter word
- from the word go
- function word
- get a word in edgeways, get a word in edgewise
- get the word out
- ghost word
- good as one's word
- good word
- hard word
- have a quiet word
- have a word
- have a word in someone's ear
- have a word with oneself
- have words
- in a word
- in so many words
- joey word
- kangaroo word
- last word, last words
- loaded word
- Lyndon word
- magic word
- measure word
- mince words
- mum's the word
- my word, oh my word
- nonce word
- nonsense word
- of one's word
- one's word is law
- operative word
- pass one's word
- pillow word
- place word
- portmanteau word
- power word
- procedure word, proword
- purr word
- put in a good word
- put words in someone's mouth
- question word
- reserved word
- root word
- say the word
- say word one
- send word
- sight word
- snarl word
- spelling word
- spoken word
- stop word
- swear word
- take someone's word for it
- ten-dollar word
- the word is go
- twenty-five cent word
- vocabulary word
- vogue word
- wake word
- war of words
- weasel word
- winged word
- word association
- word blindness
- word break
- word class
- word cloud
- word count
- word divider
- word for word
- word formation
- word game
- word golf
- word has it
- word is bond
- word ladder
- word method
- Word of Allah
- word of faith
- word of finger
- Word of God, word of God, God's word
- word of honour
- word of mouth
- Word of Wisdom
- word on the street
- word order
- word problem
- word processing
- word processor
- word salad
- word search
- word space
- word square
- word to the wise
- word wrap
- words fail someone
- words of one syllable
- wug word
word (third-person singular simple present words, present participle wording, simple past and past participle worded)
- (transitive) To say or write (something) using particular words; to phrase (something).
- Synonyms: express, phrase, put into words, state
- I’m not sure how to word this letter to the council.
- (transitive, obsolete) To flatter with words, to cajole.
- 1607, William Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra, act 5, scene 2:
- He words me, girls, he words me, that I should not / be noble to myself.
- (transitive) To ply or overpower with words.
- 1621 November 30, James Howell, letter to Francis Bacon, from Turin:
- […] if one were to be worded to death, Italian is the fittest Language [for that task]
- 1829 April 1, “Webster's Dictionary”, in The North American Review, volume 28, page 438:
- […] if a man were to be worded to death, or stoned to death by words, the High-Dutch were the fittest [language for that task].
- (transitive, rare) To conjure with a word.
- c. 1645–1715, Robert South, Sermon on Psalm XXXIX. 9:
- Against him […] who could word heaven and earth out of nothing, and can when he pleases word them into nothing again.
- 1994, “Liminal Postmodernisms”, in Postmodern Studies, volume 8, page 162:
- "Postcolonialism" might well be another linguistic construct, desperately begging for a referent that will never show up, simply because it never existed on its own and was literally worded into existence by the very term that pretends to be born from it.
- 2013, Carla Mae Streeter, Foundations of Spirituality: The Human and the Holy, →ISBN, page 92:
- The being of each person is worded into existence in the Word, […]
- c. 1645–1715, Robert South, Sermon on Psalm XXXIX. 9:
- (intransitive, archaic) To speak, to use words; to converse, to discourse.
- 1818–1819, John Keats, “Hyperion, a Fragment”, in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, London: […] [Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, […], published 1820, →OCLC, page 181:
- Thus wording timidly among the fierce: / "O Father, I am here the simplest voice, […] "
- (slang, African-American Vernacular) Truth, indeed, that is the truth! The shortened form of the statement "My word is my bond."
- "Yo, that movie was epic!" / "Word?" ("You speak the truth?") / "Word." ("I speak the truth.")
- (slang, emphatic, stereotypically, African-American Vernacular) An abbreviated form of word up; a statement of the acknowledgment of fact with a hint of nonchalant approval.
- 2004, Shannon Holmes, Never Go Home Again: A Novel, page 218:
- " […] Know what I'm sayin'?" / "Word!" the other man strongly agreed. "Let's do this — "
- 2007, Gabe Rotter, Duck Duck Wally: A Novel, page 105:
- " […] Not bad at all, man. Worth da wait, dawg. Word." / "You liked it?" I asked dumbly, stoned still, and feeling victorious. / "Yeah, man," said Oral B. "Word up. […] "
- 2007, Relentless Aaron, The Last Kingpin, page 34:
- " […] I mean, I don't blame you... Word! […] "
- For quotations using this term, see Citations:word.
- compound word
- set phrase
Variant of worth (“to become, turn into, grow, get”), from Middle English worthen, from Old English weorþan (“to turn into, become, grow”), from Proto-West Germanic *werþan, from Proto-Germanic *werþaną (“to turn, turn into, become”). More at worth § Verb.
- Alternative form of worth (“to become”).
From Dutch worden, from Middle Dutch werden, from Old Dutch werthan, from Proto-Germanic *werþaną.
word (present word, present participle wordende, past participle geword)
- to become; to get (to change one’s state)
- Ek het ryk geword.
- I became rich.
- Ek word ryk.
- I am becoming rich.
- Sy word beter.
- She is getting better.
- Forms the present passive voice when followed by a past participle
- Die kat word gevoer.
- The cat is being fed.
- The verb has an archaic preterite werd: Die kat werd gevoer. (“The cat was fed.”) In contemporary Afrikaans the perfect is used instead: Die kat is gevoer.
Chinese Pidgin EnglishEdit
- 𭉉 (Chinese characters)
- 1862, T‘ong Ting-Kü, Ying Ü Tsap T’sün, or The Chinese and English Instructor, volume 6, Canton:
- Aai1 sin1 jiu1 wut3.
- I will send you word.
- (literally, “I send you word.”)
From Old English word, from Proto-West Germanic *word, from Proto-Germanic *wurdą, from Proto-Indo-European *werdʰh₁om. Doublet of verbe.
word (plural wordes or (Early ME) word)
- A word (separable, discrete linguistic unit)
- a. 1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “Book II”, in Troilus and Criseyde, line 22-28:
- Ȝe knowe ek that in fourme of ſpeche is chaunge / With-inne a thousand ȝeer, and wordes tho / That hadden pris now wonder nyce and ſtraunge / Us thenketh hem, and ȝet thei ſpake hem so / And ſpedde as wel in loue as men now do
- You also know that the form of language is in flux; / within a thousand years, words / that had currency; really weird and bizarre / they seem to us now, but they still spoke them / and accomplished as much in love as men do now.
- A statement; a linguistic unit said or written by someone:
- A speech; a formal statement.
- A byword or maxim; a short expression of truth.
- A promise; an oath or guarantee.
- A motto; a expression associated with a person or people.
- A piece of news (often warning or recommending)
- An order or directive; something necessary.
- A religious precept, stricture, or belief.
- Discourse; the exchange of statements.
- The act of speaking (especially as opposed to action)
- The basic, non-figurative reading of something.
- The way one speaks (especially with modifying adjective)
- (theology) The Logos (Jesus Christ)
- c. 1395, John Wycliffe, John Purvey [et al.], transl., Bible (Wycliffite Bible (later version), MS Lich 10.), published c. 1410, Joon 1:1, page 44r, column 2; republished as Wycliffe's translation of the New Testament, Lichfield: Bill Endres, 2010:
- IN þe bigynnyng was þe woꝛd .· ⁊ þe woꝛd was at god / ⁊ god was þe woꝛd
- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.
- (rare) The human faculty of language as a whole.
- “wō̆rd, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 27 February 2020.
From Proto-West Germanic *word, from Proto-Germanic *wurdą.
word n (nominative plural word)
Unknown. Perhaps ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *wr̥dʰos (“sweetbriar”). Compare Latin rubus (“bramble”), Persian گل (gol, “flower”).
From Proto-West Germanic *word, from Proto-Germanic *wurdą.