Definition of word in English:



  • 1A single distinct meaningful element of speech or writing, used with others (or sometimes alone) to form a sentence and typically shown with a space on either side when written or printed.

    ‘I don't like the word ‘unofficial’’
    ‘why so many words for so few ideas?’
    • ‘He attempted to say a few things, but none of the noises actually turned into words let alone sentences.’
    • ‘Well, he had some choice words for both sides in this conflict in his speech.’
    • ‘I then realised that the letter A at the beginning of a word signifies that the word should have been printed in bold or italic.’
    • ‘The cooler comes in a red/black box with the words Dual Fan Series printed on the front side.’
    • ‘What kind of a person even gives that sort of nonsense the time of day, let alone writes six-hundred-odd words about it?’
    • ‘Both of them got in a long conversation too many big words and weird sentences.’
    • ‘However, the emphasis here should be on the word meaningful.’
    • ‘Then, he picked out a piece of paper and unfolded the paper that had the word, Dianna written on it.’
    • ‘If foul language could be banned in schools then perhaps we could hear people talking English without hearing the F word in every sentence.’
    • ‘If they were able to recall the target word, they had to write the word in the appropriate numbered space.’
    • ‘What made it funny were the words written on the side of the van.’
    • ‘In her short time in this organized hell, Cassie understood the meaning of the word alone.’
    • ‘We can sum him up in a single sentence, a single word will probably do.’
    • ‘He hadn't seen this side of Ron yet, this, for lack of a better word, bitchy side and he was strangely unsurprised by it.’
    • ‘Etymological analysis sought to explain the meaning of individual words within sentences.’
    • ‘You'll have to excuse my rather bland choice of words in the initial sentence.’
    • ‘By 7 children should be able to read and write simple words and structure simple sentences.’
    • ‘The door was unmarked and completely blank except for a single word written in a dark red script: Wayward.’
    • ‘But, one is never really sure how a single word or sentence out of a whole post can affect the way in which a reader is going to comment.’
    • ‘Some of the contributors here took issue with the meaning of the word print itself.’
    term, name, expression, designation, locution
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    1. 1.1 A single distinct conceptual unit of language, comprising inflected and variant forms.
      • ‘He is a knowledge worker in all senses of the word and carries a message everyone involved in best practise in education should hear.’
      • ‘All I will say is that this movie was true in the basic sense of the word.’
    2. 1.2usually words Something spoken or written; a remark or statement.
      ‘his grandfather's words had been meant kindly’
      ‘a word of warning’
      • ‘In true Marley style, this little book will uplift you and offer you sound words of advice when you need it most.’
      • ‘Charles Darwin once visited, and his words about the view have been engraved on a rock.’
      • ‘Her father's words echoed through her mind.’
      • ‘She was also willing to offer some words of advice to anyone thinking of following in her footsteps.’
      • ‘Jake almost fell off his chair as the other man's words sank in.’
      • ‘Those are strong words especially in discussing the actions of a political party holding power as a government.’
      • ‘What they say has relevance over time, even if their words were prompted by particular moments in time.’
      • ‘He was speaking Che's words, make no mistake, and the Soviets had turned against that, turned inward.’
      • ‘These are words spoken by Queen Juliana when she was inaugurated as Queen of the Netherlands in 1948.’
      • ‘I stroked his head and murmured calming words and it seemed to help.’
      • ‘She later claimed that the press had distorted her words and repudiated the statement.’
      • ‘But any cautionary words in the outlook statement could damage the share's high rating.’
      • ‘The other woman, her voice lower, murmured some words of consolation to her friend.’
      • ‘One day when Zhang was on a bus, a young man beside him smoked and would not listen to his words of warning about smoking.’
      • ‘He believes the players responded to his critical words and that his replacement should have been acquired last summer.’
      • ‘Citizens are welcome to e-mail the Senator here to offer him their kind words of support.’
      • ‘The Ministry of Justice subsequently released a statement condemning the words of Grigorov.’
      • ‘There he remained for most of the first half, only emerging intermittently to offer words of criticism or encouragement.’
      • ‘Thank you all so much for your kind words of encouragement and support regarding yesterday's post.’
      • ‘Nancy spoke specifically about the words offered by the senior minister at her church.’
      remark, comment, statement, utterance, observation, pronouncement, declaration
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    3. 1.3a wordwith negative Even the smallest amount of something spoken or written.
      ‘don't believe a word of it’
      • ‘Steve's unchanged expression showed that he didn't believe a word Miles had just spoken.’
      • ‘In fact, they didn't speak a word till it was over and once it was over, they clapped.’
      • ‘More than a decade after her fall from power, there are still ordinary, otherwise sane people who wouldn't hear a word spoken against her.’
      • ‘It comes out on Wednesdays and never prints a single word of world or national news.’
      • ‘She didn't speak a word of English when she arrived in Manchester 18 months ago - but is now top of the class.’
      • ‘Famous faces appear without saying a word, prompting the speculation that a good deal of footage may have been left on the cutting room floor.’
      • ‘The people who know me well don't believe a word of what is written by the media.’
      • ‘I do not speak a word of Italian, nor do I know anything about the different regions etc as I would with France.’
      • ‘No matter how many experts you throw at them, they won't believe a word spoken by them.’
      • ‘They continued down the hallway without another word, passing many officers as they did.’
      • ‘Previous attempts have failed as I have always come face-to-face with salesmen who don't appear to speak a word of English.’
      • ‘For a start none of us spoke a word of Spanish, we had been busy learning French!’
      • ‘I cried for each time I had a school report that had not even one good word to say about him on it.’
      • ‘Not a word was spoken throughout with many visibly shaken faces along the route.’
      • ‘But he is adamant that there is not a word of truth in any of these stories, and that, for the time being at least, he is here to stay.’
      • ‘I was standing like a lemon on the stage without a word in my head and not a soul to help me.’
      • ‘After all, they argued, the President had not said a word in his message about the military reform.’
      • ‘Not a word was spoken to explain the missiles raining down.’
      • ‘That wouldn't do at all for the journalist, who solved that little problem by not quoting a single word that I wrote to her.’
      • ‘Michael gets in one last hit on Keelah before he went back upstairs to his computer without saying a word.’
    4. 1.4words Angry talk.
      ‘her father would have had words with her about that’
      • ‘After receiving a complaint we went down and had words with them.’
      • ‘Peggy reckons that he's crawled off to sulk after she had words with him.’
      • ‘He had words with the referee after the game concerning the foul that led to the second goal.’
      • ‘I also had words with my manager, as he had changed the roster for next week without my consultation.’
      • ‘Ferguson hurried-up Kyrgiakos in the first half but he also had words with the other two as well.’
      • ‘This was definitely not my type of movie and I even had words with the person that insisted I use up my time to sit and watch it.’
      • ‘The manager has had words with his squad and is determined to cut out the niggling dissent.’
      • ‘In the first half, the referee had words with Tingle, when the player said a North Burton goal was offside.’
      • ‘When we got into a scuffle he had words with the both of us, but said nothing about the penalties he had given away.’
      quarrel, argue, disagree, row, squabble, bicker, fight, wrangle, dispute, feud, have a row, cross swords, lock horns, clash, be at each other's throats
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    5. 1.5mass noun Speech as distinct from action.
      ‘he conforms in word and deed to the values of a society that he rejects’
      • ‘Actions, he knows, speak louder than words as he passes on the benefit of his defensive experience to those who seek to emulate.’
      • ‘He loved women, especially brilliant women, and promoted them in word and deed.’
      • ‘We cannot know what is going on in the minds of our fellow human beings unless they manifest it by word or deed.’
      • ‘Why is everyone falling in love with Bridget when she's let her looks go to pot and appears in word, deed and fashion air-brained?’
      • ‘The villains are truly dangerous and the heroes are valiant in word and deed.’
      • ‘He is not known for making idle threats, and his words very quickly manifest themselves as deeds.’
      • ‘They will not be satisfied until we agree with them and prove that we agree with them in thought, word and deed.’
      • ‘In word and deed, he is an ideal man: a perfect son, a true husband, an excellent friend and a noble enemy.’
      • ‘He has handled this general problem very poorly in both word and deed.’
      • ‘The crucial distinction between the fifties and sixties lay in word, not in deed.’
      • ‘Kumar has never harmed anyone by thought, word or deed, as far as I know.’
      • ‘It was a place where I no longer had to worry about the possible negative repercussions of my every word and deed.’
      • ‘Here is an example where kind, brave actions speak louder then violent words.’
      • ‘There is, when it comes to the arts, a massive dislocation between word and deed.’
      • ‘Britain, she said in word and deed, demanded boldness: find it in me!’
      • ‘He inspires more by deed than word, but he has his anonymous games, as any forward does.’
      • ‘But our past is fraught with his infidelity in word, in deed and most likely in his heart and mind.’
      • ‘As one of the pillars of democracy, they have the right to question every word and deed.’
      • ‘In short, our actions will always speak louder than images and words offered by others.’
      • ‘They reclaim a union between word and deed, utterance and action.’
  • 2A command, password, or signal.

    ‘someone gave me the word to start playing’
    • ‘He gave her directions onto a narrow winding road, and told her to drive down it until he gave her the word to stop.’
    instruction, order, command
    command, order, decree, edict, mandate
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    1. 2.1mass noun Communication; news.
      ‘I was afraid to leave Edinburgh in case there was word from the War Office’
      • ‘This would not be the last word on the issue, because we need facts and information to come to a final verdict.’
      • ‘In fact, word has it that the unbelieving William III even referred petitioners he turned away to his vanquished rivals.’
      • ‘Instead Paul Krugman puts the word out that the Commander in Chief just may be crazy.’
      • ‘You should know I live in a small community and that word travels fast around here.’
      • ‘Mercury received word from Intel last week that the engineering firm is wanted on the job immediately.’
      • ‘HP has not issued word on exactly how many workers will get the axe.’
      • ‘The family had had difficulties because word had got about in the local community that the youth was responsible for the burglaries.’
      • ‘If a really big one hits a remote area, it might become news, if word eventually gets back to the metropolis.’
      • ‘There was still no word of Hess's whereabouts when the communique was broadcast at 8pm that evening.’
      • ‘The word was that an order had come down from the White House that the Pentagon's contingency planning was to be shelved immediately.’
      • ‘In fact word has it that this sort of cross-airline move is not really an option available to staff.’
      • ‘Redundancies are never happy news, but word reached El Reg that things were not handled terribly delicately in Bristol.’
      • ‘I grimaced, as dutifully I passed the word to Mission Command in the orbiting HMS Cardiff above.’
      • ‘But their concerns grew after Mrs Upton did not arrive and with communications in chaos, there remained no word of her.’
      • ‘Members spread the word by text messages, e-mails and leaflets which are handed out in towns and cities.’
      • ‘His father said he passed word from a dispatcher to his son that they should stay low and that firefighters were working their way up.’
      • ‘Bamberger had left word at my office that there were more documents for me to inspect.’
      • ‘The last thing you want when running an international campaign is word that the locals are restless.’
      • ‘In fact, word went around among the five- and six-year-olds that she was a witch.’
      • ‘In fact, word spread so quickly about the club, that people were travelling from all over Bradford to go to the meetings.’
      news, information, communication, intelligence, notice
      rumour, hearsay, talk, gossip
      View synonyms
  • 3one's wordOne's account of the truth, especially when it differs from that of another person.

    ‘in court it would have been his word against mine’
    • ‘Unfortunately, there are no special identifying marks on the belt to authenticate its once owner, and in fact there's now only my word that his son passed it on to me.’
    • ‘When I asked if I could fight this in court, I was advised that it was my word against theirs.’
    • ‘It's the attendant's word against that of a patient who can only communicate using ACC.’
    • ‘She was condemned on her word alone without proof and lacked defense counsel.’
    • ‘Take my word for it, if you know anything about the rarity of a true hip hop standout, then you will be at this show.’
    • ‘Take my word for it, the slower version is quite fast enough.’
    • ‘For those who require proof beyond my word for this, take a look at Google's cache of the News Online Politics page.’
    • ‘If you accept her word, you are saying that my word, because I gave it first, is not to be believed.’
    • ‘Here's a video clip proving it in case you were inclined to doubt my word.’
    • ‘Sex offences can be difficult to prove or disprove as it often comes down to one person's word against the other's.’
    1. 3.1 A promise or assurance.
      ‘everything will be taken care of—you have my word’
      • ‘Rest assured your email address is safe, I will not be passing it on to anyone, you have my word.’
      • ‘It is important that they be so, for science needs good communicators whose word can be trusted.’
      • ‘Asked if he now stood by his comments, he replied: I have to tread a very fine line, but I don't go back on my word with anybody.’
      • ‘I realise that this is a retraction of my word given to the Reverend.’
      • ‘By then I had already made a promise to Dundee, and I wasn't going to go back on my word.’
      • ‘She has appealed to her own family's codes of respect and faithfulness to one's word.’
      • ‘I always promise, but it's generally understood that my word means nothing.’
      • ‘We cannot rid the world of drugs but I give you my word that I will work to ensure that our kids have less access to them.’
      • ‘I had given United my word - in the presence of my father.’
      • ‘I assured him that I had none of the above, but my word was not good enough.’
      • ‘When the waitress arrives, Beanie's mother remains true to her word and orders only coffee.’
      • ‘We can only do our best to hold the administration to its word.’
      • ‘It cracks me up that I'm being held to my word from that one interview when I said I wouldn't write a love song.’
      • ‘The critical issue is whether a university's word can be trusted - and on current evidence it cannot.’
      • ‘My parents always make me live up to my word so I asked them to live up to theirs.’
      • ‘I regard his statements that my word cannot be believed as offensive, and I would ask him to withdraw and apologise.’
      • ‘I don't want to do it but I've given my word so what can I do?’
      • ‘I've kept good on my word not to rattle the tin cup between quarterly fund drives and shall do so till next quarter.’
      • ‘You may find it hard to trust my word, and the feeling is mutual I assure you.’
      • ‘John, you have my word we'll talk about those other officers and what they're struggling with right now.’
      promise, word of honour, assurance, guarantee, undertaking
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  • 4wordsThe text or spoken part of a play, opera, or other performed piece; a script.

    ‘he had to learn his words’
    • ‘Later we realised we should've had the subtitles on so we could catch all the words to their squeaky little songs.’
    • ‘What the audience sees and hears in the film is the first time an actor has performed and uttered those words.’
    • ‘Performed without words, it is a deeply elemental, emotive and darkly comic piece of theatre.’
    • ‘Outside the cathedral, the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic echoed over London.’
    • ‘So I just said the words on pieces of paper in front of the camera every day.’
    • ‘When you see the casting tapes first it is weird because you are watching people speaking your words against a white plain background.’
    script, text
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  • 5A basic unit of data in a computer, typically 16 or 32 bits long.


  • with object Express (something spoken or written) in particular words.

    ‘he words his request in a particularly ironic way’
    ‘a strongly worded letter of protest’
    • ‘It was nicely worded, and enough to convince me to stay with the service.’
    • ‘It would be aimed at one person, although it would be worded to cover all naturalised Indians.’
    • ‘The reason that I mention it was that it came with a politely worded suggestion that I should change my browser.’
    • ‘These e-mails should be worded as carefully as any fundraising letter, if not more so.’
    • ‘Public opinion on the issue often depends on how the topic is worded and framed in poll questions.’
    • ‘He also asked that an amendment be made to the incitement charge, which he admitted was erroneously worded.’
    • ‘We worded a letter in such a way that it was OK for them to let our citizens out.’
    • ‘A strongly worded letter is to be sent to the county council asking for an explanation.’
    • ‘He told it without any emotion and worded it as if it were coming from a text book.’
    • ‘I ask the nurse for a scribbling pad and a pen and write out a carefully worded resignation.’
    • ‘The letter was worded in such a way that made the exam sound like something horrific.’
    • ‘She just hated the way her mother worded her problems with people when she spoke to them.’
    • ‘His voice was strong and the way he worded things made it sound like poetry.’
    • ‘Even so, his boast that we ‘are overtaking the Conservatives’ was carefully worded.’
    • ‘Looking at the way the relevant paragraph is worded, I can see how it might be read that way.’
    • ‘I guess I should have worded it better and used less background on my post.’
    • ‘Moreover the survey was worded in such a way as to discourage any other reply, the alternatives being unlikely to attract votes.’
    • ‘She had to be careful how she worded the question, for fear of upsetting or angering the short-tempered man.’
    • ‘I could tell he wasn't quite sure the way he had worded it was the way he wanted it to come out.’
    • ‘This strongly worded claim is not entirely without justification.’
    phrase, express, put, couch, frame, set forth, formulate, style
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  • Used to express agreement or affirmation.

    ‘Word, that's a good record, man’


  • at a word

    • As soon as requested.

      ‘ready to leave again at a word’
      • ‘Elizabeth tried to touch it, but stopped at a word from her mother.’
      • ‘Her favourites were lanterns that could come alive or die at a word, and an arrow that would hit whatever you wanted to hit, no matter how bad your aim was.’
      • ‘There was no seam or opening to be found on the box, yet at a word from Loarela, the top suddenly was no longer just a painting of a vortex, but an actual pit of darkness.’
      • ‘The gunner's stopped the armoured artillery pieces, ready to fire at a word's notice.’
      • ‘He ordered a cut-purse caught in the act to be hanged without a trial at a word from his royal mouth.’’
      • ‘He consoled himself with the knowledge that the human was in his power, and that at a word the humans life would be ended.’
  • be as good as one's word

    • Do what one has promised to do.

      ‘Philip was as good as his word about turning Richard into an actor’
      • ‘He wrote to my wife, Jeanette, while I was in prison, reassuring her that he would look after me, and he was as good as his word.’
      • ‘Our pilot, Dan, a young clean-cut Melburnian, promises us a spectacular trip and he is as good as his word.’
      • ‘General Cunningham had promised that he would not leave Jerusalem until the last minute and he was as good as his word.’
      • ‘Alesso was as good as his word and came to my studio by nine each morning.’
      • ‘With hindsight maybe I should have left in my friend's car but when the police say they are coming you expect them to be as good as their word.’
      • ‘Eleven years later, even his harshest critics would have to concede that Barry has been as good as his word.’
      • ‘Kerry told them she was going to pay off what she owed - and she was as good as her word.’
      • ‘We got into a discussion, and he told me to come and see him when I came to London; and when I arrived, he was as good as his word.’
      • ‘Adam was as good as his word about sending photographs of his children, but MaryAnn had a need to see them for real.’
      • ‘Last week the Town Clerk was as good as his word when a total of 25 lime trees were put in specially prepared beds along the avenue.’
  • have a word

    • Speak briefly to someone.

      ‘I'll just have a word with him’
      • ‘He left in the interval but not before having a word with everyone who wished to meet him.’
      • ‘She managed to get out of hospital this week after having a word or two with the doctor.’
      • ‘I considered at one point going around and having a word with the hosts, to get them to ask their guests to be a little more respectful.’
      • ‘Announcing that he must have a word with the man in front, our jolly farmer prized himself out of the driver's seat and ambled up to the lead car.’
      • ‘The customer at the till is more likely to be talking on the phone than having a word with the shop assistant or the next person in the queue.’
      • ‘But I'll be having a word with him because he put us under pressure.’
      • ‘I will be having a word with the board to see whether we can maybe add one or two bodies to see if we can bolster things up a bit.’
      • ‘I think he's having a word with the chairman in the next couple of weeks, and then I'll take it from there.’
      • ‘Certainly, ward councillors will be having a word with officers and members of the executive regarding these proposed changes.’
      • ‘The undertaking attracted the attention of several motorists, who stopped to have a word or two with the volunteers.’
      have a conversation, talk, have a talk, have a discussion, converse, communicate, chat, have a chat, pass the time of day, have a word, gossip, make conversation
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  • have a word in someone's ear

    • Speak to someone privately or discreetly, especially to give them a warning.

      ‘back in those days the referee would have a quiet word in your ear and warn you not to do it again’
      • ‘We are there to support the London bid for the Olympic Games and we will certainly be having a word in his 's ear about the situation.’
      • ‘Someone must have had a word in his ear because he looked fit to burst the moment he stepped down from his horse.’
      • ‘The signs are that someone had a word in Andrew 's ear and convinced him not to put his name forward.’
      • ‘He might have a word in Bertie's ear and encourage him to resort to some land travel instead of spending millions on jets.’
      • ‘Another denizen had a word in Ritchie's ear, and suggested that he try Hong Kong for a while.’
      • ‘If he doesn't know that this is not an appropriate costume for a member of the royal family to wear to a party, shouldn't one of his advisers had a word in his ear?’
      • ‘Well, it could be that they just found it dull but it is also possible that the super-powerful green jackets had a word in their ear and ‘asked’ them to play it down.’
      • ‘I wouldn't stop him being England skipper, I'd just have a word in his ear.’
      • ‘The local Labour leader has since had a word in the minister's ear regarding the conditions for their future support of their colleague.’
      • ‘If he was an only child, maybe somebody should have a word in his ear…’
  • in other words

    • Expressed in a different way; that is to say.

      ‘The new cat treat has a 90-plus palatability level. In other words, cats like it’
      • ‘Today's woman is closer to today's man - in other words, shaped like a phone box.’
      • ‘Where do they meet when you cross them - in other words, what can you cover with them?’
      • ‘So in other words, the tribunal would make the judgment based on the nature of the claim itself.’
      • ‘Yes, she was one of my friends, or in other words: another one of Meena's posses.’
      • ‘What is lost with the passing of network TV, in other words, is the journalism of verification.’
      • ‘Galloway, by contrast, was his usual self: in other words, a blustering demagogue.’
      • ‘There is a difference, in other words, between tax minimisation and tax evasion.’
      • ‘What, in other words, could possibly be gained by going over the same data that someone else has analysed?’
      • ‘There is no such thing, in other words, as a stimulus which produces the same emotional response in everyone.’
      • ‘The Minister's ruling, in other words, is not quite the definitive decision it might seem at first.’
      namely, that is to say, that is, to wit, to be specific, specifically, in other words, to put it another way
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  • in so many words

    • often with negativePrecisely in the way mentioned.

      ‘I haven't told him in so many words, but he'd understand’
      • ‘None of them states this in so many words, but it is the inescapable consequence of their rhetoric about contracts and deals and obligations.’
      • ‘She consulted with the manager, and told me, in so many words, that I lived in firestorm-and-lethal-radiation territory.’
      • ‘The president and his advisors want to duck responsibility by claiming, in so many words, that the Louisiana authorities didn't fill out the right forms.’
      • ‘He not only called me a liar but also said, in so many words, ‘I'm alone this weekend and bored so I thought I'd ask you all out.’’
      • ‘She told him, in so many words, ‘We're messing your son up, and maybe the psychologist can undo our damage.’’
      • ‘I flipped through the magazine and an article says, in so many words, that being interested in celebrities is good for you.’
      • ‘‘If I don't win a major,’ the player will say in so many words, ‘I'll still have had a rewarding career.’’
      • ‘On the USDA site, it says that, in so many words, this chart was tested to death on consumers for maximum comprehension.’
      • ‘Upon taking over the paper, he told reporters and editors in so many words that the paper was garbage and needed a complete makeover.’
      • ‘Without actually saying so in so many words, the author brings out the interplay of nature and nurture - of inherent character and the effect of environment.’
  • in a word

    • Briefly.

      ‘Are there any real reasons to worry? In a word, plenty’
      • ‘Even in prison bureaucracies, policies that admit no possible exception are, in a word, stupid.’
      • ‘They just want some peace and quiet to reflect, or to lose themselves in a good novel, poem or piece of fine music - in a word to think.’
      • ‘The back-to-back sets to follow are both, in a word, stellar.’
      • ‘It is complex; it is changing fast; it is, in a word, exciting.’
      • ‘She was out of time, out of tune, out of breath - in a word, terrible.’
      • ‘I thought she was, in a word, gorgeous, and I vowed to have that haircut, or die trying.’
      • ‘And the men in that part of the world are short, stocky and hairy - in a word, not very handsome.’
      • ‘Everyone has a right to do this, of course, but seeing so much division between students makes me, in a word, sad.’
      • ‘I like to think of listening to these three discs as an opportunity for true quality time with a true quality band: in a word, it's intimacy.’
      • ‘Likewise, the goal of capitalist corporations is to make the biggest return on investment possible, in a word, greed.’
      to put it briefly, to be brief, briefly, in short, in a nutshell, succinctly, concisely, to come to the point, to cut a long story short, not to mince words, not to beat about the bush, not to put too fine a point on it
      View synonyms
  • keep one's word

    • Do what one has promised.

      ‘you know that I always keep my word’
      • ‘They're just saying you're a low swine who'd rather play word games than keep your word.’
      • ‘They always kept their word and I never had any problems throughout the shoot or afterwards when the film was shown in public.’
      • ‘Always keep your word with children, in punishments as well as in rewards.’
      • ‘The strange thing about this is that, with all the great promises of positive stories, we can count on one hand the very few that have kept their word.’
      • ‘It's just about keeping your word and not promising more than you can do.’
      • ‘I'm sure our leaders fought for this and kept their word to us the troops even in time of war.’
      • ‘‘We impressed on the children not to leave litter behind and they kept their word,’ one of the escorts said.’
      • ‘We've kept our word to display the vision around Christmas.’
      • ‘Carole found out what was going on and almost left him, but Merritt promised to quit and kept his word after the Vegas fight.’
      • ‘They haven't kept their word on their ethical policy, he said.’
  • a man/woman of his/her word

    • A person who keeps their promises.

      ‘she was a woman of her word’
      • ‘And again like Peter, I hope he will be a man of his word.’
      • ‘Being a nice guy and a man of his word, Darren sent the information she'd requested as soon as he got a spare moment.’
      • ‘Harry has proven himself to be absolutely a man of his word, a man of principle, a quiet spoken person with a very strong conviction and a good heart.’
      • ‘He's a man of his word, and after Tuesday we will have a clearer indication.’
      • ‘Tyreen is also a man of his word and he fights alongside Dundee as he had pledged.’
      • ‘She described him as a man of his word and said they should trust reassurances he's made about any future Supreme Court appointments.’
      • ‘Aimée smiled and nodded at Emily, knowing she was a woman of her word and thankful for it.’
      • ‘They cite his ‘obvious love for the Papuan people’ and call him ‘a stickler for being a man of his word.’’
      • ‘A man of his word, he at last kept the promise he'd made to his wife in 1986 - the year they bought a shingled cottage.’
      • ‘He knew Sarah was a woman of her word and she'd rather die than break it.’
  • (on/upon) my word

    • An exclamation of surprise or emphasis.

      ‘my word, you were here quickly!’
      • ‘We hooked up with the wedding party towards the inebriate end of the evening - my word, did we ever.’
      • ‘Oh my word, I mean I figured it contained some really screwed up people, but this?’
      • ‘He's a very cute and very active kid, and my word did he make spirited attempts at escape.’
      • ‘Maybe it won't turn out to be that significant, but my word, it could be.’
      • ‘I don't know what they gave those bunnies, but my word were they placid.’
      • ‘Many thanks to all (and my word, there were a lot of you!) who gave Rebecca a Christmas present.’
      • ‘Oh my word, masterful execution there by the ladies, Johnny, just take us through the replay there!’
      • ‘My word, it has an intense nose packed with honeysuckle, apricots and lime blossom.’
      • ‘He was up there to be shot at and, my word, was he shot!’
      • ‘My initial reaction is that, my word, this is a sport that is geared up to explode.’
  • of few words

    • Taciturn.

      ‘he's a man of few words’
      • ‘The 18-year-old from Tarbert, a young man of few words, polled 60 per cent of eviction votes last Wednesday.’
      • ‘Perhaps it was our suspicious behaviour that caused her to be short with us, or perhaps she was having an off night, or maybe she is simply a woman of few words.’
      • ‘A shy man of few words, his face crackles with pride when he speaks of his prized piece: a mammoth, double-hosed shisha pipe.’
      • ‘As a teenager of few words, he had not told his parents about his fever, not realizing that his silence aroused fears in his parents, the hospital and the judges.’
      • ‘They say that my dad is a man of few words, but he taught me by the quiet eloquence of his hard work and by his decency.’
      • ‘He's a man of few words and he carries a really big axe.’
      • ‘Some people might mistake you for shy but, truth is, you're just a bit reserved - a girl of few words.’
      • ‘The inescapable feeling that here was someone who was often silent, a man of few words, few thoughts, who simply existed.’
      • ‘A quiet, laid-back Kentuckian of few words, Gullett bristles at the attention and praise.’
      • ‘Kate seems a woman of few words, but this reticence is more than made up for by the reminiscences of her friend and husband.’
      reticent, taciturn, uncommunicative, unforthcoming, unresponsive, close-mouthed, close-lipped
      View synonyms
  • put something into words

    • Express something in speech or writing.

      ‘he felt a vague disappointment which he couldn't put into words’
      • ‘It was quite weird, but the minute I put pen to paper and started putting things into words, things suddenly seemed a lot easier.’
      • ‘Mr Todd's wife, Marie, said: ‘I can't put my gratitude into words.’
      • ‘At one of our board meetings, when we were struggling to put our mission into words, Jerry skipped lunch and went off by himself.’
      • ‘People with Huntington's often have difficulty putting thoughts into words and slur their speech.’
      • ‘Authors put their thoughts into words for the whole community to see and critique.’
      • ‘I like to think that I am still creative, that I can still form coherent thoughts and put them into words.’
      • ‘Those are the facts, but they don't convey the emotions of this achievement, and I won't even try to put them into words.’
      • ‘Sometimes you just can't put your agony into words.’
      • ‘In the brutalized area one kilometer to the south, a weeping community leader put that sadness into words of disbelief.’
      • ‘Though Pam had no doubt that her mom loved her, she didn't remember ever hearing her put it into words, let alone express it with an unsolicited hug or kiss.’
  • put words into someone's mouth

    • 1Inaccurately report what someone has said.

      • ‘Well, there goes one journalist's attempt to put words into someone's mouth.’
      • ‘Instead of putting words into the president's mouth in order to look smart, journalists ought to try looking up what he said.’
      • ‘I've been critical of people or groups of people on my website, but in the case of non-public figures, I never named names or put words into their mouth.’
      • ‘Police will not be able to put words into the detainee's mouth, but incriminating statements which appear on the tape will be difficult to deny.’
      1. 1.1Prompt someone to say something that they may not otherwise have said.
        • ‘In her last letter she asked her sister-in-law Elisabeth not to blame Louis-Charles and to remember how easy it is to put words into a child 's mouth.’
        • ‘That's what… I mean, David, you don't put words into my mouth.’
        • ‘I am sorry, I am not trying to put words into the member's mouth.’
        • ‘I hate it when people put words into my mouth or when they imply something that I should do.’
        • ‘I guess you could say that I sort of became a soldier of fortune, or something romantic like that but don't put words into my mouth, I didn't say ‘mercenary’.’
        • ‘They'll temper that with the suggestion that the mother put words into the boy 's mouth to come up with this story.’
        • ‘My colleague did not say that at any time during the many answers she gave to questions in this House, and that member should not put words into her mouth.’
        • ‘Please don't put words into my mouth that I have not used.’
        • ‘My apologies if I seemed to be putting words into your mouth.’
        • ‘I didn't say that so don't go putting words into my mouth.’
  • spread the word

    • Share the information or news.

      ‘he spread the word about the charity's work’
      • ‘He has got some big names to help spread the word.’
      • ‘It is very nice to know that he is doing good for the Sikh community by spreading the word of god.’
      • ‘I joined so I could spread the word on tons of books that I know would have larger audiences, if only readers knew about them.’
      • ‘We're proud to spread the word about how museum membership strengthens the vibrant cultural fabric of the Twin Cities.’
      • ‘The healthy pet educational program is spreading the word to pet owners that scraps do much more harm than they might realise.’
      • ‘Our aim is to spread the word that exercising is the easiest and cheapest way to get fit.’
  • take someone at their word

    • Interpret a person's words literally, especially by believing them or doing as they suggest.

      ‘I take him at his word, for I cannot go to see for myself’
      • ‘I'm only sorry that we didn't go public at the time… we took them at their word, but nothing has been done and four more years have passed.’
      • ‘Everybody seemed to take them at their word but after just a few weeks, they have gone the other way.’
      • ‘The farmers always said there was no room for sentiment in agriculture and so we'll take them at their word.’
      • ‘Without sitting in on their selection meetings, we can only take them at their word.’
      • ‘I also believe that we would do well to take them at their word.’
      • ‘If we take them at their word, the war is not going to solve this issue.’
      • ‘When clubs begged us two years ago to do whatever was needed to get fixtures played in one calendar year we took them at their word.’
      • ‘I learned that if someone says they are planning to kill you, it is wise to take them at their word.’
      • ‘Maybe we should take them at their word, and ask if they already do?’
      • ‘Not knowing who the individuals are at the moment, we have to take them at their word.’
  • take the words out of someone's mouth

    • Say what someone else was about to say.

      • ‘Maybe my headline above takes the words out of the President's mouth these days.’
      • ‘You can only mumble ‘You took the words out of my mouth… ‘quietly while the boss praises them.’’
      • ‘Natasha, that's exactly what I was about to say, you took the words out of my mouth.’
      • ‘‘You took the words out of my mouth,’ Milton smiled.’
      • ‘‘Yes,’ Efad replied, taking the words out of Justin 's mouth.’
      • ‘Mr Carter's speech took the words out of my mouth.’
  • take someone's word (for it)

    • Believe what someone says or writes without checking for oneself.

      ‘I'm afraid you'll just have to take our word for it’
      • ‘I didn't know whether to believe him, but I figured I would take his word for it since I had no proof that what he was saying was untrue.’
      • ‘If you look closely at the screen - you'll have to take our word for this, or check out the original picture here - you can see the following.’
      • ‘Anyway, we will take your word for it and believe you guys.’
      • ‘Don't take our word for it, check the Water Survey of Canada's factual database.’
      • ‘I had sent him a letter to say don't take my word for it - check with this list of other musicians.’
      • ‘Don't take my word for it, go to the site and check it out.’
      • ‘They also took the officer's word for what speed he was doing.’
      • ‘I'm just a guy writing about baseball on a website, so don't take my word for it.’
      • ‘All of these are clearly supported by Nicholas' report, but don't just take our word for that, check it against the full report.’
      • ‘Of course, there was no demonstration this time but they took the manufacturer 's word for it.’
  • too — for words

    • informal Extremely —

      ‘going around by the road was too tedious for words’
      • ‘The piglets were, of course, too cute for words.’
      • ‘Why waste the time on the sort of gathering you've told me is too tedious for words?’
      • ‘The whole thing is just too ludicrous for words.’
      • ‘It's too painful for words, and I hang on to a great deal of hope that there may yet come a day when we will see it return.’
      • ‘Perhaps the government should encourage the banks to get their systems in place: this service sounds too outrageous for words.’
      • ‘First of all a fearless, infallible hero pitted against a bunch of hoodlums and brutal, power-crazy politicians is too stereotypical for words.’
      • ‘The similarities are just too spooky for words.’
      • ‘I swear, weekends are getting too chaotic for words.’
      • ‘I don't believe these people have the air of 1962 about them, they are extremely modern hipsters, too cool for words.’
      • ‘It seems too dreadful for words to be indoors studying.’
  • waste words

    • 1Talk in vain.

      ‘I take it that all my well-chosen words have been entirely wasted’
      • ‘It is refreshing to listen to someone who never wastes words.’
      • ‘Doyle wasn't a man of many words, and I'd never seen any point in wasting words, so we didn't talk until the bell rang.’
      • ‘Can I asked what happened or would I just be wasting words?’
      • ‘He wished he could say it back but he wasn't one to waste words and he didn't feel love for her just yet, although he cared for her more as the days rolled by.’
    • 2Talk or write at length.

      ‘he wastes no words, though details are terribly important to him’
      • ‘Why waste words when simple action will serve just as nicely.’
      • ‘He didn't often waste words when he spoke and his talks were always simple, yet highly motivating, as I imagine were his team talks.’
      • ‘No need to waste words here: Not everyone in the gulag was a ‘prisoner of conscience ‘…’
      • ‘The lass did not waste words coming straight to the point.’
  • the Word (of God)

    • 1The Bible, or a part of it.

      • ‘Do we measure other views by God's Word, or do we attempt to verify the Bible by the views of others?’
      • ‘However, remember that very few archaeologists are Christians and most would reject the historicity and authority of the Word of God.’
      • ‘The members of that Bible study stood on the authority of the Word of God.’
      • ‘The First Reformation gave the Word of God back to the people.’
      • ‘We want to see another reformation in the church and so we are calling the church back to the Word of God, starting with the very first verse.’
      • ‘In one of my classes we work on oral interpretations of the Word with seminarians.’
      • ‘What does the Word of God warn about replacing Bible Truth with human tradition?’
      • ‘The revelation of God is found in the Word of God, the gospel enshrined in the scriptures, and all claims for revelation must be brought back and tested there.’
      • ‘Does the Word of God plainly say that faith without works is a dead faith?’
      • ‘They are a new community centered around the teachings of the Word and the breaking of bread.’
    • 2Jesus Christ.

      • ‘John's gospel offers deep reflection on the nature and meaning of Jesus as the revelatory Word of God.’
      • ‘In short, Christ as the Word is associated both with creation and with redemption.’
      • ‘Other positions are more centred on Jesus Christ as the Word of God, who gives his distinctive teaching and example - often very different from the prevailing ethos.’
      • ‘The Christian clings to that living and incarnate Word, in whom salvation is to be found.’
      • ‘For Barth, Jesus Christ as the enfleshed Word of God is the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.’
      • ‘For Torrance, too, God's revelation, the Word of God is Jesus Christ.’
      • ‘Jesus Christ, as he is testified to us in the Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God, whom we are to hear, whom we are to trust and obey in life and in death.’
      • ‘Jesus Christ, being the Word made flesh through the divine power of God, is what a real believer should know.’
      • ‘Christ, as redemptive person and Word of God, is not to be encapsulated once-for-all in the historical Jesus.’
  • word for word

    • In exactly the same or, when translated, exactly equivalent words.

      ‘Benjamin copied the verse down, word for word’
      • ‘Anyway here is the URL for the article: and this is where he stole it from, word for word.’
      • ‘The following is a transcript, nearly word for word, of a tape recording I made earlier tonight.’
      • ‘We watch episodes over and over again… We know them word for word.’
      • ‘It is the same thing you put in your complaint, word for word almost.’
      • ‘This is a text message I received the other day from him - word for word.’
      • ‘Every child in the land knew it word for word by the following Monday.’
      • ‘Students, at their examinations, had to reproduce their teachers' lessons word for word.’
      • ‘I wish I could translate the song for you guys word for word, but it would take too much time.’
      • ‘Its editor apologised profusely and told us it is not their policy to lift stories word for word and it wouldn't happen again.’
      • ‘Sign language is visual, and isn't always translated word for word into English.’
      verbatim, line for line, letter for letter, to the letter
      verbatim, literal, exact, direct, precise, accurate, faithful, strict, undeviating
      View synonyms
  • word gets (or goes) around

    • News or rumours spread.

      ‘word got around that he was on the verge of retirement’
      • ‘But once unlicenced ones know they can come here and operate without any hassle word gets around.’
      • ‘I guess word gets around fast for even the teachers too.’
      • ‘Word gets around much better than it used to.’
      • ‘The audience seems to growing as word gets around about how much fun we have at gigs.’
      • ‘Two girls attended the first class but the community centre chairman said she is confident more children will join when word gets around.’
      • ‘There are only 15 people here who've got a job, so word gets around fast.’
      • ‘Word gets around quickly about who's looking for trouble.’
      • ‘In the small circle of professionals, bad business practices will kill a company very quickly as word gets around.’
      • ‘Town officials expect the numbers to grow as word gets around about the lottery.’
      • ‘Once word gets around that its back, we'll start getting new members. "’
  • word of honour

    • A solemn promise.

      ‘I'll be good to you always, I give you my word of honour’
      • ‘He said on his word of honour that they had no connection with the Indian Communist Party.’
      • ‘Just fax us what you want, promising us on word of honor that you are over 18 and these and much more can be yours.’
      • ‘We don't want your money, just your signature - and when the time comes, your willingness to carry through on your word of honor.’
      • ‘We thought we had their word of honour that these guys would be released much earlier.’
      • ‘Kohl refused, saying he had given his word of honor.’
      • ‘I know my duty well, and I give you my solemn word of honor that I will not disappoint you or our people.’
      • ‘This inn was visited by Russian inhabitants and French prisoners of war, who were granted freedom of movement on their word of honour.’
      • ‘What I prefer is a handshake and a person's word of honor.’
      • ‘He was known for his meticulous interviews and his strict word of honor about protecting witness identity.’
      • ‘Not until we gave our word of honor did expressions cautiously start to change.’
      promise, word of honour, assurance, guarantee, undertaking
      View synonyms
  • word of mouth

    • Spoken communication as a means of transmitting information.

      ‘slander is a defamatory statement made by word of mouth’
      as modifier ‘word-of-mouth praise’
      • ‘A good experience creates positive word-of-mouth, and that brings more customers.’
      • ‘There was virtually no publicity but the number of spectators kept increasing by the day, obviously due to word-of-mouth publicity.’
      • ‘The business boomed, with new customers hearing about him mostly through word-of-mouth.’
      • ‘Interestingly, the company doesn't do much advertising, instead relying on word-of-mouth and sponsorship of events.’
      • ‘He would like to know how negative word-of-mouth communication affects consumer thoughts about a product.’
      • ‘Information in Somalian culture is often communicated by word of mouth and radio is very important in this process.’
      • ‘He subleased a small commercial kitchen and found customers mostly by word of mouth.’
      • ‘The information is then spread by word of mouth and mobile phone text messages.’
      • ‘Lack of effective marketing has to be addressed and the makers should take pains to carry out word-of-mouth marketing of their films.’
      • ‘The coast-to-coast operation works with almost no budget and has thrived on word-of-mouth since its inception.’
  • the word on the street

    • informal A rumour or piece of information currently being circulated.

      ‘the word on the street is that there will be a major announcement soon’
      • ‘A good friend of mine writes in to say that the word on the street is that thankfully so far it seems that no students were hurt.’
      • ‘Is the word on the street true; has Hollywood really run out of ideas, or are these new Asian films just that good?’
      • ‘The word on the street at the height of the dotcom boom was that this was the figure to watch if you were interested in investing in growth companies.’
      • ‘The word on the street however is that its main star will make a special appearance soon.’
      • ‘That is the word on the street and everybody in Wanganui knows that that seat will be gone.’
      • ‘‘The word on the street,’ he grumbled, ‘is that if you buy this equipment you will be pulled over right away.’’
      • ‘The word on the street is that he has lost the political spotlight recently and wants to regain it.’
      • ‘The word on the street in Cork is that some investors are getting increasingly nervous as rental prices fall in certain parts of Ireland's second city.’
      • ‘According to the gardening media and the word on the street, the prince's weedy overgrown look is quite the thing this season.’
      • ‘I think he may be donating money for a new pulmonary center or something, at least that's the word on the street.’
  • words fail me

    • Used to express one's disbelief or dismay.

      • ‘The Academy Award-winning actress is so awful in this film that words fail me.’
      • ‘Even today, nearly ten years on, I find that words fail me when I try to describe my feelings as the final whistle went and South Africa became world champions.’
      • ‘Sometimes, after I read the news, words fail me.’
      • ‘It doesn't sound like hard work but it really is, and it's such a huge adrenaline rush that words fail me trying to describe it.’
      • ‘When I think of what these young farmers are paid for working to produce a quality food and what these people who dream up the daft adverts are paid, words fail me.’
      • ‘I scrunch up my nose trying to explain exactly how I feel but my words fail me so I just skip it.’
      • ‘I am an English teacher but words fail me as I contemplate a racing future without him.’
      • ‘Let me offer my apologies for the swearing, but words fail me on occasions such as these.’
      • ‘Taking money meant for charity is bad enough, but robbing from the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal - words fail me.’
      • ‘Any sort of violence against innocent people is bad enough, but to attack schoolchildren… words fail me.’
  • a word to the wise

    • A hint or brief explanation given, that being all that is required.

      ‘typical restraints range from regulations to the occasional word to the wise’
      • ‘For anyone with a vision of flocks of sheep being replaced by flocks of tourists, I have a word to the wise.’
      • ‘Finally, a word to the wise: When you display your fabulous portraits, put them out of range of those who will not be able to refrain from touching the works of art.’
      • ‘Here's a word to the wise: if you treat your customers like an enemy long enough, that's exactly what they'll become.’
      • ‘Concerns about reliability and validity creep in, and I offer a word to the wise to take their results with a grain of salt.’
      • ‘But just a word to the wise, official traffic cop cars parked on the grassy knoll just of Thorburn Road give the game away.’
      • ‘But before you run out to the video store and whip out your rental card, a word to the wise.’
      • ‘Here's a word to the wise from someone who's experiencing late motherhood herself.’
      • ‘Here's a word to the wise: it beats an annual return of 5% APR on your cash, and is a sexier investment to boot.’
      • ‘Just a word to the wise: Yesterday security at the DNC was confiscating umbrellas, and any bottles of water.’
      • ‘Concerned at the use of speed by young people, they created a radio campaign with the singer offering a word to the wise.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • word up

    • as imperativeListen.

      ‘word up, my brother, you got me high as a kite’


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch woord and German Wort, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin verbum ‘word’.