British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
A(1) n. (also a) (pl. As or A's) 1 the first letter of the
alphabet. 2 Mus. the sixth note of the diatonic scale of C
major. 3 the first hypothetical person or example. 4 the
highest class or category (of roads, academic marks, etc.). 5
(usu. a) Algebra the first known quantity. 6 a human blood
type of the ABO system. ЬA1 1 Naut. a a first-class vessel in
Lloyd's Register of Shipping. b first-class. 2 colloq.
excellent, first-rate. A1, A2 , etc. the standard paper sizes,
each half the previous one, e.g. A4 = 297 x 210 mm, A5 = 210 x
148 mm. from A to B from one place to another (a means of
getting from A to B). from A to Z over the entire range,
A(2) abbr. (also A.) 1 Brit. (of films) classified as suitable for
an adult audience but not necessarily for children. °Now
replaced by PG. 2 = A LEVEL. 3 ampere(s). 4 answer. 5
Associate of. 6 atomic (energy etc.).
a(1) adj. (also an before a vowel) (called the indefinite article) 1
(as an unemphatic substitute) one, some, any. 2 one like (a
Judas). 3 one single (not a thing in sight). 4 the same (all
of a size). 5 in, to, or for each (twice a year; њ20 a man;
seven a side). [weakening of OE an one; sense 5 orig. = A(2)]
a(2) prep. (usu. as prefix) 1 to, towards (ashore; aside). 2 (with
verb in pres. part. or infin.) in the process of; in a specified
state ( a-hunting; a-wandering; abuzz; aflutter). 3 on (afire;
afoot). 4 in (nowadays). [weakening of OE prep. an, on (see
a(3) abbr. atto-.
Џ abbr. †ngstr”m(s).
a-(1) prefix not, without (amoral; agnostic; apetalous). [Gk a-, or L
f. Gk, or F f. L f. Gk]
a-(2) prefix implying motion onward or away, adding intensity to verbs
of motion (arise; awake). [OE a-, orig. ar-]
a-(3) prefix to, at, or into a state (adroit; agree; amass; avenge).
[ME a- (= OF prefix a-), (f. F) f. L ad- to, at]
a-(4) prefix 1 from, away (abridge). 2 of (akin; anew). 3 out,
utterly (abash; affray). 4 in, on, engaged in, etc. (see A(2)).
[sense 1 f. ME a-, OF a-, f. L ab; sense 2 f. ME a- f. OE of
prep.; sense 3 f. ME, AF a- = OF e-, es- f. L ex]
a-(5) prefix assim. form of AD- before sc, sp, st.
-a(1) suffix forming nouns from Greek, Latin, and Romanic feminine
singular, esp.: 1 ancient or Latinized modern names of animals
and plants (amoeba; campanula). 2 oxides (alumina). 3
geographical names (Africa). 4 ancient or Latinized modern
feminine names (Lydia; Hilda).
-a(2) suffix forming plural nouns from Greek and Latin neuter plural,
esp. names (often from modern Latin) of zoological groups
-a(3) suffix colloq. sl. 1 of (kinda; coupla). 2 have (mighta;
coulda). 3 to (oughta).
AA abbr. 1 Automobile Association. 2 Alcoholics Anonymous. 3
Mil. anti-aircraft. 4 Brit. (of films) classified as suitable
for persons of over 14 years. °Now replaced by PG.
AAA abbr. 1 (in the UK) Amateur Athletic Association. 2 American
Automobile Association. 3 Australian Automobile Association.
A. & M. abbr. (Hymns) Ancient and Modern.
A. & R. abbr. 1 artists and recording. 2 artists and repertoire.
aardvark n. a nocturnal mammal of southern Africa, Orycteropus afer,
with a tubular snout and a long extendible tongue, that feeds on
termites. Also called ant-bear, earth-hog. [Afrik. f. aarde
earth + vark pig]
aardwolf n. (pl. aardwolves) an African mammal, Proteles cristatus, of
the hyena family, with grey fur and black stripes, that feeds on
insects. [Afrik. f. aarde earth + wolf wolf]
n. any of several plants, esp. rose of Sharon (Hypericum
calycinum). [ref. to Ps. 133:2]
n. any of several tall plants, esp. the great mullein
(Verbascum thapsus). [ref. to Num. 17:8]
A'asia abbr. Australasia.
aasvogel n. a vulture. [Afrik. f. aas carrion + vogel bird]
AB(2) abbr. 1 able rating or seaman. 2 US Bachelor of Arts. [sense
1 f. able-bodied; sense 2 f. L Artium Baccalaureus]
ab- prefix off, away, from (abduct; abnormal; abuse). [F or L]
aba n. (also abba, abaya) a sleeveless outer garment worn by Arabs.
[Arab. ' aba']
abaca n. 1 Manila hemp. 2 the plant, Musa textilis, yielding this.
[Sp. abac ]
aback adv. 1 archaic backwards, behind. 2 Naut. (of a sail) pressed
against the mast by a head wind. Ьtake aback 1 surprise,
disconcert (your request took me aback; I was greatly taken
aback by the news). 2 (as taken aback) (of a ship) with the
sails pressed against the mast by a head wind. [OE on b‘c (as
abacus n. (pl. abacuses) 1 an oblong frame with rows of wires or
grooves along which beads are slid, used for calculating. 2
Archit. the flat slab on top of a capital, supporting the
architrave. [L f. Gk abax abakos slab, drawing-board, f. Heb. '
Abaddon n. 1 hell. 2 the Devil (Rev. 9:11). [Heb., = destruction]
abaft adv. & prep. Naut. --adv. in the stern half of a ship.
--prep. nearer the stern than; aft of. [A(2) + -baft f. OE
be‘ftan f. be BY + ‘ftan behind]
abalone n. any mollusc of the genus Haliotis, with a shallow ear-shaped
shell having respiratory holes, and lined with mother-of-pearl,
e.g. the ormer. [Amer. Sp. abulўn]
abandon v. & n. --v.tr. 1 give up completely or before completion
(abandoned hope; abandoned the game). 2 a forsake or desert (a
person or a post of responsibility). b leave or desert (a motor
vehicle or ship). 3 a give up to another's control or mercy. b
refl. yield oneself completely to a passion or impulse. --n.
lack of inhibition or restraint; reckless freedom of manner.
ЬЬabandoner n. abandonment n. [ME f. OF abandoner f. … bandon
under control ult. f. LL bannus, -um BAN]
abandoned adj. 1 a (of a person) deserted, forsaken (an abandoned child).
b (of a building, vehicle, etc.) left empty or unused (an
abandoned cottage; an abandoned ship). 2 (of a person or
behaviour) unrestrained, profligate.
abase v.tr. & refl. humiliate or degrade (another person or oneself).
ЬЬabasement n. [ME f. OF abaissier (as A-(3), baissier to lower
ult. f. LL bassus short of stature): infl. by BASE(2)]
abash v.tr. (usu. as abashed adj.) embarrass, disconcert. ЬЬabashment
n. [ME f. OF esba‹r (es- = A-(4) 3, ba‹r astound or baer yawn)]
abate v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become less strong, severe, intense,
etc. 2 tr. Law a quash (a writ or action). b put an end to (a
nuisance). ЬЬabatement n. [ME f. OF abatre f. Rmc (as A-(3), L
abatis n. (also abattis) (pl. same; abatises, abattises) hist. a
defence made of felled trees with the boughs pointing outwards.
ЬЬabatised adj. [F f. abatre fell: see ABATE]
abattoir n. a slaughterhouse. [F (as ABATIS, -ORY(1))]
abaxial adj. Bot. facing away from the stem of a plant, esp. of the
lower surface of a leaf (cf. ADAXIAL). [AB- + AXIAL]
abaya (also abba) var. of ABA.
abbacy n. (pl. -ies) the office, jurisdiction, or period of office of
an abbot or abbess. [ME f. eccl.L abbacia f. abbat- ABBOT]
Abbasid n. & adj. --n. a member of a dynasty of caliphs ruling in
Baghdad 750-1258. --adj. of this dynasty. [Abbas, Muhammad's
uncle d. 652]
abbatial adj. of an abbey, abbot, or abbess. [F abbatial or med.L
abbatialis (as ABBOT)]
abb‚ n. (in France) an abbot; a male entitled to wear ecclesiastical
dress. [F f. eccl.L abbas abbatis ABBOT]
abbess n. a woman who is the head of certain communities of nuns. [ME
f. OF abbesse f. eccl.L abbatissa (as ABBOT)]
n. & adj. --n. the culture of the earliest palaeolithic period
in Europe. --adj. of this culture. [F Abbevillien f.
Abbeville in N. France]
abbey n. (pl. -eys) 1 the building(s) occupied by a community of
monks or nuns. 2 the community itself. 3 a church or house
that was once an abbey. [ME f. OF abbeie etc. f. med.L abbatia
abbot n. a man who is the head of an abbey of monks. ЬЬabbotship n.
[OE abbod f. eccl.L abbas -atis f. Gk abbas father f. Aram. '
v.tr. shorten, esp. represent (a word etc.) by a part of it.
[ME f. LL abbreviare shorten f. brevis short: cf. ABRIDGE]
n. 1 an abbreviated form, esp. a shortened form of a word or
phrase. 2 the process of abbreviating.
ABC(1) n. 1 the alphabet. 2 the rudiments of any subject. 3 an
ABC(2) abbr. 1 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 American
abdicate v.tr. 1 (usu. absol.) give up or renounce (the throne). 2
renounce (a responsibility, duty, etc.). ЬЬabdication n.
abdicator n. [L abdicare abdicat- (as AB-, dicare declare)]
abdomen n. 1 the part of the body containing the stomach, bowels,
reproductive organs, etc. 2 Zool. the hinder part of an insect,
crustacean, spider, etc. ЬЬabdominal adj. abdominally adv.
abduct v.tr. 1 carry off or kidnap (a person) illegally by force or
deception. 2 (of a muscle etc.) draw (a limb etc.) away from
the middle line of the body. ЬЬabduction n. abductor n. [L
abducere abduct- (as AB-, ducere draw)]
abeam adv. 1 on a line at right angles to a ship's or an aircraft's
length. 2 (foll. by of) opposite the middle of (a ship etc.).
[A(2) + BEAM]
abed adv. archaic in bed. [OE (as A(2), BED)]
abele n. the white poplar, Populus alba. [Du. abeel f. OF abel,
aubel ult. f. L albus white]
n. 1 an animal of a Scottish breed of hornless black beef
cattle. 2 this breed. [Aberdeen in Scotland, Angus Scottish
adj. & n. --adj. of Aberdeen. --n. a native or citizen of
Aberdeen. [med.L Aberdonia]
aberrant adj. 1 esp. Biol. diverging from the normal type. 2 departing
from an accepted standard. ЬЬaberrance n. aberrancy n. [L
aberrare aberrant- (as AB-, errare stray)]
n. 1 a departure from what is normal or accepted or regarded as
right. 2 a moral or mental lapse. 3 Biol. deviation from a
normal type. 4 Optics the failure of rays to converge at one
focus because of a defect in a lens or mirror. 5 Astron. the
apparent displacement of a celestial body, meteor, etc., caused
by the observer's velocity. [L aberratio (as ABERRANT)]
abet v.tr. (abetted, abetting) (usu. in aid and abet) encourage or
assist (an offender or offence). ЬЬabetment n. [ME f. OF
abeter f. … to + beter BAIT(1)]
abetter n. (also abettor) one who abets.
abeyance n. (usu. prec. by in, into) a state of temporary disuse or
suspension. ЬЬabeyant adj. [AF abeiance f. OF abeer f. … to +
beer f. med.L batare gape]
abhor v.tr. (abhorred, abhorring) detest; regard with disgust and
hatred. [ME f. F abhorrer or f. L abhorrere (as AB-, horrere
n. 1 disgust; detestation. 2 a detested thing.
abhorrent adj. 1 (often foll. by to) (of conduct etc.) inspiring disgust,
repugnant; hateful, detestable. 2 (foll. by to) not in
accordance with; strongly conflicting with (abhorrent to the
spirit of the law). 3 (foll. by from) inconsistent with.
abide v. (past abided or rarely abode) 1 tr. (usu. in neg. or
interrog.) tolerate, endure (can't abide him). 2 intr. (foll.
by by) a act in accordance with (abide by the rules). b remain
faithful to (a promise). 3 intr. archaic a remain, continue.
b dwell. 4 tr. archaic sustain, endure. ЬЬabidance n. [OE
abidan (as A-(2), bidan BIDE)]
abiding adj. enduring, permanent (an abiding sense of loss).
ability n. (pl. -ies) 1 (often foll. by to + infin.) capacity or power
(has the ability to write songs). 2 cleverness, talent; mental
power (a person of great ability; has many abilities). [ME f.
OF ablete f. L habilitas -tatis f. habilis able]
-ability suffix forming nouns of quality from, or corresponding to,
adjectives in -able (capability; vulnerability). [F -abilit‚ or
L -abilitas: cf. -ITY]
ab initio adv. from the beginning. [L]
n. 1 the formation of living organisms from non-living
substances. 2 the supposed spontaneous generation of living
organisms. ЬЬabiogenic adj. [A-(1) + Gk bios life + GENESIS]
abject adj. 1 miserable, wretched. 2 degraded, self-abasing, humble.
3 despicable. ЬЬabjectly adv. abjectness n. [ME f. L abjectus
past part. of abicere (as AB-, jacere throw)]
abjection n. a state of misery or degradation. [ME f. OF abjection or L
abjectio (as ABJECT)]
abjure v.tr. 1 renounce on oath (an opinion, cause, claim, etc.). 2
swear perpetual absence from (one's country etc.). ЬЬabjuration
n. [L abjurare (as AB-, jurare swear)]
ablation n. 1 the surgical removal of body tissue. 2 Geol. the wasting
or erosion of a glacier, iceberg, or rock by melting or the
action of water. 3 Astronaut. the evaporation or melting of
part of the outer surface of a spacecraft through heating by
friction with the atmosphere. ЬЬablate v.tr. [F ablation or LL
ablatio f. L ablat- (as AB-, lat- past part. stem of ferre
ablative n. & adj. Gram. --n. the case (esp. in Latin) of nouns and
pronouns (and words in grammatical agreement with them)
indicating an agent, instrument, or location. --adj. of or in
the ablative. Ьablative absolute an absolute construction in
Latin with a noun and participle or adjective in the ablative
case (see ABSOLUTE). [ME f. OF ablatif -ive or L ablativus (as
ablaut n. a change of vowel in related words or forms, esp. in
Indo-European languages, arising from differences of accent and
stress in the parent language, e.g. in sing, sang, sung. [G]
ablaze predic.adj. & adv. 1 on fire (set it ablaze; the house was
ablaze). 2 (often foll. by with) glittering, glowing. 3 (often
foll. by with) greatly excited.
able adj. (abler, ablest) 1 (often foll. by to + infin.; used esp.
in is able, will be able, was able, etc., replacing tenses of
can) having the capacity or power (was not able to come). 2
having great ability; clever, skilful. Ьable-bodied fit,
healthy. able-bodied rating (or seaman) Naut. one able to
perform all duties. [ME f. OF hable, able f. L habilis handy f.
habere to hold]
-able suffix forming adjectives meaning: 1 that may or must be
(eatable; forgiveable; payable). 2 that can be made the subject
of (dutiable; objectionable). 3 that is relevant to or in
accordance with (fashionable; seasonable). 4 (with active
sense, in earlier word-formations) that may ( comfortable;
suitable). [F -able or L -abilis forming verbal adjectives f.
verbs of first conjugation]
abloom predic.adj. blooming; in flower.
ablush predic.adj. blushing.
ablution n. (usu. in pl.) 1 the ceremonial washing of parts of the body
or sacred vessels etc. 2 colloq. the ordinary washing of the
body. 3 a building containing washing-places etc. in a camp,
ship, etc. ЬЬablutionary adj. [ME f. OF ablution or L ablutio
(as AB-, lutio f. luere lut- wash)]
ably adv. capably, cleverly, competently.
-ably suffix forming adverbs corresponding to adjectives in -able.
ABM abbr. anti-ballistic missile.
abnegate v.tr. 1 give up or deny oneself (a pleasure etc.). 2 renounce
or reject (a right or belief). ЬЬabnegator n. [L abnegare
abnegat- (as AB-, negare deny)]
n. 1 denial; the rejection or renunciation of a doctrine. 2 =
SELF-ABNEGATION. [OF abnegation or LL abnegatio (as ABNEGATE)]
abnormal adj. 1 deviating from what is normal or usual; exceptional. 2
relating to or dealing with what is abnormal (abnormal
psychology). ЬЬabnormally adv. [earlier and F anormal, anomal
f. Gk anomalos ANOMALOUS, assoc. with L abnormis: see ABNORMITY]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a an abnormal quality, occurrence, etc. b the
state of being abnormal. 2 a physical irregularity.
abnormity n. (pl. -ies) 1 an abnormality or irregularity. 2 a
monstrosity. [L abnormis (as AB-, normis f. norma rule)]
Abo n. & adj. (also abo) Austral. sl. usu. offens. --n. (pl.
Abos) an Aboriginal. --adj. Aboriginal. [abbr.]
aboard adv. & prep. 1 on or into (a ship, aircraft, train, etc.). 2
alongside. Ьall aboard! a call that warns of the imminent
departure of a ship, train, etc. [ME f. A(2) + BOARD & F …
abode(1) n. 1 a dwelling-place; one's home. 2 archaic a stay or
sojourn. [verbal noun of ABIDE: cf. ride, rode, road]
abode(2) past of ABIDE.
abolish v.tr. put an end to the existence or practice of (esp. a custom
or institution). ЬЬabolishable adj. abolisher n. abolishment
n. [ME f. F abolir f. L abolere destroy]
abolition n. 1 the act or process of abolishing or being abolished. 2 an
instance of this. [F abolition or L abolitio (as ABOLISH)]
n. one who favours the abolition of a practice or institution,
esp. of capital punishment or (formerly) of Negro slavery.
abomasum n. (pl. abomasa) the fourth stomach of a ruminant. [mod.L f.
AB- + OMASUM]
A-bomb n. = atomic bomb. [A (for ATOMIC) + BOMB]
adj. 1 detestable; loathsome; morally reprehensible. 2 colloq.
very bad or unpleasant (abominable weather). ЬAbominable
Snowman an unidentified manlike or bearlike animal said to exist
in the Himalayas; a yeti. ЬЬabominably adv. [ME f. OF f. L
abominabilis f. abominari deprecate (as AB-, ominari f. OMEN)]
abominate v.tr. detest, loathe. ЬЬabominator n. [L abominari (as
n. 1 loathing. 2 an odious or degrading habit or act. 3
(often foll. by to) an object of disgust. [ME f. OF (as
aboral adj. away from or opposite the mouth. [AB- + ORAL]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of races and natural phenomena) inhabiting
or existing in a land from the earliest times or from before the
arrival of colonists. 2 (usu. Aboriginal) of the Australian
Aboriginals. --n. 1 an aboriginal inhabitant. 2 (usu.
Aboriginal) an aboriginal inhabitant of Australia.
ЬЬaboriginally adv. [as ABORIGINE + -AL]
aborigine n. (usu. in pl.) 1 an aboriginal inhabitant. 2 (usu.
Aborigine) an aboriginal inhabitant of Australia. ° Aboriginal
is preferred, esp. in the singular. 3 an aboriginal plant or
animal. [back-form. f. pl. aborigines f. L, prob. f. phr. ab
origine from the beginning]
abort v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a (of a woman) undergo abortion;
miscarry. b (of a foetus) suffer abortion. 2 tr. a effect the
abortion of (a foetus). b effect abortion in (a mother). 3 a
tr. cause to end fruitlessly or prematurely; stop in the early
stages. b intr. end unsuccessfully or prematurely. 4 a tr.
abandon or terminate (a space flight or other technical project)
before its completion, usu. because of a fault. b intr.
terminate or fail to complete such an undertaking. 5 Biol. a
intr. (of an organism) remain undeveloped; shrink away. b tr.
cause to do this. --n. 1 a prematurely terminated space flight
or other undertaking. 2 the termination of such an undertaking.
[L aboriri miscarry (as AB-, oriri ort- be born)]
adj. & n. --adj. effecting abortion. --n. a drug or other
agent that effects abortion.
abortion n. 1 the expulsion of a foetus (naturally or esp. by medical
induction) from the womb before it is able to survive
independently, esp. in the first 28 weeks of a human pregnancy.
2 a stunted or deformed creature or thing. 3 the failure of a
project or an action. 4 Biol. the arrest of the development of
an organ. [L abortio (as ABORT)]
n. 1 a person who carries out abortions, esp. illegally. 2 a
person who favours the legalization of abortion.
abortive adj. 1 fruitless, unsuccessful, unfinished. 2 resulting in
abortion. 3 Biol. (of an organ etc.) rudimentary; arrested in
development. ЬЬabortively adv. [ME f. OF abortif -ive f. L
abortivus (as ABORT)]
n. a system of four types (A, AB, B, and O) by which human
blood may be classified, based on the presence or absence of
certain inherited antigens.
aboulia n. (also abulia) the loss of will-power as a mental disorder.
ЬЬaboulic adj. [Gk a- not + boule will]
abound v.intr. 1 be plentiful. 2 (foll. by in, with) be rich; teem or
be infested. [ME f. OF abunder etc. f. L abundare overflow (as
AB-, undare f. unda wave)]
about prep. & adv. --prep. 1 a on the subject of; in connection with
(a book about birds; what are you talking about?; argued about
money). b relating to (something funny about this). c in
relation to (symmetry about a plane). d so as to affect (can do
nothing about it; what are you going to do about it?). 2 at a
time near to (come about four). 3 a in, round, surrounding
(wandered about the town; a scarf about her neck). b all round
from a centre (look about you). 4 here and there in; at points
throughout (toys lying about the house). 5 at a point or points
near to (fighting going on about us). 6 carried with (have no
money about me). 7 occupied with (what are you about?). --adv.
1 a approximately (costs about a pound; is about right). b
colloq. used to indicate understatement (just about had enough;
it's about time they came). 2 here and there; at points nearby
(a lot of flu about; I've seen him about recently). 3 all
round; in every direction (look about). 4 on the move; in
action (out and about). 5 in partial rotation or alteration
from a given position (the wrong way about). 6 in rotation or
succession (turn and turn about). 7 Naut. on or to the opposite
tack (go about; put about). Ьbe about to be on the point of
(doing something) (was about to laugh). [OE onbutan (on = A(2),
n., v., & int. --n. & v.intr. = ABOUT-TURN n. & v. --int. =
ABOUT TURN int.
n., v., & int. --n. 1 a turn made so as to face the opposite
direction. 2 a change of opinion or policy etc. --v.intr. make
an about-turn. --int. (about turn) Mil. a command to make an
about-turn. [orig. as int.]
above prep., adv., adj., & n. --prep. 1 over; on the top of; higher
(vertically, up a slope or stream etc.) than; over the surface
of (head above water; above the din). 2 more than (above twenty
people; above average). 3 higher in rank, position, importance,
etc., than (above all). 4 a too great or good for (above one's
station; is not above cheating at cards). b beyond the reach
of; not affected by (above my understanding; above suspicion).
5 archaic to an earlier time than (not traced above the third
century). --adv. 1 at or to a higher point; overhead (the
floor above; the clouds above). 2 a upstairs (lives above). b
upstream. 3 (of a text reference) further back on a page or in
a book (as noted above). 4 on the upper side (looks similar
above and below). 5 in addition (over and above). 6 rhet. in
heaven (Lord above!). --adj. mentioned earlier; preceding (the
above argument). --n. (prec. by the) what is mentioned above
(the above shows). Ьabove-board adj. & adv. without
concealment; fair or fairly; open or openly. above ground
alive. above one's head see HEAD. above oneself conceited,
arrogant. [A(2) + OE bufan f. be = BY + ufan above]
ab ovo adv. from the very beginning. [L, = from the egg]
Abp. abbr. Archbishop.
int. & n. --int. a supposedly magic word used by conjurors in
performing a trick. --n. 1 a spell or charm. 2 jargon or
gibberish. [a mystical word engraved and used as a charm: L f.
abrade v.tr. scrape or wear away (skin, rock, etc.) by rubbing.
ЬЬabrader n. [L f. radere ras- scrape]
abrasion n. 1 the scraping or wearing away (of skin, rock, etc.). 2 a
damaged area resulting from this. [L abrasio (as ABRADE)]
abrasive adj. & n. --adj. 1 a tending to rub or graze. b capable of
polishing by rubbing or grinding. 2 harsh or hurtful in manner.
--n. an abrasive substance. [as ABRADE + -IVE]
abreact v.tr. Psychol. release (an emotion) by abreaction.
[back-form. f. ABREACTION]
n. Psychol. the free expression and consequent release of a
previously repressed emotion. ЬЬabreactive adj. [AB- +
REACTION after G Abreagierung]
abreast adv. 1 side by side and facing the same way. 2 a (often foll.
by with) up to date. b (foll. by of) well-informed (abreast of
all the changes). [ME f. A(2) + BREAST]
abridge v.tr. 1 shorten (a book, film, etc.) by using fewer words or
making deletions. 2 curtail (liberty). ЬЬabridgable adj.
abridger n. [ME f. OF abreg(i)er f. LL abbreviare ABBREVIATE]
n. (also abridgment) 1 a a shortened version, esp. of a book;
an abstract. b the process of producing this. 2 a curtailment
(of rights). [F abr‚gement (as ABRIDGE)]
abroad adv. 1 in or to a foreign country or countries. 2 over a wide
area; in different directions; everywhere (scatter abroad). 3
at large; freely moving about; in circulation (there is a rumour
abroad). 4 archaic in or into the open; out of doors. 5
archaic wide of the mark; erring. Ьfrom abroad from another
country. [ME f. A(2) + BROAD]
abrogate v.tr. repeal, annul, abolish (a law or custom). ЬЬabrogation
n. abrogator n. [L abrogare (as AB-, rogare propose a law)]
abrupt adj. 1 sudden and unexpected; hasty (his abrupt departure). 2
(of speech, manner, etc.) uneven; lacking continuity; curt. 3
steep, precipitous. 4 Bot. truncated. 5 Geol. (of strata)
suddenly appearing at the surface. ЬЬabruptly adv. abruptness
n. [L abruptus past part. of abrumpere (as AB-, rumpere break)]
abs- prefix = AB-. [var. of L ab- used before c, q, t]
abscess n. a swollen area accumulating pus within a body tissue.
ЬЬabscessed adj. [L abscessus a going away (as AB-, cedere
n. a plant hormone which promotes leaf detachment and bud
dormancy and inhibits germination. [L abscis- past part. stem
of abscindere (as AB-, scindere to cut)]
abscissa n. (pl. abscissae or abscissas) Math. 1 (in a system of
coordinates) the shortest distance from a point to the vertical
or y-axis, measured parallel to the horizontal or x-axis; the
Cartesian x-coordinate of a point (cf. ORDINATE). 2 the part
of a line between a fixed point on it and an ordinate drawn to
it from any other point. [mod.L abscissa (linea) fem. past
part. of abscindere absciss- (as AB-, scindere cut)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of cutting off. 2 Bot. the natural
detachment of leaves, branches, flowers, etc. [L abscissio (as
abscond v.intr. depart hurriedly and furtively, esp. unlawfully or to
avoid arrest. ЬЬabsconder n. [L abscondere (as AB-, condere
abseil v. & n. Mountaineering --v.intr. descend a steep rock-face by
using a doubled rope coiled round the body and fixed at a higher
point. --n. a descent made by abseiling. [G abseilen f. ab
down + Seil rope]
absence n. 1 the state of being away from a place or person. 2 the
time or duration of being away. 3 (foll. by of) the
non-existence or lack of. Ьabsence of mind inattentiveness.
[ME f. OF f. L absentia (as ABSENT)]
absent adj. & v. --adj. 1 a not present. b (foll. by from) not
present at or in. 2 not existing. 3 inattentive to the matter
in hand. --v.refl. 1 stay away. 2 withdraw. ЬЬabsently adv.
(in sense 3 of adj.). [ME ult. f. L absent- pres. part. of
abesse be absent]
absentee n. a person not present, esp. one who is absent from work or
school. Ьabsentee landlord a landlord who lets a property while
n. the practice of absenting oneself from work or school etc.,
esp. frequently or illicitly.
adj. habitually forgetful or inattentive; with one's mind on
other things. ЬЬabsent-mindedly adv. absent-mindedness n.
absinth n. 1 a shrubby plant, Atemisia absinthium, or its essence. Also
called WORMWOOD. 2 (usu. absinthe) a green aniseed-flavoured
potent liqueur based on wormwood and turning milky when water is
added. [F absinthe f. L absinthium f. Gk apsinthion]
int. may what is threatened not become fact. [L, = may this
(evil) omen be absent]
absolute adj. & n. --adj. 1 complete, utter, perfect (an absolute fool;
absolute bliss). 2 unconditional, unlimited (absolute
authority). 3 despotic; ruling arbitrarily or with unrestricted
power (an absolute monarch). 4 (of a standard or other concept)
universally valid; not admitting exceptions; not relative or
comparative. 5 Gram. a (of a construction) syntactically
independent of the rest of the sentence, as in dinner being
over, we left the table; let us toss for it, loser to pay. b
(of an adjective or transitive verb) used or usable without an
expressed noun or object (e.g. the deaf, guns kill). 6 (of a
legal decree etc.) final. --n. Philos. 1 a value, standard,
etc., which is objective and universally valid, not subjective
or relative. 2 (prec. by the) a Philos. that which can exist
without being related to anything else. b Theol. ultimate
reality; God. Ьabsolute alcohol Chem. ethanol free from water
or other impurities. absolute magnitude the magnitude, i.e.
brightness, of a celestial body as seen at a standard distance
of 10 parsecs (opp. apparent magnitude). absolute majority 1 a
majority over all others combined. 2 more than half. absolute
pitch Mus. 1 the ability to recognize the pitch of a note or
produce any given note. 2 a fixed standard of pitch defined by
the rate of vibration. absolute temperature one measured from
absolute zero. absolute zero a theoretical lowest possible
temperature, at which the particles whose motion constitutes
heat would be minimal, calculated as -273.15 шC (or 0 шK).
ЬЬabsoluteness n. [ME f. L absolutus past part.: see ABSOLVE]
adv. 1 completely, utterly, perfectly (absolutely marvellous;
he absolutely denies it). 2 independently; in an absolute sense
(God exists absolutely). 3 (foll. by neg.) (no or none) at all
(absolutely no chance of winning; absolutely nowhere). 4
colloq. in actual fact; positively (it absolutely exploded). 5
Gram. in an absolute way, esp. (of a verb) without a stated
object. 6 colloq. (used in reply) quite so; yes.
n. 1 a formal release from guilt, obligation, or punishment. 2
an ecclesiastical declaration of forgiveness of sins. 3 a
remission of penance. 4 forgiveness. [ME f. OF f. L absolutio
-onis (as ABSOLVE)]
n. the acceptance of or belief in absolute principles in
political, philosophical, ethical or theological matters.
ЬЬabsolutist n. & adj.
absolve v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from, of) a set or pronounce free from
blame or obligation etc. b acquit; pronounce not guilty. 2
pardon or give absolution for (a sin etc.). ЬЬabsolver n. [L
absolvere (as AB-, solvere solut- loosen)]
absorb v.tr. 1 include or incorporate as part of itself or oneself
(the country successfully absorbed its immigrants). 2 take in;
suck up (liquid, heat, knowledge, etc.) (she quickly absorbed
all she was taught). 3 reduce the effect or intensity of; deal
easily with (an impact, sound, difficulty, etc.). 4 consume
(income, time, resources, etc.) (his debts absorbed half his
income). 5 engross the attention of (television absorbs them
completely). ЬЬabsorbable adj. absorbability n. absorber n.
[ME f. F absorber or L absorbere absorpt- (as AB-, sorbere suck
absorbed adj. intensely engaged or interested (he was absorbed in his
work). ЬЬabsorbedly adv.
absorbent adj. & n. --adj. having a tendency to absorb (esp. liquids).
--n. 1 an absorbent substance. 2 any of the vessels in plants
and animals (e.g. root tips) that absorb nutriment.
ЬЬabsorbency n. [L absorbent- f. absorbere ABSORB]
n. 1 the process or action of absorbing or being absorbed. 2
disappearance through incorporation into something else. 3
mental engrossment. ЬЬabsorptive adj. [L absorptio (as
abstain v.intr. 1 a (usu. foll. by from) restrain oneself; refrain from
indulging in (abstained from cakes and sweets; abstained from
mentioning it). b refrain from drinking alcohol. 2 formally
decline to use one's vote. ЬЬabstainer n. [ME f. AF astener f.
OF abstenir f. L abstinere abstent- (as AB-, tenere hold)]
adj. (of a person, habit, etc.) moderate, not self-indulgent,
esp. in eating and drinking. ЬЬabstemiously adv.
abstemiousness n. [L abstemius (as AB-, temetum strong drink)]
n. the act or an instance of abstaining, esp. from voting. [F
abstention or LL abstentio -onis (as ABSTAIN)]
n. 1 the act of abstaining, esp. from food or alcohol. 2 the
habit of abstaining from pleasure, food, etc. [ME f. OF f. L
abstinentia (as ABSTINENT)]
abstinent adj. practising abstinence. ЬЬabstinently adv. [ME f. OF f. L
abstract adj., v., & n. --adj. 1 a to do with or existing in thought
rather than matter, or in theory rather than practice; not
tangible or concrete (abstract questions rarely concerned him).
b (of a word, esp. a noun) denoting a quality or condition or
intangible thing rather than a concrete object. 2 (of art)
achieving its effect by grouping shapes and colours in
satisfying patterns rather than by the recognizable
representation of physical reality. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by
from) take out of; extract; remove. 2 a tr. summarize (an
article, book, etc.). b intr. do this as an occupation. 3 tr.
& refl. (often foll. by from) disengage (a person's attention
etc.); distract. 4 tr. (foll. by from) consider abstractly or
separately from something else. 5 tr. euphem. steal. --n. 1
a summary or statement of the contents of a book etc. 2 an
abstract work of art. 3 an abstraction or abstract term.
Ьabstract expressionism a development of abstract art which aims
at a subjective emotional expression of an ideal rather than a
picture of a physical object. in the abstract in theory rather
than in practice. ЬЬabstractly adv. abstractor n. (in sense 2
of v.). [ME f. OF abstract or L abstractus past part. of
abstrahere (as AB-, trahere draw)]
adj. inattentive to the matter in hand; preoccupied.
n. 1 the act or an instance of abstracting or taking away. 2 a
an abstract or visionary idea. b the formation of abstract
ideas. 3 a abstract qualities (esp. in art). b an abstract
work of art. 4 absent-mindedness. [F abstraction or L
abstractio (as ABSTRACT)]
n. 1 the principles and practice of abstract art. 2 the
pursuit or cult of abstract ideas. ЬЬabstractionist n.
abstruse adj. hard to understand; obscure; profound. ЬЬabstrusely adv.
abstruseness n. [F abstruse or L abstrusus (as AB-, trusus past
part. of trudere push)]
absurd adj. 1 (of an idea, suggestion, etc.) wildly unreasonable,
illogical, or inappropriate. 2 (of a person) unreasonable or
ridiculous in manner. 3 (of a thing) ludicrous, incongruous (an
absurd hat; the situation was becoming absurd). ЬЬabsurdly adv.
absurdness n. [F absurde or L absurdus (as AB-, surdus deaf,
absurdity n. (pl. -ies) 1 wild inappropriateness or incongruity. 2
extreme unreasonableness. 3 an absurd statement or act. [F
absurdit‚ or LL absurditas (as ABSURD)]
ABTA abbr. Association of British Travel Agents.
abulia var. of ABOULIA.
abundance n. 1 a very great quantity, usu. considered to be more than
enough. 2 wealth, affluence. 3 wealth of emotion (abundance of
heart). 4 a call in solo whist undertaking to make nine tricks.
[ME f. OF abundance f. L abundantia (as ABUNDANT)]
abundant adj. 1 existing or available in large quantities; plentiful. 2
(foll. by in) having an abundance of (a country abundant in
fruit). ЬЬabundantly adv. [ME f. L (as ABOUND)]
abuse v. & n. --v.tr. 1 use to bad effect or for a bad purpose;
misuse (abused his position of power). 2 insult verbally. 3
maltreat. --n. 1 a incorrect or improper use (the abuse of
power). b an instance of this. 2 insulting language (a torrent
of abuse). 3 unjust or corrupt practice. 4 maltreatment of a
person (child abuse). ЬЬabuser n. [ME f. OF abus (n.), abuser
(v.) f. L abusus, abuti (as AB-, uti us- USE)]
abusive adj. 1 using or containing insulting language. 2 (of language)
insulting. ЬЬabusively adv. abusiveness n.
abut v. (abutted, abutting) 1 intr. (foll. by on) (of estates,
countries, etc.) adjoin (another). 2 intr. (foll. by on,
against) (of part of a building) touch or lean upon (another)
with a projecting end or point (the shed abutted on the side of
the house). 3 tr. abut on. [OF abouter (BUTT(1)) and AL
abuttare f. OF but end]
abutment n. 1 the lateral supporting structure of a bridge, arch, etc.
2 the point of junction between such a support and the thing
abutter n. Law the owner of an adjoining property.
abuzz adv. & adj. in a 'buzz' (see BUZZ n. 3); in a state of
excitement or activity.
abysmal adj. 1 colloq. extremely bad (abysmal weather; the standard is
abysmal). 2 profound, utter (abysmal ignorance). ЬЬabysmally
adv. [archaic or poet. abysm = ABYSS, f. OF abi(s)me f. med.L
abyss n. 1 a deep or seemingly bottomless chasm. 2 a an immeasurable
depth (abyss of despair). b a catastrophic situation as
contemplated or feared (his loss brought him a step nearer the
abyss). 3 (prec. by the) primal chaos, hell. [ME f. LL abyssus
f. Gk abussos bottomless (as A-(1), bussos depth)]
abyssal adj. 1 at or of the ocean depths or floor. 2 Geol. plutonic.
AC abbr. 1 (also ac) alternating current. 2 Brit. aircraftman. 3
before Christ. 4 Companion of the Order of Australia. [sense 3
f. L ante Christum]
Ac symb. Chem. the element actinium.
ac- prefix assim. form of AD- before c, k, q.
a/c abbr. account. [account current: see ACCOUNT n. 2, 3]
-ac suffix forming adjectives which are often also (or only) used as
nouns (cardiac; maniac) (see also -ACAL). [F -aque or L -acus
or Gk -akos adj. suffix]
acacia n. 1 any tree of the genus Acacia, with yellow or white
flowers, esp. A. senegal yielding gum arabic. 2 (also false
acacia) the locust tree, Robinia pseudoacacia, grown for
ornament. [L f. Gk akakia]
academe n. 1 a the world of learning. b universities collectively. 2
literary a college or university. Ьgrove (or groves) of Academe
a university environment. [Gk Akademos (see ACADEMY): used by
Shakesp. (Love's Labour's Lost I. i. 13) and Milton (Paradise
Regained iv. 244)]
academia n. the academic world; scholastic life. [mod.L: see ACADEMY]
academic adj. & n. --adj. 1 a scholarly; to do with learning. b of or
relating to a scholarly institution (academic dress). 2
abstract; theoretical; not of practical relevance. 3 Art
conventional, over-formal. 4 a of or concerning Plato's
philosophy. b sceptical. --n. a teacher or scholar in a
university or institute of higher education. Ьacademic year a
period of nearly a year reckoned from the time of the main
student intake, usu. from the beginning of the autumn term to
the end of the summer term. ЬЬacademically adv. [F acad‚mique
or L academicus (as ACADEMY)]
adj. & n. --adj. belonging to a college or university. --n.
(in pl.) university costume.
n. a member of an Academy, esp. of the Royal Academy of Arts,
the Acad‚mie fran‡aise, or the USSR Academy of Sciences. [F
acad‚micien (as ACADEMIC)]
n. (also academism) academic principles or their application in
academy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a place of study or training in a special
field (military academy; academy of dance). b hist. a place of
study. 2 (usu. Academy) a society or institution of
distinguished scholars, artists, scientists, etc. (Royal
Academy). 3 Sc. a secondary school. 4 a Plato's followers or
philosophical system. b the garden near Athens where Plato
taught. [F acad‚mie or L academia f. Gk akademeia f. Akademos
the hero after whom Plato's garden was named]
Acadian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or inhabitant of Acadia in Nova
Scotia, esp. a French-speaking descendant of the early French
settlers in Canada. 2 a descendant of French-speaking Nova
Scotian immigrants in Louisiana. --adj. of or relating to
Acadians. [F Acadie Nova Scotia]
-acal suffix forming adjectives, often used to distinguish them from
nouns in -ac (heliacal; maniacal).
acanthus n. 1 any herbaceous plant or shrub of the genus Acanthus, with
spiny leaves. 2 Archit. a conventionalized representation of an
acanthus leaf, used esp. as a decoration for Corinthian column
capitals. [L f. Gk akanthos f. akantha thorn perh. f. ake
adj. & adv. (also alla cappella) Mus. (of choral music)
unaccompanied. [It., = in church style]
acaricide n. a preparation for destroying mites.
acarid n. any small arachnid of the order Acarina, including mites and
ticks. [mod.L acarida f. acarus f. Gk akari mite]
acarpous adj. Bot. (of a plant etc.) without fruit or that does not
produce fruit. [A-(1) + Gk karpos fruit]
ACAS abbr. (in the UK) Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration
Accadian var. of AKKADIAN.
accede v.intr. (often foll. by to) 1 take office, esp. become monarch.
2 assent or agree (acceded to the proposal). 3 (foll. by to)
formally subscribe to a treaty or other agreement. [ME f. L
accedere (as AC-, cedere cess- go)]
adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adj. & adv. with a gradual increase of
speed. --n. (pl. accelerandos or accelerandi) a passage
performed accelerando. [It.]
v. 1 intr. a (of a moving body, esp. a vehicle) move or begin
to move more quickly; increase speed. b (of a process) happen
or reach completion more quickly. 2 tr. a cause to increase
speed. b cause (a process) to happen more quickly. [L
accelerare (as AC-, celerare f. celer swift)]
n. 1 the process or act of accelerating or being accelerated.
2 an instance of this. 3 (of a vehicle etc.) the capacity to
gain speed (the car has good acceleration). 4 Physics the rate
of change of velocity measured in terms of a unit of time. [F
acc‚l‚ration or L acceleratio (as ACCELERATE)]
adj. tending to increase speed; quickening.
n. 1 a device for increasing speed, esp. the pedal that
controls the speed of a vehicle's engine. 2 Physics an
apparatus for imparting high speeds to charged particles. 3
Chem. a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction.
n. an instrument for measuring acceleration esp. of rockets.
[ACCELERATE + -METER]
accent n. & v. --n. 1 a particular mode of pronunciation, esp. one
associated with a particular region or group (Liverpool accent;
German accent; upper-class accent). 2 prominence given to a
syllable by stress or pitch. 3 a mark on a letter or word to
indicate pitch, stress, or the quality of a vowel. 4 a
distinctive feature or emphasis (an accent on comfort). 5 Mus.
emphasis on a particular note or chord. --v.tr. 1 pronounce
with an accent; emphasize (a word or syllable). 2 write or
print accents on (words etc.). 3 accentuate. 4 Mus. play (a
note etc.) with an accent. ЬЬaccentual adj. [L accentus (as
AC-, cantus song) repr. Gk prosoidia (PROSODY), or through F
accentor n. any bird of the genus Prunella, e.g. the hedge sparrow.
[med.L accentor f. L ad to + cantor singer]
v.tr. emphasize; make prominent. ЬЬaccentuation n. [med.L
accentuare accentuat- (as ACCENT)]
accept v.tr. 1 (also absol.) consent to receive (a thing offered). 2
(also absol.) give an affirmative answer to (an offer or
proposal). 3 regard favourably; treat as welcome (her
mother-in-law never accepted her). 4 a believe, receive (an
opinion, explanation, etc.) as adequate or valid. b be prepared
to subscribe to (a belief, philosophy, etc.). 5 receive as
suitable (the hotel accepts traveller's cheques; the machine
only accepts tokens). 6 a tolerate; submit to (accepted the
umpire's decision). b (often foll. by that + clause) be willing
to believe (we accept that you meant well). 7 undertake (an
office or responsibility). 8 agree to meet (a draft or bill of
exchange). Ьaccepted opinion one generally held to be correct.
ЬЬaccepter n. [ME f. OF accepter or L acceptare f. accipere
(as AC-, capere take)]
adj. 1 a worthy of being accepted. b pleasing, welcome. 2
adequate, satisfactory. 3 tolerable (an acceptable risk).
ЬЬacceptability n. acceptableness n. acceptably adv. [ME f.
OF f. LL acceptabilis (as ACCEPT)]
n. 1 willingness to receive (a gift, payment, duty, etc.). 2
an affirmative answer to an invitation or proposal. 3 (often
foll. by of) a willingness to accept (conditions, a
circumstance, etc.). 4 a approval, belief (found wide
acceptance). b willingness or ability to tolerate. 5 a
agreement to meet a bill of exchange. b a bill so accepted. [F
f. accepter (as ACCEPT)]
acceptant adj. (foll. by of) willingly accepting. [F (as ACCEPTANCE)]
n. a particular sense, or the generally recognized meaning, of
a word or phrase. [ME f. OF f. med.L acceptatio (as ACCEPT)]
acceptor n. 1 Commerce a person who accepts a bill. 2 Physics an atom
or molecule able to receive an extra electron, esp. an impurity
in a semiconductor. 3 Chem. a molecule or ion etc. to which
electrons are donated in the formation of a bond. 4 Electr. a
circuit able to accept a given frequency.
access n. & v. --n. 1 a way of approaching or reaching or entering (a
building with rear access). 2 a (often foll. by to) the right
or opportunity to reach or use or visit; admittance (has access
to secret files; was granted access to the prisoner). b the
condition of being readily approached; accessibility. 3 (often
foll. by of) an attack or outburst (an access of anger). 4
(attrib.) Brit. (of broadcasting) allowed to minority or
special-interest groups to undertake (access television).
--v.tr. 1 Computing gain access to (data, a file, etc.). 2
accession. Ьaccess road a road giving access only to the
properties along it. access time Computing the time taken to
retrieve data from storage. [ME f. OF acces or L accessus f.
accedere (as AC-, cedere cess- go)]
accessary var. of ACCESSORY.
adj. (often foll. by to) 1 that can readily be reached,
entered, or used. 2 (of a person) readily available (esp. to
subordinates). 3 (in a form) easy to understand.
ЬЬaccessibility n. accessibly adv. [F accessible or LL
accessibilis (as ACCEDE)]
accession n. & v. --n. 1 entering upon an office (esp. the throne) or a
condition (as manhood). 2 (often foll. by to) a thing added
(e.g. a book to a library); increase, addition. 3 Law the
incorporation of one item of property in another. 4 assent; the
formal acceptance of a treaty etc. --v.tr. record the addition
of (a new item) to a library or museum. [F accession or L
accessio -onis (as ACCEDE)]
v.tr. provide (a costume etc.) with accessories.
accessory n. & adj. (also accessary) --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an additional or
extra thing. 2 (usu. in pl.) a a small attachment or fitting.
b a small item of (esp. a woman's) dress (e.g. shoes, gloves,
handbag). 3 (often foll. by to) a person who helps in or knows
the details of an (esp. illegal) act, without taking part in it.
--adj. additional; contributing or aiding in a minor way;
dispensable. Ьaccessory before (or after) the fact a person who
incites (or assists) another to commit a crime. ЬЬaccessorial
adj. [med.L accessorius (as ACCEDE)]
n. Mus. a grace-note performed as quickly as possible before
an essential note of a melody. [It.]
accidence n. the part of grammar that deals with the variable parts or
inflections of words. [med.L sense of L accidentia (transl. Gk
parepomena) neut. pl. of accidens (as ACCIDENT)]
accident n. 1 an event that is without apparent cause, or is unexpected
(their early arrival was just an accident). 2 an unfortunate
event, esp. one causing physical harm or damage, brought about
unintentionally. 3 occurrence of things by chance; the working
of fortune (accident accounts for much in life). 4 colloq. an
occurrence of involuntary urination or defecation. 5 an
irregularity in structure. Ьaccident-prone (of a person)
subject to frequent accidents. by accident unintentionally.
[ME f. OF f. LL accidens f. L accidere (as AC-, cadere fall)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 happening by chance, unintentionally, or
unexpectedly. 2 not essential to a conception; subsidiary.
--n. 1 Mus. a sign indicating a momentary departure from the
key signature by raising or lowering a note. 2 something not
essential to a conception. ЬЬaccidentally adv. [ME f. LL
accidentalis (as ACCIDENT)]
accidie n. laziness, sloth, apathy. [ME f. AF accidie f. OF accide f.
acclaim v. & n. --v.tr. 1 welcome or applaud enthusiastically; praise
publicly. 2 (foll. by compl.) hail as ( acclaimed him king; was
acclaimed the winner). --n. 1 applause; welcome; public
praise. 2 a shout of acclaim. ЬЬacclaimer n. [ME f. L
acclamare (as AC-, clamare shout: spelling assim. to claim)]
n. 1 loud and eager assent to a proposal. 2 (usu. in pl.)
shouting in a person's honour. 3 the act or process of
acclaiming. Ьby acclamation US Polit. (elected) unanimously
and without ballot. [L acclamatio (as ACCLAIM)]
acclimate v.tr. US acclimatize. [F acclimater f. … to + climat CLIMATE]
n. acclimatization. [irreg. f. ACCLIMATE]
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. accustom to a new climate or to new
conditions. 2 intr. become acclimatized. ЬЬacclimatization n.
[F acclimater: see ACCLIMATE]
acclivity n. (pl. -ies) an upward slope. ЬЬacclivitous adj. [L
acclivitas f. acclivis (as AC-, clivis f. clivus slope)]
accolade n. 1 the awarding of praise; an acknowledgement of merit. 2 a
touch made with a sword at the bestowing of a knighthood. [F f.
Prov. acolada (as AC-, L collum neck)]
v.tr. 1 provide lodging or room for (the flat accommodates
three people). 2 adapt, harmonize, reconcile (must accommodate
ourselves to new surroundings; cannot accommodate your needs to
mine). 3 a do service or favour to; oblige (a person). b
(foll. by with) supply (a person) with. [L accommodare (as AC-,
n. 1 (in sing. or US in pl.) lodgings; a place to live. 2 an
adjustment or adaptation to suit a special or different purpose.
3 a convenient arrangement; a settlement or compromise. 4 (in
pl.) US a seat in a vehicle etc. Ьaccommodation address an
address used on letters to a person who is unable or unwilling
to give a permanent address. accommodation bill a bill to raise
money on credit. accommodation ladder a ladder up the side of a
ship from a small boat. accommodation road a road for access to
a place not on a public road. [F accommodation or L
accommodatio -onis (as ACCOMMODATE)]
n. 1 Mus. an instrumental or orchestral part supporting or
partnering a solo instrument, voice, or group. 2 an
accompanying thing; an appendage. [F accompagnement (as
n. (also accompanyist) a person who provides a musical
accompany v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 go with; escort, attend. 2 (usu. in
passive; foll. by with, by) a be done or found with; supplement
(speech accompanied with gestures). b have as a result (pills
accompanied by side effects). 3 Mus. support or partner with
accompaniment. [ME f. F accompagner f. … to + OF compaing
COMPANION(1): assim. to COMPANY]
n. a partner in a crime or wrongdoing. [ME and F complice
(prob. by assoc. with ACCOMPANY), f. LL complex complicis
confederate: cf. COMPLICATE]
v.tr. perform; complete; succeed in doing. [ME f. OF acomplir
f. L complere COMPLETE]
adj. clever, skilled; well trained or educated.
n. 1 the fulfilment or completion (of a task etc.). 2 an
acquired skill, esp. a social one. 3 a thing done or achieved.
accord v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by with) (esp. of a thing)
be in harmony; be consistent. 2 tr. a grant (permission, a
request, etc.). b give (a welcome etc.). --n. 1 agreement,
consent. 2 harmony or harmonious correspondence in pitch, tone,
colour, etc. Ьof one's own accord on one's own initiative;
voluntarily. with one accord unanimously; in a united way. [ME
f. OF acord, acorder f. L cor cordis heart]
n. harmony, agreement. Ьin accordance with in a manner
corresponding to (we acted in accordance with your wishes). [ME
f. OF acordance (as ACCORD)]
accordant adj. (often foll. by with) in tune; agreeing. ЬЬaccordantly
adv. [ME f. OF acordant (as ACCORD)]
according adv. 1 (foll. by to) a as stated by or in (according to my
sister; according to their statement). b in a manner
corresponding to; in proportion to (he lives according to his
principles). 2 (foll. by as + clause) in a manner or to a
degree that varies as (he pays according as he is able).
adv. 1 as suggested or required by the (stated) circumstances
(silence is vital so please act accordingly). 2 consequently,
therefore (accordingly, he left the room).
accordion n. a portable musical instrument with reeds blown by bellows
and played by means of keys and buttons. Ьaccordion pleat, wall
, etc. one folding like the bellows of an accordion.
ЬЬaccordionist n. [G Akkordion f. It. accordare to tune]
accost v.tr. 1 approach and address (a person), esp. boldly. 2 (of a
prostitute) solicit. [F accoster f. It. accostare ult. f. L
costa rib: see COAST]
n. 1 childbirth. 2 the period of childbirth. [F f. accoucher
act as midwife]
n. a male midwife. [F (as ACCOUCHEMENT)]
account n. & v. --n. 1 a narration or description (gave a long account
of the ordeal). 2 a an arrangement or facility at a bank or
building society etc. for commercial or financial transactions,
esp. for depositing and withdrawing money (opened an account).
b the assets credited by such an arrangement (has a large
account; paid the money into her account). c an arrangement at
a shop for buying goods on credit (has an account at the
newsagent's). 3 a (often in pl.) a record or statement of
money, goods, or services received or expended, with the balance
(firms must keep detailed accounts). b (in pl.) the practice of
accounting or reckoning (is good at accounts). 4 a statement of
the administration of money in trust (demand an account). 5 the
period during which transactions take place on a stock exchange;
the period from one account day to the next. 6 counting,
reckoning. --v.tr. (foll. by to be or compl.) consider, regard
as (account it a misfortune; account him wise; account him to be
guilty). Ьaccount day a day of periodic settlement of stock
exchange accounts. account for 1 serve as or provide an
explanation or reason for (that accounts for their
misbehaviour). 2 a give a reckoning of or answer for (money
etc. entrusted). b answer for (one's conduct). 3 succeed in
killing, destroying, disposing of, or defeating. 4 supply or
make up a specified amount or proportion of (rent accounts for
50% of expenditure). account rendered a bill which has been
sent but is not yet paid. by all accounts in everyone's
opinion. call to account require an explanation from (a
person). give a good (or bad) account of oneself make a
favourable (or unfavourable) impression; be successful (or
unsuccessful). keep account of keep a record of; follow
closely. leave out of account fail or decline to consider.
money of account denominations of money used in reckoning, but
not current as coins. of no account unimportant. of some
account important. on account 1 (of goods) to be paid for
later. 2 (of money) in part payment. on account of because of.
on no account under no circumstances; certainly not. on one's
own account for one's own purposes; at one's own risk. settle
(or square) accounts with 1 receive or pay money etc. owed to.
2 have revenge on. take account of (or take into account)
consider along with other factors (took their age into account).
turn to account (or good account) turn to one's advantage. [ME
f. OF acont, aconter (as AC-, conter COUNT(1))]
adj. 1 responsible; required to account for one's conduct
(accountable for one's actions). 2 explicable, understandable.
ЬЬaccountability n. accountably adv.
n. the profession or duties of an accountant.
n. a professional keeper or inspector of accounts. [legal F f.
pres. part. of OF aconter ACCOUNT]
n. 1 the process of or skill in keeping and verifying accounts.
2 in senses of ACCOUNT v.
accoutre v.tr. (US accouter) (usu. as accoutred adj.) attire, equip,
esp. with a special costume. [F accoutrer f. OF acoustrer (as
A-(3), cousture sewing: cf. SUTURE)]
n. (US accouterment) (usu. in pl.) 1 equipment, trappings. 2
Mil. a soldier's outfit other than weapons and garments. [F (as
accredit v.tr. (accredited, accrediting) 1 (foll. by to) attribute (a
saying etc.) to (a person). 2 (foll. by with) credit (a person)
with (a saying etc.). 3 (usu. foll. by to or at) send (an
ambassador etc.) with credentials; recommend by documents as an
envoy (was accredited to the sovereign). 4 gain belief or
influence for or make credible (an adviser, a statement, etc.).
ЬЬaccreditation n. [F accr‚diter (as AC-, cr‚dit CREDIT)]
adj. 1 (of a person or organization) officially recognized. 2
(of a belief) generally accepted; orthodox. 3 (of cattle, milk,
etc.) having guaranteed quality.
accrete v. 1 intr. grow together or into one. 2 intr. (often foll. by
to) form round or on, as round a nucleus. 3 tr. attract (such
additions). [L accrescere (as AC-, crescere cret- grow)]
accretion n. 1 growth by organic enlargement. 2 a the growing of
separate things into one. b the product of such growing. 3 a
extraneous matter added to anything. b the adhesion of this. 4
Law a = ACCESSION. b the increase of a legacy etc. by the share
of a failing co-legatee. ЬЬaccretive adj. [L accretio (as
accrue v.intr. (accrues, accrued, accruing) (often foll. by to) come
as a natural increase or advantage, esp. financial. ЬЬaccrual
n. accrued adj. [ME f. AF acru(e), past part. of acreistre
increase f. L accrescere ACCRETE]
v. 1 intr. adapt to or adopt a different culture. 2 tr. cause
to do this. ЬЬacculturation n. acculturative adj.
v. 1 tr. a acquire an increasing number or quantity of; heap
up. b produce or acquire (a resulting whole) in this way. 2
intr. grow numerous or considerable; form an increasing mass or
quantity. [L accumulare (as AC-, cumulus heap)]
n. 1 the act or process of accumulating or being accumulated.
2 an accumulated mass. 3 the growth of capital by continued
interest. [L accumulatio (as ACCUMULATE)]
adj. 1 arising from accumulation; cumulative (accumulative
evidence). 2 arranged so as to accumulate. 3 acquisitive;
given to hoarding. ЬЬaccumulatively adv.
n. 1 Brit. a rechargeable electric cell. 2 a bet placed on a
sequence of events, the winnings and stake from each being
placed on the next. 3 a register in a computer used to contain
the results of an operation. 4 a person who accumulates things.
accuracy n. exactness or precision, esp. arising from careful effort.
accurate adj. 1 careful, precise; lacking errors. 2 conforming exactly
with the truth or with a given standard. ЬЬaccurately adv. [L
accuratus done carefully, past part. of accurare (as AC-, cura
accursed adj. (archaic accurst) 1 lying under a curse; ill-fated. 2
colloq. detestable, annoying. [past part. of accurse, f. A-(2)
accusal n. accusation.
n. 1 the act or process of accusing or being accused. 2 a
statement charging a person with an offence or crime. [ME f. OF
f. L accusatio -onis (as ACCUSE)]
n. & adj. Gram. --n. the case of nouns, pronouns, and
adjectives, expressing the object of an action or the goal of
motion. --adj. of or in this case. ЬЬaccusatival adj.
accusatively adv. [ME f. OF accusatif -ive or L (casus)
accusativus, transl. Gk (ptosis) aitiatike]
adj. Law (of proceedings) involving accusation by a prosecutor
and a verdict reached by an impartial judge or jury (opp.
INQUISITORIAL). [L accusatorius (as ACCUSE)]
adj. (of language, manner, etc.) of or implying accusation.
accuse v.tr. 1 (foll. by of) charge (a person etc.) with a fault or
crime; indict (accused them of murder; was accused of stealing a
car). 2 lay the blame on. Ьthe accused the person charged with
a crime. ЬЬaccuser n. accusingly adv. [ME acuse f. OF
ac(c)user f. L accusare (as AC-, CAUSE)]
accustom v.tr. & refl. (foll. by to) make (a person or thing or oneself)
used to (the army accustomed him to discipline; was accustomed
to their strange ways). [ME f. OF acostumer (as AD-, costume
adj. 1 (usu. foll. by to) used to (accustomed to hard work). 2
ace n. & adj. --n. 1 a a playing-card, domino, etc., with a single
spot and generally having the value 'one' or in card-games the
highest value in each suit. b a single spot on a playing-card
etc. 2 a a person who excels in some activity. b Aeron. a
pilot who has shot down many enemy aircraft. 3 a (in lawn
tennis) a stroke (esp. a service) too good for the opponent to
return. b a point scored in this way. --adj. sl. excellent.
Ьace up one's sleeve (US in the hole) something effective kept
in reserve. play one's ace use one's best resource. within an
ace of on the verge of. [ME f. OF f. L as unity, AS(2)]
-acea suffix forming the plural names of orders and classes of animals
(Crustacea) ( cf. -ACEAN). [neut. pl. of L adj. suffix -aceus
of the nature of]
-aceae suffix forming the plural names of families of plants
(Rosaceae). [fem. pl. of L adj. suffix -aceus of the nature of]
-acean suffix 1 forming adjectives, = -ACEOUS. 2 forming nouns as the
sing. of names in -acea (crustacean). [L -aceus: see -ACEA]
acedia n. = ACCIDIE. [LL acedia f. Gk akedia listlessness]
acellular adj. Biol. 1 having no cells; not consisting of cells. 2
(esp. of protozoa) consisting of one cell only; unicellular.
-aceous suffix forming adjectives, esp. from nouns in -acea, -aceae
(herbaceous; rosaceous). [L -aceus: see -ACEA]
adj. 1 headless. 2 having no chief. 3 Zool. having no part of
the body specially organized as a head. 4 Bot. with a head
aborted or cut off. 5 Prosody lacking a syllable or syllables
in the first foot. [med.L acephalus f. Gk akephalos headless
(as A-(1), kephale head)]
acerbic adj. 1 astringently sour; harsh-tasting. 2 bitter in speech,
manner, or temper. ЬЬacerbically adv. acerbity n. (pl.
-ies). [L acerbus sour-tasting]
n. (pl. acetabula) Zool. 1 the socket for the head of the
thigh-bone, or of the leg in insects. 2 a cup-shaped sucker of
various organisms, including tapeworms and cuttlefish. [ME f.
L, = vinegar cup f. acetum vinegar + -abulum dimin. of -abrum
acetal n. Chem. any of a class of organic compounds formed by the
condensation of two alcohol molecules with an aldehyde molecule.
[as ACETIC + -AL]
n. a colourless volatile liquid aldehyde. Also called ETHANAL.
°Chem. formula: CHCHO. [ACETIC + ALDEHYDE]
acetate n. 1 a salt or ester of acetic acid, esp. the cellulose ester
used to make textiles, gramophone records, etc. Also called
ETHANOATE. 2 a fabric made from cellulose acetate. Ьacetate
fibre (or silk) fibre (or silk) made artificially from cellulose
acetate. [ACETIC + -ATE(1) 2]
acetic adj. of or like vinegar. Ьacetic acid the clear liquid acid
that gives vinegar its characteristic taste: also called
ETHANOATE. °Chem. formula: CHCOOH. [F ac‚tique f. L acetum
aceto- comb. form Chem. acetic, acetyl.
acetone n. a colourless volatile liquid ketone valuable as a solvent of
organic compounds esp. paints, varnishes, etc. Also called
PROPANONE. °Chem. formula: CHCOCH. [ACETO- + -ONE]
acetous adj. 1 having the qualities of vinegar. 2 producing vinegar.
3 sour. [LL acetosus sour (as ACETIC)]
acetyl n. Chem. the univalent radical of acetic acid. °Chem.
formula: CHCO-. Ьacetyl silk = acetate silk. [ACETIC + -YL]
n. a compound serving to transmit impulses from nerve fibres.
[ACETYL + CHOLINE]
acetylene n. a colourless hydrocarbon gas, burning with a bright flame,
used esp. in welding and formerly in lighting. Also called
ETHYNE. °Chem. formula: CH. [ACETIC + -YL + -ENE]
acetylide n. any of a class of salts formed from acetylene and a metal.
n. = ASPIRIN. [ACETYL + SALICYLIC ACID]
Achaean adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Achaea in ancient Greece.
2 literary (esp. in Homeric contexts) Greek. --n. 1 an
inhabitant of Achaea. 2 literary (usu. in pl.) a Greek. [L
Achaeus f. Gk Akhaios]
adj. & n. (also Achaemenian) --adj. of or relating to the
dynasty ruling in Persia from Cyrus I to Darius III (553-330
BC). --n. a member of this dynasty. [L Achaemenius f. Gk
Akhaimenes, ancestor of the dynasty]
n. 1 bloodthirsty fury; ferocity. 2 gusto. [F]
ache n. & v. --n. 1 a continuous or prolonged dull pain. 2 mental
distress. --v.intr. 1 suffer from or be the source of an ache
(I ached all over; my left leg ached). 2 (foll. by to + infin.)
desire greatly (we ached to be at home again). ЬЬachingly adv.
[ME f. OE ‘ce, acan]
achene n. Bot. a small dry one-seeded fruit that does not open to
liberate the seed (e.g. a strawberry pip). [mod.L achaenium (as
A-(1), Gk khaino gape)]
Acheulian adj. & n. (also Acheulean) --adj. of the palaeolithic period in
Europe etc. following the Abbevillian and preceding the
Mousterian. --n. the culture of this period. [F acheul‚en f.
St- Acheul in N. France, where remains of it were found]
achieve v.tr. 1 a reach or attain by effort (achieved victory). b
acquire, gain, earn (achieved notoriety). 2 accomplish or carry
out (a feat or task). 3 absol. be successful; attain a desired
level of performance. ЬЬachievable adj. achiever n. [ME f. OF
achever f. a chief to a head]
n. 1 something achieved. 2 a the act of achieving. b an
instance of this. 3 Psychol. performance in a standardized
test. 4 Heraldry a an escutcheon with adjuncts, or bearing,
esp. in memory of a distinguished feat. b = HATCHMENT.
achillea n. any plant of the genus Achillea, comprising hardy perennial,
usu. aromatic plants with flower-heads (often white or yellow)
usu. in corymbs. [L f. Gk Akhilleios a plant supposed to have
been used medicinally by Achilles]
n. a person's weak or vulnerable point. [L Achilles f. Gk
Akhilleus, a hero in the Iliad, invulnerable except in the heel]
n. the tendon connecting the heel with the calf muscles.
achiral adj. Chem. (of a crystal or molecule) not chiral.
achromat n. a lens made achromatic by correction.
adj. Optics 1 that transmitts light without separating it into
constituent colours (achromatic lens). 2 without colour
(achromatic fringe). ЬЬachromatically adv. achromaticity n.
achromatism n. [F achromatique f. Gk akhromatos (as A-(1),
achy adj. (achier, achiest) full of or suffering from aches.
acid n. & adj. --n. 1 Chem. a any of a class of substances that
liberate hydrogen ions in water, are usu. sour and corrosive,
turn litmus red, and have a pH of less than 7. b any compound
or atom donating protons. 2 (in general use) any sour
substance. 3 sl. the drug LSD. --adj. 1 sharp-tasting, sour.
2 biting, sharp (an acid wit). 3 Chem. having the essential
properties of an acid. 4 Geol. containing much silica. 5 (of a
colour) intense, bright. Ьacid drop Brit. a kind of sweet with
a sharp taste. acid-head sl. a user of the drug LSD. acid
house a kind of synthesized music with a simple repetitive beat,
often associated with the taking of hallucinogenic drugs. acid
radical one formed by the removal of hydrogen ions from an acid.
acid rain acid formed in the atmosphere esp. from industrial
waste gases and falling with rain. acid test 1 a severe or
conclusive test. 2 a test in which acid is used to test for
gold etc. put the acid on Austral. sl. seek to extract a loan
or favour etc. from. ЬЬacidic adj. acidimeter n. acidimetry
n. acidly adv. acidness n. [F acide or L acidus f. acere be
acidify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) make or become acid.
acidity n. (pl. -ies) an acid quality or state, esp. an excessively
acid condition of the stomach.
acidosis n. an over-acid condition of the body fluids or tissues.
acidulate v.tr. make somewhat acid. ЬЬacidulation n. [L acidulus dimin.
of acidus sour]
acidulous adj. somewhat acid.
acinus n. (pl. acini) 1 any of the small elements that make up a
compound fruit of the blackberry, raspberry, etc. 2 the seed of
a grape or berry. 3 Anat. a any multicellular gland with
saclike secreting ducts. b the terminus of a duct in such a
gland. [L, = berry, kernel]
-acious suffix forming adjectives meaning 'inclined to, full of'
(vivacious; pugnacious; voracious; capacious). [L -ax -acis,
added chiefly to verbal stems to form adjectives + -OUS]
-acity suffix forming nouns of quality or state corresponding to
adjectives in -acious. [F -acit‚ or L -acitas -tatis]
ack-ack adj. & n. colloq. --adj. anti-aircraft. --n. an anti-aircraft
gun etc. [formerly signallers' name for the letters AA]
ackee n. (also akee) 1 a tropical tree, Blighia sapida. 2 its fruit,
edible when cooked. [Kru akee]
ack emma adv. & n. Brit. colloq. = A.M. [formerly signallers' name
for the letters AM]
v.tr. 1 a recognize; accept; admit the truth of (acknowledged
the failure of the plan). b (often foll. by to be + compl.)
recognize as (acknowledged it to be a great success). c (often
foll. by that + clause or to + infin.) admit that something is
so (acknowledged that he was wrong; acknowledged him to be
wrong). 2 confirm the receipt of (acknowledged her letter). 3
a show that one has noticed (acknowledged my arrival with a
grunt). b express appreciation of (a service etc.). 4 own;
recognize the validity of (the acknowledged king).
ЬЬacknowledgeable adj. [obs. KNOWLEDGE v. after obs. acknow
(as A-(4), KNOW), or f. obs. noun acknowledge]
n. (also acknowledgment) 1 the act or an instance of
acknowledging. 2 a a thing given or done in return for a
service etc. b a letter confirming receipt of something. 3
(usu. in pl.) an author's statement of indebtedness to others.
n. = magnetic equator. [Gk aklines (as A-(1), klino bend)]
acme n. the highest point or period (of achievement, success, etc.);
the peak of perfection (displayed the acme of good taste). [Gk,
= highest point]
acne n. a skin condition, usu. of the face, characterized by red
pimples. ЬЬacned adj. [mod.L f. erron. Gk aknas for akmas
accus. pl. of akme facial eruption: cf. ACME]
acolyte n. 1 a person assisting a priest in a service or procession. 2
an assistant; a beginner. [ME f. OF acolyt or eccl.L acolytus
f. Gk akolouthos follower]
aconite n. 1 a any poisonous plant of the genus Aconitum, esp.
monkshood or wolfsbane. b the drug obtained from this. Also
called ACONITINE. 2 (in full winter aconite) any ranunculaceous
plant of the genus Eranthis, with yellow flowers. ЬЬaconitic
adj. Chem. [F aconit or L aconitum f. Gk akoniton]
aconitine n. Pharm. a poisonous alkaloid obtained from the aconite
acorn n. the fruit of the oak, with a smooth nut in a rough cuplike
base. Ьacorn barnacle a multivalve marine cirriped, Balanus
balanoides, living on rocks. acorn worm any marine wormlike
animal of the phylum Hemichordata, having a proboscis and gill
slits, and inhabiting seashores. [OE ‘cern, rel. to ‘cer ACRE,
later assoc. with OAK and CORN(1)]
n. a plant with no distinct seed-leaves. ЬЬacotyledonous adj.
[mod.L acotyledones pl. (as A-(1), COTYLEDON)]
acoustic adj. & n. --adj. 1 relating to sound or the sense of hearing.
2 (of a musical instrument, gramophone, or recording) not having
electrical amplification (acoustic guitar). 3 (of building
materials) used for soundproofing or modifying sound. 4 Mil.
(of a mine) that can be exploded by sound waves transmitted
under water. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) the properties or qualities
(esp. of a room or hall etc.) in transmitting sound (good
acoustics; a poor acoustic). 2 (in pl.; usu. treated as sing.)
the science of sound (acoustics is not widely taught).
Ьacoustic coupler Computing a modem which converts digital
signals into audible signals and vice versa, so that the former
can be transmitted and received over telephone lines.
ЬЬacoustical adj. acoustically adv. [Gk akoustikos f. akouo
n. an expert in acoustics.
acquaint v.tr. & refl. (usu. foll. by with) make (a person or oneself)
aware of or familiar with (acquaint me with the facts). Ьbe
acquainted with have personal knowledge of (a person or thing).
[ME f. OF acointier f. LL accognitare (as AC-, cognoscere
cognit- come to know)]
n. 1 (usu. foll. by with) slight knowledge (of a person or
thing). 2 the fact or process of being acquainted (our
acquaintance lasted a year). 3 a person one knows slightly.
Ьmake one's acquaintance first meet or introduce oneself to
another person. make the acquaintance of come to know.
ЬЬacquaintanceship n. [ME f. OF acointance (as ACQUAINT)]
acquiesce v.intr. 1 agree, esp. tacitly. 2 raise no objection. 3 (foll.
by in) accept (an arrangement etc.). ЬЬacquiescence n.
acquiescent adj. [L acquiescere (as AC-, quiescere rest)]
acquire v.tr. 1 gain by and for oneself; obtain. 2 come into
possession of (acquired fame; acquired much property).
Ьacquired characteristic Biol. a characteristic caused by the
environment, not inherited. acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Med. see AIDS. acquired taste 1 a liking gained by experience.
2 the object of such a liking. ЬЬacquirable adj. [ME f. OF
aquerre ult. f. L acquirere (as AC-, quaerere seek)]
n. 1 something acquired, esp. a mental attainment. 2 the act
or an instance of acquiring.
n. 1 something acquired, esp. if regarded as useful. 2 the act
or an instance of acquiring. [L acquisitio (as ACQUIRE)]
adj. keen to acquire things; avaricious; materialistic.
ЬЬacquisitively adv. acquisitiveness n. [F acquisitive or LL
acquisitivus (as ACQUIRE)]
acquit v. (acquitted, acquitting) 1 tr. (often foll. by of) declare (a
person) not guilty (were acquitted of the offence). 2 refl. a
conduct oneself or perform in a specified way (we acquitted
ourselves well). b (foll. by of) discharge (a duty or
responsibility). [ME f. OF aquiter f. med.L acquitare pay a
debt (as AC-, QUIT)]
acquittal n. 1 the process of freeing or being freed from a charge, esp.
by a judgement of not guilty. 2 performance of a duty.
n. 1 payment of or release from a debt. 2 a written receipt
attesting settlement of a debt. [ME f. OF aquitance (as
acre n. 1 a measure of land, 4,840 sq. yds., 0.405 ha. 2 a piece of
land; a field. 3 (in pl.) a large area. ЬЬacred adj. (also in
comb.). [OE ‘cer f. Gmc]
acreage n. 1 a number of acres. 2 an extent of land.
acrid adj. (acrider, acridest) 1 bitterly pungent; irritating;
corrosive. 2 bitter in temper or manner. ЬЬacridity n.
acridly adv. [irreg. f. L acer acris keen + -ID(1), prob. after
acridine n. a colourless crystalline compound used in the manufacture of
dyes and drugs. [ACRID + -INE(4)]
n. a reddish powder used as an antiseptic. [irreg. f.
ACRIDINE + FLAVINE]
adj. bitter in manner or temper. ЬЬacrimoniously adv. [F
acrimonieux, -euse f. med.L acrimoniosus f. L acrimonia
acrimony n. (pl. -ies) bitterness of temper or manner; ill feeling. [F
acrimonie or L acrimonia pungency (as ACRID)]
acrobat n. 1 a performer of spectacular gymnastic feats. 2 a person
noted for constant change of mind, allegiance, etc. ЬЬacrobatic
adj. acrobatically adv. [F acrobate f. Gk akrobates f. akron
summit + baino walk]
n.pl. 1 acrobatic feats. 2 (as sing.) the art of performing
these. 3 a skill requiring ingenuity (mental acrobatics).
acrogen n. Bot. any non-flowering plant having a perennial stem with
the growing point at its apex, e.g. a fern or moss.
ЬЬacrogenous adj. [Gk akron tip + -GEN]
n. Med. the abnormal growth of the hands, feet, and face,
caused by excessive activity of the pituitary gland.
ЬЬacromegalic adj. [F acrom‚galie f. Gk akron extremity + megas
acronym n. a word, usu. pronounced as such, formed from the initial
letters of other words (e.g. Ernie, laser, Nato). [Gk akron
end + -onum- = onoma name]
acropetal adj. Bot. developing from below upwards. ЬЬacropetally adv.
[Gk akron tip + L petere seek]
n. Psychol. an abnormal dread of heights. ЬЬacrophobic adj.
[Gk akron peak + -PHOBIA]
acropolis n. 1 a citadel or upper fortified part of an ancient Greek
city. 2 (Acropolis) the ancient citadel at Athens. [Gk
akropolis f. akron summit + polis city]
across prep. & adv. --prep. 1 to or on the other side of (walked
across the road; lives across the river). 2 from one side to
another side of (the cover stretched across the opening; a
bridge across the river). 3 at or forming an angle (esp. a
right angle) with (deep cuts across his legs). --adv. 1 to or
on the other side (ran across; shall soon be across). 2 from
one side to another (a blanket stretched across). 3 forming a
cross (with cuts across). 4 (of a crossword clue or answer)
read horizontally (cannot do nine across). Ьacross the board
general; generally; applying to all. [ME f. OF a croix, en
croix, later regarded as f. A(2) + CROSS]
acrostic n. 1 a poem or other composition in which certain letters in
each line form a word or words. 2 a word-puzzle constructed in
this way. Ьdouble acrostic one using the first and last letters
of each line. single acrostic one using the first letter only.
triple acrostic one using the first, middle, and last letters.
[F acrostiche or Gk akrostikhis f. akron end + stikhos row,
line of verse, assim. to -IC]
acrylic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of material made with a synthetic polymer
derived from acrylic acid. 2 Chem. of or derived from acrylic
acid. --n. an acrylic fibre. Ьacrylic acid a pungent liquid
organic acid. °Chem. formula: CHO. acrylic resin any
of various transparent colourless polymers of acrylic acid.
[acrolein f. L acer acris pungent + olere to smell + -IN + -YL +
ACT abbr. Australian Capital Territory.
act n. & v. --n. 1 something done; a deed; an action. 2 the
process of doing something (caught in the act). 3 a a piece of
entertainment, usu. one of a series in a programme. b the
performer(s) of this. 4 a pretence; behaviour intended to
deceive or impress (it was all an act). 5 a main division of a
play or opera. 6 a a written ordinance of a parliament or other
legislative body. b a document attesting a legal transaction.
7 (often in pl.) the recorded decisions or proceedings of a
committee, an academic body, etc. 8 (Acts) ( in full Acts of
the Apostles) the New Testament book relating the growth of the
early Church. --v. 1 intr. behave (see how they act under
stress). 2 intr. perform actions or functions; operate
effectively; take action (act as referee; the brakes failed to
act; we must act quickly). 3 intr. (also foll. by on) exert
energy or influence (the medicine soon began to act; alcohol
acts on the brain). 4 intr. a perform a part in a play, film,
etc. b pretend. 5 tr. a perform the part of (acted Othello;
acts the fool). b perform (a play etc.). c portray (an
incident) by actions. d feign (we acted indifference). Ьact
for be the (esp. legal) representative of. act of God the
operation of uncontrollable natural forces. act of grace a
privilege or concession that cannot be claimed as a right. act
on (or upon) perform or carry out; put into operation (acted on
my advice). act out 1 translate (ideas etc.) into action. 2
Psychol. represent (one's subconscious desires etc.) in action.
act up colloq. misbehave; give trouble (my car is acting up
again). get one's act together sl. become properly organized;
make preparations for an undertaking etc. get into the act sl.
become a participant (esp. for profit). put on an act colloq.
carry out a pretence. ЬЬactable adj. (in sense 5 of v.).
actability n. (in sense 5 of v.). [ME ult. f. L agere act- do]
ACTH abbr. adrenocorticotrophic hormone.
acting n. & attrib. adj. --n. 1 the art or occupation of performing
parts in plays, films, etc. 2 in senses of ACT v.
--attrib.adj. serving temporarily or on behalf of another or
others (acting manager; Acting Captain).
actinia n. (pl. actiniae) any sea anemone, esp. of the genus Actinia.
[mod.L f. Gk aktis -inos ray]
actinide n. (also actinoid) Chem. any of the series of 15 radioactive
elements having increasing atomic numbers from actinium to
lawrencium. Ьactinide series this series of elements.
[ACTINIUM + -IDE as in lanthanide]
actinism n. the property of short-wave radiation that produces chemical
changes, as in photography. ЬЬactinic adj. [Gk aktis -inos
actinium n. Chem. a radioactive metallic element of the actinide
series, occurring naturally in pitchblende. °Symb.: Ac.
actinoid var. of ACTINIDE.
n. an instrument for measuring the intensity of radiation, esp.
ultraviolet radiation. [Gk aktis -tinos ray + -METER]
n. any of the usu. non-motile filamentous anaerobic bacteria of
the order Actinomycetales. [as ACTINOMORPHIC + -mycetes f. Gk
mukes -etos mushroom]
action n. & v. --n. 1 the fact or process of doing or acting
(demanded action; put ideas into action). 2 forcefulness or
energy as a characteristic (a woman of action). 3 the exertion
of energy or influence (the action of acid on metal). 4
something done; a deed or act (not aware of his own actions). 5
a a series of events represented in a story, play, etc. b sl.
exciting activity (arrived late and missed the action; want some
action). 6 a armed conflict; fighting (killed in action). b an
occurrence of this, esp. a minor military engagement. 7 a the
way in which a machine, instrument, etc. works (explain the
action of an air pump). b the mechanism that makes a machine,
instrument, etc. (e.g. a musical instrument, a gun, etc.) work.
c the mode or style of movement of an animal or human (usu.
described in some way) (a runner with good action). 8 a legal
process; a lawsuit (bring an action). 9 (in imper.) a word of
command to begin, esp. used by a film director etc. --v.tr.
bring a legal action against. Ьaction committee (or group etc.)
a body formed to take active steps, esp. in politics.
action-packed colloq. full of action or excitement. action
painting an aspect of abstract expressionism with paint applied
by the artist's random or spontaneous gestures. action point a
proposal for action, esp. arising from a discussion etc. action
replay a playback of part of a television broadcast, esp. a
sporting event, often in slow motion. action stations positions
taken up by troops etc. ready for battle. go into action start
work. out of action not working. take action begin to act
(esp. energetically in protest). [ME f. OF f. L actio -onis (as
adj. giving cause for legal action. ЬЬactionably adv.
activate v.tr. 1 make active; bring into action. 2 Chem. cause reaction
in; excite (a substance, molecules, etc.). 3 Physics make
radioactive. Ьactivated carbon carbon, esp. charcoal, treated
to increase its adsorptive power. activated sludge aerated
sewage containing aerobic bacteria. ЬЬactivation n. activator
active adj. & n. --adj. 1 a consisting in or marked by action;
energetic; diligent (leads an active life; an active helper). b
able to move about or accomplish practical tasks (infirmity made
him less active). 2 working, operative (an active volcano). 3
originating action; not merely passive or inert (active support;
active ingredients). 4 radioactive. 5 Gram. designating the
voice that attributes the action of a verb to the person or
thing from which it logically proceeds (e.g. of the verbs in
guns kill; we saw him). --n. Gram. the active form or voice of
a verb. Ьactive carbon = activated carbon (see ACTIVATE).
active list Mil. a list of officers available for service.
active service full-time service in the armed forces.
ЬЬactively adv. activeness n. [ME f. OF actif -ive or L
activus (as ACT v.)]
activism n. a policy of vigorous action in a cause, esp. in politics.
activity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the condition of being active or moving
about. b the exertion of energy; vigorous action. 2 (often in
pl.) a particular occupation or pursuit (outdoor activities). 3
= RADIOACTIVITY. [F activit‚ or LL activitas (as ACTIVE)]
actor n. 1 the performer of a part in a play, film, etc. 2 a person
whose profession is performing such parts. [L, = doer, actor
(as ACT, -OR(1))]
actress n. a female actor.
actual adj. (usu. attrib.) 1 existing in fact; real (often as
distinct from ideal). 2 existing now; current. °Redundant use,
as in tell me the actual facts, is disp., but common.
ЬЬactualize v.tr. (also -ise). actualization n. [ME f. OF
actuel f. LL actualis f. agere ACT]
actuality n. (pl. -ies) 1 reality; what is the case. 2 (in pl.)
existing conditions. [ME f. OF actualit‚ entity or med.L
actualitas (as ACTUAL)]
actually adv. 1 as a fact, really (I asked for ten, but actually got
nine). 2 as a matter of fact, even (strange as it may seem) (he
actually refused!). 3 at present; for the time being.
actuary n. (pl. -ies) an expert in statistics, esp. one who calculates
insurance risks and premiums. ЬЬactuarial adj. actuarially
adv. [L actuarius bookkeeper f. actus past part. of agere ACT]
actuate v.tr. 1 communicate motion to (a machine etc.). 2 cause the
operation of (an electrical device etc.). 3 cause (a person) to
act. ЬЬactuation n. actuator n. [med.L actuare f. L actus:
acuity n. sharpness, acuteness (of a needle, senses, understanding).
[F acuit‚ or med.L acuitas f. acuere sharpen: see ACUTE]
aculeate n. 1 Zool. having a sting. 2 Bot. prickly. 3 pointed,
incisive. [L aculeatus f. aculeus sting, dimin. of acus
acumen n. keen insight or discernment, penetration. [L acumen -minis
anything sharp f. acuere sharpen: see ACUTE]
acuminate adj. Biol. tapering to a point. [L acuminatus pointed (as
n. a method (orig. Chinese) of treating various conditions by
pricking the skin or tissues with needles. ЬЬacupuncturist n.
[L acu with a needle + PUNCTURE]
acushla n. Ir. darling. [Ir. a cuisle O pulse (of my heart)!]
acute adj. & n. --adj. (acuter, acutest) 1 (of sensation or senses)
keen, penetrating. 2 shrewd, perceptive (an acute critic). 3
(of a disease) coming sharply to a crisis; severe, not chronic.
4 (of a difficulty or controversy) critical, serious. 5 a (of
an angle) less than 90ш. b sharp, pointed. 6 (of a sound)
high, shrill. --n. = acute accent. Ьacute accent a mark (°)
placed over letters in some languages to show quality, vowel
length, pronunciation (e.g. mat‚), etc. acute rheumatism Med.
= rheumatic fever. ЬЬacutely adv. acuteness n. [L acutus past
part. of acuere sharpen f. acus needle]
ACW abbr. Brit. (preceding a name) Aircraftwoman.
-acy suffix forming nouns of state or quality (accuracy; piracy;
supremacy), or an instance of it (conspiracy; fallacy) (see also
-CRACY). [a branch of the suffix -CY from or after F -acie or L
-acia or -atia or Gk -ateia]
acyl n. Chem. the univalent radical of an organic acid. [G (as
AD abbr. (of a date) of the Christian era. °Strictly, AD should
precede a date (e.g. AD 410), but uses such as the tenth
century AD are well established. [Anno Domini, 'in the year of
ad n. colloq. an advertisement. [abbr.]
ad- prefix (also a- before sc, sp, st, ac- before c, k, q, af-
before f, ag- before g, al- before l, an- before n, ap- before
p, ar- before r, as- before s, at- before t) 1 with the sense of
motion or direction to, reduction or change into, addition,
adherence, increase, or intensification. 2 formed by
assimilation of other prefixes (accurse; admiral; advance;
affray). [(sense 1) (through OF a-) f. L ad to: (sense 2) a-
repr. various prefixes other than ad-]
-ad(1) suffix forming nouns: 1 in collective numerals (myriad; triad).
2 in fem. patronymics (Dryad). 3 in names of poems and similar
compositions (Iliad; Dunciad; jeremiad). [Gk -as -ada]
adage n. a traditional maxim, a proverb. [F f. L adagium (as AD-,
root of aio say)]
adagio adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in slow time. --n. (pl.
-os) an adagio movement or passage. [It.]
Adam(1) n. the first man, in the Biblical and Koranic traditions.
ЬAdam's ale water. Adam's apple a projection of the thyroid
cartilage of the larynx, esp. as prominent in men. not know a
person from Adam be unable to recognize the person in question.
[Heb. ' adam man]
Adam(2) adj. of the style of architecture, furniture, and design
created by the Scottish brothers Robert and James Adam (18th
adamant adj. & n. --adj. stubbornly resolute; resistant to persuasion.
--n. archaic diamond or other hard substance. ЬЬadamance n.
adamantine adj. adamantly adv. [OF adamaunt f. L adamas
adamant- untameable f. Gk (as A-(1), damao to tame)]
adapt v. 1 tr. a (foll. by to) fit, adjust (one thing to another).
b (foll. by to, for) make suitable for a purpose. c alter or
modify (esp. a text). d arrange for broadcasting etc. 2 intr.
& refl. (usu. foll. by to) become adjusted to new conditions.
ЬЬadaptive adj. adaptively adv. [F adapter f. L adaptare (as
AD-, aptare f. aptus fit)]
adaptable adj. 1 able to adapt oneself to new conditions. 2 that can be
adapted. ЬЬadaptability n. adaptably adv.
n. 1 the act or process of adapting or being adapted. 2 a
thing that has been adapted. 3 Biol. the process by which an
organism or species becomes suited to its environment. [F f. LL
adaptatio -onis (as ADAPT)]
adaptor n. (also adapter) 1 a device for making equipment compatible.
2 a device for connecting several electrical plugs to one
socket. 3 a person who adapts.
adaxial adj. Bot. facing toward the stem of a plant, esp. of the upper
side of a leaf (cf. ABAXIAL). [AD- + AXIAL]
add v.tr. 1 join (one thing to another) as an increase or
supplement (add your efforts to mine; add insult to injury). 2
put together (two or more numbers) to find a number denoting
their combined value. 3 say in addition (added a remark; added
that I was wrong). Ьadd in include. add-on something added to
an existing object or quantity. add to increase; be a further
item among (this adds to our difficulties). add up 1 find the
total of. 2 (foll. by to) amount to; constitute (adds up to a
disaster). 3 colloq. make sense; be understandable. ЬЬadded
adj. [ME f. L addere (as AD-, dare put)]
addax n. a large antelope, Addax nasomaculatus, of North Africa, with
twisted horns. [L f. an African word]
addendum n. (pl. addenda) 1 a thing (usu. something omitted) to be
added, esp. (in pl.) as additional matter at the end of a book.
2 an appendix; an addition. [L, gerundive of addere ADD]
adder n. any of various small venomous snakes, esp. the common viper,
Vipera berus, the only poisonous snake in Great Britain.
Ьadder's tongue any fern of the genus Ophioglossum. [OE n‘dre:
n lost in ME by wrong division of a naddre: cf. APRON, AUGER,
addict v. & n. --v.tr. & refl. (usu. foll. by to) devote or apply
habitually or compulsively; make addicted. --n. 1 a person
addicted to a habit, esp. one dependent on a (specified) drug
(drug addict; heroin addict). 2 colloq. an enthusiastic devotee
of a sport or pastime (film addict). [L addicere assign (as
AD-, dicere dict- say)]
addicted adj. (foll. by to) 1 dependent on as a habit; unable to do
without (addicted to heroin; addicted to smoking). 2 devoted
(addicted to football).
addiction n. the fact or process of being addicted, esp. the condition of
taking a drug habitually and being unable to give it up without
incurring adverse effects. [L addictio: see ADDICT]
addictive adj. (of a drug, habit, etc.) causing addiction or dependence.
n. a disease characterized by progressive anaemia and debility
and brown discoloration of the skin. [T. Addison, Engl.
physician d. 1860, who first recognized it]
addition n. 1 the act or process of adding or being added. 2 a person
or thing added (a useful addition to the team). Ьin addition
(often foll. by to) as something added. [ME f. OF addition or
f. L additio (as ADD)]
additive n. & adj. --n. a thing added, esp. a substance added to another
so as to give it specific qualities (food additive). --adj. 1
characterized by addition (additive process). 2 to be added.
[LL additivus (as ADD)]
addle v. & adj. --v. 1 tr. muddle, confuse. 2 intr. (of an egg)
become addled. --adj. 1 muddled, unsound (addle-brained;
addle-head). 2 empty, vain. 3 (of an egg) addled. [OE adela
filth, used as adj., then as verb]
addled adj. 1 (of an egg) rotten, producing no chick. 2 muddled.
[ADDLE adj., assim. to past part. form]
address n. & v. --n. 1 a the place where a person lives or an
organization is situated. b particulars of this, esp. for
postal purposes. c Computing the location of an item of stored
information. 2 a discourse delivered to an audience. 3 skill,
dexterity, readiness. 4 (in pl.) a courteous approach,
courtship (pay one's addresses to). 5 archaic manner in
conversation. --v.tr. 1 write directions for delivery (esp.
the name and address of the intended recipient) on (an envelope,
packet, etc.). 2 direct in speech or writing (remarks, a
protest, etc.). 3 speak or write to, esp. formally (addressed
the audience; asked me how to address a duke). 4 direct one's
attention to. 5 Golf take aim at or prepare to hit (the ball).
Ьaddress oneself to 1 speak or write to. 2 attend to.
ЬЬaddresser n. [ME f. OF adresser ult. f. L (as AD-, directus
DIRECT): (n.) perh. f. F adresse]
addressee n. the person to whom something (esp. a letter) is addressed.
n. propr. a machine for printing addresses on envelopes.
adduce v.tr. cite as an instance or as proof or evidence. ЬЬadducible
adj. [L adducere adduct- (as AD-, ducere lead)]
adduct v.tr. draw towards a middle line, esp. draw (a limb) towards
the middle line of the body. ЬЬadduction n.
adductor n. (in full adductor muscle) any muscle that moves one part of
the body towards another or towards the middle line of the body.
-ade(1) suffix forming nouns: 1 an action done (blockade; tirade). 2
the body concerned in an action or process (cavalcade). 3 the
product or result of a material or action (arcade; lemonade;
masquerade). [from or after F -ade f. Prov., Sp., or Port. -
ada or It. - ata f. L - ata fem. sing. past part. of verbs in -
-ade(3) suffix forming nouns: 1 = -ADE(1) (brocade). 2 a person
concerned (renegade). [Sp. or Port. -ado, masc. form of -ada:
adenine n. a purine derivative found in all living tissue as a
component base of DNA or RNA. [G Adenin formed as ADENOIDS: see
adenoids n.pl. Med. a mass of enlarged lymphatic tissue between the
back of the nose and the throat, often hindering speaking and
breathing in the young. ЬЬadenoidal adj. adenoidally adv. [Gk
aden -enos gland + -OID]
adenoma n. (pl. adenomas or adenomata) a glandlike benign tumour.
[mod.L f. Gk aden gland + -OMA]
adenosine n. a nucleoside of adenine and ribose present in all living
tissue in a combined form (see AMP, ADP, ATP). [ADENINE +
adept adj. & n. --adj. (foll. by at, in) thoroughly proficient. --n.
a skilled performer; an expert. ЬЬadeptly adv. adeptness n.
[L adeptus past part. of adipisci attain]
adequate adj. 1 sufficient, satisfactory (often with the implication of
being barely so). 2 (foll. by to) proportionate. 3 barely
sufficient. ЬЬadequacy n. adequately adv. [L adaequatus past
part. of adaequare make equal (as AD-, aequus equal)]
… deux adv. & adj. 1 for two. 2 between two. [F]
ad fin. abbr. at or near the end. [L ad finem]
adhere v.intr. 1 (usu. foll. by to) (of a substance) stick fast to a
surface, another substance, etc. 2 (foll. by to) behave
according to; follow in detail (adhered to our plan). 3 (foll.
by to) give support or allegiance. [F adh‚rer or L adhaerere
(as AD-, haerere haes- stick)]
adherent n. & adj. --n. 1 a supporter of a party, person, etc. 2 a
devotee of an activity. --adj. 1 (foll. by to) faithfully
observing a rule etc. 2 (often foll. by to) (of a substance)
sticking fast. ЬЬadherence n. [F adh‚rent (as ADHERE)]
adhesion n. 1 the act or process of adhering. 2 the capacity of a
substance to stick fast. 3 Med. an unnatural union of surfaces
due to inflammation. 4 the maintenance of contact between the
wheels of a vehicle and the road. 5 the giving of support or
allegiance. °More common in physical senses (e.g. the glue has
good adhesion), with adherence used in abstract senses (e.g.
adherence to principles). [F adh‚sion or L adhaesio (as
adhesive adj. & n. --adj. sticky, enabling surfaces or substances to
adhere to one another. --n. an adhesive substance, esp. one
used to stick other substances together. ЬЬadhesively adv.
adhesiveness n. [F adh‚sif -ive (as ADHERE)]
adhibit v.tr. (adhibited, adhibiting) 1 affix. 2 apply or administer
(a remedy). ЬЬadhibition n. [L adhibere adhibit- (as AD-,
ad hoc adv. & adj. for a particular (usu. exclusive) purpose (an ad
hoc appointment). [L, = to this]
adv. & adj. 1 relating to or associated with a particular
person. 2 (of an argument) appealing to the emotions and not to
reason. [L, = to the person]
adiabatic adj. & n. Physics --adj. 1 impassable to heat. 2 occurring
without heat entering or leaving the system. --n. a curve or
formula for adiabatic phenomena. ЬЬadiabatically adv. [Gk
adiabatos impassable (as A-(1), diabaino pass)]
adiantum n. 1 any fern of the genus Adiantum, e.g. maidenhair. 2 (in
general use) a spleenwort. [L f. Gk adianton maidenhair (as
A-(1), diantos wettable)]
adieu int. & n. --int. goodbye. --n. (pl. adieus or adieux) a
goodbye. [ME f. OF f. … to + Dieu God]
adv. without limit; for ever. [L]
adv. & adj. for the meantime. [L]
adios int. goodbye. [Sp. adiўs f. a to + Dios God]
adipocere n. a greyish fatty or soapy substance generated in dead bodies
subjected to moisture. [F adipocire f. L adeps adipis fat + F
cire wax f. L cera]
adipose adj. of or characterized by fat; fatty. Ьadipose tissue fatty
connective tissue in animals. ЬЬadiposity n. [mod.L adiposus
f. adeps adipis fat]
adit n. 1 a horizontal entrance or passage in a mine. 2 a means of
approach. [L aditus (as AD-, itus f. ire it- go)]
Adivasi n. (pl. Adivasis) a member of the aboriginal tribal peoples of
India. [Hindi adinivasi original inhabitant]
Adj. abbr. (preceding a name) Adjutant.
adjacent adj. (often foll. by to) lying near or adjoining. ЬЬadjacency
n. [ME f. L adjacere (as AD-, jacere lie)]
adjective n. & adj. --n. a word or phrase naming an attribute, added to
or grammatically related to a noun to modify it or describe it.
--adj. additional; not standing by itself; dependent.
ЬЬadjectival adj. adjectivally adv. [ME f. OF adjectif -ive
ult. f. L adjicere adject- (as AD-, jacere throw)]
adjoin v.tr. 1 be next to and joined with. 2 archaic = ADD 1. [ME f.
OF ajoindre, ajoign- f. L adjungere adjunct- (as AD-, jungere
adjourn v. 1 tr. a put off; postpone. b break off (a meeting,
discussion, etc.) with the intention of resuming later. 2 intr.
of persons at a meeting: a break off proceedings and disperse.
b (foll. by to) transfer the meeting to another place. [ME f.
OF ajorner (as AD-, jorn day ult. f. L diurnus DIURNAL): cf.
n. adjourning or being adjourned. Ьadjournment debate a debate
in the House of Commons on the motion that the House be
adjourned, used as an opportunity for raising various matters.
adjudge v.tr. 1 adjudicate (a matter). 2 (often foll. by that +
clause, or to + infin.) pronounce judicially. 3 (foll. by to)
award judicially. 4 archaic condemn. ЬЬadjudgement n. (also
adjudgment). [ME f. OF ajuger f. L adjudicare: see ADJUDICATE]
v. 1 intr. act as judge in a competition, court, tribunal, etc.
2 tr. a decide judicially regarding (a claim etc.). b (foll.
by to be + compl.) pronounce (was adjudicated to be bankrupt).
ЬЬadjudication n. adjudicative adj. adjudicator n. [L
adjudicare (as AD-, judicare f. judex -icis judge)]
adjunct n. 1 (foll. by to, of) a subordinate or incidental thing. 2 an
assistant; a subordinate person, esp. one with temporary
appointment only. 3 Gram. a word or phrase used to explain or
amplify the predicate, subject, etc. ЬЬadjunctive adj.
adjunctively adv. [L adjunctus: see ADJOIN]
adjure v.tr. (usu. foll. by to + infin.) charge or request (a person)
solemnly or earnestly, esp. under oath. ЬЬadjuration n.
adjuratory adj. [ME f. L adjurare (as AD-, jurare swear) in LL
sense 'put a person to an oath']
adjust v. 1 tr. a arrange; put in the correct order or position. b
regulate, esp. by a small amount. 2 tr. (usu. foll. by to) make
suitable. 3 tr. harmonize (discrepancies). 4 tr. assess (loss
or damages). 5 intr. (usu. foll. by to) make oneself suited to;
become familiar with (adjust to one's surroundings).
ЬЬadjustable adj. adjustability n. adjuster n. adjustment n.
[F adjuster f. OF ajoster ult. f. L juxta near]
adjutant n. 1 a Mil. an officer who assists superior officers by
communicating orders, conducting correspondence, etc. b an
assistant. 2 (in full adjutant bird) a giant Indian stork.
ЬAdjutant-General a high-ranking Army administrative officer.
ЬЬadjutancy n. [L adjutare frequent. of adjuvare: see ADJUVANT]
adjuvant adj. & n. --adj. helpful, auxiliary. --n. an adjuvant person
or thing. [F adjuvant or L adjuvare (as AD-, juvare jut- help)]
Adlerian adj. of or relating to A. Adler, Austrian psychologist d. 1937,
or his system of psychology.
ad lib v., adj., adv., & n. --v.intr. (ad libbed, ad libbing) speak
or perform without formal preparation; improvise. --adj.
improvised. --adv. as one pleases, to any desired extent. --n.
something spoken or played extempore. [abbr. of AD LIBITUM]
adv. = AD LIB adv. [L, = according to pleasure]
ad litem adj. (of a guardian etc.) appointed for a lawsuit. [L]
Adm. abbr. (preceding a name) Admiral.
adman n. (pl. admen) colloq. a person who produces advertisements
admass n. esp. Brit. the section of the community that is regarded as
readily influenced by advertising and mass communication.
admeasure v.tr. apportion; assign in due shares. ЬЬadmeasurement n. [ME
f. OF amesurer f. med.L admensurare (as AD-, MEASURE)]
admin n. colloq. administration. [abbr.]
adminicle n. 1 a thing that helps. 2 (in Scottish law) collateral
evidence of the contents of a missing document. ЬЬadminicular
adj. [L adminiculum prop]
v. 1 tr. attend to the running of (business affairs etc.);
manage. 2 tr. a be responsible for the implementation of (the
law, justice, punishment, etc.). b Eccl. give out, or perform
the rites of (a sacrament). c (usu. foll. by to) direct the
taking of (an oath). 3 tr. a provide, apply (a remedy). b
give, deliver (a rebuke). 4 intr. act as administrator.
ЬЬadministrable adj. [ME f. OF aministrer f. L administrare (as
v.tr. & intr. administer (esp. business affairs); act as an
administrator. [L administrare (as ADMINISTER)]
n. 1 management of a business. 2 the management of public
affairs; government. 3 the government in power; the ministry.
4 US a President's period of office. 5 Law the management of
another person's estate. 6 (foll. by of) a the administering of
justice, an oath, etc. b application of remedies. [ME f. OF
administration or L administratio (as ADMINISTRATE)]
adj. concerning or relating to the management of affairs.
ЬЬadministratively adv. [F administratif -ive or L
administrativus (as ADMINISTRATION)]
n. 1 a person who administers a business or public affairs. 2
a person capable of organizing (is no administrator). 3 Law a
person appointed to manage the estate of a person who has died
intestate. 4 a person who performs official duties in some
sphere, e.g. in religion or justice. ЬЬadministratorship n.
administratrix n. [L (as ADMINISTER)]
admirable adj. 1 deserving admiration. 2 excellent. ЬЬadmirably adv.
[F f. L admirabilis (as ADMIRE)]
admiral n. 1 a the commander-in-chief of a country's navy. b a naval
officer of high rank, the commander of a fleet or squadron. c
(Admiral) an admiral of the second grade. 2 any of various
butterflies (red admiral; white admiral). ЬAdmiral of the Fleet
an admiral of the first grade. Fleet Admiral US = Admiral of
the Fleet. ЬЬadmiralship n. [ME f. OF a(d)mira(i)l etc. f.
med.L a(d)miralis etc., f. Arab. ' amir commander (cf. AMIR),
assoc. with ADMIRABLE]
Admiralty n. (pl. -ies) 1 (hist. except in titles) (in the UK) the
department administering the Royal Navy. 2 (admiralty) Law
trial and decision of maritime questions and offences.
ЬAdmiralty Board hist. a committee of the Ministry of Defence
superintending the Royal Navy. [ME f. OF admiral(i)t‚ (as
n. 1 pleased contemplation. 2 respect, warm approval. 3 an
object of this (was the admiration of the whole town). [F
admiration or L admiratio (as ADMIRE)]
admire v.tr. 1 regard with approval, respect, or satisfaction. 2
express one's admiration of. [F admirer or L admirari (as AD-,
mirari wonder at)]
admirer n. 1 a woman's suitor. 2 a person who admires, esp. a devotee
of an able or famous person.
adj. 1 (of an idea or plan) worth accepting or considering. 2
Law allowable as evidence. 3 (foll. by to) capable of being
admitted. ЬЬadmissibility n. [F admissible or med.L
admissibilis (as ADMIT)]
admission n. 1 an acknowledgement (admission of error; admission that he
was wrong). 2 a the process or right of entering. b a charge
for this (admission is њ5). 3 a person admitted to a hospital.
°Has more general application in senses of ADMIT than
admittance. [ME f. L admissio (as ADMIT)]
admit v. (admitted, admitting) 1 tr. a (often foll. by to be, or
that + clause) acknowledge; recognize as true. b accept as
valid or true. 2 intr. (foll. by to) acknowledge responsibility
for a deed, fault, etc. 3 tr. a allow (a person) entrance or
access. b allow (a person) to be a member of (a class, group,
etc.) or to share in (a privilege etc.). c (of a hospital
etc.) bring in (a person) for residential treatment. 4 tr. (of
an enclosed space) have room for; accommodate. 5 intr. (foll.
by of) allow as possible. [ME f. L admittere admiss- (as AD-,
n. 1 the right or process of admitting or being admitted, usu.
to a place (no admittance except on business). 2 Electr. the
reciprocal of impedance. °A more formal and technical word than
adv. as an acknowledged fact (admittedly there are problems).
admix v. 1 tr. & intr. (foll. by with) mingle. 2 tr. add as an
admixture n. 1 a thing added, esp. a minor ingredient. 2 the act of
adding this. [L admixtus past part. of admiscere (as AD-,
admonish v.tr. 1 reprove. 2 (foll. by to + infin., or that + clause)
urge. 3 give advice to. 4 (foll. by of) warn. ЬЬadmonishment
n. admonition n. admonitory adj. [ME f. OF amonester ult. f.
L admonere (as AD-, monere monit- warn)]
adv. to an excessive or disgusting degree. [L, = to sickness]
adnominal adj. Gram. attached to a noun. [L adnomen -minis (added
ado n. (pl. ados) fuss, busy activity; trouble, difficulty.
Ьwithout more ado immediately. [orig. in much ado = much to do,
f. north. ME at do (= to do) f. ON at AT as sign of infin. +
-ado suffix forming nouns (desperado) ( cf. -ADE(3)). [Sp. or Port.
-ado f. L -atus past part. of verbs in -are]
adobe n. 1 an unburnt sun-dried brick. 2 the clay used for making
such bricks. [Sp. f. Arab.]
adj. & n. --adj. between childhood and adulthood. --n. an
adolescent person. ЬЬadolescence n. [ME f. OF f. L adolescere
Adonis n. a handsome young man. ЬAdonis blue a kind of butterfly,
Lysandra bellargus. [the name of a youth loved by Venus: L f.
Gk f. Phoen. adon lord]
adopt v.tr. 1 take (a person) into a relationship, esp. another's
child as one's own. 2 choose to follow (a course of action
etc.). 3 take over (an idea etc.) from another person. 4
choose as a candidate for office. 5 Brit. (of a local
authority) accept responsibility for the maintenance of (a road
etc.). 6 accept; formally approve (a report, accounts, etc.).
ЬЬadoption n. [F adopter or L adoptare (as AD-, optare choose)]
adoptive adj. due to adoption (adoptive son; adoptive father).
ЬЬadoptively adv. [ME f. OF adoptif -ive f. L adoptivus (as
adorable adj. 1 deserving adoration. 2 colloq. delightful, charming.
ЬЬadorably adv. [F f. L adorabilis (as ADORE)]
adore v.tr. 1 regard with honour and deep affection. 2 a worship as
divine. b RC Ch. offer reverence to (the Host etc.). 3 colloq.
like very much. ЬЬadoration n. adoring adj. adoringly adv.
[ME f. OF aourer f. L adorare worship (as AD-, orare speak,
adorer n. 1 a worshipper. 2 an ardent admirer.
adorn v.tr. 1 add beauty or lustre to; be an ornament to. 2 furnish
with ornaments; decorate. ЬЬadornment n. [ME f. OF ao(u)rner
f. L adornare (as AD-, ornare furnish, deck)]
ADP abbr. 1 adenosine diphosphate. 2 automatic data processing.
adv. & adj. --adv. to the person. --adj. personal. [L]
ad rem adv. & adj. to the point; to the purpose. [L, = to the matter]
adrenal adj. & n. --adj. 1 at or near the kidneys. 2 of the adrenal
glands. --n. (in full adrenal gland) either of two ductless
glands above the kidneys, secreting adrenalin. [AD- + RENAL]
adrenalin n. (also adrenaline) 1 a hormone secreted by the adrenal
glands, affecting circulation and muscular action, and causing
excitement and stimulation. 2 the same substance obtained from
animals or by synthesis, used as a stimulant.
n. (also adrenocorticotropic) a hormone secreted by the
pituitary gland and stimulating the adrenal glands. °Abbr.:
ACTH. [ADRENAL + CORTEX + -TROPHIC, -TROPIC]
n. = ADRENOCORTICOTROPHIC HORMONE. [ADRENOCORTICOTROPHIC
(HORMONE) + -IN]
adrift adv. & predic.adj. 1 drifting. 2 at the mercy of
circumstances. 3 colloq. a unfastened. b out of touch. c
absent without leave. d (often foll. by of) failing to reach a
target. e out of order. f ill-informed. [A(2) + DRIFT]
adroit adj. dextrous, skilful. ЬЬadroitly adv. adroitness n. [F f.
… droit according to right]
adsorb v.tr. (usu. of a solid) hold (molecules of a gas or liquid or
solute) to its surface, causing a thin film to form.
ЬЬadsorbable adj. adsorbent adj. & n. adsorption n. (also
adsorbtion). [AD-, after ABSORB]
adsorbate n. a substance adsorbed.
adsuki var. of ADZUKI.
adulate v.tr. flatter obsequiously. ЬЬadulation n. adulator n.
adulatory adj. [L adulari adulat- fawn on]
adult adj. & n. --adj. 1 mature, grown-up. 2 a of or for adults
(adult education). b euphem. sexually explicit; indecent (adult
films). --n. 1 an adult person. 2 Law a person who has
reached the age of majority. ЬЬadulthood n. adultly adv. [L
adultus past part. of adolescere grow up: cf. ADOLESCENT]
adj. & n. --adj. used in adulterating. --n. an adulterant
v. & adj. --v.tr. debase (esp. foods) by adding other or
inferior substances. --adj. spurious, debased, counterfeit.
ЬЬadulteration n. adulterator n. [L adulterare adulterat-
adulterer n. (fem. adulteress) a person who commits adultery. [obs.
adulter (v.) f. OF avoutrer f. L adulterare: see ADULTERATE]
adj. 1 illegal, unlicensed. 2 spurious. 3 born of adultery.
[L adulterinus f. adulter: see ADULTERY]
adj. of or involved in adultery. ЬЬadulterously adv. [ME f.
adulter: see ADULTERER]
adultery n. voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a
person (married or not) other than his or her spouse. [ME f. OF
avoutrie etc. f. avoutre adulterer f. L adulter, assim. to L
adumbrate v.tr. 1 indicate faintly. 2 represent in outline. 3
foreshadow, typify. 4 overshadow. ЬЬadumbration n.
adumbrative adj. [L adumbrare (as AD-, umbrare f. umbra
adv. & adj. (of taxes) in proportion to the estimated value of
the goods concerned. [L, = according to the value]
advance v., n., & adj. --v. 1 tr. & intr. move or put forward. 2
intr. make progress. 3 tr. a pay (money) before it is due. b
lend (money). 4 tr. give active support to; promote (a person,
cause, or plan). 5 tr. put forward (a claim or suggestion). 6
tr. cause (an event) to occur at an earlier date (advanced the
meeting three hours). 7 tr. raise (a price). 8 intr. rise (in
price). 9 tr. (as advanced adj.) a far on in progress (the work
is well advanced). b ahead of the times (advanced ideas). --n.
1 an act of going forward. 2 progress. 3 a payment made before
the due time. 4 a loan. 5 (esp. in pl.; often foll. by to) an
amorous or friendly approach. 6 a rise in price. --attrib.adj.
done or supplied beforehand (advance warning; advance copy).
Ьadvanced (or advanced supplementary) level (in the UK) a GCE
examination of a standard higher than ordinary level and GCSE.
advance guard a body of soldiers preceding the main body of an
army. advance on approach threateningly. in advance ahead in
place or time. ЬЬadvancer n. [ME f. OF avancer f. LL abante in
front f. L ab away + ante before: (n.) partly through F avance]
n. the promotion of a person, cause, or plan. [ME f. F
avancement f. avancer (as ADVANCE)]
advantage n. & v. --n. 1 a beneficial feature; a favourable
circumstance. 2 benefit, profit (is not to your advantage). 3
(often foll. by over) a better position; superiority in a
particular respect. 4 (in lawn tennis) the next point won after
deuce. --v.tr. 1 be beneficial or favourable to. 2 further,
promote. Ьhave the advantage of be in a better position in some
respect than. take advantage of 1 make good use of (a
favourable circumstance). 2 exploit or outwit (a person), esp.
unfairly. 3 euphem. seduce. to advantage in a way which
exhibits the merits (was seen to advantage). turn to advantage
benefit from. ЬЬadvantageous adj. advantageously adv. [ME f.
OF avantage, avantager f. avant in front f. LL abante: see
advection n. Meteorol. transfer of heat by the horizontal flow of air.
ЬЬadvective adj. [L advectio f. advehere (as AD-, vehere vect-
Advent n. 1 the season before Christmas, including the four preceding
Sundays. 2 the coming or second coming of Christ. 3 (advent)
the arrival of esp. an important person or thing. ЬAdvent
calendar Brit. a calendar for Advent, usu. of card with flaps
to open each day revealing a picture or scene. Advent Sunday
the first Sunday in Advent. [OE f. OF advent, auvent f. L
adventus arrival f. advenire (as AD-, venire vent- come)]
Adventist n. a member of a Christian sect that believes in the imminent
second coming of Christ. ЬЬAdventism n.
adj. 1 accidental, casual. 2 added from outside. 3 Biol.
formed accidentally or under unusual conditions. 4 Law (of
property) coming from a stranger or by collateral succession
rather than directly. ЬЬadventitiously adv. [L adventicius (as
adventure n. & v. --n. 1 an unusual and exciting experience. 2 a daring
enterprise; a hazardous activity. 3 enterprise (the spirit of
adventure). 4 a commercial speculation. --v.intr. 1 (often
foll. by into, upon) dare to go or come. 2 (foll. by on, upon)
dare to undertake. 3 incur risk; engage in adventure.
Ьadventure playground a playground where children are provided
with functional materials for climbing on, building with, etc.
ЬЬadventuresome adj. [ME f. OF aventure, aventurer f. L
adventurus about to happen (as ADVENT)]
n. (fem. adventuress) 1 a person who seeks adventure, esp. for
personal gain or enjoyment. 2 a financial speculator. [F
aventurier (as ADVENTURE)]
n. a tendency to take risks, esp. in foreign policy.
adj. 1 rash, venturesome; enterprising. 2 characterized by
adventures. ЬЬadventurously adv. adventurousness n. [ME f. OF
aventuros (as ADVENTURE)]
adverb n. a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies another word
(esp. an adjective, verb, or other adverb) or a word-group,
expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner,
cause, degree, etc. (e.g. gently, quite, then, there).
ЬЬadverbial adj. [F adverbe or L adverbium (as AD-, VERB)]
adversary n. (pl. -ies) 1 an enemy. 2 an opponent in a sport or game;
an antagonist. [ME f. OF adversarie f. L adversarius f.
adversus: see ADVERSE]
adj. (of words etc.) expressing opposition or antithesis.
ЬЬadversatively adv. [F adversatif -ive or LL adversativus f.
adversari oppose f. adversus: see ADVERSE]
adverse adj. (often foll. by to) 1 contrary, hostile. 2 hurtful,
injurious. ЬЬadversely adv. adverseness n. [ME f. OF advers
f. L adversus past part. of advertere (as AD-, vertere vers-
adversity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the condition of adverse fortune. 2 a
misfortune. [ME f. OF adversit‚ f. L adversitas -tatis (as
advert(1) n. Brit. colloq. an advertisement. [abbr.]
advert(2) v.intr. (foll. by to) literary refer in speaking or writing.
[ME f. OF avertir f. L advertere: see ADVERSE]
advertise v. 1 tr. draw attention to or describe favourably (goods or
services) in a public medium to promote sales. 2 tr. make
generally or publicly known. 3 intr. (foll. by for) seek by
public notice, esp. in a newspaper. 4 tr. (usu. foll. by of, or
that + clause) notify. ЬЬadvertiser n. [ME f. OF avertir (stem
advertiss-): see ADVERT(2)]
n. 1 a public notice or announcement, esp. one advertising
goods or services in newspapers, on posters, or in broadcasts.
2 the act or process of advertising. 3 archaic a notice to
readers in a book etc. [earlier avert- f. F avertissement (as
advice n. 1 words given or offered as an opinion or recommendation
about future action or behaviour. 2 information given; news. 3
formal notice of a transaction. 4 (in pl.) communications from
a distance. Ьtake advice 1 obtain advice, esp. from an expert.
2 act according to advice given. [ME f. OF avis f. L ad to +
visum past part. of videre see]
advisable adj. 1 (of a course of action etc.) to be recommended. 2
expedient. ЬЬadvisability n. advisably adv.
advise v. 1 tr. (also absol.) give advice to. 2 tr. recommend; offer
as advice (they advise caution; advised me to rest). 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by of, or that + clause) inform, notify. 4 intr.
(foll. by with) US consult. [ME f. OF aviser f. L ad to +
visare frequent. of videre see]
adviser n. (also disp. advisor) 1 a person who advises, esp. one
appointed to do so and regularly consulted. 2 US a person who
advises students on education, careers, etc. °The disputed form
advisor is prob. influenced by the adj. advisory.
advisory adj. & n. --adj. 1 giving advice; constituted to give advice
(an advisory body). 2 consisting in giving advice. --n. (pl.
-ies) US an advisory statement, esp. a bulletin about bad
advocaat n. a liqueur of eggs, sugar, and brandy. [Du., = ADVOCATE
(being orig. an advocate's drink)]
advocacy n. 1 (usu. foll. by of) verbal support or argument for a cause,
policy, etc. 2 the function of an advocate. [ME f. OF
a(d)vocacie f. med.L advocatia (as ADVOCATE)]
advocate n. & v. --n. 1 (foll. by of) a person who supports or speaks
in favour. 2 a person who pleads for another. 3 a a
professional pleader in a court of justice. b Sc. a barrister.
--v.tr. 1 recommend or support by argument (a cause, policy,
etc.). 2 plead for, defend. ЬЬadvocateship n. advocatory adj.
[ME f. OF avocat f. L advocatus past part. of advocare (as AD-,
advowson n. Brit. Eccl. (in ecclesiastical law) the right of
recommending a member of the clergy for a vacant benefice, or of
making the appointment. [ME f. AF a(d)voweson f. OF avoeson f.
L advocatio -onis (as ADVOCATE)]
advt. abbr. advertisement.
adytum n. (pl. adyta) the innermost part of an ancient temple. [L f.
Gk aduton neut. of adutos impenetrable (as A-(1), duo enter)]
adze n. & v. (US adz) --n. a tool for cutting away the surface of
wood, like an axe with an arched blade at right angles to the
handle. --v.tr. dress or cut with an adze. [OE adesa]
adzuki n. (also adsuki, azuki) 1 an annual leguminous plant, Vigna
angularis, native to China and Japan. 2 the small round red
edible bean of this plant. [Jap. azuki]
-ae suffix forming plural nouns, used in names of animal and plant
families, tribes, etc. (Felidae; Rosaceae) and instead of -as
in the plural of many non-naturalized or unfamiliar nouns in -a
derived from Latin or Greek (larvae; actiniae). [pl. -ae of L
nouns in -a or pl. -ai of some Gk nouns]
aedile n. either of a pair of Roman magistrates who administered
public works, maintenance of roads, public games, the
corn-supply, etc. ЬЬaedileship n. [L aedilis concerned with
buildings f. aedes building]
aegis n. a protection; an impregnable defence. Ьunder the aegis of
under the auspices of. [L f. Gk aigis mythical shield of Zeus
aegrotat n. Brit. 1 a certificate that a university student is too ill
to attend an examination. 2 an examination pass awarded in such
circumstances. [L, = is sick f. aeger sick]
-aemia comb. form (also -haemia, US -emia, -hemia) forming nouns
denoting that a substance is (esp. excessively) present in the
blood (bacteriaemia; pyaemia). [mod.L f. Gk -aimia f. haima
aeolian adj. (US eolian) wind-borne. Ьaeolian harp a stringed
instrument or toy that produces musical sounds when the wind
passes through it. [L Aeolius f. Aeolus god of the winds f. Gk
n. Mus. the mode represented by the natural diatonic scale
A-A. [L Aeolius f. Aeolis in Asia Minor f. Gk Aiolis]
aeon n. (also eon) 1 a very long or indefinite period. 2 an age of
the universe. 3 Astron. a thousand million years. 4 an
eternity. 5 Philos. (in Neoplatonism, Platonism, and
Gnosticism) a power existing from eternity, an emanation or
phase of the supreme deity. [eccl.L f. Gk aion age]
aerate v.tr. 1 charge (a liquid) with a gas, esp. carbon dioxide, e.g.
to produce effervescence. 2 expose to the mechanical or
chemical action of the air. ЬЬaeration n. aerator n. [L aer
AIR + -ATE(3), after F a‚rer]
n. Bot. a soft plant tissue containing air spaces found esp.
in many aquatic plants. [Gk aer air + egkhuma infusion]
aerial n. & adj. --n. a metal rod, wire, or other structure by which
signals are transmitted or received as part of a radio
transmission or receiving system. --adj. 1 by or from or
involving aircraft (aerial navigation; aerial photography). 2 a
existing, moving, or happening in the air. b of or in the
atmosphere, atmospheric. 3 a thin as air, ethereal. b
immaterial, imaginary. c of air, gaseous. ЬЬaeriality n.
aerially adv. [L aerius f. Gk aerios f. aer air]
aerialist n. a high-wire or trapeze artist.
aerie var. of EYRIE.
aeriform adj. 1 of the form of air; gaseous. 2 unsubstantial, unreal.
[L aer AIR + -FORM]
aero- comb. form 1 air. 2 aircraft. [Gk aero- f. aer air]
n.pl. 1 feats of expert and usu. spectacular flying and
manoeuvring of aircraft. 2 (as sing.) a performance of these.
[AERO- + ACROBATICS]
aerobe n. a micro-organism usu. growing in the presence of air, or
needing air for growth. [F a‚robie (as AERO-, Gk bios life)]
aerobic adj. 1 of or relating to aerobics. 2 of or relating to
aerobics n.pl. vigorous exercises designed to increase the body's oxygen
n. the study of airborne micro-organisms, pollen, spores, etc.,
esp. as agents of infection.
aerodrome n. Brit. a small airport or airfield. °Now largely replaced
by airfield and airport.
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the study of the interaction
between the air and solid bodies moving through it.
ЬЬaerodynamic adj. aerodynamically adv. aerodynamicist n.
n. an engine used to power an aircraft.
aerofoil n. Brit. a structure with curved surfaces (e.g. a wing, fin,
or tailplane) designed to give lift in flight.
n. (also aerogram) an air letter in the form of a single sheet
that is folded and sealed.
aerolite n. a stony meteorite.
aerology n. the study of the upper levels of the atmosphere.
n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the science or practice of motion
or travel in the air. ЬЬaeronautic adj. aeronautical adj.
[mod.L aeronautica (as AERO-, NAUTICAL)]
aeronomy n. the science of the upper atmosphere.
aeroplane n. esp. Brit. a powered heavier-than-air flying vehicle with
fixed wings. [F a‚roplane (as AERO-, PLANE(1))]
aerosol n. 1 a a container used to hold a substance packed under
pressure with a device for releasing it as a fine spray. b the
releasing device. c the substance contained in an aerosol. 2 a
system of colloidal particles dispersed in a gas (e.g. fog or
smoke). [AERO- + SOL(2)]
aerospace n. 1 the earth's atmosphere and outer space. 2 the technology
of aviation in this region.
aerotrain n. a train that is supported on an air-cushion and guided by a
track. [F a‚rotrain (as AERO-, TRAIN)]
adj. of the nature or colour of verdigris. [L aeruginosus f.
aerugo -inis verdigris f. aes aeris bronze]
adj. of or relating to medicine or physicians. [L Aesculapius
f. Gk Asklepios god of medicine]
aesthete n. (US esthete) a person who has or professes to have a special
appreciation of beauty. [Gk aisthetes one who perceives, or f.
aesthetic adj. & n. (US esthetic) --adj. 1 concerned with beauty or the
appreciation of beauty. 2 having such appreciation; sensitive
to beauty. 3 in accordance with the principles of good taste.
--n. 1 (in pl.) the philosophy of the beautiful, esp. in art.
2 a set of principles of good taste and the appreciation of
beauty. ЬЬaesthetically adv. aestheticism n. [Gk aisthetikos
f. aisthanomai perceive]
aestival adj. (US estival) formal belonging to or appearing in summer.
[ME f. OF estival f. L aestivalis f. aestivus f. aestus heat]
aestivate v.intr. (US estivate) 1 Zool. spend the summer or dry season in
a state of torpor. 2 formal pass the summer. [L aestivare
n. (US estivation) 1 Bot. the arrangement of petals in a
flower-bud before it opens (cf. VERNATION). 2 Zool. spending
the summer or dry season in a state of torpor.
aet. abbr. (also aetat.) aetatis.
aetatis adj. of or at the age of.
aether var. of ETHER 2, 3.
aetiology n. (US etiology) 1 the assignment of a cause or reason. 2 the
philosophy of causation. 3 Med. the science of the causes of
disease. ЬЬaetiologic adj. aetiological adj. aetiologically
adv. [LL aetiologia f. Gk aitiologia f. aitia cause]
AEU abbr. (in the UK) Amalgamated Engineering Union.
AEU(TASS ) abbr. Technical, Administrative, and Supervisory Section of
afar adv. at or to a distance. Ьfrom afar from a distance. [ME f.
A-(2), A-(4) + FAR]
AFC abbr. 1 (in the UK) Air Force Cross. 2 Association Football
AFDCS abbr. (in the UK) Association of First Division Civil Servants
affable adj. 1 (of a person) approachable and friendly. 2 kind and
courteous, esp. to inferiors. ЬЬaffability n. affably adv. [F
f. L affabilis f. affari (as AD-, fari speak)]
affair n. 1 a concern; a business; a matter to be attended to (that is
my affair). 2 a a celebrated or notorious happening or sequence
of events. b colloq. a noteworthy thing or event (was a
puzzling affair). 3 = love affair. 4 (in pl.) a ordinary
pursuits of life. b business dealings. c public matters
(current affairs). [ME f. AF afere f. OF afaire f. … faire to
do: cf. ADO]
affaire n. (also affaire de coeur) a love affair. [F]
affair‚ adj. busy; involved. [F]
affect(1) v.tr. 1 a produce an effect on. b (of a disease etc.) attack
(his liver is affected). 2 move; touch the feelings of
(affected me deeply). °Often confused with effect, which as a
verb means 'bring about; accomplish'. ЬЬaffecting adj.
affectingly adv. [F affecter or L afficere affect- influence
(as AD-, facere do)]
affect(2) v.tr. 1 pretend to have or feel (affected indifference). 2
(foll. by to + infin.) pretend. 3 assume the character or
manner of; pose as (affect the freethinker). 4 make a show of
liking or using (she affects fancy hats). [F affecter or L
affectare aim at, frequent. of afficere (as AFFECT(1))]
affect(3) n. Psychol. a feeling, emotion, or desire, esp. as leading to
action. [G Affekt f. L affectus disposition f. afficere (as
n. 1 an assumed or contrived manner of behaviour, esp. in order
to impress. 2 (foll. by of) a studied display. 3 pretence. [F
affectation or L affectatio (as AFFECT(2))]
affected adj. 1 in senses of AFFECT(1), AFFECT(2). 2 artificially
assumed or displayed; pretended (an affected air of innocence).
3 (of a person) full of affectation; artificial. 4 (prec. by
adv.; often foll. by towards) disposed, inclined. ЬЬaffectedly
affection n. 1 (often foll. by for, towards) goodwill; fond or kindly
feeling. 2 a disease; a diseased condition. 3 a mental state;
an emotion. 4 a mental disposition. 5 the act or process of
affecting or being affected. ЬЬaffectional adj. (in sense 3).
affectionally adv. [ME f. OF f. L affectio -onis (as
adj. loving, fond; showing love or tenderness.
ЬЬaffectionately adv. [F affectionn‚ or med.L affectionatus (as
affective adj. 1 concerning the affections; emotional. 2 Psychol.
relating to affects. ЬЬaffectivity n. [F affectif -ive f. LL
affectivus (as AFFECT(1))]
n. 1 a dog of a small breed resembling the griffon. 2 this
breed. [G f. Affe monkey + Pinscher terrier]
afferent adj. Physiol. conducting inwards or towards (afferent nerves;
afferent vessels) (opp. EFFERENT). [L afferre (as AD-, ferre
affiance v.tr. (usu. in passive) literary promise solemnly to give (a
person) in marriage. [ME f. OF afiancer f. med.L affidare (as
AD-, fidus trusty)]
affidavit n. a written statement confirmed by oath, for use as evidence
in court. [med.L, = has stated on oath, f. affidare: see
affiliate v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (usu. in passive; foll. by to, with) attach
or connect (a person or society) with a larger organization. 2
tr. (of an institution) adopt (persons as members, societies as
branches). 3 intr. a (foll. by to) associate oneself with a
society. b (foll. by with) associate oneself with a political
party. --n. an affiliated person or organization. [med.L
affiliare adopt (as AD-, filius son]
n. the act or process of affiliating or being affiliated.
Ьaffiliation order Brit. a legal order that the man judged to
be the father of an illegitimate child must help to support it.
[F f. med.L affiliatio f. affiliare: see AFFILIATE]
affined adj. related, connected. [affine (adj.) f. L affinis related:
affinity n. (pl. -ies) 1 (often foll. by between, or disp. to, for) a
spontaneous or natural liking for or attraction to a person or
thing. 2 relationship, esp. by marriage. 3 resemblance in
structure between animals, plants, or languages. 4 a similarity
of characters suggesting a relationship. 5 Chem. the tendency
of certain substances to combine with others. [ME f. OF afinit‚
f. L affinitas -tatis f. affinis related, lit. bordering on (as
AD- + finis border)]
affirm v. 1 tr. assert strongly; state as a fact. 2 intr. a Law make
an affirmation. b make a formal declaration. 3 tr. Law
confirm, ratify (a judgement). ЬЬaffirmatory adj. affirmer n.
[ME f. OF afermer f. L affirmare (as AD-, firmus strong)]
n. 1 the act or process of affirming or being affirmed. 2 Law
a solemn declaration by a person who conscientiously declines to
take an oath. [F affirmation or L affirmatio (as AFFIRM)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 affirming; asserting that a thing is so. 2
(of a vote) expressing approval. --n. 1 an affirmative
statement, reply, or word. 2 (prec. by the) a positive or
affirming position. Ьaffirmative action esp. US action
favouring those who often suffer from discrimination. in the
affirmative with affirmative effect; so as to accept or agree to
a proposal; yes (the answer was in the affirmative).
ЬЬaffirmatively adv. [ME f. OF affirmatif -ive f. LL
affirmativus (as AFFIRM)]
affix v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by to, on) attach, fasten. 2
add in writing (a signature or postscript). 3 impress (a seal
or stamp). --n. 1 an appendage; an addition. 2 Gram. an
addition or element placed at the beginning (prefix) or end (
suffix) of a root, stem, or word, or in the body of a word
(infix), to modify its meaning. ЬЬaffixture n. [F affixer,
affixe or med.L affixare frequent. of L affigere (as AD-, figere
afflatus n. a divine creative impulse; inspiration. [L f. afflare (as
AD-, flare flat- to blow)]
afflict v.tr. inflict bodily or mental suffering on. Ьafflicted with
suffering from. ЬЬafflictive adj. [ME f. L afflictare, or
afflict- past part. stem of affligere (as AD-, fligere flict-
n. 1 physical or mental distress, esp. pain or illness. 2 a
cause of this. [ME f. OF f. L afflictio -onis (as AFFLICT)]
affluence n. an abundant supply of money, commodities, etc.; wealth. [ME
f. F f. L affluentia f. affluere: see AFFLUENT]
affluent adj. & n. --adj. 1 wealthy, rich. 2 abundant. 3 flowing
freely or copiously. --n. a tributary stream. Ьaffluent
society a society in which material wealth is widely
distributed. ЬЬaffluently adv. [ME f. OF f. L affluere (as
AD-, fluere flux- flow)]
afflux n. a flow towards a point; an influx. [med.L affluxus f. L
affluere: see AFFLUENT]
afford v.tr. 1 (prec. by can or be able to; often foll. by to +
infin.) a have enough money, means, time, etc., for; be able to
spare (can afford њ50; could not afford a holiday; can we afford
to buy a new television?). b be in a position to do something
(esp. without risk of adverse consequences) (can't afford to let
him think so). 2 yield a supply of. 3 provide (affords a view
of the sea). ЬЬaffordable adj. affordability n. [ME f. OE
geforthian promote (as Y-, FORTH), assim. to words in AF-]
afforest v.tr. 1 convert into forest. 2 plant with trees.
ЬЬafforestation n. [med.L afforestare (as AD-, foresta FOREST)]
v.tr. release from servitude or an obligation. [OF afranchir
(as ENFRANCHISE, with prefix A-(3))]
affray n. a breach of the peace by fighting or rioting in public. [ME
f. AF afrayer (v.) f. OF esfreer f. Rmc]
affricate n. Phonet. a combination of a plosive with an immediately
following fricative or spirant, e.g. ch. [L affricare (as AD-,
affront n. & v. --n. an open insult (feel it an affront; offer an
affront to). --v.tr. 1 insult openly. 2 offend the modesty or
self-respect of. 3 face, confront. [ME f. OF afronter slap in
the face, insult, ult. f. L frons frontis face]
Afghan n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or national of Afghanistan. b a
person of Afghan descent. 2 the official language of
Afghanistan (also called PASHTO). 3 (afghan) a knitted and sewn
woollen blanket or shawl. 4 (in full Afghan coat) a kind of
sheepskin coat with the skin outside and usu. with a shaggy
border. --adj. of or relating to Afghanistan or its people or
language. ЬAfghan hound a tall hunting dog with long silky
hair. [Pashto afghani]
Afghani n. (pl. Afghanis) the chief monetary unit of Afghanistan.
n. (pl. -os) a devotee of a sport or pastime (orig. of
afield adv. 1 away from home; to or at a distance ( esp. far afield).
2 in the field. [OE (as A(2), FIELD)]
afire adv. & predic.adj. 1 on fire. 2 intensely roused or excited.
aflatoxin n. Chem. any of several related toxic compounds produced by
the fungus Aspergillus flavus, which cause tissue damage and
cancer. [Aspergillus + flavus + TOXIN]
afloat adv. & predic.adj. 1 floating in water or air. 2 at sea; on
board ship. 3 out of debt or difficulty. 4 in general
circulation; current. 5 full of or covered with a liquid. 6 in
full swing. [OE (as A(2), FLOAT)]
AFM abbr. (in the UK) Air Force Medal.
afoot adv. & predic.adj. 1 in operation; progressing. 2 astir; on
afore prep. & adv. archaic before; previously; in front (of). [OE
onforan (as A(2), FORE)]
afore- comb. form before, previously (aforementioned; aforesaid).
adj. premeditated (following a noun : malice aforethought).
adv. & adj. with a yet stronger reason (than a conclusion
already accepted); more conclusively. [L]
afraid predic.adj. 1 (often foll. by of, or that or lest + clause)
alarmed, frightened. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) unwilling or
reluctant for fear of the consequences (was afraid to go in).
Ьbe afraid (foll. by that + clause) colloq. admit or declare
with (real or politely simulated) regret (I'm afraid there's
none left). [ME, past part. of obs. affray (v.) f. AF afrayer
f. OF esfreer]
afreet n. (also afrit) a demon in Muslim mythology. [Arab. ' ifrit]
afresh adv. anew; with a fresh beginning. [A-(2) + FRESH]
African n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Africa (esp. a dark-skinned
person). 2 a person of African descent. --adj. of or relating
to Africa. ЬAfrican American an American citizen of African
origin or descent. African elephant the elephant, Loxodonta
africana, of Africa, which is larger than the Indian elephant.
African violet a saintpaulia, Saintpaulia ionantha, with
heart-shaped velvety leaves and blue, purple, or pink flowers.
Africana n.pl. things connected with Africa.
n. (also Afrikander) one of a S. African breed of sheep or
longhorn cattle. [Afrik. Afrikaander alt. of Du. Afrikaner
after Hollander etc.]
Afrikaans n. the language of the Afrikaner people developed from Cape
Dutch, an official language of the Republic of South Africa.
[Du., = African]
var. of AFRICANDER.
Afrikaner n. 1 an Afrikaans-speaking White person in S. Africa, esp. one
of Dutch descent. 2 Bot. a S. African species of Gladiolus or
Homoglossum. [Afrik., formed as AFRICANDER]
afrit var. of AFREET.
Afro adj. & n. --adj. (of a hairstyle) long and bushy, as naturally
grown by some Blacks. --n. (pl. -os) an Afro hairstyle.
[AFRO-, or abbr. of AFRICAN]
Afro- comb. form African (Afro-Asian). [L Afer Afr- African]
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to American Blacks or their
culture. --n. an American Black.
n. & adj. --n. a person of African descent in or from the
Caribbean. --adj. of or relating to the Afro-Caribbeans or
n. 1 an African tree, Pericopsis (formerly Afrormosia) elata,
yielding a hard wood resembling teak and used for furniture. 2
this wood. [mod.L f. AFRO- + Ormosia genus of trees]
aft adv. Naut. & Aeron. at or towards the stern or tail. [prob.
f. ME baft: see ABAFT]
after prep., conj., adv., & adj. --prep. 1 a following in time;
later than (after six months; after midnight; day after day). b
US in specifying time (a quarter after eight). 2 (with causal
force) in view of (something that happened shortly before)
(after your behaviour tonight what do you expect?). 3 (with
concessive force) in spite of (after all my efforts I'm no
better off). 4 behind (shut the door after you). 5 in pursuit
or quest of (run after them; inquire after him; hanker after it;
is after a job). 6 about, concerning (asked after her; asked
after her health). 7 in allusion to (named him William after
the prince). 8 in imitation of (a person, word, etc.) (a
painting after Rubens; 'aesthete' is formed after 'athlete'). 9
next in importance to (the best book on the subject after mine).
10 according to (after a fashion). --conj. in or at a time
later than that when (left after they arrived). --adv. 1 later
in time (soon after; a week after). 2 behind in place (followed
on after; look before and after). --adj. 1 later, following
(in after years). 2 Naut. nearer the stern (after cabins; after
mast; after-peak). Ьafter all 1 in spite of all that has
happened or has been said etc. (after all, what does it
matter?). 2 in spite of one's exertions, expectations, etc.
(they tried for an hour and failed after all; so you have come
after all!). after-care care of a patient after a stay in
hospital or of a person on release from prison. after-damp
choking gas left after an explosion of firedamp in a mine.
after-effect an effect that follows after an interval or after
the primary action of something. after-image an image retained
by a sense-organ, esp. the eye, and producing a sensation after
the cessation of the stimulus. after one's own heart see HEART.
after-taste a taste remaining or recurring after eating or
drinking. after you a formula used in offering precedence. [OE
‘fter f. Gmc]
n. Med. the placenta and foetal membranes discharged from the
womb after childbirth.
n. an auxiliary burner in a jet engine to increase thrust.
afterglow n. a light or radiance remaining after its source has
disappeared or been removed.
afterlife n. 1 Relig. life after death. 2 life at a later time.
n. 1 a market in spare parts and components. 2 US Stock Exch.
a market in shares after their original issue.
aftermath n. 1 consequences; after-effects (the aftermath of war). 2 new
grass growing after mowing or after a harvest. [AFTER adj. +
math mowing f. OE m‘th f. Gmc]
afternoon attrib. n. & int. --n. 1 the time from noon or lunch-time to
evening (this afternoon; during the afternoon; afternoon tea).
2 this time spent in a particular way (had a lazy afternoon). 3
a time compared with this, esp. the later part of something (the
afternoon of life). --int. = good afternoon (see GOOD adj.
n.pl. pains caused by contraction of the womb after childbirth.
afters n.pl. Brit. colloq. the course following the main course of a
n. an astringent lotion for use after shaving.
n. an item or thing that is thought of or added later.
Aga n. propr. a type of large cooking stove or range burning solid
fuel or powered by gas, oil, or electricity. [Sw. f. Svenska
Aktienbolaget Gas ackumulator (Swedish Gas Accumulator Company),
the original manufacturer]
aga n. (in Muslim countries, esp. under the Ottoman Empire) a
commander, a chief. ЬAga Khan the spiritual leader of the
Ismaili Muslims. [Turk. aga master]
again adv. 1 another time; once more. 2 as in a previous position or
condition (back again; home again; quite well again). 3 in
addition (as much again; half as many again). 4 further,
besides (again, what about the children?). 5 on the other hand
(I might, and again I might not). Ьagain and again repeatedly.
[orig. a northern form of ME ayen etc., f. OE ongean, ong‘gn,
etc., f. Gmc]
against prep. 1 in opposition to (fight against the invaders; am
against hanging; arson is against the law). 2 into collision or
in contact with (ran against a rock; lean against the wall; up
against a problem). 3 to the disadvantage of (his age is
against him). 4 in contrast to (against a dark background; 99
as against 102 yesterday). 5 in anticipation of or preparation
for (against his coming; against a rainy day; protected against
the cold; warned against pickpockets). 6 as a compensating
factor to (income against expenditure). 7 in return for (issued
against payment of the fee). Ьagainst the clock see CLOCK(1) 3.
against the grain see GRAIN. against time see TIME. [ME ayenes
etc. f. ayen AGAIN + -t as in amongst: see AMONG]
agama n. any Old World lizard of the genus Agama. [Carib]
agamic adj. characterized by the absence of sexual reproduction. [as
AGAMOUS + -IC]
agamous adj. Biol. without (distinguishable) sexual organs. [LL
agamus f. Gk agamos (as A-(1), gamos marriage)]
n. any African plant of the genus Agapanthus, esp. the
ornamental African lily, with blue or white flowers. [mod.L f.
Gk agape love + anthos flower]
agape(1) adv. & predic.adj. gaping, open-mouthed, esp. with wonder or
agape(2) n. 1 a Christian feast in token of fellowship, esp. one held by
early Christians in commemoration of the Last Supper. 2 Theol.
Christian fellowship, esp. as distinct from erotic love. [Gk, =
agar n. (also agar-agar) a gelatinous substance obtained from any of
various kinds of red seaweed and used in food, microbiological
media, etc. [Malay]
agaric n. any fungus of the family Agaricaceae, with cap and stalk,
including the common edible mushroom. [L agaricum f. Gk
agate n. 1 any of several varieties of hard usu. streaked chalcedony.
2 a coloured toy marble resembling this. [F agate, -the, f. L
achates f. Gk akhates]
agave n. any plant of the genus Agave, with rosettes of narrow spiny
leaves, and tall inflorescences, e.g. the American aloe. [L f.
Gk Agaue, proper name in myth f. agauos illustrious]
agaze adv. gazing.
age n. & v. --n. 1 a the length of time that a person or thing has
existed or is likely to exist. b a particular point in or part
of one's life, often as a qualification (old age; voting age).
2 a colloq. (often in pl.) a long time (took an age to answer;
have been waiting for ages). b a distinct period of the past
(golden age; Bronze age; Middle Ages). c Geol. a period of
time. d a generation. 3 the latter part of life; old age (the
peevishness of age). --v. (pres. part. ageing, aging) 1 intr.
show signs of advancing age (has aged a lot recently). 2 intr.
grow old. 3 intr. mature. 4 tr. cause or allow to age.
Ьage-long lasting for a very long time. age of consent see
CONSENT. age of discretion see DISCRETION. age-old having
existed for a very long time. come of age reach adult status
(esp. in Law at 18, formerly 21). over age 1 old enough. 2 too
old. under age not old enough, esp. not yet of adult status.
[ME f. OF ult. f. L aetas -atis age]
-age suffix forming nouns denoting: 1 an action (breakage; spillage).
2 a condition or function (bondage; a peerage). 3 an aggregate
or number of (coverage; the peerage; acreage). 4 fees payable
for; the cost of using (postage). 5 the product of an action
(dosage; wreckage). 6 a place; an abode (anchorage; orphanage;
parsonage). [OF ult. f. L -aticum neut. of adj. suffix -aticus
aged adj. 1 a of the age of (aged ten). b that has been subjected
to ageing. c (of a horse) over six years old. 2 having lived
ageing n. (also aging) 1 growing old. 2 giving the appearance of
advancing age. 3 a change of properties occurring in some
metals after heat treatment or cold working.
ageism n. (also agism) prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of
age. ЬЬageist adj. & n. (also agist).
ageless adj. 1 never growing or appearing old or outmoded. 2 eternal,
agency n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the business or establishment of an agent
(employment agency). b the function of an agent. 2 a active
operation; action (free agency). b intervening action
(fertilized by the agency of insects). c action personified (an
invisible agency). 3 a specialized department of the United
Nations. [med.L agentia f. L agere do]
agenda n. 1 (pl. agendas) a a list of items of business to be
considered at a meeting. b a series of things to be done. 2
(as pl.) a items to be considered. b things to be done. °Now
very common as a countable noun in sense 1 (cf. DATA, MEDIA).
[L, neut. pl. of gerundive of agere do]
agent n. 1 a a person who acts for another in business, politics,
etc. (estate agent; insurance agent). b a spy. 2 a a person
or thing that exerts power or produces an effect. b the cause
of a natural force or effect on matter (oxidizing agent). c
such a force or effect. Ьagent-general a representative of an
Australian State or Canadian province, usu. in London.
ЬЬagential adj. [L agent- part. stem of agere do]
n. (pl. agents provocateurs pronunc. same) a person employed
to detect suspected offenders by tempting them to overt
self-incriminating action. [F, = provocative agent]
v., n., & adj. --v.tr. & intr. 1 collect into a mass. 2
accumulate in a disorderly way. --n. 1 a mass or collection of
things. 2 Geol. a mass of large volcanic fragments bonded under
heat (cf. CONGLOMERATE). --adj. collected into a mass.
ЬЬagglomeration n. agglomerative adj. [L agglomerare (as AD-,
glomerare f. glomus -meris ball)]
v. 1 tr. unite as with glue. 2 tr. & intr. Biol. cause or
undergo adhesion (of bacteria, erythrocytes, etc.). 3 tr. (of
language) combine (simple words) without change of form to
express compound ideas. ЬЬagglutination n. agglutinative adj.
[L agglutinare (as AD-, glutinare f. gluten -tinis glue)]
n. Biol. a substance or antibody causing agglutination.
[AGGLUTINATE + -IN]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 increase the power, rank, or wealth of (a
person or State). 2 cause to appear greater than is the case.
ЬЬaggrandizement n. aggrandizer n. [F agrandir (stem
agrandiss-), prob. f. It. aggrandire f. L grandis large: assim.
to verbs in -IZE]
aggravate v.tr. 1 increase the gravity of (an illness, offence, etc.). 2
disp. annoy, exasperate (a person). ЬЬaggravation n. [L
aggravare aggravat- make heavy f. gravis heavy]
aggregate n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a collection of, or the total of,
disparate elements. 2 pieces of crushed stone, gravel, etc.
used in making concrete. 3 a Geol. a mass of minerals formed
into solid rock. b a mass of particles. --adj. 1 (of
disparate elements) collected into one mass. 2 constituted by
the collection of many units into one body. 3 Bot. a (of
fruit) formed from several carpels derived from the same flower
(e.g. raspberry). b (of a species) closely related. --v. 1
tr. & intr. collect together; combine into one mass. 2 tr.
colloq. amount to (a specified total). 3 tr. unite (was
aggregated to the group). Ьin the aggregate as a whole.
ЬЬaggregation n. aggregative adj. [L aggregare aggregat- herd
together (as AD-, grex gregis flock)]
n. 1 the act or practice of attacking without provocation, esp.
beginning a quarrel or war. 2 an unprovoked attack. 3
self-assertiveness; forcefulness. 4 Psychol. hostile or
destructive tendency or behaviour. [F agression or L aggressio
attack f. aggredi aggress- (as AD-, gradi walk)]
adj. 1 of a person: a given to aggression; openly hostile. b
forceful; self-assertive. 2 (of an act) offensive, hostile. 3
of aggression. ЬЬaggressively adv. aggressiveness n.
aggressor n. a person who attacks without provocation. [L (as
aggrieved adj. having a grievance. ЬЬaggrievedly adv. [ME, past part.
of aggrieve f. OF agrever make heavier (as AD-, GRIEVE(1))]
aggro n. sl. 1 aggressive troublemaking. 2 trouble, difficulty.
[abbr. of AGGRAVATION (see AGGRAVATE) or AGGRESSION]
aghast adj. (usu. predic.; often foll. by at) filled with dismay or
consternation. [ME, past part. of obs. agast, gast frighten:
agile adj. quick-moving, nimble, active. ЬЬagilely adv. agility n.
[F f. L agilis f. agere do]
agin prep. colloq. or dial. against. [corrupt. of AGAINST or
synonymous again obs. prep.]
aging var. of AGEING.
agio n. (pl. agios) 1 the percentage charged on the exchange of one
currency, or one form of money, into another more valuable. 2
the excess value of one currency over another. 3 money-exchange
business. [It. aggio]
agism var. of AGEISM.
agitate v. 1 tr. disturb or excite (a person or feelings). 2 intr.
(often foll. by for, against) stir up interest or concern, esp.
publicly (agitated for tax reform). 3 tr. shake or move, esp.
briskly. ЬЬagitatedly adv. [L agitare agitat- frequent. of
agitation n. 1 the act or process of agitating or being agitated. 2
mental anxiety or concern. [F agitation or L agitatio (as
agitato adv. & adj. Mus. in an agitated manner. [It.]
agitator n. 1 a person who agitates, esp. publicly for a cause etc. 2
an apparatus for shaking or mixing liquid etc. [L (as AGITATE)]
agitprop n. the dissemination of Communist political propaganda, esp. in
plays, films, books, etc. [Russ. (as AGITATION, PROPAGANDA)]
aglet n. 1 a metal tag attached to each end of a shoelace etc. 2 =
AIGUILLETTE. [ME f. F aiguillette small needle, ult. f. L acus
agma n. 1 the sound represented by the symbol. 2 this symbol. [Gk,
agnail n. 1 a piece of torn skin at the root of a fingernail. 2 the
soreness resulting from this. [OE angn‘gl f. n‘gl NAIL n. 1 :
agnate adj. & n. --adj. 1 descended esp. by male line from the same
male ancestor (cf. COGNATE). 2 descended from the same
forefather; of the same clan or nation. 3 of the same nature;
akin. --n. one who is descended esp. by male line from the same
male ancestor. ЬЬagnatic adj. agnation n. [L agnatus f. ad
to + gnasci be born f. stem gen- beget]
agnosia n. Med. the loss of the ability to interpret sensations.
[mod.L f. Gk agnosia ignorance]
agnostic n. & adj. --n. a person who believes that nothing is known, or
can be known, of the existence or nature of God or of anything
beyond material phenomena. --adj. of or relating to agnostics.
ЬЬagnosticism n. [A-(1) + GNOSTIC]
Agnus Dei n. 1 a figure of a lamb bearing a cross or flag, as an emblem
of Christ. 2 the part of the Roman Catholic mass beginning with
the words 'Lamb of God'. [L, = lamb of God]
ago adv. earlier, before the present (ten years ago; long ago).
°Note the construction it is ten years ago that (not since) I
saw them. [ME (ago, agone), past part. of obs. ago (v.) (as
agog adv. & adj. --adv. eagerly, expectantly. --predic.adj. eager,
expectant. [F en gogues f. en in + pl. of gogue fun]
… gogo adv. in abundance (whisky … gogo). [F]
agonic adj. having or forming no angle. Ьagonic line a line passing
through the two poles, along which a magnetic needle points
directly north or south. [Gk agonios without angle (as A-(1),
agonistic adj. polemical, combative. ЬЬagonistically adv. [LL
agonisticus f. Gk agonistikos f. agonistes contestant f. agon
agonize v. (also -ise) 1 intr. (often foll. by over) undergo (esp.
mental) anguish; suffer agony. 2 tr. cause agony to. 3 tr. (as
agonized adj.) expressing agony (an agonized look). 4 intr.
struggle, contend. ЬЬagonizingly adv. [F agoniser or LL
agonizare f. Gk agonizomai contend f. agon contest]
agony n. (pl. -ies) 1 extreme mental or physical suffering. 2 a
severe struggle. Ьagony aunt colloq. a person (esp. a woman)
who answers letters in an agony column. agony column colloq. 1
a column in a newspaper or magazine offering personal advice to
readers who write in. 2 = personal column. [ME f. OF agonie or
LL f. Gk agonia f. agon contest]
n. a person who suffers from agoraphobia.
n. Psychol. an abnormal fear of open spaces or public places.
ЬЬagoraphobic adj. & n. [mod.L f. Gk agora place of assembly,
market-place + -PHOBIA]
agouti n. (also aguti) (pl. agoutis) any burrowing rodent of the
genus Dasyprocta or Myoprocta of Central and S. America, related
to the guinea-pig. [F agouti or Sp. aguti f. Tupi aguti]
AGR abbr. advanced gas-cooled (nuclear) reactor.
agrarian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to the land or its
cultivation. 2 relating to landed property. --n. a person who
advocates a redistribution of landed property. [L agrarius f.
ager agri field]
agree v. (agrees, agreed, agreeing) 1 intr. hold a similar opinion (I
agree with you about that; they agreed that it would rain). 2
intr. (often foll. by to, or to + infin.) consent (agreed to the
arrangement; agreed to go). 3 intr. (often foll. by with) a
become or be in harmony. b suit; be good for (caviar didn't
agree with him). c Gram. have the same number, gender, case, or
person as. 4 tr. reach agreement about (agreed a price). 5 tr.
consent to or approve of (terms, a proposal, etc.). 6 tr. bring
(things, esp. accounts) into harmony. 7 intr. (foll. by on)
decide by mutual consent (agreed on a compromise). Ьagree to
differ leave a difference of opinion etc. unresolved. be agreed
have reached the same opinion. [ME f. OF agreer ult. f. L
agreeable adj. 1 (often foll. by to) pleasing. 2 (often foll. by to) (of
a person) willing to agree (was agreeable to going). 3 (foll.
by to) conformable. ЬЬagreeableness n. agreeably adv. [ME f.
OF agreable f. agreer AGREE]
agreement n. 1 the act of agreeing; the holding of the same opinion
(reached agreement). 2 mutual understanding. 3 an arrangement
between parties as to a course of action etc. 4 Gram. having
the same number, gender, case, or person. 5 a state of being
harmonious. [ME f. OF (as AGREE)]
n. 1 agriculture conducted on strictly commercial principles,
esp. using advanced technology. 2 an organization engaged in
this. 3 the group of industries dealing with the produce of,
and services to, farming. ЬЬagribusinessman n. (pl. -men).
[AGRICULTURE + BUSINESS]
n. the science or practice of cultivating the soil and rearing
animals. ЬЬagricultural adj. agriculturalist n.
agriculturally adv. agriculturist n. [F agriculture or L
agricultura f. ager agri field + cultura CULTURE]
agrimony n. (pl. -ies) any perennial plant of the genus Agrimonia, esp.
A. eupatoria with small yellow flowers. [ME f. OF aigremoine f.
L agrimonia alt. of argemonia f. Gk argemone poppy]
agro- comb. form agricultural (agro-climatic; agro-ecological). [Gk
n. a chemical used in agriculture.
agronomy n. the science of soil management and crop production.
ЬЬagronomic adj. agronomical adj. agronomically adv.
agronomist n. [F agronomie f. agronome agriculturist f. Gk
agros field + -nomos f. nemo arrange]
aground predic.adj. & adv. (of a ship) on or on to the bottom of
shallow water (be aground; run aground). [ME f. A(2) +
ague n. 1 hist. a malarial fever, with cold, hot, and sweating
stages. 2 a shivering fit. ЬЬagued adj. aguish adj. [ME f.
OF f. med.L acuta (febris) acute (fever)]
AH abbr. in the year of the Hegira (AD 622); of the Muslim era.
[L anno Hegirae]
ah int. expressing surprise, pleasure, sudden realization,
resignation, etc. °The sense depends much on intonation. [ME
f. OF a]
aha int. expressing surprise, triumph, mockery, irony, etc. °The
sense depends much on intonation. [ME f. AH + HA]
ahead adv. 1 further forward in space or time. 2 in the lead;
further advanced (ahead on points). 3 in the line of one's
forward motion (roadworks ahead). 4 straight forwards. Ьahead
of 1 further forward or advanced than. 2 in the line of the
forward motion of. [orig. Naut., f. A(2) + HEAD]
ahem (not usu. clearly articulated) int. used to attract attention,
gain time, or express disapproval. [lengthened form of HEM(2)]
ahimsa n. (in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist tradition) respect for
all living things and avoidance of violence towards others both
in thought and deed. [Skr. f. a without + himsa injury]
ahoy int. Naut. a call used in hailing. [AH + HOY(1)]
… huis clos
adv. in private. [F, = with closed doors]
ai n. (pl. ais) the three-toed sloth of S. America, of the genus
Bradypus. [Tupi ai, repr. its cry]
AID abbr. artificial insemination by donor.
aid n. & v. --n. 1 help. 2 financial or material help, esp. given
by one country to another. 3 a material source of help
(teaching aid). 4 a person or thing that helps. 5 hist. a
grant of subsidy or tax to a king. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by
to + infin.) help. 2 promote or encourage (sleep will aid
recovery). Ьin aid of in support of. what's this (or all this)
in aid of? colloq. what is the purpose of this? [ME f. OF
a‹de, a‹dier, ult. f. L adjuvare (as AD-, juvare jut- help)]
-aid comb. form denoting an organization or event that raises money
for charity (school aid). [20th c.: orig. in Band Aid, rock
musicians campaigning for famine relief]
aide n. 1 an aide-de-camp. 2 esp. US an assistant. 3 an
unqualified assistant to a social worker. [abbr.]
n. (pl. aides-de-camp pronunc. same) an officer acting as a
confidential assistant to a senior officer. [F]
n. (pl. aides-m‚moire pronunc. same) 1 a an aid to the memory.
b a book or document meant to aid the memory. 2 Diplomacy a
memorandum. [F f. aider to help + m‚moire memory]
Aids n. (also AIDS) acquired immune deficiency syndrome, an often
fatal syndrome caused by a virus transmitted in the blood,
marked by severe loss of resistance to infection. ЬAids-related
complex the symptoms of a person affected with the Aids virus
without necessarily developing the disease. [abbr.]
aigrette n. 1 an egret. 2 its white plume. 3 a tuft of feathers or
hair. 4 a spray of gems or similar ornament. [F]
aiguille n. a sharp peak of rock, esp. in the Alps. [F: see AGLET]
n. a tagged point hanging from the shoulder on the breast of
some uniforms. [F: see AGLET]
AIH abbr. artificial insemination by husband.
aikido n. a Japanese form of self-defence making use of the attacker's
own movements without causing injury. [Jap. f. ai mutual + ki
mind + do way]
ail v. 1 tr. archaic (only in 3rd person interrog. or indefinite
constructions) trouble or afflict in mind or body ( what ails
him?). 2 intr. (usu. be ailing) be ill. [OE egl(i)an f. egle
ailanthus n. a tall deciduous tree of the genus Ailanthus, esp. A.
altissima, native to China and Australasia. [mod.L ailantus f.
aileron n. a hinged surface in the trailing edge of an aeroplane wing,
used to control lateral balance. [F, dimin. of aile wing f. L
ailing adj. 1 ill, esp. chronically. 2 in poor condition.
ailment n. an illness, esp. a minor one.
aim v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (foll. by at + verbal noun, or to +
infin.) intend or try (aim at winning; aim to win). 2 tr. (usu.
foll. by at) direct or point (a weapon, remark, etc.). 3 intr.
take aim. 4 intr. (foll. by at, for) seek to attain or achieve.
--n. 1 a purpose, a design, an object aimed at. 2 the
directing of a weapon, missile, etc., at an object. Ьtake aim
direct a weapon etc. at an object. [ME f. OF ult. f. L
aimless adj. without aim or purpose. ЬЬaimlessly adv. aimlessness n.
ain't contr. colloq. 1 am not; are not; is not (you ain't doing it
right; she ain't nice). 2 has not; have not (we ain't seen
him). °Usually regarded as an uneducated use, and unacceptable
in spoken and written English, except to represent dialect
speech. [contr. of are not]
air n. & v. --n. 1 an invisible gaseous substance surrounding the
earth, a mixture mainly of oxygen and nitrogen. 2 a the earth's
atmosphere. b the free or unconfined space in the atmosphere
(birds of the air; in the open air). c the atmosphere as a
place where aircraft operate. 3 a a distinctive impression or
characteristic (an air of absurdity). b one's manner or
bearing, esp. a confident one (with a triumphant air; does
things with an air). c (esp. in pl.) an affected manner;
pretentiousness (gave himself airs; airs and graces). 4 Mus. a
tune or melody; a melodious composition. 5 a breeze or light
wind. --v.tr. 1 warm (washed laundry) to remove damp, esp. at
a fire or in a heated cupboard. 2 expose (a room etc.) to the
open air; ventilate. 3 express publicly (an opinion, grievance,
etc.). 4 parade; show ostentatiously (esp. qualities). 5 refl.
go out in the fresh air. Ьair bag a safety device that fills
with air on impact to protect the occupants of a vehicle in a
collision. air-bed an inflatable mattress. air-bladder a
bladder or sac filled with air in fish or some plants (cf.
swim-bladder). air brake 1 a brake worked by air pressure. 2 a
movable flap or other device on an aircraft to reduce its speed.
air-brick a brick perforated with small holes for ventilation.
air-bridge a portable bridge or walkway put against an aircraft
door. Air Chief Marshal an RAF officer of high rank, below
Marshal of the RAF and above Air Marshal. Air Commodore an RAF
officer next above Group Captain. air-conditioned (of a room,
building, etc.) equipped with air-conditioning. air-conditioner
an air-conditioning apparatus. air-conditioning 1 a system for
regulating the humidity, ventilation, and temperature in a
building. 2 the apparatus for this. air-cooled cooled by means
of a current of air. air corridor = CORRIDOR 4. air-cushion 1
an inflatable cushion. 2 the layer of air supporting a
hovercraft or similar vehicle. air force a branch of the armed
forces concerned with fighting or defence in the air.
air-hostess a stewardess in a passenger aircraft. air lane a
path or course regularly used by aircraft (cf. LANE 4). air
letter a sheet of light paper forming a letter for sending by
airmail. air line a pipe supplying air, esp. to a diver. Air
Marshal an RAF officer of high rank, below Air Chief Marshal and
above Air Vice-Marshal. Air Officer any RAF officer above the
rank of Group Captain. air plant a plant growing naturally
without soil. air pocket an apparent vacuum in the air causing
an aircraft to drop suddenly. air power the ability to defend
and attack by means of aircraft, missiles, etc. air pump a
device for pumping air into or out of a vessel. air raid an
attack by aircraft. air rifle a rifle using compressed air to
propel pellets. air sac an extension of the lungs in birds or
the tracheae in insects. air-sea rescue rescue from the sea by
aircraft. air speed the speed of an aircraft relative to the
air through which it is moving. air terminal a building in a
city or town to which passengers report and which serves as a
base for transport to and from an airport. air time time
allotted for a broadcast. air-to-air from one aircraft to
another in flight. air traffic controller an airport official
who controls air traffic by giving radio instructions to pilots
concerning route, altitude, take-off, and landing. Air
Vice-Marshal an RAF officer of high rank, just below Air
Marshal. air waves colloq. radio waves used in broadcasting.
by air by aircraft; in an aircraft. in the air 1 (of opinions
or feelings) prevalent; gaining currency. 2 (of projects etc.)
uncertain, not decided. on (or off) the air in (or not in) the
process of broadcasting. take the air go out of doors. tread
(or walk) on air feel elated. [ME f. F and L f. Gk aer]
airbase n. a base for the operation of military aircraft.
airborne adj. 1 transported by air. 2 (of aircraft) in the air after
airbrush n. & v. --n. an artist's device for spraying paint by means of
compressed air. --v.tr. paint with an airbrush.
Airbus n. propr. a passenger aircraft serving routes of relatively
aircraft n. (pl. aircraft) a machine capable of flight, esp. an
aeroplane or helicopter. Ьaircraft-carrier a warship that
carries and serves as a base for aeroplanes.
n. (pl. -men) the lowest rank in the RAF.
n. (pl. -women) the lowest rank in the WRAF.
aircrew n. 1 the crew manning an aircraft. 2 (pl. aircrew) a member
of such a crew.
Airedale n. 1 a large terrier of a rough-coated breed. 2 this breed.
[Airedale in Yorkshire]
airer n. a frame or stand for airing or drying clothes etc.
airfield n. an area of land where aircraft take off and land, are
airfoil n. US = AEROFOIL. [AIR + FOIL(2)]
airframe n. the body of an aircraft as distinct from its engine(s).
airglow n. radiation from the upper atmosphere, detectable at night.
airgun n. a gun using compressed air to propel pellets.
airhead n. 1 Mil. a forward base for aircraft in enemy territory. 2
esp. US sl. a silly or foolish person.
airing n. 1 exposure to fresh air, esp. for exercise or an excursion.
2 exposure (of laundry etc.) to warm air. 3 public expression
of an opinion etc. (the idea will get an airing at tomorrow's
airless adj. 1 stuffy; not ventilated. 2 without wind or breeze;
still. ЬЬairlessness n.
airlift n. & v. --n. the transport of troops and supplies by air, esp.
in a blockade or other emergency. --v.tr. transport in this
airline n. an organization providing a regular public service of air
transport on one or more routes.
airliner n. a large passenger aircraft.
airlock n. 1 a stoppage of the flow in a pump or pipe, caused by an air
bubble. 2 a compartment with controlled pressure and parallel
sets of doors, to permit movement between areas at different
airmail n. & v. --n. 1 a system of transporting mail by air. 2 mail
carried by air. --v.tr. send by airmail.
airman n. (pl. -men) 1 a pilot or member of the crew of an aircraft,
esp. in an air force. 2 a member of the RAF below commissioned
airmiss n. a circumstance in which two or more aircraft in flight on
different routes are less than a prescribed distance apart.
airmobile adj. (of troops) that can be moved about by air.
airplane n. US = AEROPLANE.
airplay n. broadcasting (of recorded music).
airport n. a complex of runways and buildings for the take-off,
landing, and maintenance of civil aircraft, with facilities for
airscrew n. Brit. an aircraft propeller.
airship n. a power-driven aircraft that is lighter than air.
airsick adj. affected with nausea due to travel in an aircraft.
airspace n. the air available to aircraft to fly in, esp. the part
subject to the jurisdiction of a particular country.
airstrip n. a strip of ground suitable for the take-off and landing of
airtight adj. not allowing air to pass through.
airway n. 1 a a recognized route followed by aircraft. b (often in
pl.) = AIRLINE. 2 a ventilating passage in a mine.
airwoman n. (pl. -women) 1 a woman pilot or member of the crew of an
aircraft, esp. in an air force. 2 a member of the WRAF below
airworthy adj. (of an aircraft) fit to fly.
airy adj. (airier, airiest) 1 well-ventilated, breezy. 2 flippant,
superficial. 3 a light as air. b graceful, delicate. 4
insubstantial, ethereal, immaterial. Ьairy-fairy colloq.
unrealistic, impractical, foolishly idealistic. ЬЬairily adv.
aisle n. 1 part of a church, esp. one parallel to and divided by
pillars from the nave, choir, or transept. 2 a passage between
rows of pews, seats, etc. ЬЬaisled adj. [ME ele, ile f. OF ele
f. L ala wing: confused with island and F aile wing]
ait n. (also eyot) Brit. a small island, esp. in a river. [OE
iggath etc. f. ieg ISLAND + dimin. suffix]
aitch n. the name of the letter H. Ьdrop one's aitches fail to
pronounce the initial h in words. [ME f. OF ache]
aitchbone n. 1 the buttock or rump bone. 2 a cut of beef lying over
this. [ME nage-, nache-bone buttock, ult. f. L natis, -es
buttock(s): for loss of n cf. ADDER, APRON]
-al suffix 1 forming adjectives meaning 'relating to, of the kind
of': a from Latin or Greek words (central; regimental; colossal;
tropical) (cf. -IAL, -ICAL). b from English nouns (tidal). 2
forming nouns, esp. of verbal action (animal; rival; arrival;
proposal; trial). [sense 1 f. F -el or L -alis adj. suffix rel.
to -aris (-AR(1)); sense 2 f. F -aille or f. (or after) L -alis
etc. used as noun]
Ala. abbr. Alabama.
… la prep. after the manner of (… la russe). [F, f. ° LA MODE]
alabaster n. & adj. --n. a translucent usu. white form of gypsum, often
carved into ornaments. --adj. 1 of alabaster. 2 like
alabaster in whiteness or smoothness. ЬЬalabastrine adj. [ME
f. OF alabastre f. L alabaster, -trum, f. Gk alabast(r)os]
… la carte
adv. & adj. ordered as separately priced item(s) from a menu,
not as part of a set meal. [F]
alack int. (also alack-a-day) archaic an expression of regret or
surprise. [prob. f. AH + LACK]
alacrity n. briskness or cheerful readiness. [L alacritas f. alacer
n. a place of great riches. [Aladdin in the Arabian Nights'
n. a talisman enabling its holder to gratify any wish.
… la mode adv. & adj. 1 in fashion; fashionable. 2 a (of beef) braised
in wine. b US served with ice-cream. [F, = in the fashion]
alar adj. 1 relating to wings. 2 winglike or wing-shaped. 3
axillary. [L alaris f. ala wing]
alarm n. & v. --n. 1 a warning of danger etc. (gave the alarm). 2 a
a warning sound or device (the burglar alarm was set off
accidentally). b = alarm clock. 3 frightened expectation of
danger or difficulty (were filled with alarm). --v.tr. 1
frighten or disturb. 2 arouse to a sense of danger. Ьalarm
clock a clock with a device that can be made to sound at the
time set in advance. [ME f. OF alarme f. It. allarme f. all'
arme! to arms]
alarmist n. & adj. --n. a person given to spreading needless alarm.
--adj. creating needless alarm. ЬЬalarmism n.
alarum n. archaic = ALARM. Ьalarums and excursions joc. confused
noise and bustle.
Alas. abbr. Alaska.
alas int. an expression of grief, pity, or concern. [ME f. OF a
las(se) f. a ah + las(se) f. L lassus weary]
Alaska n. Ьbaked Alaska sponge cake and ice-cream in a meringue
covering. [name of a State of the US]
alate adj. having wings or winglike appendages. [L alatus f. ala
alb n. a white vestment reaching to the feet, worn by some
Christian priests at church ceremonies. [OE albe f. eccl.L alba
fem. of L albus white]
albacore n. 1 a long-finned tunny, Thunnus alalunga. Also called GERMON.
2 any of various other related fish. [Port. albacor, -cora, f.
Arab. al the + bakr young camel or bakur premature, precocious]
Albanian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native or national of Albania in SE
Europe. b a person of Albanian descent. 2 the language of
Albania. --adj. of or relating to Albania or its people or
albata n. German silver; an alloy of nickel, copper, and zinc. [L
albata whitened f. albus white]
albatross n. 1 a any long-winged stout-bodied bird of the family
Diomedeidae related to petrels, inhabiting the Pacific and
Southern Oceans. b a source of frustration or guilt; an
encumbrance. 2 Brit. Golf a score of three strokes under par
at any hole. [alt. (after L albus white) of 17th-c. alcatras,
applied to various sea-birds, f. Sp. and Port. alcatraz, var.
of Port. alcatruz f. Arab. alkadus the pitcher]
albedo n. (pl. -os) the proportion of light or radiation reflected by
a surface, esp. of a planet or moon. [eccl.L, = whiteness, f.
L albus white]
albeit conj. literary though (he tried, albeit without success).
albert n. a watch-chain with a bar at one end for attaching to a
buttonhole. [Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria, d. 1861]
albescent adj. growing or shading into white. [L albescere albescent- f.
n.pl. the members of a heretic sect in S. France in the
12th-13th c. ЬЬAlbigensian adj. [L f. Albi in S. France]
albino n. (pl. -os) 1 a person or animal having a congenital absence
of pigment in the skin and hair (which are white), and the eyes
(which are usu. pink). 2 a plant lacking normal colouring.
ЬЬalbinism n. albinotic adj. [Sp. & Port. (orig. of White
Negroes) f. albo L f. albus white + -ino = -INE(1)]
Albion n. (also perfidious Albion) Britain or England. [OE f. L f.
Celt. Albio (unrecorded): F la perfide Albion with ref. to
alleged treachery to other nations]
albite n. Mineral. a feldspar, usu. white, rich in sodium. [L albus
white + -ITE(1)]
album n. 1 a blank book for the insertion of photographs, stamps,
etc. 2 a a long-playing gramophone record. b a set of these.
[L, = a blank tablet, neut. of albus white]
albumen n. 1 egg-white. 2 Bot. the substance found between the skin
and germ of many seeds, usu. the edible part; = ENDOSPERM. [L
albumen -minis white of egg f. albus white]
albumin n. any of a class of water-soluble proteins found in egg-white,
milk, blood, etc. ЬЬalbuminous adj. [F albumine f. L albumin-:
n. = SCLEROPROTEIN.
n. the presence of albumin in the urine, usu. as a symptom of
alburnum n. = SAPWOOD. [L f. albus white]
alcahest var. of ALKAHEST.
alcaic adj. & n. --adj. of the verse metre invented by Alcaeus, lyric
poet of Mytilene c.600 BC, occurring in four-line stanzas. --n.
(in pl.) alcaic verses. [LL alcaicus f. Gk alkaikos f. Alkaios
alcalde n. a magistrate or mayor in a Spanish, Portuguese, or Latin
American town. [Sp. f. Arab. al-kadi the judge: see CADI]
alchemy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the medieval forerunner of chemistry, esp.
seeking to turn base metals into gold or silver. 2 a miraculous
transformation or the means of achieving this. ЬЬalchemic adj.
alchemical adj. alchemist n. alchemize v.tr. (also -ise).
[ME f. OF alkemie, alkamie f. med.L alchimia, -emia, f. Arab.
alkimiya' f. al the + kimiya' f. Gk khemia, -meia art of
n. (in the mythology of some Australian Aboriginals) the
'golden age' when the first ancestors were created.
[Aboriginal, = dream-time]
alcohol n. 1 (in full ethyl alcohol) a colourless volatile inflammable
liquid forming the intoxicating element in wine, beer, spirits,
etc., and also used as a solvent, as fuel, etc. Also called
ETHANOL. °Chem. formula: CHOH. 2 any liquor containing
this. 3 Chem. any of a large class of organic compounds that
contain one or more hydroxyl groups attached to carbon atoms.
[F or med.L f. Arab. al-kuhl f. al the + kuhl KOHL]
alcoholic adj. & n. --adj. of, relating to, containing, or caused by
alcohol. --n. a person suffering from alcoholism.
n. 1 an addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor. 2
the diseased condition resulting from this. [mod.L alcoholismus
n. an instrument for measuring alcoholic concentration.
alcove n. a recess, esp. in the wall of a room or of a garden. [F f.
Sp. alcoba f. Arab. al-kubba f. al the + kubba vault]
aldehyde n. Chem. any of a class of compounds formed by the oxidation
of alcohols (and containing the group -CHO). ЬЬaldehydic adj.
[abbr. of mod.L alcohol dehydrogenatum alcohol deprived of
al dente adj. (of pasta etc.) cooked so as to be still firm when bitten.
[It., lit. 'to the tooth']
alder n. any tree of the genus Alnus, related to the birch, with
catkins and toothed leaves. Ьalder buckthorn a shrub, Frangula
alnus, related to the buckthorn. [OE alor, aler, rel. to L
alnus, with euphonic d]
alderman n. (pl. -men) 1 esp. hist. a co-opted member of an English
county or borough council, next in dignity to the Mayor. 2 US &
Austral. the elected governor of a city. ЬЬaldermanic adj.
aldermanship n. [OE aldor patriarch f. ald old + MAN]
n. a hand lamp for signalling in Morse code. [A. C. W. Aldis,
aldrin n. a white crystalline chlorinated hydrocarbon used as an
insecticide. [K. Alder, Ger. chemist d. 1958 + -IN]
ale n. beer (usu. as a trade word). [OE alu, = ON ”l]
aleatoric adj. 1 depending on the throw of a die or on chance. 2 Mus. &
Art involving random choice by a performer or artist. [L
aleatorius aleator dice-player f. alea die]
aleatory adj. = ALEATORIC. [as ALEATORIC]
alec n. (also aleck) Austral. sl. a stupid person. [shortening of
alee adv. & predic.adj. 1 on the lee or sheltered side of a ship. 2
to leeward. [ME, f. A(2) + LEE]
alehouse n. hist. a tavern.
alembic n. 1 hist. an apparatus formerly used in distilling. 2 a means
of refining or extracting. [ME f. OF f. med.L alembicus f.
Arab. al-' anbik f. al the + ' anbik still f. Gk ambix, -ikos
cup, cap of a still]
aleph n. the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. [Heb. ' alep, lit.
alert adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 watchful or vigilant; ready to take
action. 2 nimble (esp. of mental faculties); attentive. --n.
1 a warning call or alarm. 2 a warning of an air raid. b the
duration of this. --v.tr. (often foll. by to) make alert; warn
(were alerted to the danger). Ьon the alert on the lookout
against danger or attack. ЬЬalertly adv. alertness n. [F
alerte f. It. all' erta to the watch-tower]
-ales suffix forming the plural names of orders of plants (Rosales).
[pl. of L adj. suffix -alis: see -AL]
aleuron n. (also aleurone) Biochem. a protein found as granules in the
seeds of plants etc. [Gk aleuron flour]
A level n. Brit. = advanced level (see ADVANCE).
alewife n. (pl. alewives) US any of several species of fish allied to
the herring. [corrupt. of 17th-c. aloofe: orig. uncert.]
n. an umbelliferous plant, Smyrnium olusatrum, formerly used in
salads but superseded by celery. [OE f. med.L alexandrum]
n. a technique for controlling posture as an aid to improved
well-being. [F. M. Alexander, physiotherapist d. 1955]
adj. 1 of or characteristic of Alexandria in Egypt. 2 a
belonging to or akin to the schools of literature and philosophy
of Alexandria. b (of a writer) derivative or imitative; fond of
adj. & n. --adj. (of a line of verse) having six iambic feet.
--n. an alexandrine line. [F alexandrin f. Alexandre Alexander
(the Great), the subject of an Old French poem in this metre]
n. Mineral. a green variety of chrysoberyl. [Tsar Alexander I
of Russia + -ITE(1)]
alexia n. the inability to see words or to read, caused by a condition
of the brain. [mod.L, A-(1) + Gk lexis speech f. legein to
speak, confused with L legere to read]
alfalfa n. a leguminous plant, Medicago sativa, with clover-like leaves
and flowers used for fodder. Also called LUCERNE. [Sp. f. Arab.
al-fasfasa, a green fodder]
alfresco adv. & adj. in the open air (we lunched alfresco; an alfresco
lunch). [It. al fresco in the fresh (air)]
alga n. (pl. algae) (usu. in pl.) a non-flowering stemless
water-plant, esp. seaweed and phytoplankton. ЬЬalgal adj.
algoid adj. [L]
algebra n. 1 the branch of mathematics that uses letters and other
general symbols to represent numbers and quantities in formulae
and equations. 2 a system of this based on given axioms (linear
algebra; the algebra of logic). ЬЬalgebraic adj. algebraical
adj. algebraically adv. algebraist n. [It. & Sp. & med.L, f.
Arab. al-jabr f. al the + jabr reunion of broken parts f.
-algia comb. form Med. denoting pain in a part specified by the first
element (neuralgia). ЬЬ-algic comb. form forming adjectives.
[Gk f. algos pain]
algicide n. a preparation for destroying algae.
algid adj. Med. cold, chilly. ЬЬalgidity n. [L algidus f. algere
alginate n. a salt or ester of alginic acid. [ALGA + -IN + -ATE(1)]
n. an insoluble carbohydrate found (chiefly as salts) in many
brown seaweeds. [ALGA + -IN + -IC]
algoid see ALGA.
Algol n. a high-level computer programming language. [ALGORITHMIC
(see ALGORITHM) + LANGUAGE]
n. sexual pleasure got from inflicting pain on oneself or
others; masochism or sadism. ЬЬalgolagnic adj. & n. [mod.L f.
G Algolagnie f. Gk algos pain + lagneia lust]
algology n. the study of algae. ЬЬalgological adj. algologist n.
adj. & n. (also Algonkian) --adj. of or relating to a large
group of N. American Indian tribes. --n. 1 a member of any of
these tribes. 2 any of the languages or dialects used by them.
[Algonquin people + -IAN]
algorithm n. (also algorism) 1 Math. a process or set of rules used for
calculation or problem-solving, esp. with a computer. 2 the
Arabic or decimal notation of numbers. ЬЬalgorithmic adj.
[algorism ME ult. f. Pers. al-Kuwarizmi 9th-c. mathematician:
algorithm infl. by Gk arithmos number (cf. F algorithme)]
alguacil n. (also alguazil) 1 a mounted official at a bullfight. 2 a
constable or an officer of justice in Spain or Spanish-speaking
countries. [Sp. f. Arab. al-wazir f. al the + wazir: see
alias adv. & n. --adv. also named or known as. --n. a false or
assumed name. [L, = at another time, otherwise]
alibi n. & v. --n. 1 a claim, or the evidence supporting it, that
when an alleged act took place one was elsewhere. 2 disp. an
excuse of any kind; a pretext or justification. --v. (alibis,
alibied, alibiing) colloq. 1 tr. provide an alibi or offer an
excuse for (a person). 2 intr. provide an alibi. [L, =
alicyclic adj. Chem. of, denoting, or relating to organic compounds
combining a cyclic structure with aliphatic properties, e.g.
cyclohexane. [G alicyclisch (as ALIPHATIC, CYCLIC)]
alidade n. Surveying & Astron. an instrument for determining
directions or measuring angles. [F f. med.L f. Arab. al-'
idada the revolving radius f. ' adud upper arm]
alien adj. & n. --adj. 1 a (often foll. by to) unfamiliar; not in
accordance or harmony; unfriendly, hostile; unacceptable or
repugnant (army discipline was alien to him; struck an alien
note). b (often foll. by from) different or separated. 2
foreign; from a foreign country (help from alien powers). 3 of
or relating to beings supposedly from other worlds. 4 Bot. (of
a plant) introduced from elsewhere and naturalized in its new
home. --n. 1 a foreigner, esp. one who is not a naturalized
citizen of the country where he or she is living. 2 a being
from another world. 3 Bot. an alien plant. ЬЬalienness n. [ME
f. OF f. L alienus belonging to another (alius)]
alienable adj. Law able to be transferred to new ownership.
alienage n. the state or condition of being an alien.
alienate v.tr. 1 a cause (a person) to become unfriendly or hostile. b
(often foll. by from) cause (a person) to feel isolated or
estranged from (friends, society, etc.). 2 transfer ownership
of (property) to another person etc. ЬЬalienator n. [ME f. L
alienare alienat- (as ALIEN)]
n. 1 the act or result of alienating. 2 (Theatr. alienation
effect) a dramatic effect whereby an audience remains objective,
not identifying with the characters or action of a play.
alienist n. US a psychiatrist, esp. a legal adviser on psychiatric
problems. [F ali‚niste (as ALIEN)]
aliform adj. wing-shaped. [mod.L aliformis f. L ala wing: see -FORM]
alight(1) v.intr. 1 a (often foll. by from) descend from a vehicle. b
dismount from a horse. 2 descend and settle; come to earth from
the air. 3 (foll. by on) find by chance; notice. [OE alihtan
(as A-(2), lihtan LIGHT(2) v.)]
alight(2) predic.adj. 1 on fire; burning (they set the old shed alight;
is the fire still alight?). 2 lighted up; excited (eyes alight
with expectation). [ME, prob. f. phr. on a light (= lighted)
align v.tr. 1 put in a straight line or bring into line (three books
were neatly aligned on the shelf). 2 esp. Polit. (usu. foll. by
with) bring (oneself etc.) into agreement or alliance with (a
cause, policy, political party, etc.). ЬЬalignment n. [F
aligner f. phr. … ligne into line: see LINE(1)]
alike adj. & adv. --adj. (usu. predic.) similar, like one another;
indistinguishable. --adv. in a similar way or manner (all were
treated alike). [ME f. OE gelic and ON glЎkr (LIKE(1))]
aliment n. formal 1 food. 2 support or mental sustenance. ЬЬalimental
adj. [ME f. F aliment or L alimentum f. alere nourish]
adj. of, relating to, or providing nourishment or sustenance.
Ьalimentary canal Anat. the passage along which food is passed
from the mouth to the anus during digestion. [L alimentarius
n. 1 nourishment; feeding. 2 maintenance, support; supplying
with the necessities of life. [F alimentation or med.L
alimentatio f. alimentare (as ALIMENT)]
alimony n. the money payable by a man to his wife or former wife or by
a woman to her husband or former husband after they are
separated or divorced. °In UK use replaced by maintenance. [L
alimonia nutriment f. alere nourish]
A-line adj. (of a garment) having a narrow waist or shoulders and
somewhat flared skirt.
aliphatic adj. Chem. of, denoting, or relating to organic compounds in
which carbon atoms form open chains, not aromatic rings. [Gk
aleiphar -atos fat]
aliquot adj. & n. --adj. (of a part or portion) contained by the whole
an integral or whole number of times (4 is an aliquot part of
12). --n. 1 an aliquot part; an integral factor. 2 (in
general use) any known fraction of a whole; a sample. [F
aliquote f. L aliquot some, so many]
alive adj. (usu. predic.) 1 (of a person, animal, plant, etc.)
living, not dead. 2 a (of a thing) existing; continuing; in
operation or action (kept his interest alive). b under
discussion; provoking interest (the topic is still very much
alive today). 3 (of a person or animal) lively, active. 4
charged with an electric current; connected to a source of
electricity. 5 (foll. by to) aware of; alert or responsive to.
6 (foll. by with) a swarming or teeming with. b full of.
Ьalive and kicking colloq. very active; lively. alive and well
still alive or active (esp. despite contrary assumptions or
rumours). ЬЬaliveness n. [OE on life (as A(2), LIFE)]
alizarin n. 1 the red colouring matter of madder root, used in dyeing.
2 (attrib.) (of a dye) derived from or similar to this pigment.
[F alizarine f. alizari madder f. Arab. al-' isara pressed
juice f. ' asara to press fruit]
alkahest n. (also alcahest) the universal solvent sought by alchemists.
[sham Arab., prob. invented by Paracelsus]
alkali n. (pl. alkalis) 1 a any of a class of substances that
liberate hydroxide ions in water, usu. form caustic or corrosive
solutions, turn litmus blue, and have a pH of more than 7, e.g.
caustic soda. b any other substance with similar but weaker
properties, e.g. sodium carbonate. 2 Chem. any substance that
reacts with or neutralizes hydrogen ions. Ьalkali metals any of
the univalent group of metals, lithium, sodium, potassium,
rubidium, and caesium, whose hydroxides are alkalis.
ЬЬalkalimeter n. alkalimetry n. [ME f. med.L, f. Arab.
al-kali calcined ashes f. kala fry]
alkaline adj. of, relating to, or having the nature of an alkali; rich
in alkali. Ьalkaline earth 1 any of the bivalent group of
metals, beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and
radium. 2 an oxide of the lime group. ЬЬalkalinity n.
alkaloid n. any of a series of nitrogenous organic compounds of plant
origin, many of which are used as drugs, e.g. morphine, quinine.
[G (as ALKALI)]
alkalosis n. Med. an excessive alkaline condition of the body fluids or
alkane n. Chem. any of a series of saturated aliphatic hydrocarbons
having the general formula C[n]H[2n+2], including methane,
ethane, and propane. [ALKYL + -ANE(2)]
alkanet n. 1 a any plant of the genus Alkanna, esp. A. tinctoria,
yielding a red dye from its roots. b the dye itself. 2 any of
various similar plants. [ME f. Sp. alcaneta dimin. of alcana
f. Arab. al-hinna' the henna shrub]
alkene n. Chem. any of a series of unsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbons
containing a double bond and having the general formula
C[n]H[2n], including ethylene and propene. [ALKYL + -ENE]
alkyd n. any of the group of synthetic resins derived from various
alcohols and acids. [ALKYL + ACID]
alkyl n. (in full alkyl radical) Chem. any radical derived from an
alkane by the removal of a hydrogen atom. [G Alkohol ALCOHOL +
alkylate v.tr. Chem. introduce an alkyl radical into (a compound).
alkyne n. Chem. any of a series of unsaturated aliphatic hydrocarbons
containing a triple bond and having the general formula
C[n]H[2n-2], including acetylene. [ALKYL + -YNE]
all adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 a the whole amount, quantity, or
extent of (waited all day; all his life; we all know why; take
it all). b (with pl.) the entire number of (all the others
left; all ten men; the children are all boys; film stars all).
2 any whatever (beyond all doubt). 3 greatest possible (with
all speed). --n. 1 a all the persons or things concerned (all
were present; all were thrown away). b everything (all is lost;
that is all). 2 (foll. by of) a the whole of (take all of it).
b every one of (all of us). c colloq. as much as (all of six
feet tall). d colloq. affected by; in a state of (all of a
dither). 3 one's whole strength or resources (prec. by my,
your, etc.). 4 (in games) on both sides (two goals all).
°Widely used with of in sense 2a, b, esp. when followed by a
pronoun or by a noun implying a number of persons or things, as
in all of the children are here. However, use with mass nouns
(as in all of the bread) is often avoided. --adv. 1 a
entirely, quite (dressed all in black; all round the room; the
all-important thing). b as an intensifier (a book all about
ships; stop all this grumbling). 2 colloq. very (went all shy).
3 (foll. by the + compar.) a by so much; to that extent (if
they go, all the better). b in the full degree to be expected
(that makes it all the worse). Ьall along all the time (he was
joking all along). all-American 1 representing the whole of (or
only) America or the US. 2 truly American (all-American boy).
all and sundry everyone. all-around US = all-round. All Blacks
colloq. the New Zealand international Rugby Union football
team. all but very nearly (it was all but impossible; he was
all but drowned). all-clear a signal that danger or difficulty
is over. All Fools' Day 1 April. all for colloq. strongly in
favour of. All Hallows see HALLOW. all-important crucial;
vitally important. all in colloq. exhausted. all-in (attrib.)
inclusive of all. all in all everything considered. all-in
wrestling wrestling with few or no restrictions. all manner of
see MANNER. all of a sudden see SUDDEN. all one (or the same)
(usu. foll. by to) a matter of indifference (it's all one to
me). all out involving all one's strength; at full speed (also
(with hyphen) attrib. : an all-out effort). all over 1
completely finished. 2 in or on all parts of (esp. the body)
(went hot and cold all over; mud all over the carpet). 3
colloq. typically (that is you all over). 4 sl. effusively
attentive to (a person). all-purpose suitable for many uses.
all right (predic.) 1 satisfactory; safe and sound; in good
condition. 2 satisfactorily, as desired (it worked out all
right). 3 a an interjection expressing consent or assent to a
proposal or order. b as an intensifier (that's the one all
right). all-right attrib.adj. colloq. fine, acceptable (an
all-right guy). all round 1 in all respects (a good performance
all round). 2 for each person (he bought drinks all round).
all-round (attrib.) (of a person) versatile. all-rounder Brit.
a versatile person. All Saints' Day 1 Nov. all the same
nevertheless, in spite of this (he was innocent but was punished
all the same). all set colloq. ready to start. All Souls' Day
2 Nov. all there colloq. mentally alert. all-time (of a
record etc.) hitherto unsurpassed. all the time see TIME. all
together all at once; all in one place or in a group (they came
all together) ( cf. ALTOGETHER). all told in all. all-up
weight the total weight of an aircraft with passengers, cargo,
etc., when airborne. all very well colloq. an expression used
to reject or to imply scepticism about a favourable or consoling
remark. all the way the whole distance; completely. at all
(with neg. or interrog.) in any way; to any extent (did not swim
at all; did you like it at all?). be all up with see UP. in
all in total number; altogether (there were 10 people in all).
on all fours see FOUR. one and all everyone. [OE all, eall,
prob. f. Gmc]
n. Mus. a time signature indicating 2 or 4 minim beats in a
bar. [It., = at the BREVE]
var. of A CAPPELLA.
Allah n. the name of God among Arabs and Muslims. [Arab. ' allah
contr. of al-' ilah f. al the + ilah god]
allantois n. (pl. allantoides) Zool. one of several membranes that
develop in embryonic reptiles, birds, or mammals. ЬЬallantoic
adj. [mod.L f. Gk allantoeides sausage-shaped]
n. 1 an assertion, esp. an unproved one. 2 the act or an
instance of alleging. [ME f. F all‚gation or L allegatio f.
allege v.tr. 1 (often foll. by that + clause, or to + infin.) declare
to be the case, esp. without proof. 2 advance as an argument or
excuse. ЬЬalleged adj. [ME f. AF alegier, OF esligier clear at
law; confused in sense with L allegare: see ALLEGATION]
allegedly adv. as is alleged or said to be the case.
n. 1 loyalty (to a person or cause etc.). 2 the duty of a
subject to his or her sovereign or government. [ME f. AF f. OF
ligeance (as LIEGE): perh. assoc. with ALLIANCE]
adj. (also allegoric) consisting of or relating to allegory; by
means of allegory. ЬЬallegorically adv.
v.tr. (also -ise) treat as or by means of an allegory.
allegory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a story, play, poem, picture, etc., in which
the meaning or message is represented symbolically. 2 the use
of such symbols. 3 a symbol. ЬЬallegorist n. [ME f. OF
allegorie f. L allegoria f. Gk allegoria f. allos other +
adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a fairly brisk tempo.
--n. (pl. -os) an allegretto passage or movement. [It.,
dimin. of ALLEGRO]
allegro adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a brisk tempo. --n.
(pl. -os) an allegro passage or movement. [It., = lively, gay]
allele n. (also allel) one of the (usu. two) alternative forms of a
gene. ЬЬallelic adj. [G Allel, abbr. of ALLELOMORPH]
n. = ALLELE. ЬЬallelomorphic adj. [Gk allel- one another +
alleluia int. & n. (also alleluya, hallelujah) --int. God be praised.
--n. 1 praise to God. 2 a song of praise to God. 3 RC Ch. the
part of the mass including this. [ME f. eccl.L f. (Septuagint)
Gk allelouia f. Heb. hallel–yah praise ye the Lord]
allemande n. 1 a the name of several German dances. b the music for any
of these, esp. as a movement of a suite. 2 a figure in a
country dance. [F, = German (dance)]
Allen key n. propr. a spanner designed to fit into and turn an Allen
screw. [Allen, name of the US manufacturer]
n. propr. a screw with a hexagonal socket in the head.
allergen n. any substance that causes an allergic reaction.
ЬЬallergenic adj. [ALLERGY + -GEN]
allergic adj. 1 (foll. by to) a having an allergy to. b colloq. having
a strong dislike for (a person or thing). 2 caused by or
relating to an allergy.
allergy n. (pl. -ies) 1 Med. a condition of reacting adversely to
certain substances, esp. particular foods, pollen, fur, or
dust. 2 colloq. an antipathy. ЬЬallergist n. [G Allergie,
after Energie ENERGY, f. Gk allos other]
alleviate v.tr. lessen or make less severe (pain, suffering, etc.).
ЬЬalleviation n. alleviative adj. alleviator n. alleviatory
adj. [LL alleviare lighten f. L allevare (as AD-, levare
alley(1) n. (pl. -eys) 1 (also alley-way) a a narrow street. b a
narrow passageway, esp. between or behind buildings. 2 a path
or walk in a park or garden. 3 an enclosure for skittles,
bowling, etc. 4 (in lawn tennis) either of the two side strips
of a doubles court. Ьalley cat a stray town cat often mangy or
half wild. [ME f. OF alee walking, passage f. aler go f. L
alley(2) var. of ALLY(2).
adj. 1 of or relating to the genus Allium. 2 tasting or
smelling like onion or garlic. [mod.L alliaceus f. L allium
alliance n. 1 a union or agreement to cooperate, esp. of States by
treaty or families by marriage. b the parties involved. 2
(Alliance) a political party formed by the allying of separate
parties. 3 a relationship resulting from an affinity in nature
or qualities etc. (the old alliance between logic and
metaphysics). 4 Bot. a group of allied families. [ME f. OF
aliance (as ALLY(1))]
allied adj. 1 a united or associated in an alliance. b (Allied) of or
relating to Britain and her allies in the wars of 1914-18 or
1939-45. 2 connected or related (studied medicine and allied
alligator n. 1 a large reptile of the crocodile family native to S.
America and China, with upper teeth that lie outside the lower
teeth and a head broader and shorter than that of the crocodile.
2 (in general use) any of several large members of the crocodile
family. 3 a the skin of such an animal or material resembling
it. b (in pl.) shoes of this. Ьalligator clip a clip with
teeth for gripping. alligator pear an avocado. alligator
tortoise a large freshwater snapping turtle. [Sp. el lagarto
the lizard f. L lacerta]
v. 1 intr. a contain alliteration. b use alliteration in
speech or writing. 2 tr. a construct (a phrase etc.) with
alliteration. b speak or pronounce with alliteration.
ЬЬalliterative adj. [back-form. f. ALLITERATION]
n. the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning
of adjacent or closely connected words (e.g. cool, calm, and
collected). [mod.L alliteratio (as AD-, littera letter)]
allium n. any plant of the genus Allium, usu. bulbous and strong
smelling, e.g. onion and garlic. [L, = garlic]
allo- comb. form other (allophone; allogamy). [Gk allos other]
allocate v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) assign or devote to (a purpose,
person, or place). ЬЬallocable adj. allocation n. allocator
n. [med.L allocare f. locus place]
n. formal or hortatory speech or manner of address. [L
allocutio f. alloqui allocut- speak to]
allogamy n. Bot. cross-fertilization in plants. [ALLO- + Gk -gamia f.
allomorph n. Linguistics any of two or more alternative forms of a
morpheme. ЬЬallomorphic adj. [ALLO- + MORPHEME]
allopath n. one who practises allopathy. [F allopathe back-form. f.
allopathie = ALLOPATHY]
allopathy n. the treatment of disease by conventional means, i.e. with
drugs having opposite effects to the symptoms (cf.
HOMOEOPATHY). ЬЬallopathic adj. allopathist n. [G Allopathie
(as ALLO-, -PATHY)]
allophone n. Linguistics any of the variant sounds forming a single
phoneme. ЬЬallophonic adj. [ALLO- + PHONEME]
allot v.tr. (allotted, allotting) 1 give or apportion to (a person)
as a share or task; distribute officially to (they allotted us
each a pair of boots; the men were allotted duties). 2 (foll.
by to) give or distribute officially to (a sum was allotted to
each charity). [OF aloter f. a to + LOT]
allotment n. 1 a small piece of land rented (usu. from a local authority)
for cultivation. 2 a share allotted. 3 the action of
allotrope n. any of two or more different physical forms in which an
element can exist (graphite, charcoal, and diamond are all
allotropes of carbon). [back-form. f. ALLOTROPY]
allotropy n. the existence of two or more different physical forms of a
chemical element. ЬЬallotropic adj. allotropical adj. [Gk
allotropos of another form f. allos different + tropos manner
f. trepo to turn]
allottee n. a person to whom something is allotted.
allow v. 1 tr. permit (a practice, a person to do something, a thing
to happen, etc.) (smoking is not allowed; we allowed them to
speak). 2 tr. give or provide; permit (a person) to have (a
limited quantity or sum) (we were allowed њ500 a year). 3 tr.
provide or set aside for a purpose; add or deduct in
consideration of something (allow 10% for inflation). 4 tr. a
admit, agree, concede (he allowed that it was so; 'You know
best,' he allowed). b US state; be of the opinion. 5 refl.
permit oneself, indulge oneself in (conduct) (allowed herself to
be persuaded; allowed myself a few angry words). 6 intr. (foll.
by of) admit of. 7 intr. (foll. by for) take into consideration
or account; make addition or deduction corresponding to
(allowing for wastage). ЬЬallowable adj. allowably adv. [ME,
orig. = 'praise', f. OF alouer f. L allaudare to praise, and
med.L allocare to place]
allowance n. & v. --n. 1 an amount or sum allowed to a person, esp.
regularly for a stated purpose. 2 an amount allowed in
reckoning. 3 a deduction or discount (an allowance on your old
cooker). 4 (foll. by of) tolerance of. --v.tr. 1 make an
allowance to (a person). 2 supply in limited quantities. Ьmake
allowances (often foll. by for) 1 take into consideration
(mitigating circumstances) (made allowances for his demented
state). 2 look with tolerance upon, make excuses for (a person,
bad behaviour, etc.). [ME f. OF alouance (as ALLOW)]
allowedly adv. as is generally allowed or acknowledged.
alloy n. & v. --n. 1 a mixture of two or more metals, e.g. brass (a
mixture of copper and zinc). 2 an inferior metal mixed esp.
with gold or silver. --v.tr. 1 mix (metals). 2 debase (a pure
substance) by admixture. 3 moderate. [F aloi (n.), aloyer (v.)
f. OF aloier, aleier combine f. L alligare bind]
allseed n. any of various plants producing much seed, esp. Radiola
allspice n. 1 the aromatic spice obtained from the ground berry of the
pimento plant, Pimenta dioica. 2 the berry of this. 3 any of
various other aromatic shrubs.
allude v.intr. (foll. by to) 1 refer, esp. indirectly, covertly, or
briefly to. 2 disp. mention. [L alludere (as AD-, ludere lus-
allure v. & n. --v.tr. attract, charm, or fascinate. --n.
attractiveness, personal charm, fascination. ЬЬallurement n.
[ME f. OF alurer attract (as AD-, luere LURE 1)]
allusion n. (often foll. by to) a reference, esp. a covert, passing, or
indirect one. °Often confused with illusion. [F allusion or LL
allusio (as ALLUDE)]
allusive adj. 1 (often foll. by to) containing an allusion. 2
containing many allusions. ЬЬallusively adv. allusiveness n.
alluvial adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to alluvium. --n. alluvium,
esp. containing a precious metal.
alluvion n. 1 the wash of the sea against the shore, or of a river
against its banks. 2 a a large overflow of water. b matter
deposited by this, esp. alluvium. 3 the formation of new land
by the movement of the sea or of a river. [F f. L alluvio -onis
f. luere wash]
alluvium n. (pl. alluvia or alluviums) a deposit of usu. fine fertile
soil left during a time of flood, esp. in a river valley or
delta. [L neut. of alluvius adj. f. luere wash]
ally(1) n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a State formally cooperating or
united with another for a special purpose, esp. by a treaty. 2
a person or organization that cooperates with or helps another.
--v.tr. also (-ies, -ied) (often foll. by with) combine or
unite in alliance. [ME f. OF al(e)ier f. L alligare bind: cf.
ally(2) n. (also alley) (pl. -ies or -eys) a choice playing-marble
made of marble, alabaster, or glass. [perh. dimin. of
-ally suffix forming adverbs from adjectives in -al (cf. -AL, -LY(2),
allyl n. Chem. the unsaturated univalent radical CH=CH-CH. [L
allium garlic + -YL]
var. of ALMUCANTAR.
n. the university, school, or college one attends or attended.
[L, = bounteous mother]
almanac n. (also almanack) an annual calendar of months and days, usu.
with astronomical data and other information. [ME f. med.L
almanac(h) f. Gk almenikhiaka]
almandine n. a kind of garnet with a violet tint. [F, alt. of obs.
alabandine f. med.L alabandina f. Alabanda, ancient city in
almighty adj. & adv. --adj. 1 having complete power; omnipotent. 2
(the Almighty) God. 3 sl. very great (an almighty crash).
--adv. sl. extremely; very much. [OE ‘lmihtig (as ALL,
almond n. 1 the oval nutlike seed (kernel) of the stone-fruit from the
tree Prunus dulcis, of which there are sweet and bitter
varieties. 2 the tree itself, of the rose family and allied to
the peach and plum. Ьalmond eyes narrow almond-shaped eyes.
almond oil the oil expressed from the seed (esp. the bitter
variety), used for toilet preparations, flavouring, and
medicinal purposes. almond paste = MARZIPAN. [ME f. OF
alemande etc. f. med.L amandula f. L amygdala f. Gk amugdale:
assoc. with words in AL-]
almoner n. 1 Brit. a social worker attached to a hospital and seeing to
the after-care of patients. °Now usu. called medical social
worker. 2 hist. an official distributor of alms. [ME f. AF
aumoner, OF aumonier, ult. f. med.L eleemosynarius (as ALMS)]
almost adv. all but; very nearly. [OE ‘lm‘st for the most part (as
alms n.pl. hist. the charitable donation of money or food to the
poor. [OE ‘lmysse, -messe, f. Gmc ult. f. Gk eleemosune
compassionateness f. eleemon (adj.) f. eleos compassion]
almshouse n. hist. a house founded by charity for the poor.
n. (also almacantar) Astron. a line of constant altitude above
the horizon. [ME f. med.L almucantarath or F almucantara etc.,
f. Arab. almukantarat sundial f. kantara arch]
aloe n. 1 any plant of the genus Aloe, usu. having toothed fleshy
leaves. 2 (in pl.) (in full bitter aloes) a strong laxative
obtained from the bitter juice of various species of aloe. 3
(also American aloe) an agave native to Central America. [OE
al(e)we f. L aloe f. Gk]
aloetic adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to an aloe. --n. a medicine
containing aloes. [Gk aloe aloe, on the false analogy of
aloft predic.adj. & adv. 1 high up; overhead. 2 upwards. [ME f. ON
lopt(i) f. in, on, to + lopt air: cf. LIFT, LOFT]
alogical adj. 1 not logical. 2 opposed to logic.
alone adj. & adv. --predic.adj. 1 a without others present (they
wanted to be alone; the tree stood alone). b without others'
help (succeeded alone). c lonely and wretched (felt alone). 2
(often foll. by in) standing by oneself in an opinion etc. (was
alone in thinking this). --adv. only, exclusively (you alone
can help me). Ьgo it alone act by oneself without assistance.
ЬЬaloneness n. [ME f. ALL + ONE]
along prep. & adv. --prep. 1 from one end to the other end of (a
handkerchief with lace along the edge). 2 on or through any
part of the length of (was walking along the road). 3 beside or
through the length of (shelves stood along the wall). --adv. 1
onward; into a more advanced state (come along; getting along
nicely). 2 at or to a particular place; arriving (I'll be along
soon). 3 in company with a person, esp. oneself (bring a book
along). 4 beside or through part or the whole length of a
thing. Ьalong with in addition to; together with. [OE andlang
f. WG, rel. to LONG(1)]
adv. along or by the shore.
alongside adv. & prep. --adv. at or to the side (of a ship, pier, etc.).
--prep. close to the side of; next to. Ьalongside of side by
side with; together or simultaneously with.
aloof adj. & adv. --adj. distant, unsympathetic. --adv. away, apart
(he kept aloof from his colleagues). ЬЬaloofly adv. aloofness
n. [orig. Naut., f. A(2) + LUFF]
alopecia n. Med. the absence (complete or partial) of hair from areas
of the body where it normally grows; baldness. [L f. Gk
alopekia fox-mange f. alopex fox]
aloud adv. 1 audibly; not silently or in a whisper. 2 archaic
loudly. [A(2) + LOUD]
alow adv. & predic.adj. Naut. in or into the lower part of a ship.
[A(2) + LOW(1)]
alp n. 1 a a high mountain. b (the Alps) the high range of
mountains in Switzerland and adjoining countries. 2 (in
Switzerland) pasture-land on a mountainside. [orig. pl., f. F
f. L Alpes f. Gk Alpeis]
alpaca n. 1 a S. American mammal, Lama pacos, related to the llama,
with long shaggy hair. 2 the wool from the animal. 3 fabric
made from the wool, with or without other fibres. [Sp. f.
Aymar or Quechua]
alpargata n. a light canvas shoe with a plaited fibre sole; an
alpenhorn n. a long wooden horn used by Alpine herdsmen to call their
cattle. [G, = Alp-horn]
n. a long iron-tipped staff used in hillwalking. [G, =
alpha n. 1 the first letter of the Greek alphabet (A). 2 a
first-class mark given for a piece of work or in an examination.
3 Astron. the chief star in a constellation. Ьalpha and omega
the beginning and the end; the most important features. alpha
particle (or ray) a helium nucleus emitted by a radioactive
substance, orig. regarded as a ray. [ME f. L f. Gk]
alphabet n. 1 the set of letters used in writing a language (the Russian
alphabet). 2 a set of symbols or signs representing letters.
[LL alphabetum f. Gk alpha, beta, the first two letters of the
adj. (also alphabetic) 1 of or relating to an alphabet. 2 in
the order of the letters of the alphabet. ЬЬalphabetically adv.
v.tr. (also -ise) arrange (words, names, etc.) in alphabetical
order. ЬЬalphabetization n.
adj. (also alphameric, alphanumerical) containing both
alphabetical and numerical symbols. [ALPHABETIC (see
ALPHABETICAL) + NUMERICAL]
alpine adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of or relating to high mountains. b
growing or found on high mountains. 2 (Alpine) of or relating
to the Alps. --n. a plant native or suited to mountain
districts. [L Alpinus: see ALP]
Alpinist n. (also alpinist) a climber of high mountains, esp. the Alps.
[F alpiniste (as ALPINE; see -IST)]
already adv. 1 before the time in question (I knew that already). 2 as
early or as soon as this (already at the age of six). [ALL adv.
alright adv. disp. = all right.
Alsatian n. 1 a a large dog of a breed of wolfhound. b this breed (also
called German shepherd dog). 2 a native of Alsace, a region of
E. France. [Alsatia (= Alsace) + -AN]
alsike n. a species of clover, Trifolium hybridum. [Alsike in Sweden]
also adv. in addition; likewise; besides. Ьalso-ran 1 a horse or
dog etc. not among the winners in a race. 2 an undistinguished
person. [OE alswa (as ALL adv., SO(1))]
Alta. abbr. Alberta.
altar n. 1 a table or flat-topped block, often of stone, for
sacrifice or offering to a deity. 2 a Communion-table. Ьaltar
boy a boy who serves as a priest's assistant in a service. lead
to the altar marry (a woman). [OE altar -er, Gmc adoption of LL
altar, altarium f. L altaria (pl.) burnt offerings, altar, prob.
rel. to adolere burn in sacrifice]
n. a piece of art, esp. a painting, set above or behind an
n. an instrument for measuring the altitude and azimuth of
celestial bodies. [ALTITUDE + AZIMUTH]
alter v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become different; change. 2 tr. US &
Austral. castrate or spay. ЬЬalterable adj. alteration n. [ME
f. OF alterer f. LL alterare f. L alter other]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 tending to alter. 2 (of a medicine) that
alters bodily processes. --n. an alterative medicine or
treatment. [ME f. med.L alterativus (as ALTER)]
altercate v.intr. (often foll. by with) dispute hotly; wrangle.
ЬЬaltercation n. [L altercari altercat-]
alter ego n. (pl. alter egos) 1 an intimate and trusted friend. 2 a
person's secondary or alternative personality. [L, = other
alternate v., adj., & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by with) (of two
things) succeed each other by turns (rain and sunshine
alternated; elation alternated with depression). 2 intr. (foll.
by between) change repeatedly (between two conditions) (the
patient alternated between hot and cold fevers). 3 tr. (often
foll. by with) cause (two things) to succeed each other by turns
(the band alternated fast and slow tunes; we alternated
criticism with reassurance). --adj. 1 (with noun in pl.) every
other (comes on alternate days). 2 (of things of two kinds)
each following and succeeded by one of the other kind (alternate
joy and misery). 3 (of a sequence etc.) consisting of alternate
things. 4 Bot. (of leaves etc.) placed alternately on the two
sides of the stem. 5 = ALTERNATIVE. --n. esp. US a deputy or
substitute. Ьalternate angles two angles, not adjoining one
another, that are formed on opposite sides of a line that
intersects two other lines. alternating current an electric
current that reverses its direction at regular intervals.
ЬЬalternately adv. [L alternatus past part. of alternare do
things by turns f. alternus every other f. alter other]
n. the action or result of alternating. Ьalternation of
generations reproduction by alternate processes, e.g. sexual and
adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of one or more things) available or usable
instead of another (an alternative route). °Use with reference
to more than two options (e.g. many alternative methods) is
common, and acceptable. 2 (of two things) mutually exclusive.
3 of or relating to practices that offer a substitute for the
conventional ones (alternative medicine; alternative theatre).
--n. 1 any of two or more possibilities. 2 the freedom or
opportunity to choose between two or more things (I had no
alternative but to go). Ьthe alternative society a group of
people dissociating themselves from conventional society and its
values. ЬЬalternatively adv. [F alternatif -ive or med.L
alternativus (as ALTERNATE)]
n. a dynamo that generates an alternating current.
althorn n. Mus. an instrument of the saxhorn family, esp. the alto or
tenor saxhorn in E flat. [G f. alt high f. L altus + HORN]
although conj. = THOUGH conj. 1-3. [ME f. ALL adv. + THOUGH]
altimeter n. an instrument for showing height above sea or ground level,
esp. one fitted to an aircraft. [L altus high + -METER]
altitude n. 1 the height of an object in relation to a given point, esp.
sea level or the horizon. 2 Geom. the length of the
perpendicular from a vertex to the opposite side of a figure. 3
a high or exalted position (a social altitude). Ьaltitude
sickness a sickness experienced at high altitudes.
ЬЬaltitudinal adj. [ME f. L altitudo f. altus high]
alto n. (pl. -os) 1 = CONTRALTO. 2 a the highest adult male
singing-voice, above tenor. b a singer with this voice. c a
part written for it. 3 a (attrib.) denoting the member of a
family of instruments pitched second- or third-highest. b an
alto instrument, esp. an alto saxophone. Ьalto clef a clef
placing middle C on the middle line of the staff, used chiefly
for viola music. [It. alto (canto) high (singing)]
n. (pl. altocumuli) Meteorol. a cloud formation at medium
altitude consisting of rounded masses with a level base. [mod.L
f. L altus high + CUMULUS]
adv. 1 totally, completely (you are altogether wrong). 2 on
the whole (altogether it had been a good day). 3 in total
(there are six bedrooms altogether). °Note that all together is
used to mean 'all at once' or 'all in one place', as in there
are six bedrooms all together. Ьin the altogether colloq.
naked. [ME f. ALL + TOGETHER]
n. (pl. -os) Sculpture 1 a form of relief in which the
sculptured shapes stand out from the background to at least half
their actual depth. 2 a sculpture characterized by this. [ALTO
n. (pl. altostrati) a continuous and uniformly flat cloud
formation at medium altitude. [mod.L f. L altus high + STRATUS]
altricial adj. & n. --adj. (of a bird) whose young require care and
feeding by the parents after hatching. --n. an altricial bird
(cf. PRAECOCIAL). [L altrix altricis (fem.) nourisher f.
altor f. alere altus nourish]
altruism n. 1 regard for others as a principle of action. 2
unselfishness; concern for other people. ЬЬaltruist n.
altruistic adj. altruistically adv. [F altruisme f. It.
altrui somebody else (infl. by L alter other)]
alum n. 1 a double sulphate of aluminium and potassium. 2 any of a
group of compounds of double sulphates of a monovalent metal (or
group) and a trivalent metal. [ME f. OF f. L alumen aluminis]
alumina n. the compound aluminium oxide occurring naturally as corundum
and emery. [L alumen alum, after soda etc.]
aluminium n. (US aluminum) a silvery light and malleable metallic element
resistant to tarnishing by air. °Symb.: Al. Ьaluminium bronze
an alloy of copper and aluminium. [aluminium, alt. (after
sodium etc.) f. aluminum, earlier alumium f. ALUM + -IUM]
aluminize v.tr. (also -ise) coat with aluminium. ЬЬaluminization n.
alumnus n. (pl. alumni; fem. alumna, pl. alumnae) a former pupil or
student. [L, = nursling, pupil f. alere nourish]
alveolar adj. 1 of an alveolus. 2 Phonet. (of a consonant) pronounced
with the tip of the tongue in contact with the ridge of the
upper teeth, e.g. n, s, t. [ALVEOLUS + -AR(1)]
alveolus n. (pl. alveoli) 1 a small cavity, pit, or hollow. 2 any of
the many tiny air sacs of the lungs which allow for rapid
gaseous exchange. 3 the bony socket for the root of a tooth. 4
the cell of a honeycomb. ЬЬalveolate adj. [L dimin. of alveus
always adv. 1 at all times; on all occasions (they are always late).
2 whatever the circumstances (I can always sleep on the floor).
3 repeatedly; often (they are always complaining). [ME, prob.
distrib. genit. f. ALL + WAY + -'S(1)]
alyssum n. any plant of the genus Alyssum, widely cultivated and usu.
having yellow or white flowers. [L f. Gk alusson]
n. a serious disorder of the brain manifesting itself in
premature senility . [A. Alzheimer, Ger. neurologist d. 1915]
AM abbr. 1 amplitude modulation. 2 US Master of Arts. 3 Member
of the Order of Australia. [(sense 2) L artium Magister]
Am symb. Chem. the element americium.
am 1st person sing. present of BE.
a.m. abbr. before noon. [L ante meridiem]
amadavat n. (also avadavat) either of two small brightly coloured S.
Asian waxbills, the green Amandava formosa or esp. the red A.
amandava. [Ahmadabad in India]
amadou n. a spongy and combustible tinder prepared from dry fungi. [F
f. mod.Prov., lit. = lover (because quickly kindled) f. L (as
amah n. (in the Far East and India) a nursemaid or maid. [Port.
amalgam n. 1 a mixture or blend. 2 an alloy of mercury with one or
more other metals, used esp. in dentistry. [ME f. F amalgame or
med.L amalgama f. Gk malagma an emollient]
v. 1 tr. & intr. combine or unite to form one structure,
organization, etc. 2 intr. (of metals) alloy with mercury.
ЬЬamalgamation n. [med.L amalgamare amalgamat- (as AMALGAM)]
n. (pl. amanuenses) 1 a person who writes from dictation or
copies manuscripts. 2 a literary assistant. [L f. (servus) a
manu secretary + -ensis belonging to]
amaranth n. 1 any plant of the genus Amaranthus, usu. having small
green, red, or purple tinted flowers, e.g. prince's feather and
pigweed. 2 an imaginary flower that never fades. 3 a purple
colour. ЬЬamaranthine adj. [F amarante or mod.L amaranthus f.
L f. Gk amarantos everlasting f. a- not + maraino wither, alt.
after polyanthus etc.]
amaryllis n. 1 a plant genus with a single species, Amaryllis belladonna,
a bulbous lily-like plant native to S. Africa with white or
rose-pink flowers (also called belladonna lily). 2 any of
various related plants formerly of this genus now transferred to
other genera, notably Hippeastrum. [L f. Gk Amarullis, name of
a country girl]
amass v.tr. 1 gather or heap together. 2 accumulate (esp. riches).
ЬЬamasser n. [F amasser or med.L amassare ult. f. L massa
amateur n. 1 a person who engages in a pursuit (e.g. an art or sport)
as a pastime rather than a profession. 2 (attrib.) for or done
by amateurs ( amateur athletics). 3 (foll. by of) a person who
is fond of (a thing). ЬЬamateurism n. [F f. It. amatore f. L
amator -oris lover f. amare love]
adj. characteristic of an amateur, esp. unskilful or
inexperienced. ЬЬamateurishly adv. amateurishness n.
amatory adj. of or relating to sexual love or desire. [L amatorius f.
amaurosis n. the partial or total loss of sight, from disease of the
optic nerve, retina, spinal cord, or brain. ЬЬamaurotic adj.
[mod.L f. Gk f. amauroo darken f. amauros dim]
amaze v.tr. (often foll. by at, or that + clause, or to + infin.)
surprise greatly; overwhelm with wonder (am amazed at your
indifference; was amazed to find them alive). ЬЬamazement n.
amazing adj. amazingly adv. amazingness n. [ME f. OE amasod
past part. of amasian, of uncert. orig.]
Amazon n. 1 a member of a mythical race of female warriors in Scythia
and elsewhere. 2 (amazon) a very tall, strong, or athletic
woman. ЬЬAmazonian adj. [ME f. L f. Gk: expl. by the Greeks as
'breastless' (as if A-(1) + mazos breast), but prob. of foreign
n. 1 an accredited diplomat sent by a State on a mission to, or
as its permanent representative in, a foreign country. 2 a
representative or promoter of a specified thing (an ambassador
of peace). Ьambassador-at-large US an ambassador with special
duties, not appointed to a particular country. ЬЬambassadorial
adj. ambassadorship n. [ME f. F ambassadeur f. It.
ambasciator, ult. f. L ambactus servant]
n. 1 a female ambassador. 2 an ambassador's wife.
ambatch n. an African tree, Aeschynomene elaphroxylon, with very light
spongy wood. [Ethiopic]
amber n. & adj. --n. 1 a a yellowish translucent fossilized resin
deriving from extinct (esp. coniferous) trees and used in
jewellery. b the honey-yellow colour of this. 2 a yellow
traffic-light meaning caution, showing between red for 'stop'
and green for 'go'. --adj. made of or coloured like amber. [ME
f. OF ambre f. Arab. ' anbar ambergris, amber]
ambergris n. a strong-smelling waxlike secretion of the intestine of the
sperm whale, found floating in tropical seas and used in perfume
manufacture. [ME f. OF ambre gris grey AMBER]
amberjack n. US any large brightly-coloured marine fish of the genus
Seriola found in tropical and subtropical Atlantic waters.
ambiance var. of AMBIENCE.
adj. (also ambidexterous) 1 able to use the right and left
hands equally well. 2 working skilfully in more than one
medium. ЬЬambidexterity n. ambidextrously adv.
ambidextrousness n. [LL ambidexter f. ambi- on both sides +
ambience n. (also ambiance) the surroundings or atmosphere of a place.
[AMBIENT + -ENCE or F ambiance]
ambient adj. surrounding. [F ambiant or L ambiens -entis pres. part.
of ambire go round]
ambiguity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a double meaning which is either deliberate
or caused by inexactness of expression. b an example of this.
2 an expression able to be interpreted in more than one way
(e.g. dogs must be carried). [ME f. OF ambiguit‚ or L
ambiguitas (as AMBIGUOUS)]
ambiguous adj. 1 having an obscure or double meaning. 2 difficult to
classify. ЬЬambiguously adv. ambiguousness n. [L ambiguus
doubtful f. ambigere f. ambi- both ways + agere drive]
n.pl. a system of high-fidelity sound reproduction designed to
reproduce the directional and acoustic properties of the sound
source using two or more channels. [L ambi- on both sides +
ambit n. 1 the scope, extent, or bounds of something. 2 precincts or
environs. [ME f. L ambitus circuit f. ambire: see AMBIENT]
ambition n. 1 (often foll. by to + infin.) the determination to achieve
success or distinction, usu. in a chosen field. 2 the object of
this determination. [ME f. OF f. L ambitio -onis f. ambire
ambit- canvass for votes: see AMBIENT]
ambitious adj. 1 a full of ambition. b showing ambition (an ambitious
attempt). 2 (foll. by of, or to + infin.) strongly determined.
ЬЬambitiously adv. ambitiousness n. [ME f. OF ambitieux f. L
ambitiosus (as AMBITION)]
n. (also ambivalency) the coexistence in one person's mind of
opposing feelings, esp. love and hate, in a single context.
ЬЬambivalent adj. ambivalently adv. [G Ambivalenz f. L ambo
both, after equivalence, -ency]
ambivert n. Psychol. a person who fluctuates between being an introvert
and an extrovert. ЬЬambiversion n. [L ambi- on both sides +
-vert f. L vertere to turn, after EXTROVERT, INTROVERT]
amble v. & n. --v.intr. 1 move at an easy pace, in a way suggesting
an ambling horse. 2 (of a horse etc.) move by lifting the two
feet on one side together. 3 ride an ambling horse; ride at an
easy pace. --n. an easy pace; the gait of an ambling horse.
[ME f. OF ambler f. L ambulare walk]
amblyopia n. dimness of vision without obvious defect or change in the
eye. ЬЬamblyopic adj. [Gk f. ambluopos (adj.) f. amblus dull
+ ops, opos eye]
ambo n. (pl. -os or ambones) a stand for reading lessons in an
early Christian church etc. [med.L f. Gk ambon rim (in med.Gk =
amboyna n. the decorative wood of the SE Asian tree Pterocarpus
indicus. [Amboyna Island in Indonesia]
ambrosia n. 1 (in Greek and Roman mythology) the food of the gods; the
elixir of life. 2 anything very pleasing to taste or smell. 3
the food of certain bees and beetles. ЬЬambrosial adj.
ambrosian adj. [L f. Gk, = elixir of life f. ambrotos
ambry var. of AUMBRY.
ambulance n. 1 a vehicle specially equipped for conveying the sick or
injured to and from hospital, esp. in emergencies. 2 a mobile
hospital following an army. [F (as AMBULANT)]
ambulant adj. Med. 1 (of a patient) able to walk about; not confined to
bed. 2 (of treatment) not confining a patient to bed. [L
ambulare ambulant- walk]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 = AMBULANT. 2 of or adapted for walking.
3 a movable. b not permanent. --n. (pl. -ies) a place for
walking, esp. an aisle or cloister in a church or monastery. [L
ambulatorius f. ambulare walk]
ambuscade n. & v. --n. an ambush. --v. 1 tr. attack by means of an
ambush. 2 intr. lie in ambush. 3 tr. conceal in an ambush. [F
embuscade f. It. imboscata or Sp. emboscada f. L imboscare:
see AMBUSH, -ADE(1)]
ambush n. & v. --n. 1 a surprise attack by persons (e.g. troops) in a
concealed position. 2 a the concealment of troops etc. to make
such an attack. b the place where they are concealed. c the
troops etc. concealed. --v.tr. 1 attack by means of an ambush.
2 lie in wait for. [ME f. OF embusche, embuschier, f. a Rmc
form = 'put in a wood': rel. to BUSH(1)]
ameba US var. of AMOEBA.
ameer var. of AMIR.
v.tr. & intr. formal make or become better; improve.
ЬЬamelioration n. ameliorative adj. ameliorator n. [alt. of
MELIORATE after F am‚liorer]
amen int. & n. --int. 1 uttered at the end of a prayer or hymn
etc., meaning 'so be it'. 2 (foll. by to) expressing agreement
or assent (amen to that). --n. an utterance of 'amen' (sense
1). [ME f. eccl.L f. Gk f. Heb. ' amen certainly]
amenable adj. 1 responsive, tractable. 2 (often foll. by to) (of a
person) responsible to law. 3 (foll. by to) (of a thing)
subject or liable. ЬЬamenability n. amenableness n. amenably
adv. [AF (Law) f. F amener bring to f. a- to + mener bring f.
LL minare drive animals f. L minari threaten]
amend v.tr. 1 make minor improvements in (a text or a written
proposal). 2 correct an error or errors in (a document). 3
make better; improve. °Often confused with emend, a more
technical word used in the context of textual correction.
ЬЬamendable adj. amender n. [ME f. OF amender ult. f. L
n. (pl. amendes honorables pronunc. same) a public or open
apology, often with some form of reparation. [F, = honourable
amendment n. 1 a minor improvement in a document (esp. a legal or
statutory one). 2 an article added to the US Constitution.
[AMEND + -MENT]
amends n. Ьmake amends (often foll. by for) compensate or make up
(for). [ME f. OF amendes penalties, fine, pl. of amende
reparation f. amender AMEND]
amenity n. (pl. -ies) 1 (usu. in pl.) a pleasant or useful feature. 2
pleasantness (of a place, person, etc.). Ьamenity-bed Brit. a
bed available in a hospital to give more privacy for a small
payment. [ME f. OF amenit‚ or L amoenitas f. amoenus pleasant]
n. (US amenorrhea) Med. an abnormal absence of menstruation.
[A-(1) + MENO- + Gk -rrhoia f. rheo flow]
ament n. (also amentum) (pl. aments or amenta) a catkin. [L, =
amentia n. Med. severe congenital mental deficiency. [L f. amens
ament- mad (as A-(1), mens mind)]
amerce v.tr. 1 Law punish by fine. 2 punish arbitrarily.
ЬЬamercement n. amerciable adj. [ME amercy f. AF amercier f.
a at + merci MERCY]
American adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, relating to, or characteristic of the
United States or its inhabitants. 2 (usu. in comb.) of or
relating to the continents of America (Latin-American). --n. 1
a native or citizen of the United States. 2 (usu. in comb.) a
native or inhabitant of the continents of America (North
Americans). 3 the English language as it is used in the United
States. ЬAmerican dream the traditional ideals of the American
people, such as equality, democracy, and material prosperity.
American football a kind of football played with an oval ball,
evolved from Rugby football. American Indian see INDIAN.
[mod.L Americanus f. America f. Latinized name of Amerigo
Vespucci, It. navigator d. 1512]
Americana n.pl. things connected with America, esp. with the United
n. 1 a a word, sense, or phrase peculiar to or originating from
the United States. b a thing or feature characteristic of or
peculiar to the United States. 2 attachment to or sympathy for
the United States.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. a make American in character. b
naturalize as an American. 2 intr. become American in
character. ЬЬAmericanization n.
americium n. Chem. an artificially made transuranic radioactive metallic
element. °Symb.: Am. [America (where first made) + -IUM]
Amerind adj. & n. (also Amerindian) = American Indian (see INDIAN).
ЬЬAmerindic adj. [portmanteau word]
amethyst n. a precious stone of a violet or purple variety of quartz.
ЬЬamethystine adj. [ME f. OF ametiste f. L amethystus f. Gk
amethustos not drunken, the stone being supposed to prevent
Amharic adj. & n. --n. the official and commercial language of
Ethiopia. --adj. of this language. [Amhara, Ethiopian province
amiable adj. friendly and pleasant in temperament; likeable.
ЬЬamiability n. amiableness n. amiably adv. [ME f. OF f. LL
amicabilis amicable: confused with F aimable lovable]
amianthus n. (also amiantus) any fine silky-fibred variety of asbestos.
[L f. Gk amiantos undefiled f. a- not + miaino defile, i.e.
purified by fire, being incombustible: for -h- cf. AMARANTH]
amicable adj. showing or done in a friendly spirit (an amicable
meeting). ЬЬamicability n. amicableness n. amicably adv. [LL
amicabilis f. amicus friend]
amice(1) n. a white linen cloth worn on the neck and shoulders by a
priest celebrating the Eucharist. [ME f. med.L amicia, -sia
(earlier amit f. OF), f. L amictus outer garment]
amice(2) n. a cap, hood, or cape worn by members of certain religious
orders. [ME f. OF aumusse f. med.L almucia etc., of unkn.
n. (pl. amici curiae) Law an impartial adviser in a court of
law. [mod.L, = friend of the court]
amid prep. (also amidst) 1 in the middle of. 2 in the course of.
[ME amidde(s) f. OE on ON + MID(1)]
amide n. Chem. a compound formed from ammonia by replacement of one
(or sometimes more than one) hydrogen atom by a metal or an acyl
radical. [AMMONIA + -IDE]
amidships adv. (US amidship) in or into the middle of a ship. [MIDSHIP
amidst var. of AMID.
amigo n. (pl. -os) esp. US colloq. (often as a form of address) a
friend or comrade, esp. in Spanish-speaking areas. [Sp.]
amine n. Chem. a compound formed from ammonia by replacement of one
or more hydrogen atoms by an organic radical or radicals.
[AMMONIA + -INE(4)]
amino n. (attrib.) Chem. of, relating to, or containing the
monovalent group -NH. [AMINE]
n. Biochem. any of a group of organic compounds containing
both the carboxyl (COOH) and amino (NH) group, occurring
naturally in plant and animal tissues and forming the basic
constituents of proteins. [AMINE + ACID]
amir n. (also ameer) the title of some Arab rulers. [Arab. ' amir
commander f. amara command: cf. EMIR]
Amish adj. belonging to a strict US Mennonite sect. [prob. f. G
Amisch f. J. Amen 17th-c. Swiss preacher]
amiss predic.adj. & adv. --predic.adj. wrong; out of order; faulty
(knew something was amiss). --adv. wrong; wrongly;
inappropriately (everything went amiss). Ьtake amiss be
offended by (took my words amiss). [ME prob. f. ON … mis so as
to miss f. … on + mis rel. to MISS(1)]
amitosis n. Biol. a form of nuclear division that does not involve
mitosis. [A-(1) + MITOSIS]
n. Pharm. an antidepressant drug that has a mild
tranquillizing action. [AMINE + TRI- + heptyl (see HEPTANE) +
amity n. friendship; friendly relations. [ME f. OF amiti‚ ult. f. L
ammeter n. an instrument for measuring electric current in amperes.
[AMPERE + -METER]
ammo n. colloq. ammunition. [abbr.]
ammonia n. 1 a colourless strongly alkaline gas with a characteristic
pungent smell. °Chem. formula: NH. 2 (in full ammonia
water) (in general use) a solution of ammonia gas in water.
[mod.L f. SAL AMMONIAC]
adj. of, relating to, or containing ammonia or sal ammoniac.
[ME ammoniac f. OF (arm-, amm-) f. L f. Gk ammoniakos of Ammon
(cf. SAL AMMONIAC) + -AL]
adj. combined or treated with ammonia.
ammonite n. any extinct cephalopod mollusc of the order Ammonoidea, with
a flat coiled spiral shell found as a fossil. [mod.L ammonites,
after med.L cornu Ammonis, = L Ammonis cornu (Pliny), horn of
ammonium n. the univalent ion NH[+], formed from ammonia. [mod.L (as
n. 1 a supply of projectiles (esp. bullets, shells, and
grenades). 2 points used or usable to advantage in an argument.
[obs. F amunition, corrupt. of (la) munition (the) MUNITION]
amnesia n. a partial or total loss of memory. ЬЬamnesiac n. amnesic
adj. & n. [mod.L f. Gk, = forgetfulness]
amnesty n. & v. --n. (pl. -ies) a general pardon, esp. for political
offences. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) grant an amnesty to. ЬAmnesty
International an independent international organization in
support of human rights, esp. for prisoners of conscience. [F
amnestie or L f. Gk amnestia oblivion]
n. (pl. amniocenteses) Med. the sampling of amniotic fluid by
insertion of a hollow needle to determine the condition of an
embryo. [AMNION + Gk kentesis pricking f. kento to prick]
amnion n. (pl. amnia) Zool. & Physiol. the innermost membrane that
encloses the embryo of a reptile, bird, or mammal. ЬЬamniotic
adj. [Gk, = caul (dimin. of amnos lamb)]
amoeba n. (US ameba) (pl. amoebas or amoebae) any usu. aquatic
protozoan of the genus Amoeba, esp. A. proteus, capable of
changing shape. ЬЬamoebic adj. amoeboid adj. [mod.L f. Gk
amok adv. (also amuck) Ьrun amok run about wildly in an
uncontrollable violent rage. [Malay amok rushing in a frenzy]
among prep. (also amongst) 1 surrounded by; in the company of (lived
among the trees; be among friends). 2 in the number of (among
us were those who disagreed). 3 an example of; in the class or
category of (is among the richest men alive). 4 a between;
within the limits of (collectively or distributively); shared by
(had њ5 among us; divide it among you). b by the joint action
or from the joint resources of (among us we can manage it). 5
with one another; by the reciprocal action of (was decided among
the participants; talked among themselves). 6 as distinguished
from; preeminent in the category of (she is one among many).
[OE ongemang f. on ON + gemang assemblage (cf. MINGLE): -st =
adverbial genitive -s + -t as in AGAINST]
n. (pl. -os) a medium dry sherry. [Sp. f. Montilla in Spain
+ -ado = -ATE(2)]
amoral adj. 1 not concerned with or outside the scope of morality (cf.
IMMORAL). 2 having no moral principles. ЬЬamoralism n.
amoralist n. amorality n.
amoretto n. (pl. amoretti) a Cupid. [It., dimin. of amore love f. L
amorist n. a person who professes or writes of (esp. sexual) love. [L
amor or F amour + -IST]
adv. & adj. Mus. in a loving or tender manner. [It.]
n. (pl. -os) a full rich type of sherry. [Sp., = amorous]
amorous adj. 1 showing, feeling, or inclined to sexual love. 2 of or
relating to sexual love. ЬЬamorously adv. amorousness n. [ME
f. OF f. med.L amorosus f. L amor love]
amorphous adj. 1 shapeless. 2 vague, ill-organized. 3 Mineral. & Chem.
non-crystalline; having neither definite form nor structure.
ЬЬamorphously adv. amorphousness n. [med.L amorphus f. Gk
amorphos shapeless f. a- not + morphe form]
amortize v.tr. (also -ise) Commerce 1 gradually extinguish (a debt) by
money regularly put aside. 2 gradually write off the initial
cost of (assets). 3 transfer (land) to a corporation in
mortmain. ЬЬamortization n. [ME f. OF amortir (stem amortiss-)
ult. f. L ad to + mors mort- death]
amount n. & v. --n. 1 a quantity, esp. the total of a thing or things
in number, size, value, extent, etc. (a large amount of money;
came to a considerable amount). 2 the full effect or
significance. --v.intr. (foll. by to) be equivalent to in
number, size, significance, etc. (amounted to њ100; amounted to
a disaster). Ьany amount of a great deal of. no amount of not
even the greatest possible amount of. [ME f. OF amunter f.
amont upward, lit. uphill, f. L ad montem]
amour n. a love affair, esp. a secret one. [F, = love, f. L amor
n. self-respect. [F]
AMP abbr. adenosine monophosphate.
amp(1) n. Electr. an ampere. [abbr.]
amp(2) n. colloq. an amplifier. [abbr.]
n. any plant of the genus Ampelopsis or Parthenocissus, usu. a
climber supporting itself by twining tendrils, e.g. Virginia
creeper. [mod.L f. Gk ampelos vine + opsis appearance]
amperage n. Electr. the strength of an electric current in amperes.
ampere n. Electr. the SI base unit of electric current. °Symb.: A.
[A. M. AmpЉre, Fr. physicist d. 1836]
ampersand n. the sign & (= and). [corrupt. of and per se and ('&' by
itself is 'and')]
n. a synthetic drug used esp. as a stimulant. [abbr. of
chemical name alpha- methyl phene thyl amine]
amphi- comb. form 1 both. 2 of both kinds. 3 on both sides. 4
amphibian adj. & n. --adj. 1 living both on land and in water. 2 Zool.
of or relating to the class Amphibia. 3 (of a vehicle) able to
operate on land and water. --n. 1 Zool. any vertebrate of the
class Amphibia, with a life history of an aquatic gill-breathing
larval stage followed by a terrestrial lung-breathing adult
stage, including frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. 2 (in
general use) a creature living both on land and in water. 3 an
adj. 1 living both on land and in water. 2 of or relating to
or suited for both land and water. 3 Mil. a (of a military
operation) involving forces landed from the sea. b (of forces)
trained for such operations. 4 having a twofold nature;
occupying two positions. ЬЬamphibiously adv.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a quibble. 2 an ambiguous wording. [ME f. OF
amphibologie f. LL amphibologia for L f. Gk amphibolia
n. Biol. true sexual reproduction with the fusion of gametes
from two individuals (cf. APOMIXIS). ЬЬamphimictic adj.
[mod.L, formed as AMPHI- + Gk mixis mingling]
amphioxus n. any lancelet of the genus Branchiostoma (formerly
Amphioxus). [mod.L, formed as AMPHI- + Gk oxus sharp]
adj. Chem. 1 of a substance or molecule that has both a
hydrophilic and a hydrophobic part. 2 consisting of such parts.
[AMPHI- + Gk pathikos (as PATHOS)]
amphipod n. any crustacean of the largely marine order Amphipoda, having
a laterally compressed abdomen with two kinds of limb, e.g. the
freshwater shrimp (Gammarus pulex). [AMPHI- + Gk pous podos
n. & adj. --n. a classical building with a portico at each end.
--adj. of or in this style. [L amphiprostylus f. Gk
amphiprostulos (as AMPHI-, prostulos PROSTYLE)]
n. 1 Mythol. & poet. a fabulous serpent with a head at each
end. 2 Zool. any burrowing wormlike lizard of the family
Amphisbaena, having no apparent division of head from body
making both ends look similar. [ME f. L f. Gk amphisbaina f.
amphis both ways + baino go]
n. (US amphitheater) 1 a round, usu. unroofed building with
tiers of seats surrounding a central space. 2 a semicircular
gallery in a theatre. 3 a large circular hollow. 4 the scene
of a contest. [L amphitheatrum f. Gk amphitheatron (as AMPHI-,
amphora n. (pl. amphorae
or amphoras) a Greek or Roman vessel with two handles and a
narrow neck. [L f. Gk amphoreus]
adj. Chem. able to react as a base and an acid. [Gk
amphoteros compar. of ampho both]
n. Pharm. a semi-synthetic penicillin used esp. in treating
infections of the urinary and respiratory tracts. [amino + pen
ample adj. (ampler, amplest) 1 a plentiful, abundant, extensive. b
euphem. (esp. of a person) large, stout. 2 enough or more than
enough. ЬЬampleness n. amply adv. [F f. L amplus]
amplifier n. an electronic device for increasing the strength of
electrical signals, esp. for conversion into sound in radio etc.
amplify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. increase the volume or strength of
(sound, electrical signals, etc.). 2 tr. enlarge upon or add
detail to (a story etc.). 3 intr. expand what is said or
written. ЬЬamplification n. [ME f. OF amplifier f. L
amplificare (as AMPLE, -FY)]
amplitude n. 1 a Physics the maximum extent of a vibration or oscillation
from the position of equilibrium. b Electr. the maximum
departure of the value of an alternating current or wave from
the average value. 2 a spaciousness, breadth; wide range. b
abundance. Ьamplitude modulation Electr. 1 the modulation of a
wave by variation of its amplitude. 2 the system using such
modulation. [F amplitude or L amplitudo (as AMPLE)]
ampoule n. a small capsule in which measured quantities of liquids or
solids, esp. for injecting, are sealed ready for use. [F f. L
ampulla n. (pl. ampullae) 1 a a Roman globular flask with two handles.
b a vessel for sacred uses. 2 Anat. the dilated end of a vessel
or duct. [L]
amputate v.tr. cut off by surgical operation (a part of the body, esp. a
limb), usu. because of injury or disease. ЬЬamputation n.
amputator n. [L amputare f. amb- about + putare prune]
amputee n. a person who has lost a limb etc. by amputation.
amtrac n. (also amtrak) US an amphibious tracked vehicle used for
landing assault troops on a shore. [amphibious + tractor]
amu abbr. atomic mass unit.
amuck var. of AMOK.
amulet n. 1 an ornament or small piece of jewellery worn as a charm
against evil. 2 something which is thought to give such
protection. [L amuletum, of unkn. orig.]
amuse v. 1 tr. cause (a person) to laugh or smile. 2 tr. & refl.
(often foll. by with, by) interest or occupy; keep (a person)
entertained. ЬЬamusing adj. amusingly adv. [ME f. OF amuser
cause to muse (see MUSE(2)) f. causal a to + muser stare]
amusement n. 1 something that amuses, esp. a pleasant diversion, game, or
pastime. 2 a the state of being amused. b the act of amusing.
3 a mechanical device (e.g. a roundabout) for entertainment at a
fairground etc. Ьamusement arcade Brit. an indoor area for
entertainment with automatic game-machines. [F f. amuser: see
adj. shaped like an almond. Ьamygdaloid nucleus a roughly
almond-shaped mass of grey matter deep inside each cerebral
hemisphere, associated with the sense of smell. [L amygdala f.
Gk amugdale almond]
amyl n. (used attrib.) Chem. the monovalent group CH-,
derived from pentane. Also called PENTYL. [L amylum starch,
from which oil containing it was distilled]
amylase n. Biochem. any of several enzymes that convert starch and
glycogen into simple sugars. [AMYL + -ASE]
amylopsin n. Biochem. an enzyme of the pancreas that converts starch
into maltose. [AMYL after pepsin]
Amytal n. propr. a name for amylobarbitone, a barbiturate drug used
as a sedative and a hypnotic. [chem. name amylethyl barbituric
an adj. the form of the indefinite article (see A(1)) used before
words beginning with a vowel sound (an egg; an hour; an MP).
°Now less often used before aspirated words beginning with h and
stressed on a syllable other than the first (so a hotel, not an
an-(1) prefix not, without (anarchy) ( cf. A-(1)). [Gk an-]
an-(2) assim. form of AD- before n.
-an suffix (also -ean, -ian) forming adjectives and nouns, esp. from
names of places, systems, zoological classes or orders, and
founders (Mexican; Anglican; crustacean; European; Lutheran;
Georgian; theologian). [ult. f. L adj. endings -(i)anus, -aeus:
cf. Gk -aios, -eios]
ana n. 1 (as pl.) anecdotes or literary gossip about a person. 2
(as sing.) a collection of a person's memorable sayings. [=
ana- prefix (usu. an- before a vowel) 1 up (anadromous). 2 back
(anamnesis). 3 again (anabaptism). [Gk ana up]
-ana suffix forming plural nouns meaning 'things associated with'
(Victoriana; Americana). [neut. pl. of L adj. ending - anus]
n. the doctrine that baptism should only be administered to
believing adults. ЬЬAnabaptist n. [eccl.L anabaptismus f. Gk
anabaptismos (as ANA-, BAPTISM)]
anabas n. any of the freshwater fish of the climbing perch family
native to Asia and Africa, esp. the genus Anabas, able to
breathe air and move on land. [mod.L f. Gk past part. of
anabaino walk up]
anabasis n. (pl. anabases) 1 the march of the younger Cyrus into Asia
in 401 BC as narrated by Xenophon in his work Anabasis. 2 a
military up-country march. [Gk, = ascent f. anabaino (as ANA-,
anabatic adj. Meteorol. (of a wind) caused by air flowing upwards (cf.
KATABATIC). [Gk anabatikos ascending (as ANABASIS)]
anabiosis n. (pl. anabioses) revival after apparent death. ЬЬanabiotic
adj. [med.L f. Gk anabiosis f. anabioo return to life]
anabolic adj. Biochem. of or relating to anabolism. Ьanabolic steroid
any of a group of synthetic steroid hormones used to increase
anabolism n. Biochem. the synthesis of complex molecules in living
organisms from simpler ones together with the storage of energy;
constructive metabolism (opp. CATABOLISM). [Gk anabole ascent
(as ANA-, ballo throw)]
anabranch n. esp. Austral. a stream that leaves a river and re-enters
it lower down. [ANASTOMOSE + BRANCH]
adj. 1 out of date. 2 involving anachronism. [ANACHRONISM
after synchronic etc.]
n. 1 a the attribution of a custom, event, etc., to a period to
which it does not belong. b a thing attributed in this way. 2
a anything out of harmony with its period. b an old-fashioned
or out-of-date person or thing. ЬЬanachronistic adj.
anachronistically adv. [F anachronisme or Gk anakhronismos (as
ANA-, khronos time)]
n. (pl. anacolutha) a sentence or construction which lacks
grammatical sequence (e.g. while in the garden the door banged
shut). ЬЬanacoluthic adj. [LL f. Gk anakolouthon (as AN-(1),
anaconda n. a large non-poisonous snake living mainly in water or in
trees that kills its prey by constriction. [alt. of anacondaia
f. Sinh. henakandaya whip-snake f. hena lightning + kanda
stem: orig. of a snake in Sri Lanka]
n. & adj. --n. a poem written after the manner of Anacreon, a
Greek lyric poet (d. 478 BC). --adj. 1 after the manner of
Anacreon. 2 convivial and amatory in tone. [LL anacreonticus
f. Gk Anakreon]
anacrusis n. (pl. anacruses) 1 (in poetry) an unstressed syllable at the
beginning of a verse. 2 Mus. an unstressed note or notes before
the first bar-line. [Gk anakrousis (as ANA-, krousis f. krouo
adj. (of a fish, e.g. the salmon) that swims up a river from
the sea to spawn (opp. CATADROMOUS). [Gk anadromos (as ANA-,
anaemia n. (US anemia) a deficiency in the blood, usu. of red cells or
their haemoglobin, resulting in pallor and weariness.
Ьpernicious anaemia a defective formation of red blood cells
through a lack of vitamin B or folic acid. [mod.L f. Gk
anaimia (as AN-(1), -AEMIA)]
anaemic adj. (US anemic) 1 relating to or suffering from anaemia. 2
pale; lacking in vitality.
anaerobe n. an organism that grows without air, or requires oxygen-free
conditions to live. ЬЬanaerobic adj. [F ana‚robie formed as
AN-(1) + AEROBE]
n. (US anesthesia) the absence of sensation, esp. artificially
induced insensitivity to pain usu. achieved by the
administration of gases or the injection of drugs.
ЬЬanaesthesiology n. [mod.L f. Gk anaisthesia (as AN-(1),
adj. & n. (US anesthetic) --n. a substance that produces
insensibility to pain etc. --adj. producing partial or complete
insensibility to pain etc. Ьgeneral anaesthetic an anaesthetic
that affects the whole body, usu. with loss of consciousness.
local anaesthetic an anaesthetic that affects a restricted area
of the body. [Gk anaisthetos insensible (as ANAESTHESIA)]
n. a specialist in the administration of anaesthetics.
v.tr. (also -ise, US anesthetize) 1 administer an anaesthetic
to. 2 deprive of physical or mental sensation.
anaglyph n. 1 Photog. a composite stereoscopic photograph printed in
superimposed complementary colours. 2 an embossed object cut in
low relief. ЬЬanaglyphic adj. [Gk anagluphe (as ANA-, gluphe
f. glupho carve)]
anaglypta n. a type of thick embossed wallpaper, usu. for painting over.
[L anaglypta work in bas-relief: cf. ANAGLYPH]
anagram n. a word or phrase formed by transposing the letters of
another word or phrase. ЬЬanagrammatic adj. anagrammatical
adj. anagrammatize v.tr. (also -ise). [F anagramme or mod.L
anagramma f. Gk ANA- + gramma -atos letter: cf. -GRAM]
anal adj. relating to or situated near the anus. Ьanal retentive
(of a person) excessively orderly and fussy (supposedly owing to
aspects of toilet-training in infancy). ЬЬanally adv. [mod.L
analis (as ANUS)]
analects n.pl. (also analecta) a collection of short literary extracts.
[L f. Gk analekta things gathered f. analego pick up]
analeptic adj. & n. --adj. (of a drug etc.) restorative. --n. a
restorative medicine or drug. [Gk analeptikos f. analambano
analgesia n. the absence or relief of pain. [mod.L f. Gk, =
analgesic adj. & n. --adj. relieving pain. --n. an analgesic drug.
analog US var. of ANALOGUE.
analogize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. represent or explain by analogy. 2 intr.
analogous adj. (usu. foll. by to) partially similar or parallel; showing
analogy. ЬЬanalogously adv. [L analogus f. Gk analogos
analogue n. (US analog) 1 an analogous or parallel thing. 2 (attrib.) (
usu. analog) (of a computer or electronic process) using
physical variables, e.g. voltage, weight, or length, to
represent numbers (cf. DIGITAL). [F f. Gk analogon neut. adj.:
analogy n. (pl. -ies) 1 (usu. foll. by to, with, between)
correspondence or partial similarity. 2 Logic a process of
arguing from similarity in known respects to similarity in other
respects. 3 Philol. the imitation of existing words in forming
inflections or constructions of others, without the existence of
corresponding intermediate stages. 4 Biol. the resemblance of
function between organs essentially different. 5 an analogue.
ЬЬanalogical adj. analogically adv. [F analogie or L analogia
proportion f. Gk (as ANALOGOUS)]
analysand n. a person undergoing psychoanalysis.
analyse v.tr. (US analyze) 1 examine in detail the constitution or
structure of. 2 Chem. ascertain the constituents of (a sample
of a mixture or compound). 3 find or show the essence or
structure of (a book, music, etc.). 4 Gram. resolve (a
sentence) into its grammatical elements. 5 psychoanalyse.
ЬЬanalysable adj. analyser n. [obs. analyse (n.) or F
analyser f. analyse (n.) f. med.L ANALYSIS]
analysis n. (pl. analyses) 1 a a detailed examination of the elements
or structure of a substance etc. b a statement of the result of
this. 2 Chem. the determination of the constituent parts of a
mixture or compound. 3 psychoanalysis. 4 Math. the use of
algebra and calculus in problem-solving. 5 Cricket a statement
of the performance of a bowler, usu. giving the numbers of overs
and maiden overs bowled, runs conceded, and wickets taken. Ьin
the final (or last or ultimate) analysis after all due
consideration; in the end. [med.L f. Gk analusis (as ANA-, luo
analyst n. 1 a person skilled in (esp. chemical) analysis. 2 a
psychoanalyst. [F analyste]
analytic adj. 1 of or relating to analysis. 2 Philol. analytical. 3
Logic (of a statement etc.) such that its denial is
self-contradictory; true by definition (see SYNTHETIC). [LL f.
Gk analutikos (as ANALYSIS)]
adj. 1 using analytic methods. 2 Philol. using separate words
instead of inflections (cf. SYNTHETIC). Ьanalytical geometry
geometry using coordinates. ЬЬanalytically adv.
analyze US var. of ANALYSE.
anamnesis n. (pl. anamneses) 1 recollection (esp. of a supposed previous
existence). 2 a patient's account of his or her medical
history. 3 Eccl. the part of the anaphora recalling the
Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ. [Gk, =
anandrous adj. Bot. having no stamens. [Gk anandros without males f.
an- not + aner andros male]
anapaest n. (US anapest) Prosody a foot consisting of two short or
unstressed syllables followed by one long or stressed syllable.
ЬЬanapaestic adj. [L anapaestus f. Gk anapaistos reversed
(because the reverse of a dactyl)]
anaphase n. Biol. the stage of meiotic or mitotic cell division when
the chromosomes move away from one another to opposite poles of
the spindle. [ANA- + PHASE]
anaphora n. 1 Rhet. the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning
of successive clauses. 2 Gram. the use of a word referring to
or replacing a word used earlier in a sentence, to avoid
repetition (e.g. do in I like it and so do they). 3 Eccl. the
part of the Eucharist which contains the consecration,
anamnesis, and communion. ЬЬanaphoric adj. [L f. Gk, =
repetition (as ANA-, phero to bear)]
adj. & n. --adj. tending to reduce sexual desire. --n. an
n. (pl. anaphylaxes) Med. hypersensitivity of tissues to a
dose of antigen, as a reaction against a previous dose.
ЬЬanaphylactic adj. [mod.L f. F anaphylaxie (as ANA- + Gk
anaptyxis n. (pl. anaptyxes) Phonet. the insertion of a vowel between
two consonants to aid pronunciation (as in went thataway).
ЬЬanaptyctic adj. [mod.L f. Gk anaptuxis (as ANA-, ptusso
anarchism n. the doctrine that all government should be abolished. [F
anarchisme (as ANARCHY)]
anarchist n. an advocate of anarchism or of political disorder.
ЬЬanarchistic adj. [F anarchiste (as ANARCHY)]
anarchy n. 1 disorder, esp. political or social. 2 lack of government
in a society. ЬЬanarchic adj. anarchical adj. anarchically
adv. [med.L f. Gk anarkhia (as AN-(1), arkhe rule)]
n. a lens or lens-system made free from astigmatism by
correction. [G f. anastigmatisch ANASTIGMATIC]
adj. free from astigmatism.
v.intr. link by anastomosis. [F anastomoser (as ANASTOMOSIS)]
n. (pl. anastomoses) a cross-connection of arteries, branches,
rivers, etc. [mod.L f. Gk f. anastomoo furnish with a mouth
(as ANA-, stoma mouth)]
n. Rhet. the inversion of the usual order of words or clauses.
[Gk anastrophe turning back (as ANA-, strepho to turn)]
anathema n. (pl. anathemas) 1 a detested thing or person (is anathema
to me). 2 a a curse of the Church, excommunicating a person or
denouncing a doctrine. b a cursed thing or person. c a strong
curse. [eccl.L, = excommunicated person, excommunication, f. Gk
anathema thing devoted, (later) accursed thing, f. anatithemi
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) curse. [F anath‚matiser f. L
anathematizare f. Gk anathematizo (as ANATHEMA)]
adj. 1 of or relating to anatomy. 2 structural.
ЬЬanatomically adv. [F anatomique or LL anatomicus (as
anatomist n. a person skilled in anatomy. [F anatomiste or med.L
anatomista (as ANATOMIZE)]
anatomize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 examine in detail. 2 dissect. [F
anatomiser or med.L anatomizare f. anatomia (as ANATOMY)]
anatomy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the science of the bodily structure of animals
and plants. 2 this structure. 3 colloq. a human body. 4
analysis. 5 the dissection of the human body, animals, or
plants. [F anatomie or LL anatomia f. Gk (as ANA-, -TOMY)]
anatta (also anatto) var. of ANNATTO.
ANC abbr. African National Congress.
-ance suffix forming nouns expressing: 1 a quality or state or an
instance of one (arrogance; protuberance; relevance;
resemblance). 2 an action (assistance; furtherance; penance).
[from or after F -ance f. L -antia, -entia (cf. -ENCE) f. pres.
part. stem -ant-, -ent-]
ancestor n. (fem. ancestress) 1 any (esp. remote) person from whom one
is descended. 2 an early type of animal or plant from which
others have evolved. 3 an early prototype or forerunner
(ancestor of the computer). [ME f. OF ancestre f. L antecessor
-oris f. antecedere (as ANTE-, cedere cess- go)]
ancestral adj. belonging to or inherited from one's ancestors. [F
ancestrel (as ANCESTOR)]
ancestry n. (pl. -ies) 1 one's (esp. remote) family descent. 2 one's
ancestors collectively. [ME alt. of OF ancesserie (as
anchor n. & v. --n. 1 a heavy metal weight used to moor a ship to the
sea-bottom or a balloon to the ground. 2 a thing affording
stability. 3 a source of confidence. --v. 1 tr. secure (a
ship or balloon) by means of an anchor. 2 tr. fix firmly. 3
intr. cast anchor. 4 intr. be moored by means of an anchor.
Ьanchor-plate a heavy piece of timber or metal, e.g. as support
for suspension-bridge cables. at anchor moored by means of an
anchor. cast (or come to) anchor let the anchor down. weigh
anchor take the anchor up. [OE ancor f. L anchora f. Gk agkura]
anchorage n. 1 a place where a ship may be anchored. 2 the act of
anchoring or lying at anchor. 3 anything dependable.
anchorite n. (also anchoret) (fem. anchoress) 1 a hermit; a religious
recluse. 2 a person of secluded habits. ЬЬanchoretic adj.
anchoritic adj. [ME f. med.L anc(h)orita, eccl.L anchoreta f.
eccl.Gk anakhoretes f. anakhoreo retire]
anchorman n. (pl. -men) 1 a person who coordinates activities, esp. as
compЉre in a broadcast. 2 a person who plays a crucial part,
esp. at the back of a tug-of-war team or as the last runner in a
anchoveta n. a small Pacific anchovy caught for use as bait or to make
fish-meal. [Sp., dimin. of anchova: cf. ANCHOVY]
anchovy n. (pl. -ies) any of various small silvery fish of the herring
family usu. preserved in salt and oil and having a strong taste.
Ьanchovy pear a W. Indian fruit like a mango. anchovy toast
toast spread with paste made from anchovies. [Sp. & Port.
ancho(v)a, of uncert. orig.]
anchusa n. any plant of the genus Anchusa, akin to borage. [L f. Gk
anchylose var. of ANKYLOSE.
var. of ANKYLOSIS.
n. (pl. anciens r‚gimes pronunc. same) 1 the political and
social system in France before the Revolution of 1789. 2 any
superseded regime. [F, = old rule]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of long ago. 2 having lived or existed
long. --n. archaic an old man. Ьancient history 1 the history
of the ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean area and the
Near East before the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476. 2
something already long familiar. ancient lights a window that a
neighbour may not deprive of light by building. ancient
monument Brit. an old building etc. preserved usu. under
Government control. the ancients the people of ancient times,
esp. the Greeks and Romans. ЬЬancientness n. [ME f. AF auncien
f. OF ancien, ult. f. L ante before]
n. archaic = ENSIGN. [corrupt. of form ensyne etc. by assoc.
with ancien = ANCIENT(1)]
anciently adv. long ago.
ancillary adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a person, activity, or service)
providing essential support to a central service or industry,
esp. the medical service. 2 (often foll. by to) subordinate,
subservient. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an ancillary worker. 2
something which is ancillary; an auxiliary or accessory. [L
ancillaris f. ancilla maidservant]
ancon n. (pl. -es) Archit. 1 a console, usu. of two volutes,
supporting or appearing to support a cornice. 2 each of a pair
of projections on either side of a block of stone etc. for
lifting or repositioning. [L f. Gk agkon elbow]
-ancy suffix forming nouns denoting a quality (constancy; relevancy)
or state (expectancy; infancy) ( cf. -ANCE). [from or after L
-antia: cf. -ENCY]
and conj. 1 a connecting words, clauses, or sentences, that are to
be taken jointly (cakes and buns; white and brown bread; buy and
sell; two hundred and forty). b implying progression (better
and better). c implying causation (do that and I'll hit you;
she hit him and he cried). d implying great duration (he cried
and cried). e implying a great number (miles and miles). f
implying addition (two and two are four). g implying variety
(there are books and books). h implying succession (walking two
and two). 2 colloq. to (try and open it). 3 in relation to
(Britain and the EEC). Ьand/or either or both of two stated
possibilities (usually restricted to legal and commercial use).
-and suffix forming nouns meaning 'a person or thing to be treated in
a specified way' (ordinand). [L gerundive ending -andus]
andante adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. in a moderately slow
tempo. --n. an andante passage or movement. [It., part. of
andantino adv., adj., & n. Mus. --adv. & adj. rather quicker (orig.
slower) than andante. --n. (pl. -os) an andantino passage or
movement. [It., dimin. of ANDANTE]
andesite n. a fine-grained brown or greyish intermediate volcanic rock.
[Andes mountain chain in S. America + -ITE(1)]
andiron n. a metal stand (usu. one of a pair) for supporting burning
wood in a fireplace; a firedog. [ME f. OF andier, of unkn.
orig.: assim. to IRON]
n. (pl. androecia) Bot. the stamens taken collectively.
[mod.L f. Gk andro- male + oikion house]
androgen n. a male sex hormone or other substance capable of developing
and maintaining certain male sexual characteristics.
ЬЬandrogenic adj. [Gk andro- male + -GEN]
androgyne adj. & n. --adj. hermaphrodite. --n. a hermaphrodite person.
[OF androgyne or L androgynus f. Gk androgunos (aner andros
male, gune woman)]
adj. 1 hermaphrodite. 2 Bot. with stamens and pistils in the
same flower or inflorescence.
androgyny n. hermaphroditism.
android n. a robot with a human appearance. [Gk andro- male, man +
-androus comb. form Bot. forming adjectives meaning 'having specified
male organs or stamens' (monandrous). [mod.L f. Gk -andros f.
aner andros male + -OUS]
-ane(1) suffix var. of -AN; usu. with distinction of sense (germane;
humane; urbane) but sometimes with no corresponding form in -an
-ane(2) suffix Chem. forming names of paraffins and other saturated
hydrocarbons (methane; propane). [after -ene, -ine, etc.]
n. 1 joc. garrulous old age. 2 anecdotes. [ANECDOTE + -AGE:
sense 1 after DOTAGE]
anecdote n. a short account (or painting etc.) of an entertaining or
interesting incident. ЬЬanecdotal adj. anecdotalist n.
anecdotic adj. anecdotist n. [F anecdote or mod.L f. Gk
anekdota things unpublished (as AN-(1), ekdotos f. ekdidomi
anechoic adj. free from echo.
anele v.tr. archaic anoint, esp. in extreme unction. [ME f. AN-(1)
+ elien f. OE ele f. L oleum oil]
anemia US var. of ANAEMIA.
anemic US var. of ANAEMIC.
n. an instrument for recording on paper the direction and force
of the wind. ЬЬanemographic adj. [Gk anemos wind + -GRAPH(1)]
n. an instrument for measuring the force of the wind. [Gk
anemos wind + -METER]
n. the measurement of the force of the wind. ЬЬanemometric
adj. [Gk anemos wind + -METRY]
anemone n. 1 any plant of the genus Anemone, akin to the buttercup,
with flowers of various vivid colours. 2 = PASQUE-FLOWER. [L
f. Gk anemone wind-flower f. anemos wind]
adj. wind-pollinated. [Gk anemos wind + -philous (see
anent prep. archaic or Sc. concerning. [OE on efen on a level with]
aneroid adj. & n. --adj. (of a barometer) that measures air-pressure by
its action on the elastic lid of an evacuated box, not by the
height of a column of fluid. --n. an aneroid barometer. [F
an‚ro‹de f. Gk a- not + neros water]
US var. of ANAESTHESIA etc.
aneurin n. = THIAMINE. [anti + poly neuritis + vitam in]
aneurysm n. (also aneurism) an excessive localized enlargement of an
artery. ЬЬaneurysmal adj. (also aneurismal). [Gk aneurusma f.
aneuruno widen out f. eurus wide]
anew adv. 1 again. 2 in a different way. [ME, f. A-(4) + NEW]
n. 1 circuitousness. 2 intricacy. [F anfractuosit‚ f. LL
anfractuosus f. L anfractus a bending]
angary n. Law the right of a belligerent (subject to compensation for
loss) to seize or destroy neutral property under military
necessity. [F angarie ult. f. Gk aggareia f. aggaros courier]
angel n. 1 a an attendant or messenger of God. b a conventional
representation of this in human form with wings. c an attendant
spirit (evil angel; guardian angel). d a member of the lowest
order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy (see ORDER). 2 a a
very virtuous person. b an obliging person (be an angel and
answer the door). 3 an old English coin bearing the figure of
the archangel Michael piercing the dragon. 4 sl. a financial
backer of an enterprise, esp. in the theatre. 5 an unexplained
radar echo. Ьangel cake a very light sponge cake. angel-fish
any of various fish, esp. Pterophyllum scalare, with large
dorsal and ventral fins. angel-shark = MONKFISH 2.
angels-on-horseback a savoury of oysters wrapped in slices of
bacon. [ME f. OF angele f. eccl.L angelus f. Gk aggelos
angelic adj. 1 like or relating to angels. 2 having characteristics
attributed to angels, esp. sublime beauty or innocence.
ЬЬangelical adj. angelically adv. [ME f. F ang‚lique or LL
angelicus f. Gk aggelikos (as ANGEL)]
angelica n. 1 an aromatic umbelliferous plant, Angelica archangelica,
used in cooking and medicine. 2 its candied stalks. [med.L
(herba) angelica angelic herb]
angelus n. 1 a Roman Catholic devotion commemorating the Incarnation,
said at morning, noon, and sunset. 2 a bell rung to announce
this. [opening words Angelus domini (L, = the angel of the
anger n. & v. --n. extreme or passionate displeasure. --v.tr. make
angry; enrage. [ME f. ON angr grief, angra vex]
Angevin n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or inhabitant of Anjou. 2 a
Plantagenet, esp. any of the English kings from Henry II to
John. --adj. 1 of Anjou. 2 of the Plantagenets. [F]
angina n. 1 an attack of intense constricting pain often causing
suffocation. 2 (in full angina pectoris) pain in the chest
brought on by exertion, owing to an inadequate blood supply to
the heart. [L, = spasm of the chest f. angina quinsy f. Gk
angioma n. (pl. angiomata) a tumour produced by the dilatation or new
formation of blood-vessels. [mod.L f. Gk aggeion vessel]
n. any plant producing flowers and reproducing by seeds
enclosed within a carpel, including herbaceous plants, herbs,
shrubs, grasses and most trees (opp. GYMNOSPERM).
ЬЬangiospermous adj. [Gk aggeion vessel + sperma seed]
Angle n. (usu. in pl.) a member of a tribe from Schleswig that
settled in Eastern Britain in the 5th c. ЬЬAnglian adj. [L
Anglus f. Gmc (OE Engle: cf. ENGLISH) f. Angul a district of
Schleswig (now in N. Germany) (as ANGLE(2))]
angle(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a the space between two meeting lines or
surfaces. b the inclination of two lines or surfaces to each
other. 2 a a corner. b a sharp projection. 3 a the direction
from which a photograph etc. is taken. b the aspect from which
a matter is considered. --v. 1 tr. & intr. move or place
obliquely. 2 tr. present (information) from a particular point
of view (was angled in favour of the victim). Ьangle brackets
brackets in the form < > (see BRACKET n. 3). angle-iron a
piece of iron or steel with an L-shaped cross-section, used to
strengthen a framework. angle of repose the angle beyond which
an inclined body will not support another on its surface by
friction. [ME f. OF angle or f. L angulus]
angle(2) v. & n. --v.intr. 1 (often foll. by for) fish with hook and
line. 2 (foll. by for) seek an objective by devious or
calculated means (angled for a pay rise). --n. archaic a
fish-hook. [OE angul]
angled adj. 1 placed at an angle to something else. 2 presented to
suit a particular point of view. 3 having an angle.
angler n. 1 a person who fishes with a hook and line. 2 =
angler-fish. Ьangler-fish any of various fishes that prey upon
small fish, attracting them by filaments arising from the dorsal
fin: also called frog-fish (see FROG(1)).
Anglican adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Church of England or any
Church in communion with it. --n. a member of an Anglican
Church. ЬЬAnglicanism n. [med.L Anglicanus (Magna Carta) f.
Anglicus (Bede) f. Anglus ANGLE]
anglice adv. in English. [med.L]
Anglicism n. 1 a peculiarly English word or custom. 2 Englishness. 3
preference for what is English. [L Anglicus (see ANGLICAN) +
Anglicize v.tr. (also -ise) make English in form or character.
Anglist n. a student of or scholar in English language or literature.
ЬЬAnglistics n. [G f. L Anglus English]
Anglo n. (pl. -os) US a person of British or northern-European
origin. [abbr. of ANGLO-SAXON]
Anglo- comb. form 1 English (Anglo-Catholic). 2 of English origin (an
Anglo-American). 3 English or British and (an Anglo-American
agreement). [f. mod.L f. L Anglus English]
adj. & n. --adj. of a High Church Anglican group which
emphasizes its Catholic tradition. --n. a member of this group.
adj. centred on or considered in terms of England.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 English (or British) and French. 2 of
Anglo-French. --n. the French language as retained and
separately developed in England after the Norman Conquest.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to England and India. 2 a
of British descent or birth but living or having lived long in
India. b of mixed British and Indian parentage. 3 (of a word)
adopted into English from an Indian language. --n. an
adj. & n. --adj. of Latin as used in medieval England. --n.
this form of Latin.
n. excessive admiration of English customs.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 English and Norman. 2 of the Normans in
England after the Norman Conquest. 3 of the dialect of French
used by them. --n. the Anglo-Norman dialect.
n. & adj. (also Anglophil) --n. a person who is fond of or
greatly admires England or the English. --adj. being or
characteristic of an Anglophile.
n. & adj. --n. a person who greatly hates or fears England or
the English. --adj. being or characteristic of an Anglophobe.
n. intense hatred or fear of England or the English.
adj. & n. --adj. English-speaking. --n. an English-speaking
person. [ANGLO-, after FRANCOPHONE]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the English Saxons (as distinct from the
Old Saxons of the continent, and from the Angles) before the
Norman Conquest. 2 of the Old English people as a whole before
the Norman Conquest. 3 of English descent. --n. 1 an
Anglo-Saxon person. 2 the Old English language. 3 a colloq.
plain (esp. crude) English. b US the modern English language.
[mod.L Anglo-Saxones, med.L Angli Saxones after OE Angulseaxe,
angora n. 1 a fabric made from the hair of the angora goat or rabbit.
2 a long-haired variety of cat, goat, or rabbit. Ьangora wool a
mixture of sheep's wool and angora rabbit hair. [Angora
(Ankara) in Turkey]
angostura n. (in full angostura bark) an aromatic bitter bark used as a
flavouring, and formerly used as a tonic and to reduce fever.
ЬAngostura Bitters propr. a kind of tonic first made in
Angostura. [Angostura, a town in Venezuela on the Orinoco, now
angry adj. (angrier, angriest) 1 feeling or showing anger; extremely
displeased or resentful. 2 (of a wound, sore, etc.) inflamed,
painful. 3 suggesting or seeming to show anger (an angry sky).
ЬЬangrily adv. [ME, f. ANGER + -Y(1)]
angst n. 1 anxiety. 2 a feeling of guilt or remorse. [G]
angstrom n. (also †ngstr”m) a unit of length equal to 10[-10] metre.
°Symb.: Џ. [A.J. Џngstr”m, Swedish physicist d. 1874]
anguine adj. of or resembling a snake. [L anguinus f. anguis snake]
anguish n. severe misery or mental suffering. [ME f. OF anguisse
choking f. L angustia tightness f. angustus narrow]
anguished adj. suffering or expressing anguish. [past part. of anguish
(v.) f. OF anguissier f. eccl.L angustiare to distress, formed
angular adj. 1 a having angles or sharp corners. b (of a person)
having sharp features; lean and bony. c awkward in manner. 2
forming an angle. 3 measured by angle (angular distance).
Ьangular momentum the quantity of rotation of a body, the
product of its moment of inertia and angular velocity. angular
velocity the rate of change of angular position of a rotating
body. ЬЬangularity n. angularly adv. [L angularis f. angulus
anhedral n. & adj. Aeron. --n. the angle between wing and horizontal
when the wing is inclined downwards. --adj. of or having an
anhedral. [AN-(1) + -hedral (see -HEDRON)]
anhydride n. Chem. a substance obtained by removing the elements of
water from a compound, esp. from an acid. [as ANHYDROUS + -IDE]
anhydrite n. a naturally occurring, usu. rock-forming anhydrous mineral
form of calcium sulphate. [as ANHYDROUS + -ITE(1) 2]
anhydrous adj. Chem. without water, esp. water of crystallization. [Gk
anudros (as AN-(1), hudor water)]
aniline n. a colourless oily liquid, used in the manufacture of dyes,
drugs, and plastics. Ьaniline dye 1 any of numerous dyes made
from aniline. 2 any synthetic dye. [G Anilin f. Anil indigo
(from which it was orig. obtained), ult. f. Arab. an-nil]
anima n. Psychol. 1 the inner personality (opp. PERSONA). 2 Jung's
term for the feminine part of a man's personality (opp.
ANIMUS). [L, = mind, soul]
v.intr. (foll. by on) criticize, censure (conduct, a fault,
etc.). ЬЬanimadversion n. [L animadvertere f. animus mind +
advertere (as AD-, vertere vers- turn)]
animal n. & adj. --n. 1 a living organism which feeds on organic
matter, usu. one with specialized sense-organs and nervous
system, and able to respond rapidly to stimuli. 2 such an
organism other than man. 3 a brutish or uncivilized person. 4
colloq. a person or thing of any kind (there is no such animal).
--adj. 1 characteristic of animals. 2 of animals as distinct
from vegetables (animal charcoal). 3 characteristic of the
physical needs of animals; carnal, sensual. Ьanimal husbandry
the science of breeding and caring for farm animals. animal
magnetism hist. mesmerism. animal spirits natural exuberance.
[L f. animale neut. of animalis having breath f. anima breath]
n. archaic a microscopic animal. ЬЬanimalcular adj. [mod.L
animalculum (as ANIMAL, -CULE)]
animalism n. 1 the nature and activity of animals. 2 the belief that
humans are not superior to other animals. 3 concern with
physical matters; sensuality.
animality n. 1 the animal world. 2 the nature or behaviour of animals.
[F animalit‚ f. animal (adj.)]
animalize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (a person) bestial; sensualize. 2
convert to animal substance. ЬЬanimalization n.
animate adj. & v. --adj. 1 having life. 2 lively. --v.tr. 1
enliven, make lively. 2 give life to. 3 inspire, actuate. 4
encourage. [L animatus past part. of animare give life to f.
anima life, soul]
animated adj. 1 lively, vigorous. 2 having life. 3 (of a film etc.)
using techniques of animation. ЬЬanimatedly adv. animator n.
(in sense 3).
animation n. 1 vivacity, ardour. 2 the state of being alive. 3
Cinematog. the technique of filming successive drawings or
positions of puppets to create an illusion of movement when the
film is shown as a sequence.
anim‚ n. any of various resins, esp. a W. Indian resin used in making
varnish. [F, of uncert. orig.]
animism n. 1 the attribution of a living soul to plants, inanimate
objects, and natural phenomena. 2 the belief in a supernatural
power that organizes and animates the material universe.
ЬЬanimist n. animistic adj. [L anima life, soul + -ISM]
animosity n. (pl. -ies) a spirit or feeling of strong hostility. [ME f.
OF animosit‚ or LL animositas f. animosus spirited, formed as
animus n. 1 a display of animosity. 2 ill feeling. 3 a motivating
spirit or feeling. 4 Psychol. Jung's term for the masculine
part of a woman's personality (opp. ANIMA). [L, = spirit,
anion n. a negatively charged ion; an ion that is attracted to the
anode in electrolysis (opp. CATION). [ANA- + ION]
anionic adj. 1 of an anion or anions. 2 having an active anion.
anise n. an umbelliferous plant, Pimpinella anisum, having aromatic
seeds (see ANISEED). [ME f. OF anis f. L f. Gk anison anise,
aniseed n. the seed of the anise, used to flavour liqueurs and sweets.
[ME f. ANISE + SEED]
anisette n. a liqueur flavoured with aniseed. [F, dimin. of anis ANISE]
adj. having physical properties that are different in different
directions, e.g. the strength of wood along the grain differing
from that across the grain (opp. ISOTROPIC). ЬЬanisotropically
adv. anisotropy n. [AN-(1) + ISOTROPIC]
ankh n. a device consisting of a looped bar with a shorter crossbar,
used in ancient Egypt as a symbol of life. [Egypt., = life,
ankle n. & v. --n. 1 the joint connecting the foot with the leg. 2
the part of the leg between this and the calf. --v.intr. sl.
walk. Ьankle-bone a bone forming the ankle. ankle sock a short
sock just covering the ankle. [ME f. ON ankul- (unrecorded) f.
Gmc: rel. to ANGLE(1)]
anklet n. an ornament or fetter worn round the ankle. [ANKLE + -LET,
ankylose v.tr. & intr. (also anchylose) (of bones or a joint) stiffen or
unite by ankylosis. [back-form. f. ANKYLOSIS after anastomose
ankylosis n. (also anchylosis) 1 the abnormal stiffening and immobility
of a joint by fusion of the bones. 2 such fusion. ЬЬankylotic
adj. [mod.L f. Gk agkulosis f. agkuloo crook]
anna n. a former monetary unit of India and Pakistan, one-sixteenth
of a rupee. [Hind. ana]
annal n. 1 the annals of one year. 2 a record of one item in a
chronicle. [back-form. f. ANNALS]
annalist n. a writer of annals. ЬЬannalistic adj. annalistically adv.
annals n.pl. 1 a narrative of events year by year. 2 historical
records. [F annales or L annales (libri) yearly (books) f.
annates n.pl. RC Ch. the first year's revenue of a see or benefice,
paid to the Pope. [F annate f. med.L annata year's proceeds f.
annatto n. (also anatta, anatto) an orange-red dye from the pulp of a
tropical fruit, used for colouring foods. [Carib name of the
anneal v. & n. --v.tr. 1 heat (metal or glass) and allow it to cool
slowly, esp. to toughen it. 2 toughen. --n. treatment by
annealing. ЬЬannealer n. [OE on‘lan f. on + ‘lan burn, bake
f. al fire]
annelid n. any segmented worm of the phylum Annelida, e.g. earthworms,
lugworms, etc. [F ann‚lide or mod.L annelida (pl.) f. F annel‚s
ringed animals f. OF anel ring f. L anellus dimin. of anulus
annelidan adj. & n. --adj. of the annelids. --n. an annelid.
annex v.tr. 1 a add as a subordinate part. b (often foll. by to)
append to a book etc. 2 incorporate (territory of another) into
one's own. 3 add as a condition or consequence. 4 colloq. take
without right. ЬЬannexation n. [ME f. OF annexer f. L
annectere (as AN-(2), nectere nex- bind)]
annexe n. (also annex) 1 a separate or added building, esp. for extra
accommodation. 2 an addition to a document. [F annexe f. L
annexum past part. of annectere bind: see ANNEX]
v.tr. 1 completely destroy. 2 defeat utterly; make
insignificant or powerless. ЬЬannihilator n. [LL annihilare
(as AN-(2), nihil nothing)]
n. 1 the act or process of annihilating. 2 Physics the
conversion of a particle and an antiparticle into radiation. [F
annihilation or LL annihilatio (as ANNIHILATE)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the date on which an event took place in a
previous year. 2 the celebration of this. [ME f. L
anniversarius f. annus year + versus turned]
adv. & n. --adv. in the year of our Lord, in the year of the
Christian era. --n. colloq. advancing age (suffering from Anno
Domini). [L, = in the year of the Lord]
annotate v.tr. add explanatory notes to (a book, document, etc.).
ЬЬannotatable adj. annotation n. annotative adj. annotator n.
[L annotare (as AD-, nota mark)]
announce v.tr. 1 (often foll. by that) make publicly known. 2 make
known the arrival or imminence of (a guest, dinner, etc.). 3
make known (without words) to the senses or the mind; be a sign
of. ЬЬannouncement n. [ME f. OF annoncer f. L annuntiare (as
AD-, nuntius messenger)]
announcer n. a person who announces, esp. introducing programmes in
annoy v.tr. 1 cause slight anger or mental distress to. 2 (in
passive) be somewhat angry (am annoyed with you; was annoyed at
my remarks). 3 molest; harass repeatedly. ЬЬannoyance n.
annoyer n. [ME f. OF anuier, anui, anoi, etc., ult. f. L in
annual adj. & n. --adj. 1 reckoned by the year. 2 occurring every
year. 3 living or lasting for one year. --n. 1 a book etc.
published once a year; a yearbook. 2 a plant that lives only
for a year or less. Ьannual general meeting a yearly meeting of
members or shareholders, esp. for holding elections and
reporting on the year's events. annual ring a ring in the
cross-section of a plant, esp. a tree, produced by one year's
growth. ЬЬannually adv. [ME f. OF annuel f. LL annualis f. L
annalis f. annus year]
adj. (of rates of interest, inflation, etc.) calculated on an
annual basis, as a projection from figures obtained for a
annuitant n. a person who holds or receives an annuity. [ANNUITY + -ANT,
by assim. to accountant etc.]
annuity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a yearly grant or allowance. 2 an investment
of money entitling the investor to a series of equal annual
sums. 3 a sum payable in respect of a particular year. [ME f.
F annuit‚ f. med.L annuitas -tatis f. L annuus yearly (as
annul v.tr. (annulled, annulling) 1 declare (a marriage etc.)
invalid. 2 cancel, abolish. ЬЬannulment n. [ME f. OF anuller
f. LL annullare (as AD-, nullus none)]
annular adj. ring-shaped; forming a ring. Ьannular eclipse an eclipse
of the sun in which the moon leaves a ring of sunlight visible
round it. ЬЬannularly adv. [F annulaire or L annularis f.
annulate adj. having rings; marked with or formed of rings.
ЬЬannulation n. [L annulatus (as ANNULUS)]
annulet n. 1 Archit. a small fillet or band encircling a column. 2 a
small ring. [L annulus ring + -ET(1)]
annulus n. (pl. annuli) esp. Math. & Biol. a ring. [L an(n)ulus]
v.tr. 1 proclaim. 2 indicate as coming or ready. [LL
annunciare f. L annuntiare annuntiat- announce]
n. 1 (Annunciation) a the announcing of the Incarnation, made
by the angel Gabriel to Mary, related in Luke 1:26-38. b the
festival commemorating this (Lady Day) on 25 March. 2 a the act
or process of announcing. b an announcement. [ME f. OF
annonciation f. LL annuntiatio -onis (as ANNUNCIATE)]
n. 1 a device giving an audible or visible indication of which
of several electrical circuits has been activated, of the
position of a train, etc. 2 an announcer. [LL annuntiator (as
n. a remarkable or auspicious year. [mod.L, = wonderful year]
anoa n. any of several small deerlike water buffalo of the genus
Bubalus, native to Sulawesi. [name in Sulawesi]
anode n. Electr. 1 the positive electrode in an electrolytic cell or
electronic valve or tube. 2 the negative terminal of a primary
cell such as a battery (opp. CATHODE). Ьanode ray a beam of
particles emitted from the anode of a high-vacuum tube.
ЬЬanodal adj. anodic adj. [Gk anodos way up f. ana up + hodos
anodize v.tr. (also -ise) coat (a metal, esp. aluminium) with a
protective oxide layer by electrolysis. ЬЬanodizer n. [ANODE +
anodyne adj. & n. --adj. 1 able to relieve pain. 2 mentally soothing.
--n. an anodyne drug or medicine. [L anodynus f. Gk anodunos
painless (as AN-(1), odune pain)]
anoesis n. Psychol. consciousness with sensation but without thought.
ЬЬanoetic adj. [A-(1) + Gk noesis understanding]
anoint v.tr. 1 apply oil or ointment to, esp. as a religious ceremony
(e.g. at baptism, or the consecration of a priest or king, or
in ministering to the sick). 2 (usu. foll. by with) smear, rub.
ЬЬanointer n. [ME f. AF anoint (adj.) f. OF enoint past part.
of enoindre f. L inungere (as IN-(2), ungere unct- smear with
adj. Astron. of the anomaly or angular distance of a planet
from its perihelion. Ьanomalistic month a month measured
between successive perigees of the moon. anomalistic year a
year measured between successive perihelia of the earth.
anomalous adj. having an irregular or deviant feature; abnormal.
ЬЬanomalously adv. anomalousness n. [LL anomalus f. Gk
anomalos (as AN-(1), homalos even)]
anomalure n. any of the squirrel-like rodents of the family Anomaluridae,
having tails with rough overlapping scales on the underside.
[mod.L anomalurus f. Gk anomalos ANOMALOUS + oura tail]
anomaly n. (pl. -ies) 1 an anomalous circumstance or thing; an
irregularity. 2 irregularity of motion, behaviour, etc. 3
Astron. the angular distance of a planet or satellite from its
last perihelion or perigee. [L f. Gk anomalia f. anomalos
anomy n. (also anomie) lack of the usual social or ethical standards
in an individual or group. ЬЬanomic adj. [Gk anomia f. anomos
lawless: -ie f. F]
anon adv. archaic or literary soon, shortly (will say more of this
anon). [OE on an into one, on ane in one]
anon. abbr. anonymous; an anonymous author.
anonym n. 1 an anonymous person or publication. 2 a pseudonym. [F
anonyme f. Gk anonumos: see ANONYMOUS]
anonymous adj. 1 of unknown name. 2 of unknown or undeclared source or
authorship. 3 without character; featureless, impersonal.
ЬЬanonymity n. anonymously adv. [LL anonymus f. Gk anonumos
nameless (as AN-(1), onoma name)]
anopheles n. any of various mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles, many of
which are carriers of the malarial parasite. [mod.L f. Gk
anorak n. a waterproof jacket of cloth or plastic, usu. with a hood,
of a kind orig. used in polar regions. [Greenland Eskimo
anorectic adj. & n. (also anorexic) --adj. involving, producing, or
characterized by a lack of appetite, esp. in anorexia nervosa.
--n. 1 an anorectic agent. 2 a person with anorexia. [Gk
anorektos without appetite (as ANOREXIA): anorexic f. F
anorexia n. 1 a lack or loss of appetite for food. 2 (in full anorexia
nervosa) a psychological illness, esp. in young women,
characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing
to eat. [LL f. Gk f. an- not + orexis appetite]
anosmia n. the loss of the sense of smell. ЬЬanosmic adj. [LL f. Gk
f. an- not + osme smell]
another adj. & pron. --adj. 1 an additional; one more (have another
cake; after another six months). 2 a person like or comparable
to (another Callas). 3 a different (quite another matter). 4
some or any other (will not do another man's work). --pron. 1
an additional one (have another). 2 a different one (take this
book away and bring me another). 3 some or any other one (I
love another). 4 Brit. an unnamed additional party to a legal
action (X versus Y and another). 5 (also A. N. Other) a player
unnamed or not yet selected. Ьanother place Brit. the other
House of Parliament (used in the Commons to refer to the Lords,
and vice versa). such another another of the same sort. [ME f.
AN + OTHER]
anovulant n. & adj. Pharm. --n. a drug preventing ovulation. --adj.
preventing ovulation. [AN-(1) + ovulation (see OVULATE) + -ANT]
anoxia n. Med. an absence or deficiency of oxygen reaching the
tissues; severe hypoxia. ЬЬanoxic adj. [mod.L, formed as
AN-(1) + OXYGEN + -IA(1)]
anschluss n. a unification, esp. the annexation of Austria by Germany in
1938. [G f. anschliessen join]
anserine adj. 1 of or like a goose. 2 silly. [L anserinus f. anser
answer n. & v. --n. 1 something said or done to deal with or in
reaction to a question, statement, or circumstance. 2 the
solution to a problem. --v. 1 tr. make an answer to (answer
me; answer my question). 2 intr. (often foll. by to) make an
answer. 3 tr. respond to the summons or signal of (answer the
door; answer the telephone). 4 tr. be satisfactory for (a
purpose or need). 5 intr. (foll. by for, to) be responsible
(you will answer to me for your conduct). 6 intr. (foll. by to)
correspond, esp. to a description. 7 intr. be satisfactory or
successful. Ьanswer back answer a rebuke etc. impudently.
answering machine a tape recorder which supplies a recorded
answer to a telephone call. answering service a business that
receives and answers telephone calls for its clients. answer to
the name of be called. [OE andswaru, andswarian f. Gmc, = swear
adj. 1 (usu. foll. by to, for) responsible (answerable to them
for any accident). 2 that can be answered.
n. a telephone answering machine.
ant n. any small insect of a widely distributed hymenopterous
family, living in complex social colonies, wingless (except for
males in the mating season), and proverbial for industry.
Ьant-bear = AARDVARK. ant (or ant's) eggs pupae of ants.
ant-lion any of various dragonfly-like insects. white ant =
TERMITE. [OE ‘met(t)e, emete (see EMMET) f. WG]
ant- assim. form of ANTI- before a vowel or h (Antarctic).
-ant suffix 1 forming adjectives denoting attribution of an action
(pendant; repentant) or state (arrogant; expectant). 2 forming
nouns denoting an agent (assistant; celebrant; deodorant). [F
-ant or L -ant-, -ent-, pres. part. stem of verbs: cf. -ENT]
antacid n. & adj. --n. a substance that prevents or corrects acidity
esp. in the stomach. --adj. having these properties.
n. active opposition or hostility. [F antagonisme (as
n. 1 an opponent or adversary. 2 Biol. a substance or organ
that partially or completely opposes the action of another.
ЬЬantagonistic adj. antagonistically adv. [F antagoniste or LL
antagonista f. Gk antagonistes (as ANTAGONIZE)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 evoke hostility or opposition or enmity in.
2 (of one force etc.) counteract or tend to neutralize
(another). ЬЬantagonization n. [Gk antagonizomai (as ANTI-,
agonizomai f. agon contest)]
antalkali n. (pl. antalkalis) any substance that counteracts an alkali.
Antarctic adj. & n. --adj. of the south polar regions. --n. this region.
ЬAntarctic Circle the parallel of latitude 66ш 32' S., forming
an imaginary line round this region. [ME f. OF antartique or L
antarcticus f. Gk antarktikos (as ANTI-, arktikos ARCTIC)]
ante n. & v. --n. 1 a stake put up by a player in poker etc. before
receiving cards. 2 an amount to be paid in advance. --v.tr.
(antes, anted) 1 put up as an ante. 2 US a bet, stake. b
(foll. by up) pay. [L, = before]
ante- prefix forming nouns and adjectives meaning 'before, preceding'
(ante-room; antenatal; ante-post). [L ante (prep. & adv.), =
anteater n. any of various mammals feeding on ants and termites, e.g. a
adj. occurring or existing before a particular war, esp. the US
Civil War. [L f. ante before + bellum war]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a preceding thing or circumstance. 2 Gram. a
word, phrase, clause, or sentence, to which another word (esp.
a relative pronoun, usu. following) refers. 3 (in pl.) past
history, esp. of a person. 4 Logic the statement contained in
the 'if' clause of a conditional proposition. --adj. 1 (often
foll. by to) previous. 2 presumptive, a priori. ЬЬantecedence
n. antecedently adv. [ME f. F antecedent or L antecedere (as
ANTE-, cedere go)]
n. a small room leading to a main one. [earlier anti-, f. F
antichambre f. It. anticamera (as ANTE-, CHAMBER)]
n. the outer part at the west end of a college chapel.
antedate v. & n. --v.tr. 1 exist or occur at a date earlier than. 2
assign an earlier date to (a document, event, etc.), esp. one
earlier than its actual date. --n. a date earlier than the
adj. 1 of or belonging to the time before the Biblical Flood.
2 colloq. very old or out of date. [ANTE- + L diluvium DELUGE +
antelope n. (pl. same or antelopes) 1 any of various deerlike ruminants
of the family Bovidae, esp. abundant in Africa and typically
tall, slender, graceful, and swift-moving with smooth hair and
upward-pointing horns, e.g. gazelles, gnus, kudus, and impala.
2 leather made from the skin of any of these. [ME f. OF antelop
or f. med.L ant(h)alopus f. late Gk antholops, of unkn. orig.]
antenatal adj. 1 existing or occurring before birth. 2 relating to the
period of pregnancy.
antenna n. (pl. antennae) 1 Zool. one of a pair of mobile appendages
on the heads of insects, crustaceans, etc., sensitive to touch
and taste; a feeler. 2 (pl. antennas) = AERIAL n. ЬЬantennal
adj. (in sense 1). antennary adj. (in sense 1). [L, =
adj. existing or occurring before marriage. Ьantenuptial
contract S.Afr. a contract between two persons intending to
marry each other, setting out the terms and conditions of their
marriage. [LL antenuptialis (as ANTE-, NUPTIAL)]
n. (pl. antependia) a veil or hanging for the front of an
altar. [med.L (as ANTE-, pendere hang)]
n. the last syllable but two in a word. [abbr. of LL
antepaenultimus (as ANTE-, paenultimus PENULT)]
adj. & n. --adj. last but two. --n. anything that is last but
ante-post adj. Brit. (of betting) done at odds determined at the time of
betting, in advance of the event concerned. [ANTE- + POST(1)]
anterior adj. 1 nearer the front. 2 (often foll. by to) earlier, prior.
ЬЬanteriority n. anteriorly adv. [F ant‚rieur or L anterior f.
ante-room n. 1 a small room leading to a main one. 2 Mil. a sitting-room
in an officers' mess.
antheap n. = ANTHILL.
anthelion n. (pl. anthelia) a luminous halo projected on a cloud or
fog-bank opposite to the sun. [Gk, neut. of anthelios opposite
to the sun (as ANTI-, helios sun)]
(also anthelminthic) n. & adj. --n. any drug or agent used to
destroy parasitic, esp. intestinal, worms, e.g. tapeworms,
roundworms, and flukes. --adj. having the power to eliminate or
destroy parasitic worms. [ANTI- + Gk helmins helminthos worm]
anthem n. 1 an elaborate choral composition usu. based on a passage of
scripture for (esp. Anglican) church use. 2 a solemn hymn of
praise etc., esp. = national anthem. 3 a composition sung
antiphonally. [OE antefn, antifne f. LL antiphona ANTIPHON]
anthemion n. (pl. anthemia) a flower-like ornament used in art. [Gk, =
anther n. Bot. the apical portion of a stamen containing pollen.
ЬЬantheral adj. [F anthЉre or mod.L anthera, in L 'medicine
extracted from flowers' f. Gk anthera flowery, fem. adj. f.
n. (pl. antheridia) Bot. the male sex organ of algae, mosses,
ferns, etc. [mod.L f. anthera (as ANTHER) + Gk -idion dimin.
anthill n. 1 a moundlike nest built by ants or termites. 2 a community
teeming with people.
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) compile or include in an anthology.
anthology n. (pl. -ies) a published collection of passages from
literature (esp. poems), songs, reproductions of paintings, etc.
ЬЬanthologist n. [F anthologie or med.L f. Gk anthologia f.
anthos flower + -logia collection f. lego gather]
anthozoan n. & adj. --n. any of the sessile marine coelenterates of the
class Anthozoa, including sea anemones and corals. --adj. of or
relating to this class. [mod.L Anthozoa f. Gk anthos flower +
n. a colourless crystalline aromatic hydrocarbon obtained by
the distillation of crude oils and used in the manufacture of
chemicals. [Gk anthrax -akos coal + -ENE]
n. coal of a hard variety burning with little flame and smoke.
ЬЬanthracitic adj. [Gk anthrakitis a kind of coal (as
anthrax n. a disease of sheep and cattle transmissible to humans. [LL
f. Gk, = carbuncle]
anthropo- comb. form human, mankind. [Gk anthropos human being]
adj. regarding mankind as the centre of existence.
ЬЬanthropocentrically adv. anthropocentrism n.
n. = ANTHROPOGENY.
n. the study of the origin of man. ЬЬanthropogenic adj.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 resembling a human being in form. 2
colloq. (of a person) apelike. --n. a being that is human in
form only, esp. an anthropoid ape. [Gk anthropoeides (as
n. 1 the study of mankind, esp. of its societies and customs.
2 the study of the structure and evolution of man as an animal.
ЬЬanthropological adj. anthropologist n.
n. the scientific study of the measurements of the human body.
adj. of or characterized by anthropomorphism.
ЬЬanthropomorphically adv. [as ANTHROPOMORPHOUS + -IC]
n. the attribution of a human form or personality to a god,
animal, or thing. ЬЬanthropomorphize v.tr.
adj. human in form. [Gk anthropomorphos (as ANTHROPO-, morphe
n. the study of personal names. [ANTHROPO- + Gk onumia f.
onoma name: cf. TOPONYMY]
anti prep. & n. --prep. (also absol.) opposed to (is anti
everything; seems to be rather anti). --n. (pl. antis) a
person opposed to a particular policy etc. [ANTI-]
anti- prefix (also ant- before a vowel or h) forming nouns and
adjectives meaning: 1 opposed to; against (antivivisectionism).
2 preventing (antiscorbutic). 3 the opposite of (anticlimax).
4 rival (antipope). 5 unlike the conventional form (anti-hero;
anti-novel). 6 Physics the antiparticle of a specified particle
(antineutrino; antiproton). [from or after Gk anti- against]
adj. (of a gun, missile, etc.) used to attack enemy aircraft.
antiar n. = UPAS 1a, 2. [Jav. antjar]
n. an antagonistic association between two organisms (esp.
micro-organisms), in which one is adversely affected (cf.
SYMBIOSIS). [mod.L f. F antibiose (as ANTI-, SYMBIOSIS)]
n. & adj. Pharm. --n. any of various substances (e.g.
penicillin) produced by micro-organisms or made synthetically,
that can inhibit or destroy susceptible micro-organisms. --adj.
functioning as an antibiotic. [F antibiotique (as ANTI-, Gk
biotikos fit for life f. bios life)]
antibody n. (pl. -ies) any of various blood proteins produced in
response to and then counteracting antigens. [transl. of G
Antik”rper (as ANTI-, K”rper body)]
antic n. & adj. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) absurd or foolish behaviour. 2
an absurd or silly action. --adj. archaic grotesque, bizarre.
[It. antico ANTIQUE, used as = grotesque]
n. the target (or anode) of an X-ray tube on which the
electrons from the cathode impinge and from which X-rays are
n. 1 an arch-enemy of Christ. 2 a postulated personal opponent
of Christ expected by the early Church to appear before the end
of the world. [ME f. OF antecrist f. eccl.L antichristus f. Gk
antikhristos (as ANTI-, Khristos CHRIST)]
adj. 1 opposed to Christianity. 2 concerning the Antichrist.
v.tr. 1 deal with or use before the proper time. 2 disp.
expect, foresee; regard as probable (did not anticipate any
difficulty). 3 forestall (a person or thing). 4 look forward
to. ЬЬanticipative adj. anticipator n. anticipatory adj. [L
anticipare f. anti- for ANTE- + -cipare f. capere take]
n. 1 the act or process of anticipating. 2 Mus. the
introduction beforehand of part of a chord which is about to
follow. [F anticipation or L anticipatio (as ANTICIPATE)]
adj. & n. --adj. opposed to the influence of the clergy, esp.
in politics. --n. an anticlerical person. ЬЬanticlericalism n.
n. a trivial conclusion to something significant or impressive,
esp. where a climax was expected. ЬЬanticlimactic adj.
anticline n. Geol. a ridge or fold of stratified rock in which the
strata slope down from the crest (opp. SYNCLINE). ЬЬanticlinal
adj. [ANTI- + Gk klino lean, after INCLINE]
adv. & adj. --adv. in a curve opposite in direction to the
movement of the hands of a clock. --adj. moving anticlockwise.
n. & adj. --n. any drug or agent that retards or inhibits
coagulation, esp. of the blood. --adj. retarding or inhibiting
anticodon n. Biochem. a sequence of three nucleotides forming a unit of
genetic code in a transfer RNA molecule that corresponds to a
complementary codon in messenger RNA.
n. & adj. --n. any drug or agent that prevents or reduces the
severity of convulsions, esp. epileptic fits. --adj. preventing
or reducing convulsions.
n. a system of winds rotating outwards from an area of high
barometric pressure, producing fine weather. ЬЬanticyclonic
n. & adj. --n. any drug or agent that alleviates depression.
--adj. alleviating depression.
n. = VASOPRESSIN. [ANTI- + DIURETIC]
antidote n. 1 a medicine etc. taken or given to counteract poison. 2
anything that counteracts something unpleasant or evil.
ЬЬantidotal adj. [F antidote or L antidotum f. Gk antidoton
neut. of antidotos given against (as ANTI- + stem of didonai
n. a substance (usu. ethylene glycol) added to water to lower
its freezing-point, esp. in the radiator of a motor vehicle.
anti-g adj. (of clothing for an astronaut etc.) designed to counteract
the effects of high acceleration. [ANTI- + g symb. for
acceleration due to gravity]
antigen n. a foreign substance (e.g. toxin) which causes the body to
produce antibodies. ЬЬantigenic adj. [G (as ANTIBODY, -GEN)]
n. Physics a hypothetical force opposing gravity.
anti-hero n. (pl. -oes) a central character in a story or drama who
noticeably lacks conventional heroic attributes.
n. a substance that counteracts the effects of histamine, used
esp. in the treatment of allergies.
antiknock n. a substance added to motor fuel to prevent premature
antilog n. colloq. = ANTILOGARITHM. [abbr.]
n. the number to which a logarithm belongs (100 is the common
antilogarithm of 2).
antilogy n. (pl. -ies) a contradiction in terms. [F antilogie f. Gk
antilogia (as ANTI-, -LOGY)]
n. a covering put over furniture, esp. over the back of a
chair, as a protection from grease in the hair or as an
ornament. [ANTI- + MACASSAR]
n. Physics matter composed solely of antiparticles.
n. Pharm. a drug that interferes with the normal metabolic
processes within cells, usu. by combining with enzymes.
antimony n. Chem. a brittle silvery-white metallic element used esp. in
alloys. °Symb.: Sb. ЬЬantimonial adj. antimonic adj.
antimonious adj. [ME f. med.L antimonium (11th c.), of unkn.
antinode n. Physics the position of maximum displacement in a standing
adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the view that Christians are
released from the obligation of observing the moral law. --n.
(Antinomian) hist. a person who holds this view.
ЬЬantinomianism n. [med.L Antinomi, name of a sect in Germany
(1535) alleged to hold this view (as ANTI-, Gk nomos law)]
antinomy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a contradiction between two beliefs or
conclusions that are in themselves reasonable; a paradox. 2 a
conflict between two laws or authorities. [L antinomia f. Gk
(as ANTI-, nomos law)]
antinovel n. a novel in which the conventions of the form are studiously
adj. opposed to the development of nuclear weapons or nuclear
n. an agent that inhibits oxidation, esp. used to reduce
deterioration of products stored in air.
n. Physics an elementary particle having the same mass as a
given particle but opposite electric or magnetic properties.
antipasto n. (pl. -os or antipasti) an hors d'oeuvre, esp. in an Italian
adj. (usu. foll. by to) having a strong aversion or natural
opposition. ЬЬantipathetical adj. antipathetically adv. [as
ANTIPATHY after PATHETIC]
adj. of a contrary nature or character.
antipathy n. (pl. -ies) (often foll. by to, for, between) a strong or
deep-seated aversion or dislike. [F antipathie or L antipathia
f. Gk antipatheia f. antipathes opposed in feeling (as ANTI-,
pathos -eos feeling)]
adj. (of a bomb, mine, etc.) designed to kill or injure people
rather than to damage buildings or equipment.
n. & adj. --n. a substance applied to the skin to prevent or
reduce perspiration. --adj. that acts as an antiperspirant.
n. & adj. --n. any drug or agent that alleviates or reduces
inflammation. --adj. alleviating or reducing inflammation.
antiphon n. 1 a hymn or psalm, the parts of which are sung or recited
alternately by two groups. 2 a versicle or phrase from this. 3
a sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle.
4 a response. [eccl.L antiphona f. Gk (as ANTI-, phone sound)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 sung or recited alternately by two groups.
2 responsive, answering. --n. a collection of antiphons.
n. (pl. -ies) a book of antiphons. [eccl.L antiphonarium (as
antiphony n. (pl. -ies) 1 antiphonal singing or chanting. 2 a response
antipode n. (usu. foll. by of, to) the exact opposite. [see ANTIPODES]
antipodes n.pl. 1 a (also Antipodes) a place diametrically opposite to
another, esp. Australasia as the region on the opposite side of
the earth to Europe. b places diametrically opposite to each
other. 2 (usu. foll. by of, to) the exact opposite.
ЬЬantipodal adj. antipodean adj. & n. [F or LL f. Gk antipodes
having the feet opposite (as ANTI-, pous podos foot)]
antipole n. 1 the direct opposite. 2 the opposite pole.
antipope n. a person set up as pope in opposition to one (held by others
to be) canonically chosen. [F antipape f. med.L antipapa,
assim. to POPE(1)]
n. Physics the negatively charged antiparticle of a proton.
adj. & n. --adj. relieving itching. --n. an antipruritic drug
or agent. [ANTI- + PRURITUS + -IC]
adj. & n. --adj. preventing or reducing fever. --n. an
antipyretic drug or agent.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or dealing in antiques or rare books. 2
of the study of antiquities. --n. an antiquary.
ЬЬantiquarianism n. [see ANTIQUARY]
antiquary n. (pl. -ies) a student or collector of antiques or
antiquities. [L antiquarius f. antiquus ancient]
adj. old-fashioned; out of date. [eccl.L antiquare antiquat-
antique n., adj., & v. --n. an object of considerable age, esp. an item
of furniture or the decorative arts having a high value. --adj.
1 of or existing from an early date. 2 old-fashioned, archaic.
3 of ancient times. --v.tr. (antiques, antiqued, antiquing)
give an antique appearance to (furniture etc.) by artificial
means. [F antique or L antiquus, anticus former, ancient f.
antiquity n. (pl. -ies) 1 ancient times, esp. the period before the
Middle Ages. 2 great age (a city of great antiquity). 3 (usu.
in pl.) physical remains or relics from ancient times, esp.
buildings and works of art. 4 (in pl.) customs, events, etc.,
of ancient times. 5 the people of ancient times regarded
collectively. [ME f. OF antiquit‚ f. L antiquitas -tatis f.
antiquus: see ANTIQUE]
n. the policy or practice of opposing racism and promoting
racial tolerance. ЬЬantiracist n. & adj.
n. any plant of the genus Antirrhinum, esp. the snapdragon. [L
f. Gk antirrhinon f. anti counterfeiting + rhis rhinos nose,
from the resemblance of the flower to an animal's snout)]
adj. & n. --adj. preventing or curing scurvy. --n. an
antiscorbutic agent or drug.
n. a person hostile to or prejudiced against Jews.
ЬЬanti-Semitic adj. anti-Semitism n.
n. the process of using antiseptics to eliminate undesirable
micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause
disease. [mod.L (as ANTI-, SEPSIS)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 counteracting sepsis esp. by preventing the
growth of disease-causing micro-organisms. 2 sterile or free
from contamination. 3 lacking character. --n. an antiseptic
agent. ЬЬantiseptically adv.
antiserum n. (pl. antisera) a blood serum containing antibodies against
specific antigens, injected to treat or protect against specific
adj. 1 opposed or contrary to normal social instincts or
practices. 2 not sociable. 3 opposed or harmful to the
existing social order.
adj. that counteracts the effects of static electricity.
n. the second section of an ancient Greek choral ode or of one
division of it (see STROPHE). [LL f. Gk antistrophe f.
antistrepho turn against]
adj. effective against tetanus.
n. (pl. antitheses) 1 (foll. by of, to) the direct opposite.
2 (usu. foll. by of, between) contrast or opposition between two
things. 3 a contrast of ideas expressed by parallelism of
strongly contrasted words. [LL f. Gk antitithemi set against
(as ANTI-, tithemi place)]
adj. (also antithetic) 1 contrasted, opposite. 2 connected
with, containing, or using antithesis. ЬЬantithetically adv.
[Gk antithetikos (as ANTITHESIS)]
antitoxin n. an antibody that counteracts a toxin. ЬЬantitoxic adj.
n.pl. winds that blow in the opposite direction to (and usu.
above) a trade wind.
antitrust adj. US (of a law etc.) opposed to or controlling trusts or
antitype n. 1 that which is represented by a type or symbol. 2 a person
or thing of the opposite type. ЬЬantitypical adj. [Gk
antitupos corresponding as an impression to the die (as ANTI-,
n. (also antivenin) an antiserum containing antibodies against
specific poisons in the venom of esp. snakes, spiders,
scorpions, etc. [ANTI- + L venenum poison + -ENE, -IN]
antiviral adj. effective against viruses.
n. opposition to vivisection. ЬЬantivivisectionist n.
antler n. 1 each of the branched horns of a stag or other (usu. male)
deer. 2 a branch of this. ЬЬantlered adj. [ME f. AF, var. of
OF antoillier, of unkn. orig.]
n. 1 the substitution of an epithet or title etc. for a proper
name (e.g. the Maid of Orleans for Joan of Arc, his Grace for
an archbishop). 2 the use of a proper name to express a general
idea (e.g. a Scrooge for a miser). [L f. Gk f. antonomazo
name instead (as ANTI-, + onoma name)]
antonym n. a word opposite in meaning to another in the same language
(e.g. bad and good) (opp. SYNONYM). ЬЬantonymous adj. [F
antonyme (as ANTI-, SYNONYM)]
antrum n. (pl. antra) Anat. a natural chamber or cavity in the body,
esp. in a bone. ЬЬantral adj. [L f. Gk antron cave]
anuran n. & adj. --n. any tailless amphibian of the order Anura,
including frogs and toads. --adj. of or relating to this order.
[mod.L Anura (AN-(1) + Gk oura tail)]
anus n. Anat. the excretory opening at the end of the alimentary
anvil n. 1 a block (usu. of iron) with a flat top, concave sides, and
often a pointed end, on which metals are worked in forging. 2
Anat. a bone of the ear; the incus. [OE anfilte etc.]
anxiety n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being anxious. 2 concern about
an imminent danger, difficulty, etc. 3 (foll. by for, or to +
infin.) anxious desire. 4 a thing that causes anxiety (my
greatest anxiety is that I shall fall ill). 5 Psychol. a
nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive
uneasiness. [F anxiet‚ or L anxietas -tatis (as ANXIOUS)]
anxious adj. 1 troubled; uneasy in the mind. 2 causing or marked by
anxiety (an anxious moment). 3 (foll. by for, or to + infin.)
earnestly or uneasily wanting or trying (anxious to please;
anxious for you to succeed). ЬЬanxiously adv. anxiousness n.
[L anxius f. angere choke]
any adj., pron., & adv. --adj. 1 (with interrog., neg., or
conditional expressed or implied) a one, no matter which, of
several (cannot find any answer). b some, no matter how much or
many or of what sort (if any books arrive; have you any sugar?).
2 a minimal amount of (hardly any difference). 3 whichever is
chosen (any fool knows that). 4 a an appreciable or significant
(did not stay for any length of time). b a very large (has any
amount of money). --pron. 1 any one (did not know any of
them). 2 any number (are any of them yours?). 3 any amount (is
there any left?). --adv. (usu. with neg. or interrog.) at all,
in some degree (is that any good?; do not make it any larger;
without being any the wiser). Ьany more to any further extent
(don't like you any more). any time colloq. at any time. any
time (or day or minute etc.) now colloq. at any time in the
near future. not having any colloq. unwilling to participate.
[OE ‘nig f. Gmc (as ONE, -Y(1))]
anybody n. & pron. 1 a a person, no matter who. b a person of any
kind. c whatever person is chosen. 2 a person of importance
(are you anybody?). Ьanybody's (of a contest) evenly balanced
(it was anybody's game). anybody's guess see GUESS.
anyhow adv. 1 anyway. 2 in a disorderly manner or state (does his
work anyhow; things are all anyhow).
anyone pron. anybody. °Written as two words to imply a numerical
sense, as in any one of us can do it.
anyplace adv. US anywhere.
anything pron. 1 a thing, no matter which. 2 a thing of any kind. 3
whatever thing is chosen. Ьanything but not at all (was
anything but honest). like anything colloq. with great vigour,
anyway adv. 1 in any way or manner. 2 at any rate. 3 in any case. 4
to resume (anyway, as I was saying).
anywhere adv. & pron. --adv. in or to any place. --pron. any place
(anywhere will do).
anywise adv. archaic in any manner. [OE on ‘nige wisan in any wise]
Anzac n. 1 a soldier in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
(1914-18). 2 any person, esp. a member of the armed services,
from Australia or New Zealand. ЬAnzac Day 25 April,
commemorating the Anzac landing at Gallipoli in 1915. [acronym]
Anzus n. (also ANZUS) Australia, New Zealand, and the US, as an
alliance for the Pacific area.
A-OK abbr. US colloq. excellent; in good order. [all systems OK]
aorist n. & adj. Gram. --n. an unqualified past tense of a verb (esp.
in Greek), without reference to duration or completion. --adj.
of or designating this tense. ЬЬaoristic adj. [Gk aoristos
indefinite f. a- not + horizo define, limit]
aorta n. (pl. aortas) the main artery, giving rise to the arterial
network through which oxygenated blood is supplied to the body
from the heart. ЬЬaortic adj. [Gk aorte f. a(e)iro raise]
adv. 1 to the death. 2 to the bitter end. [F, = to the
ap-(2) prefix assim. form of APO- before a vowel or h.
apace adv. literary swiftly, quickly. [OF … pas at (a considerable)
Apache n. 1 a member of a N. American Indian tribe. 2 (apache) () a
violent street ruffian, orig. in Paris. [Mex. Sp.]
apanage var. of APPANAGE.
apart adv. 1 separately; not together (keep your feet apart). 2 into
pieces (came apart in my hands). 3 a to or on one side. b out
of consideration (placed after noun : joking apart). 4 to or at
a distance. Ьapart from 1 excepting; not considering. 2 in
addition to (apart from roses we grow irises). [ME f. OF f. …
to + part side]
apartheid n. 1 (esp. in S. Africa) a policy or system of segregation or
discrimination on grounds of race. 2 segregation in other
contexts. [Afrik. (as APART, -HOOD)]
apartment n. 1 (in pl.) a suite of rooms, usu. furnished and rented. 2 a
single room in a house. 3 US a flat. Ьapartment house US a
block of flats. [F appartement f. It. appartamento f.
appartare to separate f. a parte apart]
apathetic adj. having or showing no emotion or interest. ЬЬapathetically
adv. [APATHY, after PATHETIC]
apathy n. (often foll. by towards) lack of interest or feeling;
indifference. [F apathie f. L apathia f. Gk apatheia f.
apathes without feeling f. a- not + pathos suffering]
apatite n. a naturally occurring crystalline mineral of calcium
phosphate and fluoride, used in the manufacture of fertilizers.
[G Apatit f. Gk apate deceit (from its deceptive forms)]
ape n. & v. --n. 1 any of the various primates of the family
Pongidae characterized by the absence of a tail, e.g. the
gorilla, chimpanzee, orang-utan, or gibbon. 2 (in general use)
any monkey. 3 a an imitator. b an apelike person. --v.tr.
imitate, mimic. Ьape-man (pl. -men) any of various apelike
primates held to be forerunners of present-day man. go ape sl.
become crazy. naked ape present-day man. [OE apa f. Gmc]
aper‡u n. 1 a summary or survey. 2 an insight. [F, past part. of
aperient adj. & n. --adj. laxative. --n. a laxative medicine. [L
aperire aperient- to open]
aperiodic adj. 1 not periodic; irregular. 2 Physics (of a potentially
oscillating or vibrating system, e.g. an instrument with a
pointer) that is adequately damped to prevent oscillation or
vibration. 3 (of an oscillation or vibration) without a regular
period. ЬЬaperiodicity n.
aperitif n. an alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the
appetite. [F ap‚ritif f. med.L aperitivus f. L aperire to open]
aperture n. 1 an opening; a gap. 2 a space through which light passes
in an optical or photographic instrument, esp. a variable space
in a camera. [L apertura (as APERITIF)]
apery n. (pl. -ies) 1 mimicry. 2 an ape-house.
apetalous adj. Bot. (of flowers) having no petals. [mod.L apetalus f.
Gk apetalos leafless f. a- not + petalon leaf]
APEX abbr. Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical, and
Apex n. (also APEX) (often attrib.) a system of reduced fares for
scheduled airline flights when paid for before a certain period
in advance of departure. [Advance Purchase Excursion]
apex n. (pl. apexes or apices) 1 the highest point. 2 a climax; a
high point of achievement etc. 3 the vertex of a triangle or
cone. 4 a tip or pointed end. [L, = peak, tip]
n. a confection of flaky pastry filled with spiced apple. [G
f. Apfel apple + STRUDEL]
n. (pl. aphaereses) the omission of a letter or syllable at
the beginning of a word as a morphological development (e.g. in
the derivation of adder). [LL f. Gk aphairesis (as APO-, haireo
aphasia n. Med. the loss of ability to understand or express speech,
owing to brain damage. ЬЬaphasic adj. & n. [mod.L f. Gk f.
aphatos speechless f. a- not + pha- speak]
aphelion (pl. aphelia) the point in a body's orbit where it is furthest
from the sun (opp. PERIHELION). °Symb.: Q. [Graecized f.
mod.L aphelium f. Gk aph' heliou from the sun]
aphesis n. (pl. apheses) the gradual loss of an unstressed vowel at
the beginning of a word (e.g. of e from esquire to form squire).
ЬЬaphetic adj. aphetically adv. [Gk, = letting go (as APO-,
aphid n. any small homopterous insect which feeds by sucking sap from
leaves, stems, or roots of plants; a plant-louse. [back-form.
f. aphides: see APHIS]
aphis n. (pl. aphides) an aphid, esp. of the genus Aphis including
the greenfly. [mod.L (Linnaeus) f. Gk (1523), perh. a
misreading of koris bug]
aphonia n. (also aphony) Med. the loss or absence of the voice through
a disease of the larynx or mouth. [mod.L aphonia f. Gk f.
aphonos voiceless f. a- not + phone voice]
aphorism n. 1 a short pithy maxim. 2 a brief statement of a principle.
ЬЬaphorist n. aphoristic adj. aphoristically adv. aphorize
v.intr. (also -ise). [F aphorisme or LL f. Gk aphorismos
definition f. aphorizo (as APO-, horos boundary)]
adj. & n. --adj. that arouses sexual desire. --n. an
aphrodisiac drug. [Gk aphrodisiakos f. aphrodisios f.
Aphrodite Gk goddess of love]
aphyllous adj. Bot. (of plants) having no leaves. [mod.L f. Gk aphullos
f. a- not + phullon leaf]
apian adj. of or relating to bees. [L apianus f. apis bee]
apiary n. (pl. -ies) a place where bees are kept. ЬЬapiarist n. [L
apiarium f. apis bee]
apical adj. of, at, or forming an apex. ЬЬapically adv. [L apex
apicis: see APEX]
apices pl. of APEX.
n. bee-keeping. ЬЬapicultural adj. apiculturist n. [L apis
bee, after AGRICULTURE]
apiece adv. for each one; severally (had five pounds apiece). [A(2) +
apish adj. 1 of or like an ape. 2 silly, affected. ЬЬapishly adv.
aplanat n. a reflecting or refracting surface made aplanatic by
aplanatic adj. (of a reflecting or refracting surface) free from
spherical aberration. [Gk aplanetos free from error f. a- not
+ planao wander]
aplasia n. Med. total or partial failure of development of an organ or
tissue. ЬЬaplastic adj. [mod.L f. Gk f. a- not + plasis
aplenty adv. in plenty.
aplomb n. assurance; self-confidence. [F, = perpendicularity, f. …
plomb according to a plummet]
apnoea n. (US apnea) Med. a temporary cessation of breathing. [mod.L
f. Gk apnoia f. apnous breathless]
apo- prefix 1 away from (apogee). 2 separate (apocarpous). [Gk apo
from, away, un-, quite]
Apoc. abbr. 1 Apocalypse (New Testament). 2 Apocrypha.
n. 1 (the Apocalypse) Revelation, the last book of the New
Testament, recounting a divine revelation to St John. 2 a
revelation, esp. of the end of the world. 3 a grand or violent
event resembling those described in the Apocalypse. [ME f. OF
ult. f. Gk apokalupsis f. apokalupto uncover, reveal]
adj. 1 of or resembling the Apocalypse. 2 revelatory,
prophetic. ЬЬapocalyptically adv. [Gk apokaluptikos (as
adj. Bot. (of ovaries) having distinct carpels not joined
together (opp. SYNCARPOUS). [APO- + Gk karpos fruit]
n. a lens or lens-system that reduces spherical and chromatic
aberrations. ЬЬapochromatic adj. [APO- + CHROMATIC]
apocope n. the omission of a letter or letters at the end of a word as
a morphological development (e.g. in the derivation of curio).
[LL f. Gk apokope (as APO-, kopto cut)]
Apocr. abbr. Apocrypha.
apocrine adj. Biol. (of a multicellular gland, e.g. the mammary gland)
releasing some cytoplasm when secreting. [APO- + Gk krino to
Apocrypha n.pl. 1 the books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate
versions of the Old Testament but not in the Hebrew Bible.
°Modern Bibles sometimes include them in the Old Testament or as
an appendix, and sometimes omit them. 2 (apocrypha) writings or
reports not considered genuine. [ME f. eccl.L apocrypha
(scripta) hidden writings f. Gk apokruphos f. apokrupto hide
adj. 1 of doubtful authenticity (orig. of some early Christian
texts resembling those of the New Testament). 2 invented,
mythical (an apocryphal story). 3 of or belonging to the
apodal adj. 1 without (or with undeveloped) feet. 2 (of fish) without
ventral fins. [apod apodal creature f. Gk apous footless f. a-
not + pous podos foot]
apodictic adj. (also apodeictic) 1 clearly established. 2 of clear
demonstration. [L apodicticus f. Gk apodeiktikos (as APO-,
apodosis n. (pl. apodoses) the main (consequent) clause of a
conditional sentence (e.g. I would agree in if you asked me I
would agree). [LL f. Gk f. apodidomi give back (as APO-,
apogee n. 1 the point in a celestial body's orbit where it is furthest
from the earth (opp. PERIGEE). 2 the most distant or highest
point. ЬЬapogean adj. [F apog‚e or mod.L apogaeum f. Gk
apogeion away from earth (as APO-, ge earth)]
adj. not interested in or concerned with politics.
adj. 1 of or relating to Apollo, the Greek and Roman sun-god,
patron of music and poetry. 2 orderly, rational,
self-disciplined. [L Apollonius f. Gk Apollonios]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 regretfully acknowledging or excusing an
offence or failure. 2 diffident. 3 of reasoned defence or
vindication. --n. (usu. in pl.) a reasoned defence, esp. of
Christianity. ЬЬapologetically adv. [F apolog‚tique f. LL
apologeticus f. Gk apologetikos f. apologeomai speak in
apologia n. a formal defence of one's opinions or conduct. [L: see
apologist n. a person who defends something by argument. [F apologiste
f. Gk apologizomai render account f. apologos account]
apologize v.intr. (also -ise) make an apology; express regret. [Gk
apologizomai: see APOLOGIST]
apologue n. a moral fable. [F apologue or L apologus f. Gk apologos
story (as APO-, logos discourse)]
apology n. (pl. -ies) 1 a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or
failure. 2 an assurance that no offence was intended. 3 an
explanation or defence. 4 (foll. by for) a poor or scanty
specimen of (this apology for a letter). [F apologie or LL
apologia f. Gk (as APOLOGETIC)]
apolune n. the point in a body's lunar orbit where it is furthest from
the moon's centre (opp. PERILUNE). [APO- + L luna moon, after
apomixis n. (pl. apomixes) Biol. a form of asexual reproduction (cf.
AMPHIMIXIS). ЬЬapomictic adj. [mod.L, formed as APO- + Gk
n. (US apothegm) a terse saying or maxim, an aphorism.
ЬЬapophthegmatic adj. [F apophthegme or mod.L apothegma f. Gk
apophthegma -matos f. apophtheggomai speak out]
adj. 1 of, causing, suffering, or liable to apoplexy. 2
colloq. enraged. ЬЬapoplectically adv. [F apoplectique or LL
apoplecticus f. Gk apoplektikos f. apoplesso strike completely
(as APO-, plesso strike)]
apoplexy n. a sudden loss of consciousness, voluntary movement, and
sensation caused by blockage or rupture of a brain artery; a
stroke. [ME f. OF apoplexie f. LL apoplexia f. Gk apoplexia (as
adj. Zool. (of coloration, markings, etc.) serving to warn or
repel. [APO- + Gk sema sematos sign]
apostasy n. (pl. -ies) 1 renunciation of a belief or faith, esp.
religious. 2 abandonment of principles or of a party. 3 an
instance of apostasy. [ME f. eccl.L f. NT Gk apostasia f.
apostasis defection (as APO-, stat- stand)]
apostate n. & adj. --n. a person who renounces a former belief,
adherence, etc. --adj. engaged in apostasy. ЬЬapostatical adj.
[ME f. OF apostate or eccl.L apostata f. Gk apostates deserter
v.intr. (also -ise) renounce a former belief, adherence, etc.
[med.L apostatizare f. apostata: see APOSTATE]
adj. & adv. --adj. (of reasoning) inductive, empirical;
proceeding from effects to causes. --adv. inductively,
empirically; from effects to causes (opp. A PRIORI). [L, =
from what comes after]
apostle n. 1 (Apostle) a any of the chosen twelve sent out to preach
the Christian Gospel. b the first successful Christian
missionary in a country or to a people. 2 a leader or
outstanding figure, esp. of a reform movement (apostle of
temperance). 3 a messenger or representative. Ьapostle-bird
any of various Australian birds, forming flocks of about a
dozen. Apostles' Creed an early form of the Christian creed,
ascribed to the Apostles. ЬЬapostleship n. [OE apostol f.
eccl.L apostolus f. Gk apostolos messenger (as APO-, stello send
n. 1 the position or authority of an Apostle. 2 leadership in
reform. [eccl.L apostolatus (as APOSTLE)]
apostolic adj. 1 of or relating to the Apostles. 2 of the Pope regarded
as the successor of St Peter. 3 of the character of an Apostle.
ЬApostolic Fathers the Christian leaders immediately succeeding
the Apostles. apostolic succession the uninterrupted
transmission of spiritual authority from the Apostles through
successive popes and bishops. [F apostolique or eccl.L
apostolicus f. Gk apostolikos (as APOSTLE)]
n. a punctuation mark used to indicate: 1 the omission of
letters or numbers (e.g. can't; he's; 1 Jan. '92). 2 the
possessive case (e.g. Harry's book; boys' coats). [F apostrophe
or LL apostrophus f. Gk apostrophos accent of elision f.
apostrepho turn away (as APO-, strepho turn)]
n. an exclamatory passage in a speech or poem, addressed to a
person (often dead or absent) or thing (often personified).
ЬЬapostrophize v.tr. & intr. (also -ise). [L f. Gk, lit.
'turning away' (as APOSTROPHE(1))]
n. (pl. -ies) archaic a chemist licensed to dispense medicines
and drugs. Ьapothecaries' measure (or weight) Brit. units of
weight and liquid volume formerly used in pharmacy. °12 ounces
= one pound; 20 fluid ounces = one pint. [ME f. OF apotecaire
f. LL apothecarius f. L apotheca f. Gk apotheke storehouse]
apothegm US var. of APOPHTHEGM.
apothem n. Geom. a line from the centre of a regular polygon at right
angles to any of its sides. [Gk apotithemi put aside (as APO-,
n. (pl. apotheoses) 1 elevation to divine status; deification.
2 a glorification of a thing; a sublime example (apotheosis of
the dance). 3 a deified ideal. [eccl.L f. Gk apotheoo make a
god of (as APO-, theos god)]
adj. supposedly having the power to avert an evil influence or
bad luck. [Gk apotropaios (as APO-, trepo turn)]
appal v.tr. (US appall) (appalled, appalling) 1 greatly dismay or
horrify. 2 (as appalling adj.) colloq. shocking, unpleasant;
bad. ЬЬappallingly adv. [ME f. OF apalir grow pale]
Appaloosa n. 1 a horse of a N. American breed having dark spots on a
light background. 2 this breed. [Opelousa in Louisiana, or
Palouse, a river in Idaho]
appanage n. (also apanage) 1 provision for the maintenance of the
younger children of kings etc. 2 a perquisite. 3 a natural
accompaniment or attribute. [F ult. f. med.L appanare endow
with the means of subsistence (as APO-, panis bread)]
apparat n. the administrative system of a Communist party, esp. in a
Communist country. [Russ. f. G, = apparatus]
n. (pl. apparatchiks or apparatchiki) 1 a a member of a
Communist apparat. b a Communist agent or spy. 2 a a member of
a political party in any country who executes policy; a jealous
functionary. b an official of a public or private organization.
[Russ.: see APPARAT]
apparatus n. 1 the equipment needed for a particular purpose or function,
esp. scientific or technical. 2 a political or other complex
organization. 3 Anat. the organs used to perform a particular
process. 4 (in full apparatus criticus) a collection of
variants and annotations accompanying a printed text and usu.
appearing below it. [L f. apparare apparat- make ready for]
apparel n. & v. --n. 1 formal clothing, dress. 2 embroidered
ornamentation on some ecclesiastical vestments. --v.tr.
(apparelled, apparelling; US appareled, appareling) archaic
clothe. [ME aparailen (v.) f. OF apareillier f. Rmc
appariculare (unrecorded) make equal or fit, ult. f. L par
apparent adj. 1 readily visible or perceivable. 2 seeming. Ьapparent
horizon see HORIZON 1b. apparent magnitude the magnitude, i.e.
brightness, of a celestial body as seen from the earth (opp.
absolute magnitude). apparent time solar time (see SOLAR adj.).
ЬЬapparently adv. [ME f. OF aparant f. L (as APPEAR)]
n. a sudden or dramatic appearance, esp. of a ghost or phantom;
a visible ghost. [ME f. F apparition or f. L apparitio
attendance (as APPEAR)]
appeal v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make an earnest or formal request; plead
(appealed for calm; appealed to us not to leave). 2 intr. (usu.
foll. by to) be attractive or of interest; be pleasing. 3 intr.
(foll. by to) resort to or cite for support. 4 Law a intr.
(often foll. by to) apply (to a higher court) for a
reconsideration of the decision of a lower court. b tr. refer
to a higher court to review (a case). c intr. (foll. by
against) apply to a higher court to reconsider (a verdict or
sentence). 5 intr. Cricket call on the umpire for a decision
on whether a batsman is out. --n. 1 the act or an instance of
appealing. 2 a formal or urgent request for public support,
esp. financial, for a cause. 3 Law the referral of a case to a
higher court. 4 attractiveness; appealing quality (sex appeal).
ЬЬappealer n. [ME f. OF apel, apeler f. L appellare to address]
adj. Law (of a case) that can be referred to a higher court for
appear v.intr. 1 become or be visible. 2 be evident (a new problem
then appeared). 3 seem; have the appearance of being (appeared
unwell; you appear to be right). 4 present oneself publicly or
formally, esp. on stage or as the accused or counsel in a
lawcourt. 5 be published (it appeared in the papers; a new
edition will appear). [ME f. OF apareir f. L apparere apparit-
come in sight]
n. 1 the act or an instance of appearing. 2 an outward form as
perceived (whether correctly or not), esp. visually (has an
appearance of prosperity; gives the appearance of trying hard).
3 a semblance. Ьkeep up appearances maintain an impression or
pretence of virtue, affluence, etc. make (or put in) an
appearance be present, esp. briefly. to all appearances as far
as can be seen; apparently. [ME f. OF aparance, -ence f. LL
apparentia (as APPEAR, -ENCE)]
appease v.tr. 1 make calm or quiet, esp. conciliate (a potential
aggressor) by making concessions. 2 satisfy (an appetite,
scruples). ЬЬappeasement n. appeaser n. [ME f. AF apeser, OF
apaisier f. … to + pais PEACE]
appellant n. Law a person who appeals to a higher court. [ME f. F (as
appellate adj. Law (esp. of a court) concerned with or dealing with
appeals. [L appellatus (as APPEAL, -ATE(2))]
n. formal a name or title; nomenclature. [ME f. OF f. L
appellatio -onis (as APPEAL, -ATION)]
adj. 1 naming. 2 Gram. (of a noun) that designates a class;
common. [LL appellativus (as APPEAL, -ATIVE)]
append v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) attach, affix, add, esp. to a written
document etc. [L appendere hang]
appendage n. 1 something attached; an addition. 2 Zool. a leg or other
projecting part of an arthropod.
appendant adj. & n. --adj. (usu. foll. by to) attached in a subordinate
capacity. --n. an appendant person or thing. [OF apendant f.
apendre formed as APPEND, -ANT]
n. (also appendicectomy) (pl. -ies) the surgical removal of
the appendix. [APPENDIX + -ECTOMY]
n. inflammation of the appendix. [APPENDIX + -ITIS]
appendix n. (pl. appendices; appendixes) 1 (in full vermiform appendix)
Anat. a small outgrowth of tissue forming a tube-shaped sac
attached to the lower end of the large intestine. 2 subsidiary
matter at the end of a book or document. [L appendix -icis f.
v.tr. 1 be conscious of perceiving. 2 Psychol. compare (a
perception) to previously held ideas so as to extract meaning
from it. ЬЬapperception n. apperceptive adj. [ME (in obs.
sense 'observe') f. OF aperceveir ult. f. L percipere PERCEIVE]
appertain v.intr. (foll. by to) 1 relate. 2 belong as a possession or
right. 3 be appropriate. [ME f. OF apertenir f. LL appertinere
f. pertinere PERTAIN]
appetence n. (also appetency) (foll. by for) longing or desire. [F
app‚tence or L appetentia f. appetere seek after]
appetite n. 1 a natural desire to satisfy bodily needs, esp. for food or
sexual activity. 2 (usu. foll. by for) an inclination or
desire. ЬЬappetitive adj. [ME f. OF apetit f. L appetitus f.
appetere seek after]
appetizer n. (also -iser) a small amount, esp. of food or drink, to
stimulate an appetite. [appetize (back-form. f. APPETIZING)]
adj. (also -ising) stimulating an appetite, esp. for food.
ЬЬappetizingly adv. [F app‚tissant irreg. f. app‚tit, formed
applaud v. 1 intr. express strong approval or praise, esp. by clapping.
2 tr. express approval of (a person or action). [L applaudere
applaus- clap hands]
applause n. 1 an expression of approbation, esp. from an audience etc.
by clapping. 2 emphatic approval. [med.L applausus (as
apple n. 1 the fruit of a tree of the genus Malus, rounded in form
and with a crisp flesh. 2 the tree bearing this. Ьapple of
one's eye a cherished person or thing. apple-pie bed a bed made
(as a joke) with the sheets folded short, so that the legs
cannot be accommodated. apple-pie order perfect order; extreme
neatness. she's apple Austral. sl. everything is fine. upset
the apple-cart spoil careful plans. [OE ‘ppel f. Gmc]
applejack n. US a spirit distilled from fermented apple juice. [APPLE +
appliance n. a device or piece of equipment used for a specific task.
[APPLY + -ANCE]
adj. (often foll. by to) 1 that may be applied. 2 having
reference; appropriate. ЬЬapplicability n. applicably adv.
[OF applicable or med.L applicabilis (as APPLY, -ABLE)]
applicant n. a person who applies for something, esp. a post.
[APPLICATION + -ANT]
n. 1 the act of applying, esp. medicinal ointment to the skin.
2 a formal request, usu. in writing, for employment, membership,
etc. 3 a relevance. b the use to which something can or should
be put. 4 sustained or concentrated effort; diligence. [ME f.
F f. L applicatio -onis (as APPLY, -ATION)]
n. a device for applying a substance to a surface, esp. the
skin. [APPLICATION + -OR(1)]
applied adj. (of a subject of study) put to practical use as opposed to
being theoretical (cf. PURE adj. 9). Ьapplied mathematics see
appliqu‚ n., adj., & v. --n. ornamental work in which fabric is cut out
and attached, usu. sewn, to the surface of another fabric to
form pictures or patterns. --adj. executed in appliqu‚.
--v.tr. (appliqu‚s, appliqu‚d, appliqu‚ing) decorate with
appliqu‚; make using appliqu‚ technique. [F, past part. of
appliquer apply f. L applicare: see APPLY]
apply v. (-ies, -ied) 1 intr. (often foll. by for, to, or to +
infin.) make a formal request for something to be done, given,
etc. (apply for a job; apply for help to the governors; applied
to be sent overseas). 2 intr. have relevance (does not apply in
this case). 3 tr. a make use of as relevant or suitable;
employ (apply the rules). b operate (apply the handbrake). 4
tr. (often foll. by to) a put or spread on (applied the ointment
to the cut). b administer (applied the remedy; applied common
sense to the problem). 5 refl. (often foll. by to) devote
oneself (applied myself to the task). ЬЬapplier n. [ME f. OF
aplier f. L applicare fold, fasten to]
n. Mus. a grace-note performed before an essential note of a
melody and normally taking half its time-value. [It.]
appoint v.tr. 1 assign a post or office to (appoint him governor;
appoint him to govern; appointed to the post). 2 (often foll.
by for) fix, decide on (a time, place, etc.) (Wednesday was
appointed for the meeting; 8.30 was the appointed time). 3
prescribe; ordain (Holy Writ appointed by the Church). 4 Law a
(also absol.) declare the destination of (property etc.). b
declare (a person) as having an interest in property etc.
(Jones was appointed in the will). 5 (as appointed adj.)
equipped, furnished (a badly appointed hotel). ЬЬappointee n.
appointer n. appointive adj. US [ME f. OF apointer f. … point
to a point]
n. 1 an arrangement to meet at a specific time and place. 2 a
a post or office available for applicants, or recently filled
(took up the appointment on Monday). b a person appointed. 3
(usu. in pl.) a furniture, fittings. b equipment. [ME f. OF
apointement (as APPOINT, -MENT)]
apport n. 1 the production of material objects by supposedly occult
means at a seance. 2 an object so produced. [ME (in obs.
senses), f. OF aport f. aporter f. … to + porter bring]
apportion v.tr. (often foll. by to) share out; assign as a share.
ЬЬapportionable adj. apportionment n. [F apportionner or f.
med.L apportionare (as AD-, PORTION)]
apposite adj. (often foll. by to) 1 apt; well chosen. 2 well expressed.
ЬЬappositely adv. appositeness n. [L appositus past part. of
apponere (as AD-, ponere put)]
n. 1 placing side by side; juxtaposition. 2 Gram. the placing
of a word next to another, esp. the addition of one noun to
another, in order to qualify or explain the first (e.g. William
the Conqueror; my friend Sue). ЬЬappositional adj. [ME f. F
apposition or f. LL appositio (as APPOSITE, -ITION)]
appraisal n. the act or an instance of appraising.
appraise v.tr. 1 estimate the value or quality of (appraised her
skills). 2 (esp. of an official valuer) set a price on; value.
ЬЬappraisable adj. appraiser n. appraisive adj. [APPRIZE by
assim. to PRAISE]
adj. large enough to be noticed; significant; considerable
(appreciable progress has been made). ЬЬappreciably adv. [F f.
appr‚cier (as APPRECIATE)]
v. 1 tr. a esteem highly; value. b be grateful for (we
appreciate your sympathy). c be sensitive to (appreciate the
nuances). 2 tr. (often foll. by that + clause) understand;
recognize (I appreciate that I may be wrong). 3 a intr. (of
property etc.) rise in value. b tr. raise in value.
ЬЬappreciative adj. appreciatively adv. appreciativeness n.
appreciator n. appreciatory adj. [LL appretiare appraise (as
AD-, pretium price)]
n. 1 favourable or grateful recognition. 2 an estimation or
judgement; sensitive understanding of or reaction to (a quick
appreciation of the problem). 3 an increase in value. 4 a
(usu. favourable) review of a book, film, etc. [F f. LL
appretiatio -onis (as APPRECIATE, -ATION)]
apprehend v.tr. 1 understand, perceive (apprehend your meaning). 2
seize, arrest (apprehended the criminal). 3 anticipate with
uneasiness or fear (apprehending the results). [F appr‚hender
or L apprehendere (as AD-, prehendere prehens- lay hold of)]
adj. capable of being apprehended by the senses or the
intellect (an apprehensible theory; an apprehensible change in
her expression). ЬЬapprehensibility n. [LL apprehensibilis (as
n. 1 uneasiness; dread. 2 understanding, grasp. 3 arrest,
capture (apprehension of the suspect). 4 an idea; a conception.
[F appr‚hension or LL apprehensio (as APPREHEND, -ION)]
adj. 1 (often foll. by of, for) uneasily fearful; dreading. 2
relating to perception by the senses or the intellect. 3
archaic perceptive; intelligent. ЬЬapprehensively adv.
apprehensiveness n. [F appr‚hensif or med.L apprehensivus (as
n. & v. --n. 1 a person who is learning a trade by being
employed in it for an agreed period at low wages. 2 a beginner;
a novice. --v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) engage or bind as an
apprentice (was apprenticed to a builder). ЬЬapprenticeship n.
[ME f. OF aprentis f. apprendre learn (as APPREHEND), after
words in -tis, -tif, f. L -tivus: see -IVE]
apprise v.tr. inform. Ьbe apprised of be aware of. [F appris -ise
past part. of apprendre learn, teach (as APPREHEND)]
apprize v.tr. archaic 1 esteem highly. 2 appraise. [ME f. OF aprisier
f. … to + pris PRICE]
appro n. Brit. colloq. Ьon appro = on approval (see APPROVAL).
[abbr. of approval or approbation]
approach v. & n. --v. 1 tr. come near or nearer to (a place or time).
2 intr. come near or nearer in space or time (the hour
approaches). 3 tr. make a tentative proposal or suggestion to
(approached me about a loan). 4 tr. a be similar in character,
quality, etc., to (doesn't approach her for artistic skill). b
approximate to (a population approaching 5 million). 5 tr.
attempt to influence or bribe. 6 tr. set about (a task etc.).
7 intr. Golf play an approach shot. 8 intr. Aeron. prepare to
land. 9 tr. archaic bring near. --n. 1 an act or means of
approaching (made an approach; an approach lined with trees). 2
an approximation (an approach to an apology). 3 a way of
dealing with a person or thing (needs a new approach). 4 (usu.
in pl.) a sexual advance. 5 Golf a stroke from the fairway to
the green. 6 Aeron. the final part of a flight before landing.
7 Bridge a bidding method with a gradual advance to a final
contract. Ьapproach road Brit. a road by which traffic enters
a motorway. [ME f. OF aproch(i)er f. eccl.L appropiare draw
near (as AD-, propius compar. of prope near)]
adj. 1 friendly; easy to talk to. 2 able to be approached.
approbate v.tr. US approve formally; sanction. [ME f. L approbare (as
AD-, probare test f. probus good)]
n. approval, consent. ЬЬapprobative adj. approbatory adj.
[ME f. OF f. L approbatio -onis (as APPROBATE, -ATION)]
adj. & v. --adj. (often foll. by to, for) 1 suitable or
proper. 2 formal belonging or particular. --v.tr. 1 take
possession of, esp. without authority. 2 devote (money etc.) to
special purposes. ЬЬappropriately adv. appropriateness n.
appropriation n. appropriator n. [LL appropriatus past part.
of appropriare (as AD-, proprius own)]
approval n. 1 the act of approving. 2 an instance of this; consent; a
favourable opinion (with your approval; looked at him with
approval). Ьon approval (of goods supplied) to be returned if
approve v. 1 tr. confirm; sanction (approved his application). 2 intr.
give or have a favourable opinion. 3 tr. commend (approved the
new hat). 4 tr. archaic (usu. refl.) demonstrate oneself to
be (approved himself a coward). Ьapproved school hist. a
residential place of training for young offenders. approve of 1
pronounce or consider good or satisfactory; commend. 2 agree
to. ЬЬapprovingly adv. [ME f. OF aprover f. L (as APPROBATE)]
approx. abbr. 1 approximate. 2 approximately.
adj. & v. --adj. 1 fairly correct or accurate; near to the
actual (the approximate time of arrival; an approximate guess).
2 near or next (your approximate neighbour). --v.tr. & intr.
(often foll. by to) bring or come near (esp. in quality, number,
etc.), but not exactly (approximates to the truth; approximates
the amount required). ЬЬapproximately adv. approximation n.
[LL approximatus past part. of approximare (as AD-, proximus
n. (usu. in pl.) a belonging; an appendage; an accessory. [ME
f. AF apurtenaunce, OF apertenance (as APPERTAIN, -ANCE)]
adj. (often foll. by to) belonging or appertaining; pertinent.
[ME f. OF apartenant pres. part. (as APPERTAIN)]
APR abbr. annual or annualized percentage rate (esp. of interest on
loans or credit).
Apr. abbr. April.
aprЉs-ski n. & adj. --n. the evening, esp. its social activities,
following a day's skiing. --attrib.adj. (of clothes, drinks,
etc.) appropriate to social activities following skiing. [F]
apricot n. & adj. --n. 1 a a juicy soft fruit, smaller than a peach,
of an orange-yellow colour. b the tree, Prunus armeniaca,
bearing it. 2 the ripe fruit's orange-yellow colour. --adj.
orange-yellow (apricot dress). [Port. albricoque or Sp.
albaricoque f. Arab. al the + barkuk f. late Gk praikokion f. L
praecoquum var. of praecox early-ripe: apri- after L apricus
ripe, -cot by assim. to F abricot]
April n. the fourth month of the year. ЬApril Fool a person
successfully tricked on 1 April. April Fool's (or Fools') Day 1
April. [ME f. L Aprilis]
a priori adj. & adv. --adj. 1 (of reasoning) deductive; proceeding from
causes to effects (opp. A POSTERIORI). 2 (of concepts,
knowledge, etc.) logically independent of experience; not
derived from experience (opp. EMPIRICAL). 3 not submitted to
critical investigation (an a priori conjecture). --adv. 1 in
an a priori manner. 2 as far as one knows; presumptively.
ЬЬapriorism n. [L, = from what is before]
apron n. 1 a a garment covering and protecting the front of a
person's clothes, either from chest or waist level, and tied at
the back. b official clothing of this kind (bishop's apron). c
anything resembling an apron in shape or function. 2 Theatr.
the part of a stage in front of the curtain. 3 the
hard-surfaced area on an airfield used for manoeuvring or
loading aircraft. 4 an endless conveyor belt. Ьtied to a
person's apron-strings dominated by or dependent on that person
(usu. a woman). ЬЬaproned adj. apronful n. (pl. -fuls). [ME
naperon etc. f. OF dimin. of nape table-cloth f. L mappa: for
loss of n cf. ADDER]
apropos adj. & adv. --adj. 1 to the point or purpose; appropriate (his
comment was apropos). 2 colloq. (often foll. by of) in respect
of; concerning (apropos the meeting; apropos of the talk).
--adv. 1 appropriately (spoke apropos). 2 (absol.) by the way;
incidentally ( apropos, she's not going). [F … propos f. … to
+ propos PURPOSE]
apse n. 1 a large semicircular or polygonal recess, arched or with a
domed roof, esp. at the eastern end of a church. 2 = APSIS.
ЬЬapsidal adj. [L APSIS]
apsis n. (pl. apsides) either of two points on the orbit of a planet
or satellite that are nearest to or furthest from the body round
which it moves. ЬЬapsidal adj. [L f. Gk (h)apsis, -idos arch,
APT abbr. (in the UK) Advanced Passenger Train.
apt adj. 1 appropriate, suitable. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) having
a tendency (apt to lose his temper). 3 clever; quick to learn
(an apt pupil; apt at the work). ЬЬaptly adv. aptness n. [ME
f. L aptus fitted, past part. of apere fasten]
apterous adj. 1 Zool. (of insects) without wings. 2 Bot. (of seeds or
fruits) having no winglike expansions. [Gk apteros f. a- not +
apteryx n. = KIWI. [mod.L f. Gk a- not + pterux wing]
aptitude n. 1 a natural propensity or talent (shows an aptitude for
drawing). 2 ability or fitness, esp. to acquire a particular
skill. [F f. LL aptitudo -inis (as APT, -TUDE)]
n. the cultivation or rearing of aquatic plants or animals. [L
aqua water + CULTURE, after agriculture]
n. Chem. nitric acid. [L, = strong water]
aqualung n. & v. --n. a portable breathing-apparatus for divers,
consisting of cylinders of compressed air strapped on the back,
feeding air automatically through a mask or mouthpiece.
--v.intr. use an aqualung. [L aqua water + LUNG]
n. 1 a light bluish-green beryl. 2 its colour. [L aqua marina
aquanaut n. an underwater swimmer or explorer. [L aqua water + Gk
aquaplane n. & v. --n. a board for riding on the water, pulled by a
speedboat. --v.intr. 1 ride on an aquaplane. 2 (of a vehicle)
glide uncontrollably on the wet surface of a road. [L aqua
water + PLANE(1)]
n. Chem. a mixture of concentrated nitric and hydrochloric
acids, a highly corrosive liquid attacking many substances
unaffected by other reagents. [L, = royal water]
aquarelle n. a painting in thin, usu. transparent water-colours. [F f.
It. acquarella water-colour, dimin. of acqua f. L aqua water]
aquarium n. (pl. aquariums or aquaria) an artificial environment
designed for keeping live aquatic plants and animals for study
or exhibition, esp. a tank of water with transparent sides.
[neut. of L aquarius of water (aqua) after vivarium]
Aquarius n. 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as contained in
the figure of a water-carrier. 2 a the eleventh sign of the
zodiac (the Water-carrier). b a person born when the sun is in
this sign. ЬЬAquarian adj. & n. [ME f. L (as AQUARIUM)]
aquatic adj. & n. --adj. 1 growing or living in or near water. 2 (of
a sport) played in or on water. --n. 1 an aquatic plant or
animal. 2 (in pl.) aquatic sports. [ME f. F aquatique or L
aquaticus f. aqua water]
aquatint n. 1 a print resembling a water-colour, produced from a copper
plate etched with nitric acid. 2 the process of producing this.
[F aquatinte f. It. acqua tinta coloured water]
aquavit (also akvavit) n. an alcoholic spirit made from potatoes etc.
n. a strong alcoholic spirit, esp. brandy. [L = water of life]
aqueduct n. 1 an artificial channel for conveying water, esp. in the
form of a bridge supported by tall columns across a valley. 2
Physiol. a small canal, esp. in the head of mammals. [L aquae
ductus conduit f. aqua water + ducere duct- to lead]
aqueous adj. 1 of, containing, or like water. 2 Geol. produced by
water (aqueous rocks). Ьaqueous humour Anat. the clear fluid
in the eye between the lens and the cornea. [med.L aqueus f. L
aquifer n. Geol. a layer of rock or soil able to hold or transmit much
water. [L aqui- f. aqua water + -fer bearing f. ferre bear]
aquilegia n. any (often blue-flowered) plant of the genus Aquilegia. Also
called COLUMBINE. [mod. use of a med.L word: orig. unkn.]
aquiline adj. 1 of or like an eagle. 2 (of a nose) curved like an
eagle's beak. [L aquilinus f. aquila eagle]
-ar(1) suffix 1 forming adjectives (angular; linear; nuclear; titular).
2 forming nouns (scholar). [OF -aire or -ier or L -aris]
-ar(2) suffix forming nouns (pillar). [F -er or L -ar, -are, neut. of
-ar(3) suffix forming nouns (bursar; exemplar; mortar; vicar). [OF
-aire or -ier or L -arius, -arium]
-ar(4) suffix assim. form of -ER(1), -OR(1) (liar; pedlar).
ARA abbr. Associate of the Royal Academy.
Arab n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a Semitic people inhabiting
originally Saudi Arabia and the neighbouring countries, now the
Middle East generally. 2 a horse of a breed orig. native to
Arabia. --adj. of Arabia or the Arabs (esp. with ethnic
reference). [F Arabe f. L Arabs Arabis f. Gk Araps -abos f.
Arab. ' arab]
arabesque n. 1 Ballet a posture with one leg extended horizontally
backwards, torso extended forwards, and arms outstretched. 2 a
design of intertwined leaves, scrolls, etc. 3 Mus. a florid
melodic section or composition. [F f. It. arabesco f. arabo
Arabian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Arabia (esp. with
geographical reference) (the Arabian desert). --n. a native of
Arabia. °Now less common than Arab in this sense. ЬArabian
camel a domesticated camel, Camelus dromedarius, native to the
deserts of N. Africa and the Near East, with one hump: also
called DROMEDARY. [ME f. OF arabi prob. f. Arab. ' arabi, or f.
L Arabus, Arabius f. Gk Arabios]
Arabic n. & adj. --n. the Semitic language of the Arabs, now spoken in
much of N. Africa and the Middle East. --adj. of or relating
to Arabia (esp. with reference to language or literature).
Ьarabic numeral any of the numerals 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
and 9 (cf. roman numeral). [ME f. OF arabic f. L arabicus f.
arabis n. any plant of the genus Arabis, low-growing with toothed
leaves and usu. white flowers. Also called rock cress (see
ROCK(1)), wall-cress. [med.L f. Gk, = Arabian]
Arabist n. a student of Arabic civilization, language, etc.
arable adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of land) ploughed, or suitable for
ploughing and crop production. 2 (of crops) that can be grown
on arable land. --n. arable land or crops. [F arable or L
arabilis f. arare to plough]
Araby n. poet. Arabia. [OF Arabie f. L Arabia f. Gk]
arachnid n. any arthropod of the class Arachnida, having four pairs of
walking legs and characterized by simple eyes, e.g. scorpions,
spiders, mites, and ticks. ЬЬarachnidan adj. & n. [F arachnide
or mod.L arachnida f. Gk arakhne spider]
arachnoid n. & adj. --n. Anat. (in full arachnoid membrane) one of the
three membranes (see MENINX) that surround the brain and spinal
cord of vertebrates. --adj. Bot. covered with long cobweb-like
hairs. [mod.L arachnoides f. Gk arakhnoeides like a cobweb f.
arakhne: see ARACHNID]
arak var. of ARRACK.
Araldite n. propr. an epoxy resin used as a strong heatproof cement to
mend china, plastic, etc. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
Aramaic n. & adj. --n. a branch of the Semitic family of languages,
esp. the language of Syria used as a lingua franca in the Near
East from the sixth century BC, later dividing into varieties
one of which included Syriac and Mandaean. --adj. of or in
Aramaic. [L Aramaeus f. Gk Aramaios of Aram (bibl. name of
arational adj. that does not purport to be rational.
araucaria n. any evergreen conifer of the genus Araucaria, e.g. the
monkey-puzzle tree. [mod.L f. Arauco, name of a province in
arbalest n. (also arblast) hist. a crossbow with a mechanism for
drawing the string. [OE arblast f. OF arbaleste f. LL
arcubalista f. arcus bow + BALLISTA]
arbiter n. (fem. arbitress) 1 a an arbitrator in a dispute. b a
judge; an authority (arbiter of taste). 2 (often foll. by of) a
person who has entire control of something. Ьarbiter
elegantiarum (or elegantiae) a judge of artistic taste and
arbitrage n. the buying and selling of stocks or bills of exchange to
take advantage of varying prices in different markets. [F f.
arbitrer (as ARBITRATE)]
n. (also arbitrager) a person who engages in arbitrage. [F]
arbitral adj. concerning arbitration. [F arbitral or LL arbitralis: see
n. 1 the deciding of a dispute by an arbiter. 2 an
authoritative decision made by an arbiter. [ME f. OF
arbitrement f. med.L arbitramentum (as ARBITRATE, -MENT)]
arbitrary adj. 1 based on or derived from uninformed opinion or random
choice; capricious. 2 despotic. ЬЬarbitrarily adv.
arbitrariness n. [L arbitrarius or F arbitraire (as ARBITER,
arbitrate v.tr. & intr. decide by arbitration. [L arbitrari judge]
n. the settlement of a dispute by an arbitrator. [ME f. OF f.
L arbitratio -onis (as ARBITER, -ATION)]
n. a person appointed to settle a dispute; an arbiter.
ЬЬarbitratorship n. [ME f. LL (as ARBITRATION, -OR(1))]
arbitress see ARBITER.
arblast var. of ARBALEST.
arbor(1) n. 1 an axle or spindle on which something revolves. 2 US a
device holding a tool in a lathe etc. [F arbre tree, axis, f. L
arbor: refashioned on L]
Arbor Day n. a day dedicated annually to public tree-planting in the US,
Australia, and other countries. [L arbor tree]
arboreal adj. of, living in, or connected with trees. [L arboreus f.
arboreous adj. 1 wooded. 2 arboreal.
adj. treelike in growth or general appearance. ЬЬarborescence
n. [L arborescere grow into a tree (arbor)]
arboretum n. (pl. arboretums or arboreta) a botanical garden devoted to
trees. [L f. arbor tree]
n. the cultivation of trees and shrubs. ЬЬarboricultural adj.
arboriculturist n. [L arbor -oris tree, after agriculture]
n. (also -isation) a treelike arrangement esp. in anatomy.
n. any of the evergreen conifers of the genus Thuja, native to
N. Asia and N. America, usu. of pyramidal habit with flattened
shoots bearing scale leaves. [L, = tree of life]
arbour n. (US arbor) a shady garden alcove with the sides and roof
formed by trees or climbing plants; a bower. ЬЬarboured adj.
[ME f. AF erber f. OF erbier f. erbe herb f. L herba: phonetic
change to ar- assisted by assoc. with L arbor tree]
arbutus n. any evergreen ericaceous tree or shrub of the genus Arbutus,
having white or pink clusters of flowers and strawberry-like
berries. Also called strawberry-tree. Ьtrailing arbutus US the
mayflower, Epigaea repens. [L]
ARC abbr. 1 (in the UK) Agricultural Research Council. 2
arc n. & v. --n. 1 part of the circumference of a circle or any
other curve. 2 Electr. a luminous discharge between two
electrodes. --v.intr. (arced; arcing) form an arc. Ьarc lamp
(or light) a light source using an electric arc. arc welding a
method of using an electric arc to melt metals to be welded.
[ME f. OF f. L arcus bow, curve]
arcade n. 1 a passage with an arched roof. 2 any covered walk, esp.
with shops along one or both sides. 3 Archit. a series of
arches supporting or set along a wall. ЬЬarcaded adj. [F f.
Prov. arcada or It. arcata f. Rmc: rel. to ARCH(1)]
Arcadian n. & adj. --n. an idealized peasant or country dweller, esp. in
poetry. --adj. simple and poetically rural. ЬЬArcadianism n.
[L Arcadius f. Gk Arkadia mountain district in Peloponnese]
Arcady n. poet. an ideal rustic paradise. [Gk Arkadia: see ARCADIAN]
arcane adj. mysterious, secret; understood by few. ЬЬarcanely adv.
[F arcane or L arcanus f. arcere shut up f. arca chest]
arcanum n. (pl. arcana) (usu. in pl.) a mystery; a profound secret.
[L neut. of arcanus: see ARCANE]
arch(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a curved structure as an opening or a support
for a bridge, roof, floor, etc. b an arch used in building as
an ornament. 2 any arch-shaped curve, e.g. as on the inner side
of the foot, the eyebrows, etc. --v. 1 tr. provide with or
form into an arch. 2 tr. span like an arch. 3 intr. form an
arch. [ME f. OF arche ult. f. L arcus arc]
arch(2) adj. self-consciously or affectedly playful or teasing.
ЬЬarchly adv. archness n. [ARCH-, orig. in arch rogue etc.]
arch- comb. form 1 chief, superior (archbishop; archdiocese;
archduke). 2 pre-eminent of its kind (esp. in unfavourable
senses) (arch-enemy). [OE arce- or OF arche-, ult. f. Gk arkhos
Archaean adj. & n. (US Archean) --adj. of or relating to the earlier
part of the Precambrian era. --n. this time. [Gk arkhaios
ancient f. arkhe beginning]
n. (US archeology) the study of human history and prehistory
through the excavation of sites and the analysis of physical
remains. ЬЬarchaeologic adj. archaeological adj.
archaeologist n. archaeologize v.intr. (also -ise). [mod.L
archaeologia f. Gk arkhaiologia ancient history (as ARCHAEAN,
n. the oldest known fossil bird, Archaeopteryx lithographica,
with teeth, feathers, and a reptilian tail. [Gk arkhaios
ancient + pterux wing]
archaic adj. 1 a antiquated. b (of a word etc.) no longer in ordinary
use, though retained for special purposes. 2 primitive. 3 of
an early period of art or culture, esp. the 7th-6th c. BC in
Greece. ЬЬarchaically adv. [F archa‹que f. Gk arkha‹kos (as
archaism n. 1 the retention or imitation of the old or obsolete, esp.
in language or art. 2 an archaic word or expression.
ЬЬarchaist n. archaistic adj. [mod.L f. Gk arkha‹smos f.
arkha‹zo (as ARCHAIZE, -ISM)]
archaize v. (also -ise) 1 intr. imitate the archaic. 2 tr. make (a work
of art, literature, etc.) imitate the archaic. [Gk arkha‹zo be
old-fashioned f. arkhaios ancient]
archangel n. 1 an angel of the highest rank. 2 a member of the eighth
order of the nine ranks of heavenly beings (see ORDER).
ЬЬarchangelic adj. [OE f. AF archangele f. eccl.L archangelus
f. eccl.Gk arkhaggelos (as ARCH-, ANGEL)]
n. the chief bishop of a province. [OE (as ARCH-, BISHOP)]
n. the office or diocese of an archbishop. [OE (as ARCH-,
n. 1 an Anglican cleric ranking below a bishop. 2 a member of
the clergy of similar rank in other Churches. ЬЬarchdeaconry n.
(pl. -ies). archdeaconship n. [OE arce-, ercediacon, f.
eccl.L archidiaconus f. eccl.Gk arkhidiakonos (as ARCH-,
n. the diocese of an archbishop. ЬЬarchdiocesan adj.
archduke n. (fem. archduchess) hist. the chief duke (esp. as the title
of a son of the Emperor of Austria). ЬЬarchducal adj.
archduchy n. (pl. -ies). [OF archeduc f. med.L archidux
-ducis (as ARCH-, DUKE)]
Archean US var. of ARCHAEAN.
n. (pl. archegonia) Bot. the female sex organ in mosses,
ferns, conifers, etc. [L, dimin. of Gk arkhegonos f. arkhe-
chief + gonos race]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a chief enemy. 2 the Devil.
US var. of ARCHAEOLOGY.
archer n. 1 a person who shoots with a bow and arrows. 2 (the Archer)
the zodiacal sign or constellation Sagittarius. Ьarcher-fish a
SE Asian fish that catches flying insects by shooting water at
them from its mouth. [AF f. OF archier ult. f. L arcus bow]
archery n. shooting with a bow and arrows, esp. as a sport. [OF
archerie f. archier (as ARCHER, -ERY)]
archetype n. 1 a an original model; a prototype. b a typical specimen.
2 (in Jungian psychology) a primitive mental image inherited
from man's earliest ancestors, and supposed to be present in the
collective unconscious. 3 a recurrent symbol or motif in
literature, art, etc. ЬЬarchetypal adj. archetypical adj. [L
archetypum f. Gk arkhetupon (as ARCH-, tupos stamp)]
adj. of or relating to an archdeacon. ЬЬarchidiaconate n.
[med.L archidiaconalis (as ARCH-, DIACONAL)]
adj. of or relating to an archbishop. ЬЬarchiepiscopate n.
[eccl.L archiepiscopus f. Gk arkhiepiskopos archbishop]
archil var. of ORCHIL.
n. 1 the superior of a large monastery or group of monasteries
in the Orthodox Church. 2 an honorary title given to a monastic
priest. [F archimandrite or eccl.L archimandrita f. eccl. Gk
arkhimandrites (as ARCH-, mandra monastery)]
adj. of or associated with the Greek mathematician Archimedes
(d. 212 BC). ЬArchimedean screw a device of ancient origin for
raising water by means of a spiral tube.
n. the law that a body totally or partially immersed in a fluid
is subject to an upward force equal in magnitude to the weight
of fluid it displaces.
n. (pl. -os or -oes) 1 a group of islands. 2 a sea with many
islands. [It. arcipelago f. Gk arkhi- chief + pelagos sea
(orig. = the Aegean Sea)]
architect n. 1 a designer who prepares plans for buildings, ships, etc.,
and supervises their construction. 2 (foll. by of) a person who
brings about a specified thing (the architect of his own
fortune). [F architecte f. It. architetto, or L architectus f.
Gk arkhitekton (as ARCH-, tekton builder)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to architecture or
architects. 2 of or relating to the systematization of
knowledge. --n. (in pl.; usu. treated as sing.) 1 the
scientific study of architecture. 2 the study of the
systematization of knowledge. [L architectonicus f. Gk
arkhitektonikos (as ARCHITECT)]
n. 1 the art or science of designing and constructing
buildings. 2 the style of a building as regards design and
construction. 3 buildings or other structures collectively.
ЬЬarchitectural adj. architecturally adv. [F architecture or L
architectura f. architectus ARCHITECT)]
n. 1 (in classical architecture) a main beam resting across the
tops of columns. 2 the moulded frame around a doorway or
window. 3 a moulding round the exterior of an arch. [F f. It.
(as ARCH-, trave f. L trabs trabis beam)]
archive n. & v. --n. (usu. in pl.) 1 a collection of esp. public or
corporate documents or records. 2 the place where these are
kept. --v.tr. 1 place or store in an archive. 2 Computing
transfer (data) to a less frequently used file, e.g. from disc
to tape. ЬЬarchival adj. [F archives (pl.) f. L archi(v)a f.
Gk arkheia public records f. arkhe government]
archivist n. a person who maintains and is in charge of archives.
archivolt n. 1 a band of mouldings round the lower curve of an arch. 2
the lower curve itself from impost to impost of the columns. [F
archivolte or It. archivolto (as ARC, VAULT)]
archlute n. a bass lute with an extended neck and unstopped bass
strings. [F archiluth (as ARCH-, LUTE(1))]
archon n. each of the nine chief magistrates in ancient Athens.
ЬЬarchonship n. [Gk arkhon ruler, = pres. part. of arkho rule]
archway n. 1 a vaulted passage. 2 an arched entrance.
Arctic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the north polar regions. 2 (arctic)
colloq. (esp. of weather) very cold. --n. 1 the Arctic
regions. 2 (arctic) US a thick waterproof overshoe. ЬArctic
Circle the parallel of latitude 66ш 33' N, forming an imaginary
line round this region. [ME f. OF artique f. L ar(c)ticus f. Gk
arktikos f. arktos bear, Ursa Major]
arcuate adj. shaped like a bow; curved. [L arcuatus past part. of
arcuare curve f. arcus bow, curve]
n. a narrow opaque band commonly encircling the cornea in old
age. [L, lit. 'senile bow']
-ard suffix 1 forming nouns in depreciatory senses (drunkard;
sluggard). 2 forming nouns in other senses (bollard; Spaniard;
wizard). [ME & OF f. G -hard hardy (in proper names)]
ardent adj. 1 eager, zealous; (of persons or feelings) fervent,
passionate. 2 burning. ЬЬardency n. ardently adv. [ME f. OF
ardant f. L ardens -entis f. ardere burn]
ardour (US ardor) n. zeal, burning enthusiasm, passion. [ME f. OF f.
L ardor -oris f. ardere burn]
arduous adj. 1 hard to achieve or overcome; laborious, strenuous. 2
steep, difficult (an arduous path). ЬЬarduously adv.
arduousness n. [L arduus steep, difficult]
are(1) 2nd sing. present & 1st, 2nd, 3rd pl. present of BE.
are(2) n. a metric unit of measure, equal to 100 square metres. [F f.
area n. 1 the extent or measure of a surface (over a large area; 3
acres in area; the area of a triangle). 2 a region or tract
(the southern area). 3 a space allocated for a specific purpose
(dining area; camping area). 4 the scope or range of an
activity or study. 5 US a space below ground level in front of
the basement of a building. 6 (prec. by the) Football = penalty
area. ЬЬareal adj. [L, = vacant piece of level ground]
areaway n. US = AREA 5.
areca n. any tropical palm of the genus Areca, native to Asia.
Ьareca nut the astringent seed of a species of areca, A.
catechu: also called betel-nut. [Port. f. Malayalam dekka]
areg pl. of ERG(2).
arena n. 1 the central part of an amphitheatre etc., where contests
take place. 2 a scene of conflict; a sphere of action or
discussion. Ьarena stage a stage situated with the audience all
round it. [L (h)arena sand, sand-strewn place of combat]
adj. 1 (of rocks) containing sand; having a sandy texture. 2
sandlike. 3 (of plants) growing in sand. [L arenaceus (as
aren't contr. 1 are not. 2 (in interrog.) am not (aren't I coming
areola n. (pl. areolae) 1 Anat. a circular pigmented area, esp. that
surrounding a nipple. 2 any of the spaces between lines on a
surface, e.g. of a leaf or an insect's wing. ЬЬareolar adj.
[L, dimin. of area AREA]
ar€te n. a sharp mountain ridge. [F f. L arista ear of corn,
argali n. (pl. same) a large Asiatic wild sheep, Ovis ammon, with
massive horns. [Mongol]
argent n. & adj. Heraldry silver; silvery white. [F f. L argentum]
Argentine adj. & n. (also Argentinian) --adj. of or relating to Argentina
in S. America. --n. 1 a native or national of Argentina. 2 a
person of Argentine descent. Ьthe Argentine Argentina. [Sp.
Argentina (as ARGENTINE)]
argentine adj. of silver; silvery. [F argentin f. argent silver]
argil n. clay, esp. that used in pottery. ЬЬargillaceous adj. [F
argille f. L argilla f. Gk argillos f. argos white]
arginine n. an amino acid present in many animal proteins and an
essential nutrient in the vertebrate diet. [G Arginin, of
Argive adj. & n. --adj. 1 of Argos in ancient Greece. 2 literary
(esp. in Homeric contexts) Greek. --n. 1 a citizen of Argos.
2 literary (usu. in pl.) a Greek. [L Argivus f. Gk Argeios]
argol n. crude potassium hydrogen tartrate. [ME f. AF argoile, of
argon n. Chem. an inert gaseous element, of the noble gas group and
forming almost 1% of the earth's atmosphere. °Symb.: Ar. [Gk,
neut. of argos idle f. a- not + ergon work]
argosy n. (pl. -ies) poet. a large merchant ship, orig. esp. from
Ragusa (now Dubrovnik) or Venice. [prob. It. Ragusea (nave)
argot n. the jargon of a group or class, formerly esp. of criminals.
[F: orig. unkn.]
arguable adj. 1 that may be argued or reasonably proposed. 2
reasonable; supported by argument. ЬЬarguably adv.
argue v. (argues, argued, arguing) 1 intr. (often foll. by with,
about, etc.) exchange views or opinions, especially heatedly or
contentiously (with a person). 2 tr. & intr. (often foll. by
that + clause) indicate; maintain by reasoning. 3 intr. (foll.
by for, against) reason (argued against joining). 4 tr. treat
by reasoning (argue the point). 5 tr. (foll. by into, out of)
persuade (argued me into going). Ьargue the toss colloq.
dispute a decision or choice already made. ЬЬarguer n. [ME f.
OF arguer f. L argutari prattle, frequent. of arguere make
clear, prove, accuse]
argufy v.intr. (-ies, -ied) colloq. argue excessively or tediously.
[fanciful f. ARGUE: cf. SPEECHIFY]
argument n. 1 an exchange of views, esp. a contentious or prolonged one.
2 (often foll. by for, against) a reason advanced; a reasoning
process (an argument for abolition). 3 a summary of the
subject-matter or line of reasoning of a book. 4 Math. an
independent variable determining the value of a function. [ME
f. OF f. L argumentum f. arguere (as ARGUE, -MENT)]
n. 1 methodical reasoning. 2 debate or argument. [F f. L
argumentatio f. argumentari (as ARGUMENT, -ATION)]
adj. 1 fond of arguing; quarrelsome. 2 using methodical
reasoning. ЬЬargumentatively adv. argumentativeness n. [F
argumentatif -ive or LL argumentativus (as ARGUMENT, -ATIVE)]
Argus n. 1 a watchful guardian. 2 an Asiatic pheasant having
markings on its tail resembling eyes. 3 a butterfly having
markings resembling eyes. ЬArgus-eyed vigilant. [ME f. L f. Gk
Argos mythical person with a hundred eyes]
argute adj. literary 1 sharp or shrewd. 2 (of sounds) shrill.
ЬЬargutely adv. [ME f. L argutus past part. of arguere: see
n. & v. joc. --n. (pl. -ies) a dispute or wrangle.
--v.intr. (-ies, -ied) quarrel, esp. loudly. [orig. Sc.]
aria n. Mus. a long accompanied song for solo voice in an opera,
oratorio, etc. [It.]
Arian n. & adj. --n. an adherent of the doctrine of Arius of
Alexandria (4th c.), who denied the divinity of Christ. --adj.
of or concerning this doctrine. ЬЬArianism n.
-arian suffix forming adjectives and nouns meaning '(one) concerned
with or believing in' (agrarian; antiquarian; humanitarian;
vegetarian). [L -arius (see -ARY(1))]
arid adj. 1 a (of ground, climate, etc.) dry, parched. b too dry to
support vegetation; barren. 2 uninteresting (arid verse).
ЬЬaridity n. aridly adv. aridness n. [F aride or L aridus f.
arere be dry]
Aries n. (pl. same) 1 a constellation, traditionally regarded as
contained in the figure of a ram. 2 a the first sign of the
zodiac (the Ram). b a person born when the sun is in this sign.
ЬЬArian adj. & n. [ME f. L, = ram]
aright adv. rightly. [OE (as A(2), RIGHT)]
aril n. Bot. an extra seed-covering, often coloured and hairy or
fleshy, e.g. the red fleshy cup around a yew seed. ЬЬarillate
adj. [mod.L arillus: cf. med.L arilli dried grape-stones]
arise v.intr. (past arose; past part. arisen) 1 begin to exist;
originate. 2 (usu. foll. by from, out of) result (accidents can
arise from carelessness). 3 come to one's notice; emerge (the
question of payment arose). 4 rise, esp. from the dead. [OE
arisan (as A-(2), RISE)]
arisings n.pl. materials forming the secondary or waste products of
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the highest class in society; the nobility.
b the nobility as a ruling class. 2 a government by the
nobility or a privileged group. b a State governed in this way.
3 (often foll. by of) the best representatives or upper echelons
(aristocracy of intellect; aristocracy of labour). [F
aristocratie f. Gk aristokratia f. aristos best + kratia (as
n. a member of the nobility. [F aristocrate (as ARISTOCRATIC)]
adj. 1 of or relating to the aristocracy. 2 a distinguished in
manners or bearing. b grand; stylish. ЬЬaristocratically adv.
[F aristocratique f. Gk aristokratikos (as ARISTOCRACY)]
n. & adj. --n. a disciple or student of the Greek philosopher
Aristotle (d. 322 BC). --adj. of or concerning Aristotle or
Arita n. (usu. attrib.) a type of Japanese porcelain characterized
by asymmetric decoration. [Arita in Japan]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a the science of numbers. b one's knowledge
of this (have improved my arithmetic). 2 the use of numbers;
computation (a problem involving arithmetic). --adj. (also
arithmetical) of or concerning arithmetic. Ьarithmetic mean the
central number in an arithmetic progression. arithmetic
progression 1 an increase or decrease by a constant quantity
(e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., 9, 7, 5, 3, etc.). 2 a sequence of
numbers showing this. ЬЬarithmetician n. [ME f. OF arismetique
f. L arithmetica f. Gk arithmetike (tekhne) art of counting f.
-arium suffix forming nouns usu. denoting a place (aquarium;
planetarium). [L, neut. of adjs. in -arius: see -ARY(1)]
Ariz. abbr. Arizona.
Ark. abbr. Arkansas.
ark n. 1 = NOAH'S ARK 1. 2 archaic a chest or box. ЬArk of the
Covenant (or Testimony) a chest or cupboard containing the
scrolls or tables of Jewish Law. out of the ark colloq. very
antiquated. [OE ‘rc f. L arca chest]
arm(1) n. 1 each of the upper limbs of the human body from the
shoulder to the hand. 2 a the forelimb of an animal. b the
flexible limb of an invertebrate animal (e.g. an octopus). 3 a
the sleeve of a garment. b the side part of a chair etc., used
to support a sitter's arm. c a thing resembling an arm in
branching from a main stem (an arm of the sea). d a large
branch of a tree. 4 a control; a means of reaching (arm of the
law). Ьan arm and a leg a large sum of money. arm in arm (of
two or more persons) with arms linked. arm-wrestling a trial of
strength in which each party tries to force the other's arm down
on to a table on which their elbows rest. as long as your (or
my) arm colloq. very long. at arm's length 1 as far as an arm
can reach. 2 far enough to avoid undue familiarity. in arms
(of a baby) too young to walk. in a person's arms embraced. on
one's arm supported by one's arm. under one's arm between the
arm and the body. within arm's reach reachable without moving
one's position. with open arms cordially. ЬЬarmful n. (pl.
-fuls). armless adj. [OE f. Gmc]
arm(2) n. & v. --n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a a weapon. b = FIREARM. 2 (in
pl.) the military profession. 3 a branch of the military (e.g.
infantry, cavalry, artillery, etc.). 4 (in pl.) heraldic
devices (coat of arms). --v.tr. & refl. 1 supply with weapons.
2 supply with tools or other requisites or advantages (armed
with the truth). 3 make (a bomb etc.) able to explode. Ьarms
control international disarmament or arms limitation, esp. by
mutual agreement. arms race a contest for superiority in
nuclear weapons, esp. between East and West. in arms armed.
lay down one's arms cease fighting. take up arms begin
fighting. under arms ready for war or battle. up in arms (usu.
foll. by against, about) actively rebelling. ЬЬarmless adj.
[ME f. OF armes (pl.), armer, f. L arma arms, fittings]
armada n. a fleet of warships, esp. that sent by Spain against England
in 1588. [Sp. f. Rmc armata army]
armadillo n. (pl. -os) any nocturnal insect-eating mammal of the family
Dasypodidae, native to Central and S. America, with large claws
for digging and a body covered in bony plates, often rolling
itself into a ball when threatened. [Sp. dimin. of armado armed
man f. L armatus past part. of armare ARM(2)]
n. 1 a (in the New Testament) the last battle between good and
evil before the Day of Judgement. b the place where this will
be fought. 2 a bloody battle or struggle on a huge scale. [Gk
f. Heb. har megiddon hill of Megiddo: see Rev. 16:16]
armament n. 1 (often in pl.) military weapons and equipment, esp. guns
on a warship. 2 the process of equipping for war. 3 a force
equipped for war. [L armamentum (as ARM(2), -MENT)]
n. (pl. armamentaria) 1 a set of medical equipment or drugs.
2 the resources available to a person engaged in a task. [L, =
armature n. 1 a the rotating coil or coils of a dynamo or electric
motor. b any moving part of an electrical machine in which a
voltage is induced by a magnetic field. 2 a piece of soft iron
placed in contact with the poles of a horseshoe magnet to
preserve its power. Also called KEEPER. 3 Biol. the protective
covering of an animal or plant. 4 a metal framework on which a
sculpture is moulded with clay or similar material. 5 archaic
arms; armour. [F f. L armatura armour (as ARM(2), -URE)]
armband n. a band worn around the upper arm to hold up a shirtsleeve or
as a form of identification etc.
armchair n. 1 a comfortable, usu. upholstered, chair with side supports
for the arms. 2 (attrib.) theoretical rather than active or
practical ( an armchair critic).
Armenian n. & adj. --n. 1 a a native of Armenia, an ancient kingdom
corresponding to an area in modern Turkey, Iran, and the USSR.
b a person of Armenian descent. 2 the language of Armenia.
--adj. of or relating to Armenia, its language, or the Christian
Church established there c.300.
armhole n. each of two holes in a garment through which the arms are
put, usu. into a sleeve.
armiger n. a person entitled to heraldic arms. ЬЬarmigerous adj. [L,
= bearing arms, f. arma arms + gerere bear]
armillary adj. relating to bracelets. Ьarmillary sphere hist. a
representation of the celestial globe constructed from metal
rings and showing the equator, the tropics, etc. [mod.L
armillaris f. L armilla bracelet]
Arminian adj. & n. --adj. relating to the doctrine of Arminius, a Dutch
Protestant theologian (d. 1609), who opposed the views of
Calvin, esp. on predestination. --n. an adherent of this
doctrine. ЬЬArminianism n.
armistice n. a stopping of hostilities by common agreement of the
opposing sides; a truce. ЬArmistice Day the anniversary of the
armistice of 11 Nov. 1918 (cf. Remembrance Sunday). [F
armistice or mod.L armistitium, f. arma arms (ARM(2)) +
armlet n. 1 a band worn round the arm. 2 a small inlet of the sea, or
branch of a river.
armor n. US var. of ARMOUR.
armorer n. US var. of ARMOURER.
armory(1) n. (pl. -ies) heraldry. ЬЬarmorial adj. [OF armoierie: see
armory(2) US var. of ARMOURY.
armour n. & v. (US armor) --n. 1 a defensive covering, usu. of metal,
formerly worn to protect the body in fighting. 2 a (in full
armour-plate) a protective metal covering for an armed vehicle,
ship, etc. b armoured fighting vehicles collectively. 3 a
protective covering or shell on certain animals and plants. 4
heraldic devices. --v.tr. (usu. as armoured adj.) provide with
a protective covering, and often with guns (armoured car;
armoured train). [ME f. OF armure f. L armatura: see ARMATURE]
armourer n. (US armorer) 1 a maker or repairer of arms or armour. 2 an
official in charge of a ship's or a regiment's arms. [AF
armurer, OF -urier (as ARMOUR, -ER(5))]
armoury n. (US armory) (pl. -ies) 1 a place where arms are kept; an
arsenal. 2 an array of weapons, defensive resources, usable
material, etc. 3 US a place where arms are manufactured. [ME
f. OF armoirie, armoierie f. armoier to blazon f. arme ARM(2):
assim. to ARMOUR]
armpit n. 1 the hollow under the arm at the shoulder. 2 US colloq. a
place or part considered disgusting or contemptible (the armpit
of the world).
armrest n. = ARM(1) 3b.
army n. (pl. -ies) 1 an organized force armed for fighting on land.
2 (prec. by the) the military profession. 3 (often foll. by of)
a very large number (an army of locusts; an army of helpers). 4
an organized body regarded as fighting for a particular cause
(Salvation Army). Ьarmy ant any ant of the subfamily Dorylinae,
foraging in large groups. Army List Brit. an official list of
commissioned officers. army worm any of various moth or fly
larvae occurring in destructive swarms. [ME f. OF armee f. Rmc
armata fem. past part. of armare arm]
arnica n. 1 any composite plant of the genus Arnica, having erect
stems bearing yellow daisy-like flower heads, e.g. mountain
tobacco. 2 a medicine prepared from this, used for bruises etc.
[mod.L: orig. unkn.]
aroid adj. of or relating to the family Araceae, including arums.
[ARUM + -OID]
aroma n. 1 a fragrance; a distinctive and pleasing smell, often of
food. 2 a subtle pervasive quality. [L f. Gk aroma -atos
n. the use of plant extracts and essential oils in massage.
ЬЬaromatherapeutic adj. aromatherapist n.
aromatic adj. & n. --adj. 1 fragrant, spicy; (of a smell) pleasantly
pungent. 2 Chem. of organic compounds having an unsaturated
ring, esp. containing a benzene ring. --n. an aromatic
substance. ЬЬaromatically adv. aromaticity n. [ME f. OF
aromatique f. LL aromaticus f. Gk aromatikos (as AROMA, -IC)]
aromatize v.tr. Chem. convert (a compound) into an aromatic structure.
arose past of ARISE.
around adv. & prep. --adv. 1 on every side; all round; round about.
2 in various places; here and there; at random (fool around;
shop around). 3 colloq. a in existence; available (has been
around for weeks). b near at hand (it's good to have you
around). --prep. 1 on or along the circuit of. 2 on every
side of; enveloping. 3 here and there in or near (chairs around
the room). 4 US (and increasingly Brit.) a round (the church
around the corner). b approximately at; at a time near to (come
around four o'clock; happened around June). Ьhave been around
colloq. be widely experienced. [A(2) + ROUND]
arouse v.tr. 1 induce; call into existence (esp. a feeling, emotion,
etc.). 2 awake from sleep. 3 stir into activity. 4 stimulate
sexually. ЬЬarousable adj. arousal n. arouser n. [A-(2) +
arpeggio n. (pl. -os) Mus. the notes of a chord played in succession,
either ascending or descending. [It. f. arpeggiare play the
harp f. arpa harp]
arquebus var. of HARQUEBUS.
arr. abbr. 1 Mus. arranged by. 2 arrives.
arrack n. (also arak) an alcoholic spirit, esp. distilled from coco
sap or rice. [Arab. ' arak sweat, alcoholic spirit from grapes
arraign v.tr. 1 indict before a tribunal; accuse. 2 find fault with;
call into question (an action or statement). ЬЬarraignment n.
[ME f. AF arainer f. OF araisnier (ult. as AD-, L ratio -onis
arrange v. 1 tr. put into the required order; classify. 2 tr. plan or
provide for; cause to occur (arranged a meeting). 3 tr. settle
beforehand the order or manner of. 4 intr. take measures; form
plans; give instructions (arrange to be there at eight; arranged
for a taxi to come; will you arrange about the cake?). 5 intr.
come to an agreement (arranged with her to meet later). 6 tr.
a Mus. adapt (a composition) for performance with instruments or
voices other than those originally specified. b adapt (a play
etc.) for broadcasting. 7 tr. settle (a dispute etc.).
ЬЬarrangeable adj. arranger n. (esp. in sense 6). [ME f. OF
arangier f. … to + rangier RANGE]
n. 1 the act or process of arranging or being arranged. 2 the
condition of being arranged; the manner in which a thing is
arranged. 3 something arranged. 4 (in pl.) plans, measures
(make your own arrangements). 5 Mus. a composition arranged for
performance by different instruments or voices (see ARRANGE 6a).
6 settlement of a dispute etc. [F (as ARRANGE, -MENT)]
arrant adj. downright, utter, notorious (arrant liar; arrant
nonsense). ЬЬarrantly adv. [ME, var. of ERRANT, orig. in
phrases like arrant (= outlawed, roving) thief]
arras n. hist. a rich tapestry, often hung on the walls of a room,
or to conceal an alcove. [Arras, a town in NE France famous for
array n. & v. --n. 1 an imposing or well-ordered series or display.
2 an ordered arrangement, esp. of troops (battle array). 3
poet. an outfit or dress (in fine array). 4 a Math. an
arrangement of quantities or symbols in rows and columns; a
matrix. b Computing an ordered set of related elements. 5 Law
a list of jurors empanelled. --v.tr. 1 deck, adorn. 2 set in
order; marshal (forces). 3 Law empanel (a jury). [ME f. AF
araier, OF areer ult. f. a Gmc root, = prepare]
arrears n.pl. an amount still outstanding or uncompleted, esp. work
undone or a debt unpaid. Ьin arrears (or arrear) behindhand,
esp. in payment. ЬЬarrearage n. [ME (orig. as adv.) f. OF
arere f. med.L adretro (as AD-, retro backwards): first used in
phr. in arrear]
arrest v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a seize (a person) and take into custody,
esp. by legal authority. b seize (a ship) by legal authority.
2 stop or check (esp. a process or moving thing). 3 a attract
(a person's attention). b attract the attention of (a person).
--n. 1 the act of arresting or being arrested, esp. the legal
seizure of a person. 2 a stoppage or check (cardiac arrest).
Ьarrest of judgement Law the staying of proceedings,
notwithstanding a verdict, on the grounds of a material
irregularity in the course of the trial. ЬЬarrestingly adv.
[ME f. OF arester ult. f. L restare remain, stop]
adj. 1 susceptible of arrest. 2 Law (esp. of an offence) such
that the offender may be arrested without a warrant.
arrester n. (also arrestor) a device, esp. on an aircraft carrier, for
slowing an aircraft by means of a hook and cable after landing.
n. esp. Sc. attachment of property for the satisfaction of a
n. 1 an undisclosed motive. 2 a mental reservation. [F, =
arris n. Archit. a sharp edge formed by the meeting of two flat or
curved surfaces. [corrupt. f. F areste, mod. AR°TE]
arrival n. 1 a the act of arriving. b an appearance on the scene. 2 a
person or thing that has arrived. Ьnew arrival colloq. a
newborn child. [ME f. AF arrivaille (as ARRIVE, -AL)]
arrive v.intr. (often foll. by at, in) 1 reach a destination; come to
the end of a journey or a specified part of a journey (arrived
in Tibet; arrived at the station; arrived late). 2 (foll. by
at) reach (a conclusion, decision, etc.). 3 colloq. establish
one's reputation or position. 4 colloq. (of a child) be born.
5 (of a thing) be brought (the flowers have arrived). 6 (of a
time) come (her birthday arrived at last). [ME f. OF ariver,
ult. as AD- + L ripa shore]
arriviste n. an ambitious or ruthlessly self-seeking person. [F f.
arriver f. OF (as ARRIVE, -IST)]
arrogant adj. (of a person, attitude, etc.) aggressively assertive or
presumptuous; overbearing. ЬЬarrogance n. arrogantly adv. [ME
f. OF (as ARROGATE, -ANT)]
arrogate v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to oneself) claim (power,
responsibility, etc.) without justification. 2 (often foll. by
to) attribute unjustly (to a person). ЬЬarrogation n. [L
arrogare arrogat- (as AD-, rogare ask)]
n. 1 a subdivision of a French department, for local government
administration purposes. 2 an administrative district of a
large city, esp. Paris. [F]
arrow n. 1 a sharp pointed wooden or metal stick shot from a bow as a
weapon. 2 a drawn or printed etc. representation of an arrow
indicating a direction; a pointer. Ьarrow-grass a marsh plant
of the genus Triglochin. arrow worm = CHAETOGNATH. broad arrow
Brit. a mark formerly used on British prison clothing and other
Government stores. ЬЬarrowy adj. [OE ar(e)we f. ON ”r f. Gmc]
arrowhead n. 1 the pointed end of an arrow. 2 a water-plant, Sagittaria
sagittaria, with arrow-shaped leaves. 3 a decorative device
resembling an arrowhead.
arrowroot n. a plant of the family Marantaceae from which a starch is
prepared and used for nutritional and medicinal purposes.
arroyo n. (pl. -os) US 1 a brook or stream. 2 a gully. [Sp.]
arse n. & v. (US ass) coarse sl. --n. the buttocks. --v.intr.
(usu. foll. by about, around) play the fool. Ьarse-hole 1 the
anus. 2 offens. a term of contempt for a person. arse-licking
obsequiousness for the purpose of gaining favour; toadying.
°Usually considered a taboo word. [OE ‘rs]
arsenal n. 1 a store of weapons. 2 a government establishment for the
storage and manufacture of weapons and ammunition. 3 resources
of anything compared with weapons (e.g. abuse), regarded
collectively. [obs. F arsenal or It. arzanale f. Arab.
darsina' a f. dar house + sina' a art, industry f. sana' a
arsenic n. & adj. --n. 1 a non-scientific name for arsenic trioxide, a
highly poisonous white powdery substance used in weed-killers,
rat poison, etc. 2 Chem. a brittle semi-metallic element, used
in semiconductors and alloys. °Symb.: As. --adj. 1 of or
concerning arsenic. 2 Chem. containing arsenic with a valency
of five. Ьred arsenic = REALGAR. white arsenic = sense 1.
ЬЬarsenious adj. [ME f. OF f. L arsenicum f. Gk arsenikon
yellow orpiment, identified with arsenikos male, but in fact f.
Arab. al-zarnik f. al the + zarnik orpiment f. Pers. f. zar
arsenical adj. & n. --adj. of or containing arsenic. --n. a drug
arsine n. Chem. arsenic trihydride, a colourless poisonous gas
smelling slightly of garlic. [ARSENIC after amine]
arsis n. (pl. arses) a stressed syllable or part of a metrical foot
in Greek or Latin verse (opp. THESIS). [ME f. LL f. Gk, =
lifting f. airo raise]
arson n. the act of maliciously setting fire to property. ЬЬarsonist
n. [legal AF, OF, f. med.L arsio -onis f. L ardere ars- burn]
n. a drug formerly used in the treatment of syphilis and
parasitic diseases. [ARSENIC + PHENYL + AMINE]
art(1) n. 1 a human creative skill or its application. b work
exhibiting this. 2 a (in pl.; prec. by the) the various
branches of creative activity concerned with the production of
imaginative designs, sounds, or ideas, e.g. painting, music,
writing, considered collectively. b any one of these branches.
3 creative activity, esp. painting and drawing, resulting in
visual representation (interested in music but not art). 4
human skill or workmanship as opposed to the work of nature (art
and nature had combined to make her a great beauty). 5 (often
foll. by of) a skill, aptitude, or knack (the art of writing
clearly; keeping people happy is quite an art). 6 (in pl.; usu.
prec. by the) those branches of learning (esp. languages,
literature, and history) associated with creative skill as
opposed to scientific, technical, or vocational skills. Ьart
and mystery any of the special skills or techniques in a
specified area. art deco the predominant decorative art style
of the period 1910-30, characterized by precise and boldly
delineated geometric motifs, shapes, and strong colours. art
form 1 any medium of artistic expression. 2 an established form
of composition (e.g. the novel, sonata, sonnet, etc.). art
nouveau a European art style of the late 19th century
characterized by flowing lines and natural organic forms. art
paper smooth-coated high quality paper. arts and crafts
decorative design and handicraft. [ME f. OF f. L ars artis]
art(2) archaic or dial. 2nd sing. present of BE.
art. abbr. article.
artefact n. (also artifact) 1 a product of human art and workmanship. 2
Archaeol. a product of prehistoric or aboriginal workmanship as
distinguished from a similar object naturally produced. 3 Biol.
etc. a feature not naturally present, introduced during
preparation or investigation (e.g. as in the preparation of a
slide). ЬЬartefactual adj. (in senses 1 and 2). [L arte
(ablat. of ars art) + factum (neut. past part. of facere make)]
artel n. an association of craftsmen, peasants, etc., in the USSR.
arterial adj. 1 of or relating to an artery (arterial blood). 2 (esp.
of a road) main, important, esp. linking large cities or towns.
[F art‚riel f. artЉre artery]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 convert venous into arterial (blood) by
reoxygenation esp. in the lungs. 2 provide with an arterial
system. ЬЬarterialization n.
arteriole n. a small branch of an artery leading into capillaries. [F
art‚riole, dimin. of artЉre ARTERY]
n. the loss of elasticity and thickening of the walls of the
arteries, esp. in old age; hardening of the arteries.
ЬЬarteriosclerotic adj. [ARTERY + SCLEROSIS]
artery n. (pl. -ies) 1 any of the muscular-walled tubes forming part
of the blood circulation system of the body, carrying
oxygen-enriched blood from the heart (cf. VEIN). 2 a main road
or railway line. ЬЬarteritis n. [ME f. L arteria f. Gk arteria
prob. f. airo raise]
n. a well bored perpendicularly, esp. through rock, into
water-bearing strata lying at an angle, so that natural pressure
produces a constant supply of water with little or no pumping.
[F. art‚sien f. Artois, an old French province]
artful adj. (of a person or action) crafty, deceitful. ЬЬartfully
adv. artfulness n.
arthritis n. inflammation of a joint or joints. ЬЬarthritic adj. & n.
[L f. Gk f. arthron joint]
arthropod n. Zool. any invertebrate animal of the phylum Arthropoda,
with a segmented body, jointed limbs, and an external skeleton,
e.g. an insect, spider, or crustacean. [Gk arthron joint + pous
Arthurian adj. relating to or associated with King Arthur, the legendary
British ruler, or his court.
artichoke n. 1 a European plant, Cynara scolymus, allied to the thistle.
2 (in full globe artichoke) the flower-head of the artichoke,
the bracts of which have edible bases (see also JERUSALEM
ARTICHOKE). [It. articiocco f. Arab. al-karsufa]
article n. & v. --n. 1 (often in pl.) an item or commodity, usu. not
further distinguished (a collection of odd articles). 2 a
non-fictional essay, esp. one included with others in a
newspaper, magazine, journal, etc. 3 a a particular part (an
article of faith). b a separate clause or portion of any
document (articles of apprenticeship). 4 Gram. the definite or
indefinite article. --v.tr. bind by articles of apprenticeship.
Ьdefinite article Gram. the word (the in English) preceding a
noun and implying a specific or known instance (as in the book
on the table; the art of government; the famous public school in
Berkshire). indefinite article Gram. the word (e.g. a, an,
some in English) preceding a noun and implying lack of
specificity (as in bought me a book; government is an art; went
to a public school). the Thirty-nine Articles a set of beliefs
affirmed by the ministers of the Church of England. [ME f. OF
f. L articulus dimin. of artus joint]
articular adj. of or relating to the joints. [ME f. L articularis (as
adj. & v. --adj. 1 able to speak fluently and coherently. 2
(of sound or speech) having clearly distinguishable parts. 3
having joints. --v. 1 tr. a pronounce (words, syllables,
etc.) clearly and distinctly. b express (an idea etc.)
coherently. 2 intr. speak distinctly (was quite unable to
articulate). 3 tr. (usu. in passive) connect by joints. 4 tr.
mark with apparent joints. 5 intr. (often foll. by with) form a
joint. Ьarticulated lorry Brit. a lorry consisting of two or
more sections connected by a flexible joint. ЬЬarticulacy n.
articulately adv. articulateness n. articulator n. [L
articulatus (as ARTICLE, -ATE(2))]
n. 1 a the act of speaking. b articulate utterance; speech. 2
a the act or a mode of jointing. b a joint. [F articulation or
L articulatio f. articulare joint (as ARTICLE, -ATION)]
artifact var. of ARTEFACT.
artifice n. 1 a clever device; a contrivance. 2 a cunning. b an
instance of this. 3 skill, dexterity. [F f. L artificium f.
ars artis art, -ficium making f. facere make]
artificer n. 1 an inventor. 2 a craftsman. 3 a skilled mechanic in the
armed forces. [ME f. AF, prob. alt. of OF artificien]
adj. 1 produced by human art or effort rather than originating
naturally (an artificial lake). 2 formed in imitation of
something natural (artificial flowers). 3 affected, insincere
(an artificial smile). Ьartificial insemination the injection
of semen into the vagina or uterus other than by sexual
intercourse. artificial intelligence the application of
computers to areas normally regarded as requiring human
intelligence. artificial kidney an apparatus that performs the
functions of the human kidney (outside the body), when one or
both organs are damaged. artificial respiration the restoration
or initiation of breathing by manual or mechanical or
mouth-to-mouth methods. artificial silk rayon. ЬЬartificiality
n. artificially adv. [ME f. OF artificiel or L artificialis
(as ARTIFICE, -AL)]
artillery n. (pl. -ies) 1 large-calibre guns used in warfare on land. 2
a branch of the armed forces that uses these. ЬЬartillerist n.
[ME f. OF artillerie f. artiller alt. of atillier, atirier
n. (pl. -men) a member of the artillery.
artisan n. 1 a skilled (esp. manual) worker. 2 a mechanic. [F f. It.
artigiano, ult. f. L artitus past part. of artire instruct in
artist n. 1 a painter. 2 a person who practises any of the arts. 3
an artiste. 4 a person who works with the dedication and
attributes associated with an artist (an artist in crime). 5
colloq. a devotee; a habitual practiser of a specified (usu.
reprehensible) activity (con artist). ЬЬartistry n. [F artiste
f. It. artista (as ART(1), -IST)]
artiste n. a professional performer, esp. a singer or dancer. [F: see
artistic adj. 1 having natural skill in art. 2 made or done with art.
3 of art or artists. ЬЬartistically adv.
artless adj. 1 guileless, ingenuous. 2 not resulting from or
displaying art. 3 clumsy. ЬЬartlessly adv.
artwork n. the illustrations in a printed work.
arty adj. (artier, artiest) colloq. pretentiously or affectedly
artistic. Ьarty-crafty quaintly artistic; (of furniture etc.)
seeking stylistic effect rather than usefulness or comfort.
arum n. any plant of the genus Arum, usu. stemless with arrow-shaped
leaves, e.g. lords and ladies. Ьarum lily a tall lily-like
plant, Zantedeschia aethiopica, with white spathe and spadix.
[L f. Gk aron]
-ary(2) suffix forming adjectives (military). [F -aire or f. L -aris
Aryan n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of the peoples speaking any of the
languages of the Indo-European (esp. Indo-Iranian) family. 2
the parent language of this family. 3 improperly. (in Nazi
ideology) a Caucasian not of Jewish descent. --adj. of or
relating to Aryan or the Aryans. [Skr. aryas noble]
aryl n. Chem. any radical derived from or related to an aromatic
hydrocarbon by removal of a hydrogen atom. [G Aryl (as
as(1) adv., conj., & pron. --adv. & conj. (adv. as antecedent in main
sentence; conj. in relative clause expressed or implied) ... to
the extent to which ... is or does etc. (I am as tall as he; am
as tall as he is; am not so tall as he; (colloq.) am as tall as
him; as many as six; as recently as last week; it is not as easy
as you think). --conj. (with relative clause expressed or
implied) 1 (with antecedent so) expressing result or purpose
(came early so as to meet us; we so arranged matters as to avoid
a long wait; so good as to exceed all hopes). 2 (with
antecedent adverb omitted) having concessive force ( good as it
is = although it is good; try as he might = although he might
try). 3 (without antecedent adverb) a in the manner in which
(do as you like; was regarded as a mistake; they rose as one
man). b in the capacity or form of (I speak as your friend;
Olivier as Hamlet; as a matter of fact). c during or at the
time that (came up as I was speaking; fell just as I reached the
door). d for the reason that; seeing that (as you are here, we
can talk). e for instance (cathedral cities, as York).
--rel.pron. (with verb of relative clause expressed or implied)
1 that, who, which (I had the same trouble as you; he is a
writer, as is his wife; such money as you have; such countries
as France). 2 (with sentence as antecedent) a fact that ( he
lost, as you know). Ьas and when to the extent and at the time
that (I'll do it as and when I want to). as for with regard to
(as for you, I think you are wrong). as from on and after (a
specified date). as if (or though) as would be the case if
(acts as if he were in charge; as if you didn't know!; looks as
though we've won). as it is (or as is) in the existing
circumstances or state. as it were in a way; to a certain
extent (he is, as it were, infatuated). as long as see LONG(1).
as much see MUCH. as of 1 = as from. 2 as at (a specified
time). as per see PER. as regards see REGARD. as soon as see
SOON. as such see SUCH. as though see as if. as to with
respect to; concerning (said nothing as to money; as to you, I
think you are wrong). as was in the previously existing
circumstances or state. as well see WELL(1). as yet until now
or a particular time in the past (usu. with neg. and with
implied reserve about the future : have received no news as
yet). [reduced form of OE alsw ALSO]
as(2) n. (pl. asses) a Roman copper coin. [L]
as- prefix assim. form of AD- before s.
ASA abbr. 1 Amateur Swimming Association. 2 American Standards
n. (US asafetida) a resinous plant gum with a fetid ammoniac
smell, formerly used in medicine, now as a herbal remedy and in
Indian cooking. [ME f. med.L f. asa f. Pers. aza mastic +
fetida (as FETID)]
a.s.a.p. abbr. as soon as possible.
asbestos n. 1 a fibrous silicate mineral that is incombustible. 2 this
used as a heat-resistant or insulating material. ЬЬasbestine
adj. [ME f. OF albeston, ult. f. Gk asbestos unquenchable f.
a- not + sbestos f. sbennumi quench]
n. a lung disease resulting from the inhalation of asbestos
ascarid n. (also ascaris) a parasitic nematode worm of the genus
Ascaris, e.g. the intestinal roundworm of mankind and other
vertebrates. [mod.L ascaris f. Gk askaris]
ascend v. 1 intr. move upwards; rise. 2 intr. a slope upwards. b
lie along an ascending slope. 3 tr. climb; go up. 4 intr. rise
in rank or status. 5 tr. mount upon. 6 intr. (of sound) rise
in pitch. 7 tr. go along (a river) to its source. 8 intr.
Printing (of a letter) have part projecting upwards. Ьascend
the throne become king or queen. [ME f. L ascendere (as AD-,
n. (also ascendency) (often foll. by over) a superior or
dominant condition or position.
ascendant adj. & n. --adj. 1 rising. 2 Astron. rising towards the
zenith. 3 Astrol. just above the eastern horizon. 4
predominant. --n. Astrol. the point of the sun's apparent path
that is ascendant at a given time (Aries in the ascendant). Ьin
the ascendant 1 supreme or dominating. 2 rising; gaining power
or authority. [ME f. OF f. L (as ASCEND, -ANT)]
ascender n. 1 a a part of a letter that extends above the main part (as
in b and d). b a letter having this. 2 a person or thing that
ascension n. 1 the act or an instance of ascending. 2 (Ascension) the
ascent of Christ into heaven on the fortieth day after the
Resurrection. ЬAscension Day the Thursday on which this is
celebrated annually. right ascension Astron. longitude
measured along the celestial equator. ЬЬascensional adj. [ME
f. OF f. L ascensio -onis (as ASCEND, -ION)]
n. the period of ten days from Ascension Day to Whitsun Eve.
ascent n. 1 the act or an instance of ascending. 2 a an upward
movement or rise. b advancement or progress (the ascent of
man). 3 a way by which one may ascend; an upward slope.
[ASCEND, after descent]
ascertain v.tr. 1 find out as a definite fact. 2 get to know.
ЬЬascertainable adj. ascertainment n. [ME f. OF acertener,
stem acertain- f. … to + CERTAIN]
ascesis n. the practice of self-discipline. [Gk askesis training f.
ascetic n. & adj. --n. a person who practises severe self-discipline
and abstains from all forms of pleasure, esp. for religious or
spiritual reasons. --adj. relating to or characteristic of
ascetics or asceticism; abstaining from pleasure. ЬЬascetically
adv. asceticism n. [med.L asceticus or Gk asketikos f.
asketes monk f. askeo exercise]
ascidian n. Zool. any tunicate animal of the class Ascidiacea, often
found in colonies, the adults sedentary on rocks or seaweeds,
e.g. the sea squirt. [mod.L Ascidia f. Gk askidion dimin. of
ASCII abbr. Computing American Standard Code for Information
ascites n. (pl. same) Med. the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal
cavity causing swelling. [ME f. LL f. Gk f. askites f. askos
n. a vitamin found in citrus fruits and green vegetables,
essential in maintaining healthy connective tissue, a deficiency
of which results in scurvy. Also called vitamin C.
ascribe v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) 1 attribute or impute (ascribes his
well-being to a sound constitution). 2 regard as belonging.
ЬЬascribable adj. [ME f. L ascribere (as AD-, scribere script-
n. 1 the act or an instance of ascribing. 2 a preacher's words
ascribing praise to God at the end of a sermon. [L ascriptio
-onis (as ASCRIBE)]
asdic n. an early form of echo-sounder. [initials of Allied
Submarine Detection Investigation Committee]
-ase suffix Biochem. forming the name of an enzyme (amylase).
ASEAN abbr. Association of South East Asian Nations.
asepsis n. 1 the absence of harmful bacteria, viruses, or other
micro-organisms. 2 a method of achieving asepsis in surgery.
aseptic adj. 1 free from contamination caused by harmful bacteria,
viruses, or other micro-organisms. 2 (of a wound, instrument,
or dressing) surgically sterile or sterilized. 3 (of a surgical
method etc.) aiming at the elimination of harmful
micro-organisms, rather than counteraction (cf. ANTISEPTIC).
asexual adj. Biol. 1 without sex or sexual organs. 2 (of
reproduction) not involving the fusion of gametes. 3 without
sexuality. ЬЬasexuality n. asexually adv.
ASH abbr. Action on Smoking and Health.
ash(1) n. 1 (often in pl.) the powdery residue left after the burning
of any substance. 2 (pl.) the remains of the human body after
cremation or disintegration. 3 (the Ashes) Cricket a trophy
competed for regularly by Australia and England. 4 ashlike
material thrown out by a volcano. Ьash blonde 1 a very pale
blonde colour. 2 a person with hair of this colour. Ash
Wednesday the first day of Lent (from the custom of marking the
foreheads of penitents with ashes on that day). [OE ‘sce]
ash(2) n. 1 any forest-tree of the genus Fraxinus, with silver-grey
bark, compound leaves, and hard, tough, pale wood. 2 its wood.
3 an Old English runic letter, = ‘ (named from a word of which
it was the first letter). Ьash-key the winged seed of the
ash-tree, growing in clusters resembling keys. ash-plant a
sapling from an ash-tree, used as a walking-stick etc. [OE ‘sc
ashamed adj. (usu. predic.) 1 (often foll. by of (= with regard to),
for (= on account of), or to + infin.) embarrassed or
disconcerted by shame (ashamed of his aunt; ashamed of having
lied; ashamed for you; ashamed to be seen with him). 2 (foll.
by to + infin.) hesitant, reluctant (but usu. not actually
refusing or declining) (am ashamed to admit that I was wrong).
ЬЬashamedly adv. [OE ascamod past part. of ascamian feel shame
(as A-(2), SHAME)]
ashbin n. a receptacle for the disposal of ashes.
ashcan n. US a dustbin.
ashen(1) adj. 1 of or resembling ashes. 2 ash-coloured; grey or pale.
ashen(2) adj. 1 of or relating to the ash-tree. 2 archaic made of ash
ashet n. Sc. & NZ a large plate or dish. [F assiette]
Ashkenazi n. (pl. Ashkenazim) 1 an East European Jew. 2 a Jew of East
European ancestry (cf. SEPHARDI). ЬЬAshkenazic adj.
[mod.Heb., f. Ashkenaz (Gen. 10:3)]
ashlar n. 1 a large square-cut stone used in building. 2 masonry made
of ashlars. 3 such masonry used as a facing on a rough rubble
or brick wall. [ME f. OF aisselier f. L axilla dimin. of axis
ashlaring n. 1 ashlar masonry. 2 the short upright boarding in a garret
which cuts off the acute angle between the roof and the floor.
ashore adv. towards or on the shore or land (sailed ashore; stayed
ashpan n. a tray under a grate to catch the ash.
ashram n. Ind. a place of religious retreat for Hindus; a hermitage.
[Skr. ashrama hermitage]
ashtray n. a small receptacle for cigarette ash, stubs, etc.
Asian n. & adj. --n. 1 a native of Asia. 2 a person of Asian
descent. --adj. of or relating to Asia or its people, customs,
or languages. [L Asianus f. Gk Asianos f. Asia]
Asiatic n. & adj. --n. offens. an Asian. --adj. Asian. [L Asiaticus
f. Gk Asiatikos]
aside adv. & n. --adv. 1 to or on one side; away. 2 out of
consideration (placed after noun : joking aside). --n. 1 words
spoken in a play for the audience to hear, but supposed not to
be heard by the other characters. 2 an incidental remark.
Ьaside from US apart from. set aside 1 put to one side. 2 keep
for a special purpose or future use. 3 reject or disregard. 4
annul. 5 remove (land) from agricultural production for fallow,
forestry, or other use. take aside engage (a person) esp. for a
private conversation. [orig. on side: see A(2)]
A-side n. the side of a gramophone record regarded as the main one.
asinine adj. 1 stupid. 2 of or concerning asses; like an ass.
ЬЬasininity n. [L asininus f. asinus ass]
-asis suffix (usu. as -iasis) forming the names of diseases
(psoriasis; satyriasis). [L f. Gk -asis in nouns of state f.
verbs in -ao]
ask v. 1 tr. call for an answer to or about (ask her about it; ask
him his name; ask a question of him). 2 tr. seek to obtain from
another person (ask a favour of; ask to be allowed). 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by out or over, or to (a function etc.)) invite;
request the company of (must ask them over; asked her to
dinner). 4 intr. (foll. by for) seek to obtain, meet, or be
directed to (ask for a donation; ask for the post office; asking
for you). 5 tr. archaic require (a thing). Ьask after inquire
about (esp. a person). ask for it sl. invite trouble. asking
price the price of an object set by the seller. ask me another
colloq. I do not know. for the asking (obtainable) for
nothing. I ask you! an exclamation of disgust, surprise, etc.
if you ask me colloq. in my opinion. ЬЬasker n. [OE ascian
etc. f. WG]
askance adv. (also askant) sideways or squinting. Ьlook askance at
regard with suspicion or disapproval. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
askari n. (pl. same or askaris) an East African soldier or policeman.
[Arab. ' askari soldier]
asocial adj. 1 not social; antisocial. 2 colloq. inconsiderate of or
hostile to others.
asp n. 1 a small viper, Vipera aspis, native to Southern Europe,
resembling the adder. 2 a small venomous snake, Naja haje,
native to North Africa and Arabia. [ME f. OF aspe or L aspis f.
asparagus n. 1 any plant of the genus Asparagus. 2 one species of this,
A. officinalis, with edible young shoots and leaves; this as
food. Ьasparagus fern a decorative plant, Asparagus setaceus.
[L f. Gk asparagos]
aspartame n. a very sweet low-calorie substance used as a sweetener
instead of sugar or saccharin. [chem. name 1-methyl N- L-
aspartyl- L- phenylalanine, f. aspartic acid (invented name)]
aspect n. 1 a a particular component or feature of a matter (only one
aspect of the problem). b a particular way in which a matter
may be considered. 2 a a facial expression; a look (a cheerful
aspect). b the appearance of a person or thing, esp. as
presented to the mind of the viewer (has a frightening aspect).
3 the side of a building or location facing a particular
direction (southern aspect). 4 Gram. a verbal category or form
expressing inception, duration, or completion. 5 Astrol. the
relative position of planets etc. measured by angular distance.
Ьaspect ratio 1 Aeron. the ratio of the span to the mean chord
of an aerofoil. 2 Telev. the ratio of picture width to height.
ЬЬaspectual adj. (in sense 4). [ME f. L aspectus f. adspicere
adspect- look at (as AD-, specere look)]
aspen n. a poplar tree, Populus tremula, with especially tremulous
leaves. [earlier name asp f. OE ‘spe + -EN(2) forming adj.
taken as noun]
asperity n. (pl. -ies) 1 harshness or sharpness of temper or tone. 2
roughness. 3 a rough excrescence. [ME f. OF asperit‚ or L
asperitas f. asper rough]
asperse v.tr. (often foll. by with) attack the reputation of;
calumniate. [ME, = besprinkle, f. L aspergere aspers- (as AD-,
aspersion n. Ьcast aspersions on attack the reputation or integrity of.
[L aspersio (as ASPERSE, -ION)]
asphalt n. & v. --n. 1 a dark bituminous pitch occurring naturally or
made from petroleum. 2 a mixture of this with sand, gravel,
etc., for surfacing roads etc. --v.tr. surface with asphalt.
ЬЬasphalter n. asphaltic adj. [ME, ult. f. LL asphalton, -um,
f. Gk asphalton]
asphodel n. 1 any plant of the genus Asphodelus, of the lily family. 2
poet. an immortal flower growing in Elysium. [L asphodelus f.
Gk asphodelos: cf. DAFFODIL]
asphyxia n. a lack of oxygen in the blood, causing unconsciousness or
death; suffocation. ЬЬasphyxial adj. asphyxiant adj. & n.
[mod.L f. Gk asphuxia f. a- not + sphuxis pulse]
v.tr. cause (a person) to have asphyxia; suffocate.
ЬЬasphyxiation n. asphyxiator n.
aspic n. a savoury meat jelly used as a garnish or to contain game,
eggs, etc. [F, = ASP, from the colours of the jelly (compared
to those of the asp)]
n. a foliage plant of the genus Aspidistra, with broad tapering
leaves, often grown as a house-plant. [mod.L f. Gk aspis -idos
shield (from the shape of the leaves)]
aspirant adj. & n. (usu. foll. by to, after, for) --adj. aspiring. --n.
a person who aspires. [F aspirant or f. L aspirant- (as ASPIRE,
aspirate adj., n., & v. Phonet. --adj. 1 pronounced with an exhalation
of breath. 2 blended with the sound of h. --n. 1 a consonant
pronounced in this way. 2 the sound of h. --v. 1 a tr.
pronounce with a breath. b intr. make the sound of h. 2 tr.
draw (fluid) by suction from a vessel or cavity. [L aspiratus
past part. of aspirare: see ASPIRE]
n. 1 a strong desire to achieve an end; an ambition. 2 the act
or process of drawing breath. 3 the action of aspirating. [ME
f. OF aspiration or L aspiratio (as ASPIRATE, -ATION)]
aspirator n. an apparatus for aspirating fluid. [L aspirare (as
aspire v.intr. (usu. foll. by to or after, or to + infin.) 1 have
ambition or strong desire. 2 poet. rise high. [ME f. F aspirer
or L aspirare f. ad to + spirare breathe]
aspirin n. (pl. same or aspirins) 1 a white powder, acetylsalicylic
acid, used to relieve pain and reduce fever. 2 a tablet of
this. [G, formed as ACETYL + spiraeic (= salicylic) acid + -IN]
asquint predic.adj. & adv. (usu. look asquint). 1 to one side; from
the corner of an eye. 2 with a squint. [ME perh. f. Du.
ass(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a either of two kinds of four-legged long-eared
mammal of the horse genus Equus, E. africanus of Africa and E.
hemionus of Asia. b (in general use) a donkey. 2 a stupid
person. --v.intr. sl. (foll. by about, around) act the fool.
Ьasses' bridge = PONS ASINORUM. make an ass of make (a person)
look absurd or foolish. [OE assa thr. OCelt. f. L asinus]
ass(2) n. US var. of ARSE.
assagai var. of ASSEGAI.
assai adv. Mus. very (adagio assai). [It.]
assail v.tr. 1 make a strong or concerted attack on. 2 make a
resolute start on (a task). 3 make a strong or constant verbal
attack on (was assailed with angry questions). ЬЬassailable
adj. [ME f. OF asaill- stressed stem of asalir f. med.L
assalire f. L assilire (as AD-, salire salt- leap)]
assailant n. a person who attacks another physically or verbally. [F (as
assassin n. 1 a killer, esp. of a political or religious leader. 2
hist. any of a group of Muslim fanatics sent on murder missions
in the time of the Crusades. [F assassin or f. med.L assassinus
f. Arab. hassas hashish-eater]
v.tr. kill (esp. a political or religious leader) for political
or religious motives. ЬЬassassination n. assassinator n.
[med.L assassinare f. assassinus: see ASSASSIN]
assault n. & v. --n. 1 a violent physical or verbal attack. 2 a Law
an act that threatens physical harm to a person (whether or not
actual harm is done). b euphem. an act of rape. 3 (attrib.)
relating to or used in an assault ( assault craft; assault
troops). 4 a vigorous start made to a lengthy or difficult
task. 5 a final rush on a fortified place, esp. at the end of a
prolonged attack. --v.tr. 1 make an assault on. 2 euphem.
rape. Ьassault and battery Law a threatening act that results
in physical harm done to a person. assault course an obstacle
course used in training soldiers etc. ЬЬassaulter n.
assaultive adj. [ME f. OF asaut, assauter ult. f. L (salire
assay n. & v. --n. 1 the testing of a metal or ore to determine its
ingredients and quality. 2 Chem. etc. the determination of
the content or strength of a substance. --v. 1 tr. make an
assay of (a metal or ore). 2 tr. Chem. etc. perform a
concentration on (a substance). 3 tr. show (content) on being
assayed. 4 intr. make an assay. 5 tr. archaic attempt.
ЬAssay Office an establishment which awards hallmarks.
ЬЬassayer n. [ME f. OF assaier, assai, var. of essayer, essai:
assegai n. (also assagai) a slender iron-tipped spear of hard wood,
esp. as used by S. African peoples. [obs. F azagaie or Port.
azagaia f. Arab. az-zagayah f. al the + zagayah spear]
n. 1 the act or an instance of bringing or coming together. 2
a collection of things or gathering of people. 3 a the act or
an instance of fitting together. b an object made of pieces
fitted together. 4 a work of art made by grouping found or
assemble v. 1 tr. & intr. gather together; collect. 2 tr. arrange in
order. 3 tr. esp. Mech. fit together the parts of. [ME f. OF
asembler ult. f. L ad to + simul together]
assembler n. 1 a person who assembles a machine or its parts. 2
Computing a a program for converting instructions written in
low-level symbolic code into machine code. b the low-level
symbolic code itself; an assembly language.
assembly n. (pl. -ies) 1 the act or an instance of assembling or
gathering together. 2 a a group of persons gathered together,
esp. as a deliberative body or a legislative council. b a
gathering of the entire members of a school. 3 the assembling
of a machine or structure or its parts. 4 Mil. a call to
assemble, given by drum or bugle. Ьassembly language Computing
the low-level symbolic code converted by an assembler. assembly
line machinery arranged in stages by which a product is
progressively assembled. assembly room (or shop) a place where
a machine or its components are assembled. assembly rooms
public rooms in which meetings or social functions are held.
[ME f. OF asemblee fem. past part. of asembler: see ASSEMBLE]
assent v. & n. --v.intr. (usu. foll. by to) 1 express agreement
(assented to my view). 2 consent (assented to my request).
--n. 1 mental or inward acceptance or agreement (a nod of
assent). 2 consent or sanction, esp. official. Ьroyal assent
assent of the sovereign to a bill passed by Parliament.
ЬЬassenter n. (also assentor). [ME f. OF asenter, as(s)ente
ult. f. L assentari (ad to, sentire think)]
adj. & n. --adj. assenting. --n. a person who assents. [L
assentire (as ASSENT, -ENT)]
assert v. 1 tr. declare; state clearly (assert one's beliefs; assert
that it is so). 2 refl. insist on one's rights or opinions;
demand recognition. 3 tr. vindicate a claim to (assert one's
rights). ЬЬassertor n. [L asserere (as AD-, serere sert-
assertion n. 1 a declaration; a forthright statement. 2 the act or an
instance of asserting. 3 (also self-assertion) insistence on
the recognition of one's rights or claims. [ME f. F assertion
or L assertio (as ASSERT, -ION)]
assertive adj. 1 tending to assert oneself; forthright, positive. 2
dogmatic. ЬЬassertively adv. assertiveness n.
asses pl. of AS(2), ASS(1), ASS(2).
assess v.tr. 1 a estimate the size or quality of. b estimate the
value of (a property) for taxation. 2 a (usu. foll. by on) fix
the amount of (a tax etc.) and impose it on a person or
community. b (usu. foll. by in, at) fine or tax (a person,
community, etc.) in or at a specific amount (assessed them at
њ100). ЬЬassessable adj. assessment n. [ME f. F assesser f. L
assidere (as AD-, sedere sit)]
assessor n. 1 a person who assesses taxes or estimates the value of
property for taxation or insurance purposes. 2 a person called
upon to advise a judge, committee of inquiry, etc., on technical
questions. ЬЬassessorial adj. [ME f. OF assessour f. L
assessor -oris assistant-judge (as ASSESS, -OR(1)): sense 1 f.
asset n. 1 a a useful or valuable quality. b a person or thing
possessing such a quality or qualities (is an asset to the
firm). 2 (usu. in pl.) a property and possessions, esp.
regarded as having value in meeting debts, commitments, etc. b
any possession having value. Ьasset-stripping Commerce the
practice of taking over a company and selling off its assets to
make a profit. [assets (taken as pl.), f. AF asetz f. OF asez
enough, ult. f. L ad to + satis enough]
assign v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by to) a allot as a share or
responsibility. b appoint to a position, task, etc. 2 fix (a
time, place, etc.) for a specific purpose. 3 (foll. by to)
ascribe or refer to (a reason, date, etc.) (assigned the
manuscript to 1832). 4 (foll. by to) transfer formally (esp.
personal property) to (another). --n. a person to whom property
or rights are legally transferred. ЬЬassignable adj. assigner
n. assignor n. (in sense 4 of v.). [ME f. OF asi(g)ner f. L
assignare mark out to (as AD-, signum sign)]
n. 1 a an appointment to meet. b a secret appointment, esp.
between illicit lovers. 2 the act or an instance of assigning
or being assigned. [ME f. OF f. L assignatio -onis (as ASSIGN,
assignee n. 1 a person appointed to act for another. 2 an assign. [ME
f. OF assign‚ past part. of assigner ASSIGN]
n. 1 something assigned, esp. a task allotted to a person. 2
the act or an instance of assigning or being assigned. 3 a a
legal transfer. b the document effecting this. [ME f. OF
assignement f. med.L assignamentum (as ASSIGN, -MENT)]
v. 1 tr. a absorb and digest (food etc.) into the body. b
absorb (information etc.) into the mind. c absorb (people) into
a larger group. 2 tr. (usu. foll. by to, with) make like; cause
to resemble. 3 tr. Phonet. make (a sound) more like another in
the same or next word. 4 intr. be absorbed into the body, mind,
or a larger group. ЬЬassimilable adj. assimilation n.
assimilative adj. assimilator n. assimilatory adj. [ME f. L
assimilare (as AD-, similis like)]
assist v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by in + verbal noun) help (a
person, process, etc.) (assisted them in running the playgroup).
2 intr. (often foll. by in, at) assist or be present (assisted
in the ceremony). --n. US 1 help; an act of helping. 2
Baseball etc. a player's action of helping to put out an
opponent, score a goal, etc. ЬЬassistance n. assister n. [ME
f. F assister f. L assistere take one's stand by (as AD-,
sistere take one's stand)]
assistant n. 1 a helper. 2 (often attrib.) a person who assists, esp. as
a subordinate in a particular job or role. 3 = shop assistant.
[ME assistent f. med.L assistens assistent- present (as ASSIST,
assize n. (usu. in pl.) hist. a court sitting at intervals in each
county of England and Wales to administer the civil and criminal
law. °In 1972 the civil jurisdiction of assizes was transferred
to the High Court and the criminal jurisdiction to the Crown
Court. [ME f. OF as(s)ise, fem. past part. of aseeir sit at, f.
L assidere: cf. ASSESS]
Assoc. abbr. (as part of a title) Association.
adj. (usu. foll. by with) capable of being connected in
thought. ЬЬassociability n. [F f. associer (as ASSOCIATE,
associate v., n., & adj. --v. 1 tr. connect in the mind (associate holly
with Christmas). 2 tr. join or combine. 3 refl. make oneself a
partner; declare oneself in agreement (associate myself in your
endeavour; did not want to associate ourselves with the plan).
4 intr. combine for a common purpose. 5 intr. (usu. foll. by
with) meet frequently or have dealings. --n. 1 a business
partner or colleague. 2 a friend or companion. 3 a subordinate
member of a body, institute, etc. 4 a thing connected with
another. --adj. 1 joined in companionship, function, or
dignity. 2 allied; in the same group or category. 3 of less
than full status (associate member). ЬЬassociateship n.
associator n. associatory adj. [E f. L associatus past part.
of associare (as AD-, socius sharing, allied)]
n. 1 a group of people organized for a joint purpose; a
society. 2 the act or an instance of associating. 3 fellowship
or companionship. 4 a mental connection between ideas. 5 Chem.
a loose aggregation of molecules. 6 Ecol. a group of associated
plants. ЬAssociation Football Brit. football played by sides
of 11 with a round ball which may not be handled during play
except by the goalkeepers. ЬЬassociational adj. [F association
or med.L associatio (as ASSOCIATE, -ATION)]
adj. 1 of or involving association. 2 Math. & Computing
involving the condition that a group of quantities connected by
operators (see OPERATOR 4) gives the same result whatever their
grouping, as long as their order remains the same, e.g. (a x b)
x c = a x (b x c).
assonance n. the resemblance of sound between two syllables in nearby
words, arising from the rhyming of two or more accented vowels,
but not consonants, or the use of identical consonants with
different vowels, e.g. sonnet, porridge, and killed, cold,
culled. ЬЬassonant adj. assonate v.intr. [F f. L assonare
respond to (as AD-, sonus sound)]
assort v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by with) classify or arrange in groups. 2
intr. suit; fit into; harmonize with (usu. assort ill or well
with). [OF assorter f. … to + sorte SORT]
adj. assorting. Ьassortative mating Biol. selective mating
based on the similarity of the partners' characteristics etc.
assorted adj. 1 of various sorts put together; miscellaneous. 2 sorted
into groups. 3 matched (ill-assorted; poorly assorted).
n. a set of various sorts of things or people put together; a
ASSR abbr. Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.
Asst. abbr. Assistant.
assuage v.tr. 1 calm or soothe (a person, pain, etc.). 2 appease or
relieve (an appetite or desire). ЬЬassuagement n. assuager n.
[ME f. OF as(s)ouagier ult. f. L suavis sweet]
assume v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by that + clause) take or accept as being
true, without proof, for the purpose of argument or action. 2
simulate or pretend (ignorance etc.). 3 undertake (an office or
duty). 4 take or put on oneself or itself (an aspect,
attribute, etc.) (the problem assumed immense proportions). 5
(usu. foll. by to) arrogate, usurp, or seize (credit, power,
etc.) (assumed to himself the right of veto). ЬЬassumable adj.
assumedly adv. [ME f. L assumere (as AD-, sumere sumpt- take)]
assuming adj. (of a person) taking too much for granted; arrogant,
n. 1 the act or an instance of assuming. 2 a the act or an
instance of accepting without proof. b a thing assumed in this
way. 3 arrogance. 4 (Assumption) a the reception of the Virgin
Mary bodily into heaven, according to Roman Catholic doctrine.
b the feast in honour of this (15 August). [ME f. OF asompsion
or L assumptio (as ASSUME, -ION)]
adj. 1 taken for granted. 2 arrogant. [L assumptivus (as
assurance n. 1 a positive declaration that a thing is true. 2 a solemn
promise or guarantee. 3 insurance, esp. life insurance. 4
certainty. 5 a self-confidence. b impudence. [ME f. OF
aseЃrance f. aseЃrer (as ASSURE, -ANCE)]
assure v.tr. 1 (often foll. by of) a make (a person) sure; convince
(assured him of my sincerity). b tell (a person) confidently
(assured him the bus went to Westminster). 2 a make certain of;
ensure the happening etc. of (will assure her success). b make
safe (against overthrow etc.). 3 insure (esp. a life). 4 (as
assured adj.) a guaranteed. b self-confident. Ьrest assured
remain confident. ЬЬassurable adj. assurer n. [ME f. OF
aseЃrer ult. f. L securus safe, SECURE]
assuredly adv. certainly.
Assyrian n. & adj. hist. --n. 1 an inhabitant of Assyria, an ancient
kingdom in Mesopotamia. 2 the Semitic language of Assyria.
--adj. of or relating to Assyria. [L Assyrius f. Gk Assurios of
n. the study of the language, history, and antiquities of
Assyria. ЬЬAssyriologist n.
AST abbr. Atlantic Standard Time.
astable adj. 1 not stable. 2 Electr. of or relating to a circuit which
oscillates spontaneously between unstable states.
astatic adj. 1 not static; unstable or unsteady. 2 Physics not tending
to keep one position or direction. Ьastatic galvanometer one in
which the effect of the earth's magnetic field on the meter
needle is greatly reduced. [Gk astatos unstable f. a- not +
astatine n. Chem. a radioactive element, the heaviest of the halogens,
which occurs naturally and can be artificially made by nuclear
bombardment of bismuth. °Symb: At. [formed as ASTATIC +
aster n. any composite plant of the genus Aster, with bright
daisy-like flowers, e.g. the Michaelmas daisy. ЬChina aster a
related plant, Callistephus chinensis, cultivated for its bright
and showy flowers. [L f. Gk aster star]
asterisk n. & v. --n. a symbol (*) used in printing and writing to mark
words etc. for reference, to stand for omitted matter, etc.
--v.tr. mark with an asterisk. [ME f. LL asteriscus f. Gk
asteriskos dimin. (as ASTER)]
asterism n. 1 a cluster of stars. 2 a group of three asterisks calling
attention to following text. [Gk asterismos (as ASTER, -ISM)]
astern adv. Naut. & Aeron. (often foll. by of) 1 aft; away to the
rear. 2 backwards. [A(2) + STERN(2)]
asteroid n. 1 any of the minor planets revolving round the sun, mainly
between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. 2 Zool. a starfish.
ЬЬasteroidal adj. [Gk asteroeides (as ASTER, -OID)]
asthenia n. Med. loss of strength; debility. [mod.L f. Gk astheneia f.
asthenic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of lean or long-limbed build. 2 Med. of or
characterized by asthenia. --n. a lean long-limbed person.
asthma n. a usu. allergic respiratory disease, often with paroxysms of
difficult breathing. [ME f. Gk asthma -matos f. azo breathe
asthmatic adj. & n. --adj. relating to or suffering from asthma. --n. a
person suffering from asthma. ЬЬasthmatically adv. [L
asthmaticus f. Gk asthmatikos (as ASTHMA, -IC)]
Asti n. (pl. Astis) an Italian white wine. ЬAsti spumante a
sparkling form of this. [Asti in Piedmont]
n. a defect in the eye or in a lens resulting in distorted
images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at a common
focus. ЬЬastigmatic adj. [A-(1) + Gk stigma -matos point]
astilbe n. any plant of the genus Astilbe, with plumelike heads of tiny
white or red flowers. [mod.L f. Gk a- not + stilbe fem. of
stilbos glittering, from the inconspicuous (individual) flowers]
astir predic.adj. & adv. 1 in motion. 2 awake and out of bed (astir
early; already astir). 3 excited. [A(2) + STIR(1) n.]
astonish v.tr. amaze; surprise greatly. ЬЬastonishing adj.
astonishingly adv. astonishment n. [obs. astone f. OF estoner
f. Gallo-Roman: see -ISH(2)]
astound v.tr. shock with alarm or surprise; amaze. ЬЬastounding adj.
astoundingly adv. [obs. astound (adj.) = astoned past part. of
obs. astone: see ASTONISH]
astraddle adv. & predic.adj. in a straddling position.
astragal n. Archit. a small semicircular moulding round the top or
bottom of a column. [ASTRAGALUS]
n. (pl. -li) 1 Anat. = TALUS(1). 2 Bot. a leguminous plant of
the genus Astragalus, e.g. the milk-vetch. [L f. Gk astragalos
ankle-bone, moulding, a plant]
astrakhan n. 1 the dark curly fleece of young lambs from Astrakhan. 2 a
cloth imitating astrakhan. [Astrakhan in the USSR]
astral adj. 1 of or connected with the stars. 2 consisting of stars;
starry. 3 Theosophy relating to or arising from a supposed
ethereal existence, esp. of a counterpart of the body,
associated with oneself in life and surviving after death. [LL
astralis f. astrum star]
astray adv. & predic.adj. 1 in or into error or sin ( esp. lead
astray). 2 out of the right way. Ьgo astray be lost or
mislaid. [ME f. OF estrai‚ past part. of estraier ult. f. L
extra out of bounds + vagari wander]
astride adv. & prep. --adv. 1 (often foll. by of) with a leg on each
side. 2 with legs apart. --prep. with a leg on each side of;
adj. & n. --adj. 1 causing the contraction of body tissues. 2
checking bleeding. 3 severe, austere. --n. an astringent
substance or drug. ЬЬastringency n. astringently adv. [F f. L
astringere (as AD-, stringere bind)]
astro- comb. form 1 relating to the stars or celestial bodies. 2
relating to outer space. [Gk f. astron star]
n. the study of molecules and radicals in interstellar space.
astrodome n. a domed window in an aircraft for astronomical observations.
n. = ASTRODOME.
astrolabe n. an instrument, usu. consisting of a disc and pointer,
formerly used to make astronomical measurements, esp. of the
altitudes of celestial bodies, and as an aid in navigation. [ME
f. OF astrelabe f. med.L astrolabium f. Gk astrolabon, neut. of
astrology n. the study of the movements and relative positions of
celestial bodies interpreted as an influence on human affairs.
ЬЬastrologer n. astrological adj. astrologist n. [ME f. OF
astrologie f. L astrologia f. Gk (as ASTRO-, -LOGY)]
astronaut n. a person who is trained to travel in a spacecraft.
ЬЬastronautical adj. [ASTRO-, after aeronaut]
n. the science of space travel.
adj. (also astronomic) 1 of or relating to astronomy. 2
extremely large; too large to contemplate. Ьastronomical unit a
unit of measurement in astronomy equal to the mean distance from
the centre of the earth to the centre of the sun, 1.495 x 10(11)
metres or 92.9 million miles. astronomical year see YEAR n. 1.
ЬЬastronomically adv. [L astronomicus f. Gk astronomikos]
astronomy n. the scientific study of celestial bodies. ЬЬastronomer n.
[ME f. OF astronomie f. L f. Gk astronomia f. astronomos (adj.)
star-arranging f. nemo arrange]
n. a branch of astronomy concerned with the physics and
chemistry of celestial bodies. ЬЬastrophysical adj.
Astroturf n. propr. an artificial grass surface, esp. for sports fields.
[Astrodome, name of a sports stadium in Texas where it was first
used, + TURF]
astute adj. 1 shrewd; sagacious. 2 crafty. ЬЬastutely adv.
astuteness n. [obs. F astut or L astutus f. astus craft]
asunder adv. literary apart. [OE on sundran into pieces: cf. SUNDER]
asylum n. 1 sanctuary; protection, esp. for those pursued by the law
(seek asylum). 2 hist. any of various kinds of institution
offering shelter and support to distressed or destitute
individuals, esp. the mentally ill. Ьpolitical asylum
protection given by a State to a political refugee from another
country. [ME f. L f. Gk asulon refuge f. a- not + sulon right
asymmetry n. lack of symmetry. ЬЬasymmetric adj. asymmetrical adj.
asymmetrically adv. [Gk asummetria (as A-(1), SYMMETRY)]
adj. producing or showing no symptoms.
asymptote n. a line that continually approaches a given curve but does
not meet it at a finite distance. ЬЬasymptotic adj.
asymptotically adv. [mod.L asymptota (linea line) f. Gk
asumptotos not falling together f. a- not + sun together +
ptotos falling f. pipto fall]
adj. not synchronous. ЬЬasynchronously adv.
asyndeton n. (pl. asyndeta) the omission of a conjunction. ЬЬasyndetic
adj. [mod.L f. Gk asundeton (neut. adj.) f. a- not + sundetos
at unstressed prep. 1 expressing position, exact or approximate
(wait at the corner; at the top of the hill; met at Bath; is at
school; at a distance). 2 expressing a point in time (see you
at three; went at dawn). 3 expressing a point in a scale or
range (at boiling-point; at his best). 4 expressing engagement
or concern in a state or activity (at war; at work; at odds). 5
expressing a value or rate (sell at њ10 each). 6 a with or with
reference to; in terms of (at a disadvantage; annoyed at losing;
good at cricket; play at fighting; sick at heart; came at a run;
at short notice; work at it). b by means of (starts at a touch;
drank it at a gulp). 7 expressing: a motion towards (arrived at
the station; went at them). b aim towards or pursuit of
(physically or conceptually) (aim at the target; work at a
solution; guess at the truth; laughed at us; has been at the
milk again). Ьat all see ALL. at hand see HAND. at home see
HOME. at it 1 engaged in an activity; working hard. 2 colloq.
repeating a habitual (usu. disapproved of) activity (found them
at it again). at once see ONCE. at that moreover (found one,
and a good one at that). at times see TIME. where it's at sl.
the fashionable scene or activity. [OE ‘t, rel. to L ad to]
at- prefix assim. form of AD- before t.
Atabrine var. of ATEBRIN.
ataractic adj. & n. (also ataraxic) --adj. calming or tranquillizing.
--n. a tranquillizing drug. [Gk ataraktos calm: cf. ATARAXY]
ataraxy n. (also ataraxia) calmness or tranquillity; imperturbability.
[F ataraxie f. Gk ataraxia impassiveness]
atavism n. 1 a resemblance to remote ancestors rather than to parents
in plants or animals. 2 reversion to an earlier type.
ЬЬatavistic adj. atavistically adv. [F atavisme f. L atavus
ataxy n. (also ataxia) Med. the loss of full control of bodily
movements. ЬЬataxic adj. [mod.L ataxia f. Gk f. a- not +
ATC abbr. Brit. 1 air traffic control. 2 Air Training Corps.
ate past of EAT.
-ate(1) suffix 1 forming nouns denoting: a status or office (doctorate;
episcopate). b state or function (curate; magistrate; mandate).
2 Chem. forming nouns denoting the salt of an acid with a
corresponding name ending in -ic (chlorate; nitrate). 3 forming
nouns denoting a group (electorate). 4 Chem. forming nouns
denoting a product (condensate; filtrate). [from or after OF
-at or ‚(e) or f. L -atus noun or past part.: cf. -ATE(2)]
-ate(2) suffix 1 forming adjectives and nouns (associate; delegate;
duplicate; separate). 2 forming adjectives from Latin or
English nouns and adjectives (cordate; insensate; Italianate).
[from or after (F -‚ f.) L - atus past part. of verbs in -are]
-ate(3) suffix forming verbs (associate; duplicate; fascinate;
hyphenate; separate). [from or after (F -er f.) L - are (past
part. -atus): cf. -ATE(2)]
atelier n. a workshop or studio, esp. of an artist or designer. [F]
a tempo adv. Mus. in the previous tempo. [It., lit. 'in time']
n. an affirmation of Christian faith formerly thought to have
been drawn up by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria d. 373.
atheism n. the theory or belief that God does not exist. ЬЬatheist n.
atheistic adj. atheistical adj. [F ath‚isme f. Gk atheos
without God f. a- not + theos god]
atheling n. hist. a prince or lord in Anglo-Saxon England. [OE
‘theling = OHG ediling f. WG: see -ING(3)]
athematic adj. 1 Mus. not based on the use of themes. 2 Gram. (of a
verb-form) having a suffix attached to the stem without a
correcting (thematic) vowel.
athenaeum n. (US atheneum) 1 an institution for literary or scientific
study. 2 a library. [LL Athenaeum f. Gk Athenaion temple of
Athene (used as a place of teaching)]
Athenian n. & adj. --n. a native or inhabitant of ancient or modern
Athens. --adj. of or relating to Athens. [L Atheniensis f.
Athenae f. Gk Athenai Athens, principal city of Greece]
n. a form of arteriosclerosis characterized by the degeneration
of the arteries because of the build-up of fatty deposits.
ЬЬatherosclerotic adj. [G Atherosklerose f. Gk athere groats +
athirst predic.adj. poet. 1 (usu. foll. by for) eager (athirst for
knowledge). 2 thirsty. [OE ofthyrst for ofthyrsted past part.
of ofthyrstan be thirsty]
athlete n. 1 a skilled performer in physical exercises, esp. in track
and field events. 2 a healthy person with natural athletic
ability. Ьathlete's foot a fungal foot condition affecting esp.
the skin between the toes. [L athleta f. Gk athletes f. athleo
contend for a prize (athlon)]
athletic adj. 1 of or relating to athletes or athletics (an athletic
competition). 2 muscular or physically powerful.
ЬЬathletically adv. athleticism n. [F athl‚tique or L
athleticus f. Gk athletikos (as ATHLETE, -IC)]
athletics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) 1 a physical exercises, esp.
track and field events. b the practice of these. 2 US physical
sports and games of any kind.
athwart adv. & prep. --adv. 1 across from side to side (usu.
obliquely). 2 perversely or in opposition. --prep. 1 from
side to side of. 2 in opposition to. [A(2) + THWART]
-atic suffix forming adjectives and nouns (aquatic; fanatic;
idiomatic). [F -atique or L - aticus, often ult. f. Gk -atikos]
atilt adv. tilted and nearly falling. [A(2) + TILT]
-ation suffix 1 forming nouns denoting an action or an instance of it
(alteration; flirtation; hesitation). 2 forming nouns denoting
a result or product of action (plantation; starvation; vexation)
(see also -FICATION). [from or after F -ation or L -atio
-ationis f. verbs in -are: see -ION]
-ative suffix forming adjectives denoting a characteristic or
propensity (authoritative; imitative; pejorative; qualitative;
talkative). [from or after F -atif -ative or f. L -ativus f.
past part. stem -at- of verbs in -are + -ivus (see -IVE): cf.
Atlantean adj. literary of or like Atlas, esp. in physical strength. [L
Atlanteus (as ATLAS)]
atlantes n.pl. Archit. male figures carved in stone and used as columns
to support the entablature of a Greek or Greek-style building.
[Gk, pl. of Atlas: see ATLAS]
Atlantic n. & adj. --n. the ocean between Europe and Africa to the east,
and America to the west. --adj. of or adjoining the Atlantic.
ЬAtlantic Time the standard time used in the most eastern parts
of Canada and Central America. [ME f. L Atlanticus f. Gk
Atlantikos (as ATLAS, -IC): orig. of the Atlas Mountains, then
of the sea near the W. African coast]
atlas n. 1 a book of maps or charts. 2 Anat. the cervical vertebra
of the backbone articulating with the skull at the neck. [L f.
Gk Atlas -antos a Titan who held up the pillars of the universe,
whose picture appeared at the beginning of early atlases]
atm abbr. Physics atmosphere(s).
atman n. Hinduism & Buddhism 1 the real self. 2 the supreme
spiritual principle. [Skr. atm n essence, breath]
n. 1 a the envelope of gases surrounding the earth, any other
planet, or any substance. b the air in any particular place,
esp. if unpleasant. 2 a the pervading tone or mood of a place
or situation, esp. with reference to the feelings or emotions
evoked. b the feelings or emotions evoked by a work of art, a
piece of music, etc. 3 Physics a unit of pressure equal to mean
atmospheric pressure at sea level, 101,325 pascals. °Abbr.:
atm. ЬЬatmospheric adj. atmospherical adj. atmospherically
adv. [mod.L atmosphaera f. Gk atmos vapour: see SPHERE]
n.pl. 1 electrical disturbance in the atmosphere, esp. caused
by lightning. 2 interference with telecommunications caused by
atoll n. a ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon. [Maldive
atom n. 1 a the smallest particle of a chemical element that can
take part in a chemical reaction. b this particle as a source
of nuclear energy. 2 (usu. with neg.) the least portion of a
thing or quality (not an atom of pity). Ьatom bomb a bomb
involving the release of energy by nuclear fission = fission
bomb. atom-smasher colloq. = ACCELERATOR 2. [ME f. OF atome f.
L atomus f. Gk atomos indivisible]
atomic adj. 1 concerned with or using atomic energy or atomic bombs.
2 of or relating to an atom or atoms. Ьatomic bomb = atom bomb.
atomic clock a clock in which the periodic process (time scale)
is regulated by the vibrations of an atomic or molecular system,
such as caesium or ammonia. atomic energy nuclear energy.
atomic mass the mass of an atom measured in atomic mass units.
atomic mass unit a unit of mass used to express atomic and
molecular weights that is equal to one twelfth of the mass of an
atom of carbon-12. °Abbr.: amu. atomic number the number of
protons in the nucleus of an atom, which is characteristic of a
chemical element and determines its place in the periodic table.
°Symb.: Z. atomic particle any one of the particles of which an
atom is constituted. atomic philosophy atomism. atomic physics
the branch of physics concerned with the structure of the atom
and the characteristics of the elementary particles of which it
is composed. atomic pile a nuclear reactor. atomic power
nuclear power. atomic spectrum the emission or absorption
spectrum arising from electron transitions inside an atom and
characteristic of the element. atomic structure the structure
of an atom as being a central positively charged nucleus
surrounded by negatively charged orbiting electrons. atomic
theory 1 the concept of an atom as being composed of elementary
particles. 2 the theory that all matter is made up of small
indivisible particles called atoms, and that the atoms of any
one element are identical in all respects but differ from those
of other elements and only unite to form compounds in fixed
proportions. 3 Philos. atomism. atomic warfare warfare
involving the use of atom bombs. atomic weight = relative
atomic mass. ЬЬatomically adv. [mod.L atomicus (as ATOM, -IC)]
atomicity n. 1 the number of atoms in the molecules of an element. 2 the
state or fact of being composed of atoms.
atomism n. Philos. 1 the theory that all matter consists of tiny
individual particles. 2 Psychol. the theory that mental states
are made up of elementary units. ЬЬatomist n. atomistic adj.
atomize v.tr. (also -ise) reduce to atoms or fine particles.
atomizer n. (also -iser) an instrument for emitting liquids as a fine
atomy n. (pl. -ies) archaic 1 a skeleton. 2 an emaciated body.
[ANATOMY taken as an atomy]
atonal adj. Mus. not written in any key or mode. ЬЬatonality n.
atone v.intr. (usu. foll. by for) make amends; expiate (for a wrong).
[back-form. f. ATONEMENT]
atonement n. 1 expiation; reparation for a wrong or injury. 2 the
reconciliation of God and man. Ьthe Atonement the expiation by
Christ of mankind's sin. Day of Atonement the most solemn
religious fast of the Jewish year, eight days after the Jewish
New Year. [at one + -MENT, after med.L adunamentum and earlier
onement f. obs. one (v.) unite]
atonic adj. 1 without accent or stress. 2 Med. lacking bodily tone.
atop adv. & prep. --adv. (often foll. by of) on the top. --prep. on
the top of.
-ator suffix forming agent nouns, usu. from Latin words (sometimes via
French) (agitator; creator; equator; escalator). See also
-OR(1). [L -ator]
-atory suffix forming adjectives meaning 'relating to or involving (a
verbal action)' (amatory; explanatory; predatory). See also
-ORY(2). [L -atorius]
atrium n. (pl. atriums or atria) 1 a the central court of an ancient
Roman house. b a usu. skylit central court rising through
several storeys with galleries and rooms opening off at each
level. c esp. US (in a modern house) a central hall or glazed
court with rooms opening off it. 2 Anat. a cavity in the body,
esp. one of the two upper cavities of the heart, receiving blood
from the veins. ЬЬatrial adj. [L]
atrocious adj. 1 very bad or unpleasant (atrocious weather; their manners
were atrocious). 2 extremely savage or wicked (atrocious
cruelty). ЬЬatrociously adv. atrociousness n. [L atrox -ocis
atrocity n. (pl. -ies) 1 an extremely wicked or cruel act, esp. one
involving physical violence or injury. 2 extreme wickedness.
[F atrocit‚ or L atrocitas (as ATROCIOUS, -ITY)]
atrophy v. & n. --v. (-ies, -ied) 1 intr. waste away through
undernourishment, ageing, or lack of use; become emaciated. 2
tr. cause to atrophy. --n. the process of atrophying;
emaciation. [F atrophie or LL atrophia f. Gk f. a- not +
atropine n. a poisonous alkaloid found in deadly nightshade, used in
medicine to treat renal and biliary colic etc. [mod.L Atropa
belladonna deadly nightshade f. Gk Atropos inflexible, the name
of one of the Fates]
attach v. 1 tr. fasten, affix, join. 2 tr. (in passive; foll. by to)
be very fond of or devoted to (am deeply attached to her). 3
tr. attribute, assign (some function, quality, or
characteristic) (can you attach a name to it?; attaches great
importance to it). 4 a tr. accompany; form part of (no
conditions are attached). b intr. (foll. by to) be an attribute
or characteristic (great prestige attaches to the job). 5 refl.
(usu. foll. by to) take part in; join (attached themselves to
the expedition). 6 tr. appoint for special or temporary duties.
7 tr. Law seize (a person or property) by legal authority.
ЬЬattachable adj. attacher n. [ME f. OF estachier fasten f.
Gmc: in Law sense thr. OF atachier]
attach‚ n. a person appointed to an ambassador's staff, usu. with a
special sphere of activity (military attach‚; press attach‚).
Ьattach‚ case a small flat rectangular case for carrying
documents etc. [F, past part. of attacher: see ATTACH]
n. 1 a thing attached or to be attached, esp. to a machine,
device, etc., for a special function. 2 affection, devotion. 3
a means of attaching. 4 the act of attaching or the state of
being attached. 5 legal seizure. 6 a temporary position in, or
secondment to, an organization. [ME f. F attachement f.
attacher (as ATTACH, -MENT)]
attack v. & n. --v. 1 tr. act against with (esp. armed) force. 2 tr.
seek to hurt or defeat. 3 tr. criticize adversely. 4 tr. act
harmfully upon (a virus attacking the nervous system). 5 tr.
vigorously apply oneself to; begin work on (attacked his meal
with gusto). 6 intr. make an attack. 7 intr. be in a mode of
attack. --n. 1 the act or process of attacking. 2 an
offensive operation or mode of behaviour. 3 Mus. the action or
manner of beginning a piece, passage, etc. 4 gusto, vigour. 5
a sudden occurrence of an illness. 6 a player or players
seeking to score goals etc. ЬЬattacker n. [F attaque, attaquer
f. It. attacco attack, attaccare ATTACH]
attain v. 1 tr. arrive at; reach (a goal etc.). 2 tr. gain,
accomplish (an aim, distinction, etc.). 3 intr. (foll. by to)
arrive at by conscious development or effort. ЬЬattainable adj.
attainability n. attainableness n. [ME f. AF atain-, atein-,
OF ataign- stem of ataindre f. L attingere (as AD-, tangere
attainder n. hist. the forfeiture of land and civil rights suffered as a
consequence of a sentence of death for treason or felony. Ьact
(or bill) of attainder an item of legislation inflicting
attainder without judicial process. [ME f. AF, = OF ateindre
ATTAIN used as noun: see -ER(6)]
n. 1 (often in pl.) something attained or achieved; an
accomplishment. 2 the act or an instance of attaining.
attaint v.tr. 1 hist. subject to attainder. 2 a (of disease etc.)
strike, affect. b taint. [ME f. obs. attaint (adj.) f. OF
ataint, ateint past part. formed as ATTAIN: confused in meaning
attar n. (also otto) a fragrant essential oil, esp. from rose-petals.
[Pers. ' atar f. Arab. f. ' itr perfume]
attempt v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to + infin.) seek to achieve
or complete (a task or action) (attempted the exercise;
attempted to explain). 2 seek to climb or master (a mountain
etc.). --n. (often foll. by at, on, or to + infin.) an act of
attempting; an endeavour (made an attempt at winning; an attempt
to succeed; an attempt on his life). Ьattempt the life of
archaic try to kill. ЬЬattemptable adj. [OF attempter f. L
attemptare (as AD-, temptare TEMPT)]
attend v. 1 tr. a be present at (attended the meeting). b go
regularly to (attends the local school). 2 intr. a be present
(many members failed to attend). b be present in a serving
capacity; wait. 3 a tr. escort, accompany (the king was
attended by soldiers). b intr. (foll. by on) wait on; serve. 4
intr. a (usu. foll. by to) turn or apply one's mind; focus
one's attention (attend to what I am saying; was not attending).
b (foll. by to) deal with (shall attend to the matter myself).
5 tr. (usu. in passive) follow as a result from (the error was
attended by serious consequences). ЬЬattender n. [ME f. OF
atendre f. L attendere (as AD-, tendere tent- stretch)]
n. 1 the act of attending or being present. 2 the number of
people present (a high attendance). Ьattendance allowance (in
the UK) a State benefit paid to disabled people in need of
constant care at home. attendance centre Brit. a place where
young offenders report by order of a court as a minor penalty.
[ME f. OF atendance (as ATTEND, -ANCE)]
attendant n. & adj. --n. a person employed to wait on others or provide a
service (cloakroom attendant; museum attendant). --adj. 1
accompanying (attendant circumstances). 2 waiting on; serving
(ladies attendant on the queen). [ME f. OF (as ATTEND, -ANT)]
attendee n. a person who attends (a meeting etc.).
attention n. & int. --n. 1 the act or faculty of applying one's mind
(give me your attention; attract his attention). 2 a
consideration (give attention to the problem). b care (give
special attention to your handwriting). 3 (in pl.) a
ceremonious politeness (he paid his attentions to her). b
wooing, courting (she was the subject of his attentions). 4
Mil. an erect attitude of readiness (stand at attention).
--int. (in full stand at attention!) an order to assume an
attitude of attention. [ME f. L attentio (as ATTEND, -ION)]
attentive adj. 1 concentrating; paying attention. 2 assiduously polite.
3 heedful. ЬЬattentively adv. attentiveness n. [ME f. F
attentif -ive f. attente, OF atente, fem. past part. of atendre
attenuate v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 make thin. 2 reduce in force, value, or
virulence. 3 Electr. reduce the amplitude of (a signal or
current). --adj. 1 slender. 2 tapering gradually. 3
rarefied. ЬЬattenuated adj. attenuation n. attenuator n. [L
attenuare (as AD-, tenuis thin)]
attest v. 1 tr. certify the validity of. 2 tr. enrol (a recruit) for
military service. 3 intr. (foll. by to) bear witness to. 4
intr. enrol oneself for military service. ЬЬattestable adj.
attestor n. [F attester f. L attestari (as AD-, testis
n. 1 the act of attesting. 2 a testimony. [F attestation or
LL attestatio (as ATTEST, -ATION)]
Attic adj. & n. --adj. of ancient Athens or Attica, or the form of
Greek spoken there. --n. the form of Greek used by the ancient
Athenians. ЬAttic salt (or wit) refined wit. [L Atticus f. Gk
attic n. 1 the uppermost storey in a house, usu. under the roof. 2 a
room in the attic area. [F attique, as ATTIC: orig. (Archit.) a
small order above a taller one]
atticism n. 1 extreme elegance of speech. 2 an instance of this. [Gk
Attikismos (as ATTIC, -ISM)]
attire v. & n. formal --v.tr. dress, esp. in fine clothes or formal
wear. --n. clothes, esp. fine or formal. [ME f. OF atir(i)er
equip f. … tire in order, of unkn. orig.]
attitude n. 1 a a settled opinion or way of thinking. b behaviour
reflecting this (I don't like his attitude). 2 a a bodily
posture. b a pose adopted in a painting or a play, esp. for
dramatic effect (strike an attitude). 3 the position of an
aircraft, spacecraft, etc., in relation to specified directions.
Ьattitude of mind a settled way of thinking. ЬЬattitudinal adj.
[F f. It. attitudine fitness, posture, f. LL aptitudo -dinis f.
v.intr. (also -ise) 1 practise or adopt attitudes, esp. for
effect. 2 speak, write, or behave affectedly. [It. attitudine
f. LL (as ATTITUDE) + -IZE]
attn. abbr. 1 attention. 2 for the attention of.
atto- comb. form Math. denoting a factor of 10(-18) (attometre).
[Da. or Norw. atten eighteen + -O-]
attorney n. (pl. -eys) 1 a person, esp. a lawyer, appointed to act for
another in business or legal matters. 2 US a qualified lawyer,
esp. one representing a client in a lawcourt. ЬAttorney General
the chief legal officer in England, the US, and other countries.
District Attorney see DISTRICT. power of attorney the authority
to act for another person in legal or financial matters.
ЬЬattorneyship n. [ME f. OF atorn‚ past part. of atorner assign
f. … to + torner turn]
attract v.tr. 1 (also absol.) draw or bring to oneself or itself
(attracts many admirers; attracts attention). 2 be attractive
to; fascinate. 3 (of a magnet, gravity, etc.) exert a pull on
(an object). ЬЬattractable adj. attractor n. [L attrahere (as
AD-, trahere tract- draw)]
n. & adj. --n. a substance which attracts (esp. insects).
n. 1 a the act or power of attracting (the attraction of
foreign travel). b a person or thing that attracts by arousing
interest (the fair is a big attraction). 2 Physics the force by
which bodies attract or approach each other (opp. REPULSION).
3 Gram. the influence exerted by one word on another which
causes it to change to an incorrect form, e.g. the wages of sin
is death. [F attraction or L attractio (as ATTRACT, -ION)]
adj. 1 attracting or capable of attracting; interesting (an
attractive proposition). 2 aesthetically pleasing or appealing.
ЬЬattractively adv. attractiveness n. [F attractif -ive f. LL
attractivus (as ATTRACT, -IVE)]
attribute v. & n. --v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) 1 regard as belonging or
appropriate to (a poem attributed to Shakespeare). 2 ascribe
to; regard as the effect of a stated cause (the delays were
attributed to the heavy traffic). --n. 1 a a quality ascribed
to a person or thing. b a characteristic quality. 2 a material
object recognized as appropriate to a person, office, or status
(a large car is an attribute of seniority). 3 Gram. an
attributive adjective or noun. ЬЬattributable adj. attribution
n. [ME f. L attribuere attribut- (as AD-, tribuere assign):
(n.) f. OF attribut or L attributum]
adj. Gram. (of an adjective or noun) preceding the word
described and expressing an attribute, as old in the old dog
(but not in the dog is old) and expiry in expiry date (opp.
PREDICATIVE). ЬЬattributively adv. [F attributif -ive (as
attrition n. 1 a the act or process of gradually wearing out, esp. by
friction. b abrasion. 2 Theol. sorrow for sin, falling short
of contrition. Ьwar of attrition a war in which one side wins
by gradually wearing the other down with repeated attacks etc.
ЬЬattritional adj. [ME f. LL attritio f. atterere attrit- rub]
attune v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by to) adjust (a person or thing) to a
situation. 2 bring (an orchestra, instrument, etc.) into
musical accord. [AT- + TUNE]
Atty. abbr. Attorney.
atypical adj. not typical; not conforming to a type. ЬЬatypically adv.
AU abbr. 1 (also au.) astronomical unit. 2 †ngstr”m unit.
Au symb. Chem. the element gold. [L aurum]
aubade n. a poem or piece of music appropriate to the dawn or early
morning. [F f. Sp. albada f. alba dawn]
auberge n. an inn. [F]
aubergine n. 1 a tropical plant, Solanum melongena, having erect or
spreading branches bearing white or purple egg-shaped fruit. 2
this fruit eaten as a vegetable. Also called EGGPLANT. 3 the
dark purple colour of this fruit. [F f. Cat. alberginia f.
Arab. al-badinjan f. Pers. badingan f. Skr. vatimgana]
aubrietia n. (also aubretia) any dwarf perennial rock-plant of the genus
Aubrieta, having purple or pink flowers in spring. [mod.L f.
Claude Aubriet, Fr. botanist d. 1743]
auburn adj. reddish brown (usu. of a person's hair). [ME, orig.
yellowish white, f. OF auborne, alborne, f. L alburnus whitish
f. albus white]
AUC abbr. (of a date) from the foundation of the city (of Rome).
[L ab urbe condita]
predic.adj. (usu. foll. by with, of) knowing what is going on;
well-informed. [F, = in the (regular) course]
auction n. & v. --n. a sale of goods, usu. in public, in which articles
are sold to the highest bidder. --v.tr. sell by auction.
Ьauction bridge 1 a form of bridge in which players bid for the
right to name trumps. 2 the sequence of bids made at bridge.
Dutch auction a sale, usu. public, of goods in which the price
is reduced by the auctioneer until a buyer is found. [L auctio
increase, auction f. augere auct- increase]
n. a person who conducts auctions professionally, by calling
for bids and declaring goods sold. ЬЬauctioneering n.
audacious adj. 1 daring, bold. 2 impudent. ЬЬaudaciously adv.
audaciousness n. audacity n. [L audax -acis bold f. audere
audible adj. capable of being heard. ЬЬaudibility n. audibleness n.
audibly adv. [LL audibilis f. audire hear]
audience n. 1 a the assembled listeners or spectators at an event, esp.
a stage performance, concert, etc. b the people addressed by a
film, book, play, etc. 2 a formal interview with a person in
authority. 3 archaic a hearing (give audience to my plea). [ME
f. OF f. L audientia f. audire hear]
audile adj. of or referring to the sense of hearing. [irreg. f. L
audire hear, after tactile]
audio n. (usu. attrib.) sound or the reproduction of sound. Ьaudio
frequency a frequency capable of being perceived by the human
ear. audio typist a person who types direct from a recording.
audio- comb. form hearing or sound. [L audire hear + -O-]
audiology n. the science of hearing. ЬЬaudiologist n.
n. an instrument for testing hearing.
n. a hi-fi enthusiast.
audiotape n. & v. --n. 1 a magnetic tape on which sound can be recorded.
b a length of this. 2 a sound recording on tape. --v.tr.
record (sound, speech, etc.) on tape.
adj. (esp. of teaching methods) using both sight and sound.
audit n. & v. --n. an official examination of accounts. --v.tr.
(audited, auditing) 1 conduct an audit of. 2 US attend (a
class) informally, without working for credits. [ME f. L
auditus hearing f. audire audit- hear]
audition n. & v. --n. 1 an interview for a role as a singer, actor,
dancer, etc., consisting of a practical demonstration of
suitability. 2 the power of hearing or listening. --v. 1 tr.
interview (a candidate at an audition). 2 intr. be interviewed
at an audition. [F audition or L auditio f. audire audit-
auditor n. 1 a person who audits accounts. 2 a listener. ЬЬauditorial
adj. [ME f. AF auditour f. L auditor -oris (as AUDITIVE,
n. (pl. auditoriums or auditoria) the part of a theatre etc.
in which the audience sits. [L neut. of auditorius (adj.): see
auditory adj. 1 concerned with hearing. 2 received by the ear. [L
auditorius (as AUDITOR, -ORY(2))]
AUEW abbr. (in the UK) Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers.
au fait predic.adj. (usu. foll. by with) having current knowledge;
conversant (fully au fait with the arrangements). Ьput (or
make) au fait with instruct in. [F]
au fond adv. basically; at bottom. [F]
Aug. abbr. August.
Augean adj. filthy; extremely dirty. [L Augeas f. Gk Augeias (in Gk
mythology, the owner of stables cleaned by Hercules by diverting
a river through them)]
auger n. 1 a tool resembling a large corkscrew, for boring holes in
wood. 2 a similar larger tool for boring holes in the ground.
[OE nafogar f. nafu NAVE(2), + gar pierce: for loss of n cf.
aught(1) n. (also ought) archaic (usu. implying neg.) anything at all.
[OE awiht f. Gmc]
aught(2) var. of OUGHT(2).
augite n. Mineral. a complex calcium magnesium aluminous silicate
occurring in many igneous rocks. [L augites f. Gk augites f.
augment v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. make or become greater; increase.
--n. Gram. a vowel prefixed to the past tenses in the older
Indo-European languages. Ьaugmented interval Mus. a perfect or
major interval that is increased by a semitone. ЬЬaugmenter n.
[ME f. OF augment (n.), F augmenter (v.), or LL augmentum,
augmentare f. L augere increase]
n. 1 enlargement; growth; increase. 2 Mus. the lengthening of
the time-values of notes in melodic parts. [ME f. F f. LL
augmentatio -onis f. augmentare (as AUGMENT)]
adj. 1 having the property of increasing. 2 Gram. (of an affix
or derived word) reinforcing the idea of the original word. [F
augmentatif -ive or med.L augmentativus (as AUGMENT)]
au gratin adj. Cookery cooked with a crisp brown crust usu. of
breadcrumbs or melted cheese. [F f. gratter, = by grating, f.
augur v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a (of an event, circumstance, etc.)
suggest a specified outcome (usu. augur well or ill). b
portend, bode (all augured well for our success). 2 tr. a
foresee, predict. b portend. --n. a Roman religious official
who observed natural signs, esp. the behaviour of birds,
interpreting these as an indication of divine approval or
disapproval of a proposed action. ЬЬaugural adj. [L]
augury n. (pl. -ies) 1 an omen; a portent. 2 the work of an augur;
the interpretation of omens. [ME f. OF augurie or L augurium f.
August n. the eighth month of the year. [OE f. L Augustus Caesar, the
first Roman emperor]
august adj. inspiring reverence and admiration; venerable, impressive.
ЬЬaugustly adv. augustness n. [F auguste or L augustus
Augustan adj. & n. --adj. 1 connected with, occurring during, or
influenced by the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, esp. as
an outstanding period of Latin literature. 2 (of a nation's
literature) refined and classical in style (in England of the
literature of the 17th-18th c.). --n. a writer of the Augustan
age of any literature. [L Augustanus f. Augustus]
Augustine n. an Augustinian friar. [ME f. OF augustin f. L Augustinus:
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to St Augustine, a Doctor of
the Church (d. 430), or his doctrines. 2 belonging to a
religious order observing a rule derived from St Augustine's
writings. --n. 1 an adherent of the doctrines of St Augustine.
2 one of the order of Augustinian friars. [L Augustinus
auk n. any sea diving-bird of the family Alcidae, with heavy body,
short wings, and black and white plumage, e.g. the guillemot,
puffin, and razorbill. Ьgreat auk an extinct flightless auk,
Alca impennis. little auk a small arctic auk, Plautus alle.
auld adj. Sc. old. [OE ald, Anglian form of OLD]
auld lang syne
n. times long past. [Sc., = old long since: also as the title
and refrain of a song]
aumbry n. (also ambry) (pl. -ies) 1 a small recess in the wall of a
church. 2 hist. a small cupboard. [ME f. OF almarie, armarie
f. L armarium closet, chest f. arma utensils]
predic.adj. & adv. Cookery uncooked; (cooked) in the most
natural or simplest way. [F, = in the natural state]
aunt n. 1 the sister of one's father or mother. 2 an uncle's wife.
3 colloq. an unrelated woman friend of a child or children.
ЬAunt Sally 1 a game in which players throw sticks or balls at a
wooden dummy. 2 the object of an unreasonable attack. my (or
my sainted etc.) aunt sl. an exclamation of surprise,
disbelief, etc. [ME f. AF aunte, OF ante, f. L amita]
auntie n. (also aunty) (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 = AUNT. 2 (Auntie) an
institution considered to be conservative or cautious, esp. the
au pair n. a young foreign person, esp. a woman, helping with housework
etc. in exchange for room, board, and pocket money, esp. as a
means of learning a language. [F]
aura n. (pl. aurae or auras) 1 the distinctive atmosphere diffused
by or attending a person, place, etc. 2 (in mystic or
spiritualistic use) a supposed subtle emanation, visible as a
sphere of white or coloured light, surrounding the body of a
living creature. 3 a subtle emanation or aroma from flowers
etc. 4 Med. premonitory symptom(s) in epilepsy etc. ЬЬaural
adj. auric adj. [ME f. L f. Gk, = breeze, breath]
aural adj. of or relating to or received by the ear. ЬЬaurally adv.
[L auris ear]
aureate adj. 1 golden, gold-coloured. 2 resplendent. 3 (of a
language) highly ornamented. [ME f. LL aureatus f. L aureus
golden f. aurum gold]
aureole n. (also aureola) 1 a halo or circle of light, esp. round the
head or body of a portrayed religious figure. 2 a corona round
the sun or moon. [ME f. L aureola (corona), = golden (crown),
fem. of aureolus f. aureus f. aurum gold: aureole f. OF f. L
n. an antibiotic used esp. in lung diseases. [L aureus golden
+ Gk mukes fungus + -IN]
au revoir int. & n. goodbye (until we meet again). [F]
auric adj. of or relating to trivalent gold. [L aurum gold]
auricle n. Anat. 1 a a small muscular pouch on the surface of each
atrium of the heart. b the atrium itself. 2 the external ear
of animals. Also called PINNA. 3 an appendage shaped like the
auricula n. a primula, Primula auricula, with leaves shaped like bears'
ears. [L, dimin. of auris ear]
auricular adj. 1 of or relating to the ear or hearing. 2 of or relating
to the auricle of the heart. 3 shaped like an auricle.
ЬЬauricularly adv. [LL auricularis (as AURICULA)]
adj. having one or more auricles or ear-shaped appendages. [L]
adj. naturally bearing gold. [L aurifer f. aurum gold]
n. & adj. --n. a flint culture of the palaeolithic period in
Europe following the Mousterian and preceding the Solutrean.
--adj. of this culture. [F Aurignacien f. Aurignac in SW
France, where remains of it were found]
aurochs n. (pl. same) an extinct wild ox, Bos primigenius, ancestor of
domestic cattle and formerly native to many parts of the world.
Also called URUS. [G f. OHG urohso f. ur- urus + ohso ox]
aurora n. (pl. auroras or aurorae) 1 a luminous electrical
atmospheric phenomenon, usu. of streamers of light in the sky
above the northern or southern magnetic pole. 2 poet. the dawn.
Ьaurora australis a southern occurrence of aurora. aurora
borealis a northern occurrence of aurora. ЬЬauroral adj. [L, =
dawn, goddess of dawn]
n. the act of listening, esp. to sounds from the heart, lungs,
etc., as a part of medical diagnosis. ЬЬauscultatory adj. [L
auscultatio f. auscultare listen to]
auspice n. 1 (in pl.) patronage ( esp. under the auspices of). 2 a
forecast. [orig. 'observation of bird-flight in divination': F
auspice or L auspicium f. auspex observer of birds f. avis
adj. 1 of good omen; favourable. 2 prosperous. ЬЬauspiciously
adv. auspiciousness n. [AUSPICE + -OUS]
Aussie n. & adj. (also Ossie, Ozzie) colloq. --n. 1 an Australian.
2 Australia. --adj. Australian. [abbr.]
austere adj. (austerer, austerest) 1 severely simple. 2 morally
strict. 3 harsh, stern. ЬЬausterely adv. [ME f. OF f. L
austerus f. Gk austeros severe]
austerity n. (pl. -ies) 1 sternness; moral severity. 2 severe
simplicity, e.g. of nationwide economies. 3 (esp. in pl.) an
austere practice (the austerities of a monk's life).
Austin n. = AUGUSTINIAN. [contr. of AUGUSTINE]
austral adj. 1 southern. 2 (Austral) of Australia or Australasia (
Austral English). [ME f. L australis f. Auster south wind]
adj. of or relating to Australasia, a region consisting of
Australia and islands of the SW Pacific. [Australasia f. F
Australasie, formed as Australia + Asia]
n. & adj. --n. 1 a native or national of Australia. 2 a
person of Australian descent. --adj. of or relating to
Australia. ЬAustralian bear a koala bear. Australian Rules a
form of football played with a Rugby ball by teams of 18.
Australian terrier a wire-haired Australian breed of terrier.
ЬЬAustralianism n. [F australien f. L (as AUSTRAL)]
n. any extinct bipedal primate of the genus Australopithecus
having apelike and human characteristics, or its fossilized
remains. ЬЬaustralopithecine n. & adj. [mod.L f. L australis
southern + Gk pithekos ape]
Austro- comb. form Austrian; Austrian and (Austro-Hungarian).
AUT abbr. (in the UK) Association of University Teachers.
autarchy n. (pl. -ies) 1 absolute sovereignty. 2 despotism. 3 an
autarchic country or society. ЬЬautarchic adj. autarchical
adj. [mod.L autarchia (as AUTO-, Gk -arkhia f. arkho rule)]
autarky n. (pl. -ies) 1 self-sufficiency, esp. as an economic system.
2 a state etc. run according to such a system. ЬЬautarkic adj.
autarkical adj. autarkist n. [Gk autarkeia (as AUTO-, arkeo
authentic adj. 1 a of undisputed origin; genuine. b reliable or
trustworthy. 2 Mus. (of a mode) containing notes between the
final and an octave higher (cf. PLAGAL). ЬЬauthentically adv.
authenticity n. [ME f. OF autentique f. LL authenticus f. Gk
authentikos principal, genuine]
v.tr. 1 establish the truth or genuineness of. 2 validate.
ЬЬauthentication n. authenticator n. [med.L authenticare f. LL
authenticus: see AUTHENTIC]
author n. & v. --n. (fem. authoress) 1 a writer, esp. of books. 2
the originator of an event, a condition, etc. (the author of all
my woes). --v.tr. disp. be the author of (a book, the
universe, a child, etc.). ЬЬauthorial adj. [ME f. AF autour,
OF autor f. L auctor f. augere auct- increase, originate,
adj. & n. --adj. 1 favouring, encouraging, or enforcing strict
obedience to authority, as opposed to individual freedom. 2
tyrannical or domineering. --n. a person favouring absolute
obedience to a constituted authority. ЬЬauthoritarianism n.
adj. 1 being recognized as true or dependable. 2 (of a person,
behaviour, etc.) commanding or self-confident. 3 official;
supported by authority (an authoritative document).
ЬЬauthoritatively adv. authoritativeness n.
authority n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the power or right to enforce obedience. b
(often foll. by for, or to + infin.) delegated power. 2 (esp.
in pl.) a person or body having authority, esp. political or
administrative. 3 a an influence exerted on opinion because of
recognized knowledge or expertise. b such an influence
expressed in a book, quotation, etc. (an authority on vintage
cars). c a person whose opinion is accepted, esp. an expert in
a subject. 4 the weight of evidence. [ME f. OF autorit‚ f. L
auctoritas f. auctor: see AUTHOR]
authorize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 sanction. 2 (foll. by to +infin.) a give
authority. b commission (a person or body) (authorized to
trade). ЬAuthorized Version an English translation of the Bible
made in 1611 and traditionally used in Anglican worship.
ЬЬauthorization n. [ME f. OF autoriser f. med.L auctorizare f.
auctor: see AUTHOR]
n. 1 the origin of a book or other written work (of unknown
authorship). 2 the occupation of writing.
autism n. Psychol. a mental condition, usu. present from childhood,
characterized by complete self-absorption and a reduced ability
to respond to or communicate with the outside world. ЬЬautistic
adj. [mod.L autismus (as AUTO-, -ISM)]
auto n. (pl. -os) US colloq. a motor car. [abbr. of AUTOMOBILE]
auto- comb. form (usu. aut- before a vowel) 1 self (autism). 2 one's
own (autobiography). 3 by oneself or spontaneous
(auto-suggestion). 4 by itself or automatic (automobile).
[from or after Gk auto- f. autos self]
autobahn n. (pl. autobahns or autobahnen) a German, Austrian, or Swiss
motorway. [G f. Auto motor car + Bahn path, road]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a personal account of one's own life, esp. for
publication. 2 this as a process or literary form.
ЬЬautobiographer n. autobiographic adj. autobiographical adj.
autocade n. US a motorcade. ° Motorcade is more usual. [AUTOMOBILE +
autocar n. archaic a motor vehicle.
adj. 1 (esp. of an Eastern church) appointing its own head. 2
(of a bishop, church, etc.) independent. [Gk autokephalos (as
AUTO-, kephale head)]
n. (pl. autochthons or autochthones) (in pl.) the original or
earliest known inhabitants of a country; aboriginals.
ЬЬautochthonal adj. autochthonic adj. autochthonous adj. [Gk,
= sprung from the earth (as AUTO-, khthon, -onos earth)]
autoclave n. 1 a strong vessel used for chemical reactions at high
pressures and temperatures. 2 a sterilizer using high-pressure
steam. [AUTO- + L clavus nail or clavis key]
autocracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 absolute government by one person. 2 the
power exercised by such a person. 3 an autocratic country or
society. [Gk autokrateia (as AUTOCRAT)]
autocrat n. 1 an absolute ruler. 2 a dictatorial person. ЬЬautocratic
adj. autocratically adv. [F autocrate f. Gk autokrates (as
AUTO-, kratos power)]
autocross n. motor-racing across country or on unmade roads. [AUTOMOBILE
+ CROSS- 1]
Autocue n. propr. a device, unseen by the audience, displaying a
television script to a speaker or performer as an aid to memory
n. (pl. autos-da-f‚) 1 a sentence of punishment by the Spanish
Inquisition. 2 the execution of such a sentence, esp. the
burning of a heretic. [Port., = act of the faith]
n. a self-taught person. ЬЬautodidactic adj. [AUTO- + didact
n. (also auto-eroticism) Psychol. sexual excitement generated
by stimulating one's own body; masturbation. ЬЬauto-erotic adj.
autofocus n. a device for focusing a camera etc. automatically.
autogamy n. Bot. self-fertilization in plants. ЬЬautogamous adj.
[AUTO- + Gk -gamia f. gamos marriage]
adj. self-produced. Ьautogenous welding a process of joining
metal by melting the edges together, without adding material.
autogiro n. (also autogyro) (pl. -os) an early form of helicopter with
freely rotating horizontal vanes and a propeller. [Sp. (as
AUTO-, giro gyration)]
autograft n. Surgery a graft of tissue from one point to another of the
same person's body.
autograph n. & v. --n. 1 a a signature, esp. that of a celebrity. b
handwriting. 2 a manuscript in an author's own handwriting. 3
a document signed by its author. --v.tr. 1 sign (a photograph,
autograph album, etc.). 2 write (a letter etc.) by hand. [F
autographe or LL autographum f. Gk autographon neut. of
autographos (as AUTO-, -GRAPH)]
n. 1 writing done with one's own hand. 2 the facsimile
reproduction of writing or illustration. ЬЬautographic adj.
autogyro var. of AUTOGIRO.
autoharp n. a kind of zither with a mechanical device to allow the
playing of chords.
adj. Med. (of a disease) caused by antibodies produced against
substances naturally present in the body. ЬЬautoimmunity n.
n. Med. poisoning by a toxin formed within the body itself.
autolysis n. the destruction of cells by their own enzymes. ЬЬautolytic
adj. [G Autolyse (as AUTO-, -LYSIS)]
automat n. US 1 a slot-machine that dispenses goods. 2 a cafeteria
containing slot-machines dispensing food and drink. [G f. F
automate, formed as AUTOMATION]
automate v.tr. convert to or operate by automation (the ticket office
has been automated). [back-form. f. AUTOMATION]
automatic adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a machine, device, etc., or its
function) working by itself, without direct human intervention.
2 a done spontaneously, without conscious thought or intention
(an automatic reaction). b necessary and inevitable (an
automatic penalty). 3 Psychol. performed unconsciously or
subconsciously. 4 (of a firearm) that continues firing until
the ammunition is exhausted or the pressure on the trigger is
released. 5 (of a motor vehicle or its transmission) using
gears that change automatically according to speed and
acceleration. --n. 1 an automatic device, esp. a gun or
transmission. 2 colloq. a vehicle with automatic transmission.
Ьautomatic pilot a device for keeping an aircraft on a set
course. ЬЬautomatically adv. automaticity n. [formed as
AUTOMATON + -IC]
n. 1 the use of automatic equipment to save mental and manual
labour. 2 the automatic control of the manufacture of a product
through its successive stages. [irreg. f. AUTOMATIC + -ATION]
n. 1 Psychol. the performance of actions unconsciously or
subconsciously; such action. 2 involuntary action. 3
unthinking routine. [F automatisme f. automate AUTOMATON]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (a process etc.) automatic. 2 subject
(a business, enterprise, etc.) to automation. ЬЬautomatization
n. [AUTOMATIC + -IZE]
automaton n. (pl. automata or automatons) 1 a piece of mechanism with
concealed motive power. 2 a person who behaves mechanically,
like an automaton. [L f. Gk, neut. of automatos acting of
itself: see AUTO-]
n. US a motor car. [F (as AUTO-, MOBILE)]
adj. concerned with motor vehicles.
autonomic adj. esp. Physiol. functioning involuntarily. Ьautonomic
nervous system the part of the nervous system responsible for
control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, e.g.
heartbeat. [AUTONOMY + -IC]
adj. 1 having self-government. 2 acting independently or
having the freedom to do so. ЬЬautonomously adv. [Gk autonomos
autonomy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the right of self-government. 2 personal
freedom. 3 freedom of the will. 4 a self-governing community.
ЬЬautonomist n. [Gk autonomia f. autos self + nomos law]
autopilot n. an automatic pilot. [abbr.]
autopista n. a Spanish motorway. [Sp. (as AUTOMOBILE, pista track)]
autopsy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a post-mortem examination. 2 any critical
analysis. 3 a personal inspection. [F autopsie or mod.L
autopsia f. Gk f. autoptes eye-witness]
n. a photograph of an object, produced by radiation from
radioactive material in the object. ЬЬautoradiographic adj.
autoroute n. a French motorway. [F (as AUTOMOBILE, ROUTE)]
n. (pl. autostradas or autostrade) an Italian motorway. [It.
(as AUTOMOBILE, strada road)]
n. a hypnotic or subconscious suggestion made by a person to
himself or herself and affecting behaviour.
autotelic adj. having or being a purpose in itself. [AUTO- + Gk telos
autotomy n. Zool. the casting off of a part of the body when
threatened, e.g. the tail of a lizard.
autotoxin n. a poisonous substance originating within an organism.
adj. Biol. able to form complex nutritional organic substances
from simple inorganic substances such as carbon dioxide (cf.
HETEROTROPHIC). [AUTO- + Gk trophos feeder]
autotype n. 1 a facsimile. 2 a a photographic printing process for
monochrome reproduction. b a print made by this process.
n. Chem. oxidation by exposure to air at room temperature.
autumn n. 1 the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are
gathered, and leaves fall, in the N. hemisphere from September
to November and in the S. hemisphere from March to May. 2
Astron. the period from the autumnal equinox to the winter
solstice. 3 a time of maturity or incipient decay. Ьautumn
crocus any plant of the genus Colchicum, esp. meadow saffron, of
the lily family and unrelated to the true crocus. [ME f. OF
autompne f. L autumnus]
autumnal adj. 1 of, characteristic of, or appropriate to autumn
(autumnal colours). 2 occurring in autumn (autumnal equinox).
3 maturing or blooming in autumn. 4 past the prime of life. [L
autumnalis (as AUTUMN, -AL)]
n. an instrument for measuring the linear growth of plants.
[Gk auxano increase + -METER]
auxiliary adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a person or thing) that gives help. 2
(of services or equipment) subsidiary, additional. --n. (pl.
-ies) 1 an auxiliary person or thing. 2 (in pl.) Mil. auxiliary
troops. 3 Gram. an auxiliary verb. Ьauxiliary troops Mil.
foreign or allied troops in a belligerent nation's service.
auxiliary verb Gram. one used in forming tenses, moods, and
voices of other verbs. [L auxiliarius f. auxilium help]
auxin n. a plant hormone that regulates growth. [G f. Gk auxo
increase + -IN]
AV abbr. 1 audiovisual (teaching aids etc.). 2 Authorized Version
(of the Bible).
avadavat var. of AMADAVAT.
avail v. & n. --v. 1 tr. help, benefit. 2 refl. (foll. by of)
profit by; take advantage of. 3 intr. a provide help. b be of
use, value, or profit. --n. (usu. in neg. or interrog. phrases)
use, profit (of no avail; without avail; of what avail?). [ME
f. obs. vail (v.) f. OF valoir be worth f. L valere]
available adj. (often foll. by to, for) 1 capable of being used; at one's
disposal. 2 within one's reach. ЬЬavailability n.
availableness n. availably adv. [ME f. AVAIL + -ABLE]
avalanche n. & v. --n. 1 a mass of snow and ice, tumbling rapidly down a
mountain. 2 a sudden appearance or arrival of anything in large
quantities (faced with an avalanche of work). --v. 1 intr.
descend like an avalanche. 2 tr. carry down like an avalanche.
[F, alt. of dial. lavanche after avaler descend]
n. & adj. --n. pioneers or innovators esp. in art and
literature. --adj. (of ideas etc.) new, progressive.
ЬЬavant-gardism n. avant-gardist n. [F, = vanguard]
avarice n. extreme greed for money or gain; cupidity. ЬЬavaricious
adj. avariciously adv. avariciousness n. [ME f. OF f. L
avaritia f. avarus greedy]
avast int. Naut. stop, cease. [Du. houd vast hold fast]
avatar n. 1 (in Hindu mythology) the descent of a deity or released
soul to earth in bodily form. 2 incarnation; manifestation. 3
a manifestation or phase. [Skr. avatara descent f. va down +
tr- pass over]
avaunt int. archaic begone. [ME f. AF f. OF avant ult. f. L ab from +
Ave. abbr. Avenue.
ave int. & n. --int. 1 welcome. 2 farewell. --n. 1 (in full Ave
Maria) a prayer to the Virgin Mary, the opening line from Luke
1:28. Also called Hail Mary. 2 a shout of welcome or farewell.
[ME f. L, 2nd sing. imper. of avere fare well]
avenge v.tr. 1 inflict retribution on behalf of (a person, a violated
right, etc.). 2 take vengeance for (an injury). Ьbe avenged
avenge oneself. ЬЬavenger n. [ME f. OF avengier f. … to +
vengier f. L vindicare vindicate]
avens n. any of various plants of the genus Geum. Ьmountain avens a
related plant (Dryas octopetala). [ME f. OF avence (med.L
avencia), of unkn. orig.]
n. Mineral. 1 brownish glass or mineral containing sparkling
gold-coloured particles usu. of copper or gold. 2 a variety of
spangled quartz resembling this. [F f. It. avventurino f.
avventura chance (because of its accidental discovery)]
avenue n. 1 a a broad road or street, often with trees at regular
intervals along its sides. b a tree-lined approach to a country
house. 2 a way of approaching or dealing with something
(explored every avenue to find an answer). [F, fem. past part.
of avenir f. L advenire come to]
aver v.tr. (averred, averring) assert, affirm. [ME f. OF averer (as
AD-, L verus true)]
average n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a the usual amount, extent, or rate. b
the ordinary standard. 2 an amount obtained by dividing the
total of given amounts by the number of amounts in the set. 3
Law the distribution of loss resulting from damage to a ship or
cargo. --adj. 1 usual, ordinary. 2 estimated or calculated by
average. --v.tr. 1 amount on average to (the sale of the
product averaged one hundred a day). 2 do on average (averages
six hours' work a day). 3 a estimate the average of. b
estimate the general standard of. Ьaverage adjustment Law the
apportionment of average. average out result in an average.
average out at result in an average of. batting average 1
Cricket a batsman's runs scored per completed innings. 2
Baseball a batter's safe hits per time at bat. bowling average
Cricket a bowler's conceded runs per wicket taken. law of
averages the principle that if one of two extremes occurs the
other will also tend to so as to maintain the normal average.
on (or on an) average as an average rate or estimate.
ЬЬaveragely adv. [F avarie damage to ship or cargo (see sense
3), f. It. avaria f. Arab. ' awariya damaged goods f. ' awar
damage at sea, loss: -age after damage]
averment n. a positive statement; an affirmation, esp. Law one with an
offer of proof. [ME f. AF, OF aver(r)ement (as AVER, -MENT)]
averse predic.adj. (often foll. by to, from) opposed, disinclined (was
not averse to helping me). °Construction with to is now more
common. [L aversus (as AVERT)]
aversion n. 1 (usu. foll. by to, from, for) a dislike or unwillingness
(has an aversion to hard work). 2 an object of dislike (my pet
aversion). Ьaversion therapy therapy designed to make a subject
averse to an existing habit. [F aversion or L aversio (as
avert v.tr. (often foll. by from) 1 turn away (one's eyes or
thoughts). 2 prevent or ward off (an undesirable occurrence).
ЬЬavertable adj. avertible adj. [ME f. L avertere (as AB-,
vertere vers- turn): partly f. OF avertir f. Rmc]
Avesta n. (usu. prec. by the) the sacred writings of Zoroastrianism
(cf. ZEND). [Pers.]
Avestan adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Avesta. --n. the
ancient Iranian language of the Avesta.
avian adj. of or relating to birds. [L avis bird]
aviary n. (pl. -ies) a large enclosure or building for keeping birds.
[L aviarium (as AVIAN, -ARY(1))]
aviate v. 1 intr. fly in an aeroplane. 2 tr. pilot (an aeroplane).
[back-form. f. AVIATION]
aviation n. 1 the skill or practice of operating aircraft. 2 aircraft
manufacture. [F f. L avis bird]
aviator n. (fem. aviatrix) an airman or airwoman. [F aviateur f. L
n. the rearing and keeping of birds. ЬЬaviculturist n. [L
avis bird, after AGRICULTURE]
avid adj. (usu. foll. by of, for) eager, greedy. ЬЬavidity n.
avidly adv. [F avide or L avidus f. avere crave]
avifauna n. birds of a region or country collectively. [L avis bird +
avionics n. electronics as applied to aviation.
n. Med. a condition resulting from a deficiency of one or more
avizandum n. Sc. Law a period of time for further consideration of a
judgement. [med.L, gerund of avizare consider (as ADVISE)]
avocado n. (pl. -os) 1 (in full avocado pear) a pear-shaped fruit with
rough leathery skin, a smooth oily edible flesh, and a large
stone. 2 the tropical evergreen tree, Persea americana, native
to Central America, bearing this fruit. Also called alligator
pear. 3 the light green colour of the flesh of this fruit.
[Sp., = advocate (substituted for Aztec ahuacatl)]
avocation n. 1 a minor occupation. 2 colloq. a vocation or calling. [L
avocatio f. avocare call away]
avocet n. any wading bird of the genus Recurvirostra with long legs
and a long slender upward-curved bill and usu. black and white
plumage. [F avocette f. It. avosetta]
n. (also Avogadro's number) Physics the number of atoms or
molecules in one mole of a substance. [A. Avogadro, It.
physicist d. 1856]
n. Physics the law that equal volumes of all gases at the same
temperature and pressure contain the same number of molecules.
avoid v.tr. 1 keep away or refrain from (a thing, person, or action).
2 escape; evade. 3 Law a nullify (a decree or contract). b
quash (a sentence). ЬЬavoidable adj. avoidably adv. avoidance
n. avoider n. [AF avoider, OF evuider clear out, get quit of,
f. vuide empty, VOID]
n. (in full avoirdupois weight) a system of weights based on a
pound of 16 ounces or 7,000 grains. [ME f. OF aveir de peis
goods of weight f. aveir f. L habere have + peis (see
avouch v.tr. & intr. archaic or rhet. guarantee, affirm, confess.
ЬЬavouchment n. [ME f. OF avochier f. L advocare (as AD-,
avow v.tr. 1 admit, confess. 2 a refl. admit that one is (avowed
himself the author). b (as avowed adj.) admitted (the avowed
author). ЬЬavowal n. avowedly adv. [ME f. OF avouer
acknowledge f. L advocare (as AD-, vocare call)]
avulsion n. 1 a tearing away. 2 Law a sudden removal of land by a flood
etc. to another person's estate. [F avulsion or L avulsio f.
avellere avuls- pluck away]
avuncular adj. like or of an uncle; kind and friendly, esp. towards a
younger person. [L avunculus maternal uncle, dimin. of avus
AWACS n. a long-range radar system for detecting enemy aircraft.
[abbr. of airborne warning and control system]
await v.tr. 1 wait for. 2 (of an event or thing) be in store for (a
surprise awaits you). [ME f. AF awaitier, OF aguaitier (as AD-,
awake v. & adj. --v. (past awoke; past part. awoken) 1 intr. a
cease to sleep. b become active. 2 intr. (foll. by to) become
aware of. 3 tr. rouse from sleep. --predic.adj. 1 a not
asleep. b vigilant. 2 (foll. by to) aware of. [OE aw‘cnan,
awacian (as A-(2), WAKE(1))]
awaken v.tr. & intr. 1 = AWAKE v. 2 tr. (often foll. by to) make
aware. [OE onw‘cnan etc. (as A-(2), WAKEN)]
award v. & n. --v.tr. 1 give or order to be given as a payment,
penalty, or prize (awarded him a knighthood; was awarded
damages). 2 grant, assign. --n. 1 a payment, penalty, or
prize awarded. 2 a judicial decision. ЬЬawarder n. [ME f. AF
awarder, ult. f. Gmc: see WARD]
aware predic.adj. 1 (often foll. by of, or that + clause) conscious;
not ignorant; having knowledge. 2 well-informed. °Also found
in attrib. use in sense 2, as in a very aware person; this is
disp. ЬЬawareness n. [OE gew‘r]
awash predic.adj. 1 level with the surface of water, so that it just
washes over. 2 carried or washed by the waves; flooded.
away adv., adj., & n. --adv. 1 to or at a distance from the place,
person, or thing in question (go away; give away; look away;
they are away; 5 miles away). 2 towards or into non-existence
(sounds die away; explain it away; idled their time away). 3
constantly, persistently, continuously (work away; laugh away).
4 without delay (ask away). --adj. Sport played on an
opponent's ground etc. (away match; away win). --n. Sport an
away match or win. Ьaway with (as imper.) take away; let us be
rid of. [OE onweg, aweg on one's way f. A(2) + WAY]
awe n. & v. --n. reverential fear or wonder (stand in awe of).
--v.tr. inspire with awe. Ьawe-inspiring causing awe or wonder;
amazing, magnificent. [ME age f. ON agi f. Gmc]
aweary predic.adj. poet. (often foll. by of) weary. [aphetic a +
aweigh predic.adj. Naut. (of an anchor) clear of the sea or river
bed; hanging. [A(2) + WEIGH(1)]
adj. (also awestruck) struck or afflicted with awe.
awful adj. 1 colloq. a unpleasant or horrible (awful weather). b
poor in quality; very bad (has awful writing). c (attrib.)
excessive; large ( an awful lot of money). 2 poet. inspiring
awe. ЬЬawfulness n. [AWE + -FUL]
awfully adv. 1 in an unpleasant, bad, or horrible way (he played
awfully). 2 colloq. very (she's awfully pleased; thanks
awfully). 3 poet. reverently.
awhile adv. for a short time. [OE ane hwile a while]
awkward adj. 1 ill-adapted for use; causing difficulty in use. 2
clumsy or bungling. 3 a embarrassed (felt awkward about it). b
embarrassing (an awkward situation). 4 difficult to deal with
(an awkward customer). Ьthe awkward age adolescence.
ЬЬawkwardly adv. awkwardness n. [obs. awk backhanded,
untoward (ME f. ON afugr turned the wrong way) + -WARD]
awl n. a small pointed tool used for piercing holes, esp. in
leather. [OE ‘l]
awn n. a stiff bristle growing from the grain-sheath of grasses, or
terminating a leaf etc. ЬЬawned adj. [ME f. ON ”gn]
awning n. a sheet of canvas or similar material stretched on a frame
and used to shade a shop window, doorway, ship's deck, or other
area from the sun or rain. [17th c. (Naut.): orig. uncert.]
awoke past of AWAKE.
awoken past part. of AWAKE.
AWOL abbr. colloq. absent without leave.
awry adv. & adj. --adv. 1 crookedly or askew. 2 improperly or
amiss. --predic.adj. crooked; deviant or unsound (his theory is
awry). Ьgo awry go or do wrong. [ME f. A(2) + WRY]
axe n. & v. (US ax) --n. 1 a chopping-tool, usu. of iron with a
steel edge and wooden handle. 2 the drastic cutting or
elimination of expenditure, staff, etc. --v.tr. (axing) 1 cut
(esp. costs or services) drastically. 2 remove or dismiss.
Ьaxe-breaker a hard-wooded Australian tree. an axe to grind
private ends to serve. [OE ‘x f. Gmc]
axel n. a jumping movement in skating, similar to a loop (see LOOP
n. 7) but from one foot to the other. [Axel R. Paulsen, Norw.
skater d. 1938]
axes pl. of AXIS(1).
axial adj. 1 forming or belonging to an axis. 2 round an axis (axial
rotation; axial symmetry). ЬЬaxiality () n. axially adv.
axil n. the upper angle between a leaf and the stem it springs from,
or between a branch and the trunk. [L axilla: see AXILLA]
axilla n. (pl. axillae) 1 Anat. the armpit. 2 an axil. [L, =
armpit, dimin. of ala wing]
axillary adj. 1 Anat. of or relating to the armpit. 2 Bot. in or
growing from the axil.
axiom n. 1 an established or widely accepted principle. 2 esp. Geom.
a self-evident truth. [F axiome or L axioma f. Gk axioma
axiomat- f. axios worthy]
axiomatic adj. 1 self-evident. 2 relating to or containing axioms.
ЬЬaxiomatically adv. [Gk axiomatikos (as AXIOM)]
axis(1) n. (pl. axes) 1 a an imaginary line about which a body rotates
or about which a plane figure is conceived as generating a
solid. b a line which divides a regular figure symmetrically.
2 Math. a fixed reference line for the measurement of
coordinates etc. 3 Bot. the central column of an inflorescence
or other growth. 4 Anat. the second cervical vertebra. 5
Physiol. the central part of an organ or organism. 6 a an
agreement or alliance between two or more countries forming a
centre for an eventual larger grouping of nations sharing an
ideal or objective. b (the Axis) the alliance of Germany and
Italy formed before and during the war of 1939-45, later
extended to include Japan and other countries; these countries
as a group. [L, = axle, pivot]
axis(2) n. a white spotted deer, Cervus axis, of S. Asia. Also called
axle n. a rod or spindle (either fixed or rotating) on which a wheel
or group of wheels is fixed. [orig. axle-tree f. ME axel-tre
f. ON ”xull-tr‚]
Axminster n. (in full Axminster carpet) a kind of machine-woven patterned
carpet with a cut pile. [Axminster in S. England]
axolotl n. an aquatic newtlike salamander, Ambystoma mexicanum, from
Mexico, which in natural conditions retains its larval form for
life but is able to breed. [Nahuatl f. atl water + xolotl
axon n. Anat. & Zool. a long threadlike part of a nerve cell,
conducting impulses from the cell body. [mod.L f. Gk axon axis]
ayah n. a native nurse or maidservant, esp. in India and other
former British territories abroad. [Anglo-Ind. f. Port. aia
ayatollah n. a Shiite religious leader in Iran. [Pers. f. Arab., = token
aye(1) adv. & n. (also ay) --adv. 1 archaic or dial. yes. 2 (in
voting) I assent. 3 (as aye aye) Naut. a response accepting an
order. --n. an affirmative answer or assent, esp. in voting.
Ьthe ayes have it the affirmative votes are in the majority.
[16th c.: prob. f. first pers. personal pron. expressing assent]
aye(2) adv. archaic ever, always. Ьfor aye for ever. [ME f. ON ei,
ey f. Gmc]
aye-aye n. an arboreal nocturnal lemur, Daubentonia madagascariensis,
native to Madagascar. [F f. Malagasy aiay]
Aylesbury n. (pl. Aylesburys) 1 a bird of a breed of large white
domestic ducks. 2 this breed. [Aylesbury in S. England]
Ayrshire n. 1 an animal of a mainly white breed of dairy cattle. 2 this
breed. [name of