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
D(1) n. (also d) (pl. Ds or D's) 1 the fourth letter of the
alphabet. 2 Mus. the second note of the diatonic scale of C
major. 3 (as a Roman numeral) 500. 4 = DEE. 5 the fourth
highest class or category (of academic marks etc.).
D(2) symb. Chem. the element deuterium.
D(3) abbr. (also D.) 1 US Democrat. 2 dimension (3-D).
d. abbr. 1 died. 2 departs. 3 delete. 4 daughter. 5 Brit.
(pre-decimal) penny. 6 depth. 7 deci-. [sense 5 f. L denarius
'd v. colloq. (usu. after pronouns) had, would (I'd; he'd).
DA abbr. 1 US District Attorney. 2 sl. = duck's arse (see
D/A abbr. Computing digital to analogue.
da abbr. deca-.
dab(1) v. & n. --v. (dabbed, dabbing) 1 tr. press (a surface) briefly
with a cloth, sponge, etc., without rubbing, esp. in cleaning or
to apply a substance. 2 tr. press (a sponge etc.) lightly on a
surface. 3 tr. (foll. by on) apply (a substance) by dabbing a
surface. 4 intr. (usu. foll. by at) aim a feeble blow; tap. 5
tr. strike lightly; tap. --n. 1 a brief application of a
cloth, sponge, etc., to a surface without rubbing. 2 a small
amount of something applied in this way (a dab of paint). 3 a
light blow or tap. 4 (in pl.) Brit. sl. fingerprints.
ЬЬdabber n. [ME, imit.]
dab(2) n. any flat-fish of the genus Limanda. [15th c.: orig. unkn.]
dab(3) adj. esp. Brit. colloq. Ьdab hand (usu. foll. by at) a
person especially skilled (in) (a dab hand at cooking). [17th
c.: orig. unkn.]
dabble v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by in, at) take a casual or superficial
interest or part (in a subject or activity). 2 intr. move the
feet, hands, etc. about in (usu. a small amount of) liquid. 3
tr. wet partly or intermittently; moisten, stain, splash.
ЬЬdabbler n. [16th c.: f. Du. dabbelen or DAB(1)]
dabchick n. = little grebe (see GREBE). [16th c., in earlier forms
dap-, dop-: perh. rel. to OE dufedoppa, DEEP, DIP]
da capo adv. Mus. repeat from the beginning. [It.]
dace n. (pl. same) any small freshwater fish, esp. of the genus
Leuciscus, related to the carp. [OF dars: see DART]
dacha n. a country house or cottage in Russia. [Russ., = gift]
dachshund n. 1 a dog of a short-legged long-bodied breed. 2 this breed.
[G, = badger-dog]
dacoit n. (in India or Burma) a member of a band of armed robbers.
[Hindi dakait f. daka gang-robbery]
dactyl n. a metrical foot consisting of one long (or stressed)
syllable followed by two short (or unstressed). [ME f. L
dactylus f. Gk daktulos finger, the three bones corresponding to
the three syllables]
dactylic adj. & n. --adj. of or using dactyls. --n. (usu. in pl.)
dactylic verse. [L dactylicus f. Gk daktulikos (as DACTYL)]
dad n. colloq. father. [perh. imit. of a child's da, da (cf.
Dada n. an early 20th-c. international movement in art, literature,
music, and film, repudiating and mocking artistic and social
conventions. ЬЬDadaism n. Dadaist n. & adj. Dadaistic adj.
[F (the title of an early 20th-c. review) f. dada hobby-horse]
daddy n. (pl. -ies) colloq. 1 father. 2 (usu. foll. by of) the
oldest or supreme example (had a daddy of a headache).
Ьdaddy-long-legs 1 a crane-fly. 2 US a harvestman. [DAD +
dado n. (pl. -os) 1 the lower part of the wall of a room when
visually distinct from the upper part. 2 the plinth of a
column. 3 the cube of a pedestal between the base and the
cornice. [It., = DIE(2)]
daemon var. of DEMON 5.
daemonic var. of DEMONIC.
daff n. colloq. = DAFFODIL. [abbr.]
daffodil n. 1 a a bulbous plant, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, with a
yellow trumpet-shaped crown. b any of various other
large-flowered plants of the genus Narcissus. c a flower of any
of these plants. 2 a pale-yellow colour. [earlier affodill, as
daffy adj. (daffier, daffiest) sl. = DAFT. ЬЬdaffily adv.
daffiness n. [daff simpleton + -Y(2)]
dag(1) n. & v. Austral. & NZ --n. (usu. in pl.) a lock of wool clotted
with dung on the hinder parts of a sheep. --v.tr. (dagged,
dagging) remove dags from (a sheep). Ьrattle one's dags sl.
hurry up. ЬЬdagger n. [orig. Engl. dial.]
dag(2) n. Austral. & NZ sl. an eccentric or noteworthy person; a
character (he's a bit of a dag). [orig. Engl. dial., = a dare,
dagga n. S.Afr. 1 hemp used as a narcotic. 2 any plant of the genus
Leontis used similarly. [Afrik. f. Hottentot dachab]
dagger n. 1 a short stabbing-weapon with a pointed and edged blade. 2
Printing = OBELUS. Ьat daggers drawn in bitter enmity. look
daggers at glare angrily or venomously at. [ME, perh. f. obs.
dag pierce, infl. by OF dague long dagger]
dago n. (pl. -os) sl. offens. a foreigner, esp. a Spaniard,
Portuguese, or Italian. [Sp. Diego = James]
n. 1 a photograph taken by an early photographic process
employing an iodine-sensitized silvered plate and mercury
vapour. 2 this process. [L. Daguerre, Fr. inventor d. 1851]
dah n. esp. US Telegraphy (in the Morse system) = DASH (cf. DIT).
dahlia n. any composite garden plant of the genus Dahlia, of Mexican
origin, cultivated for its many-coloured single or double
flowers. [A. Dahl, Sw. botanist d. 1789]
D il n. (in full D il ђireann) the lower house of parliament in the
Republic of Ireland. [Ir., = assembly (of Ireland)]
daily adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 done, produced, or occurring every
day or every weekday. 2 constant, regular. --adv. 1 every
day; from day to day. 2 constantly. --n. (pl. -ies) colloq.
1 a daily newspaper. 2 Brit. a charwoman or domestic help
working daily. Ьdaily bread necessary food; a livelihood.
daily dozen Brit. colloq. regular exercises, esp. on rising.
[ME f. DAY + -LY(1), -LY(2)]
daimon n. = DEMON 5. ЬЬdaimonic adj. [Gk, = deity]
dainty adj. & n. --adj. (daintier, daintiest) 1 delicately pretty. 2
delicate of build or in movement. 3 (of food) choice. 4
fastidious; having delicate taste and sensibility. --n. (pl.
-ies) a choice morsel; a delicacy. ЬЬdaintily adv. daintiness
n. [AF daint‚, OF dainti‚, deinti‚ f. L dignitas -tatis f.
daiquiri n. (pl. daiquiris) a cocktail of rum, lime-juice, etc.
[Daiquiri in Cuba]
dairy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a building or room for the storage,
processing, and distribution of milk and its products. 2 a shop
where milk and milk products are sold. 3 (attrib.) a of,
containing, or concerning milk and its products (and sometimes
eggs). b used for dairy products (dairy cow). [ME deierie f.
deie maidservant f. OE d‘ge kneader of dough]
dairying n. the business of producing, storing, and distributing milk
and its products.
dairymaid n. a woman employed in a dairy.
dairyman n. (pl. -men) 1 a man dealing in dairy products. 2 a man
employed in a dairy.
dais n. a low platform, usu. at the upper end of a hall and used to
support a table, lectern, etc. [ME f. OF deis f. L discus disc,
dish, in med.L = table]
daisy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a small composite plant, Bellis perennis,
bearing flowers each with a yellow disc and white rays. b any
other plant with daisy-like flowers, esp. the larger ox-eye
daisy, the Michaelmas daisy, or the Shasta daisy. 2 sl. a
first-rate specimen of anything. Ьdaisy-chain a string of
daisies threaded together. daisy-cutter Cricket a ball bowled
so as to roll along the ground. daisy wheel Computing a disc of
spokes extending radially from a central hub, each terminating
in a printing character, used as a printer in word processors
and typewriters. pushing up the daisies sl. dead and buried.
[OE d‘ges eage day's eye, the flower opening in the morning]
Dak. abbr. Dakota.
dal var. of DHAL.
n. the spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism, formerly also the
chief ruler of Tibet (see LAMA). [Mongolian dalai ocean; see
dale n. a valley, esp. in N. England. [OE d‘l f. Gmc]
dalesman n. (pl. -men) an inhabitant of the dales in Northern England.
dalliance n. a leisurely or frivolous passing of time. [DALLY + -ANCE]
dally v.intr. (-ies, -ied) 1 delay; waste time, esp. frivolously. 2
(often foll. by with) play about; flirt, treat frivolously
(dallied with her affections). Ьdally away waste or fritter
(one's time, life, etc.). [ME f. OF dalier chat]
Dalmatian n. 1 a dog of a large white short-haired breed with dark spots.
2 this breed. [Dalmatia in Yugoslavia]
dalmatic n. a wide-sleeved long loose vestment open at the sides, worn
by deacons and bishops, and by a monarch at his or her
coronation. [ME f. OF dalmatique or LL dalmatica (vestis robe)
dal segno adv. Mus. repeat from the point marked by a sign. [It., =
from the sign]
daltonism n. colour-blindness, esp. a congenital inability to distinguish
between red and green. [F daltonisme f. J. Dalton, Engl.
chemist d. 1844, who suffered from it]
dam(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a barrier constructed to hold back water and
raise its level, forming a reservoir or preventing flooding. 2
a barrier constructed in a stream by a beaver. 3 anything
functioning as a dam does. 4 a causeway. --v.tr. (dammed,
damming) 1 furnish or confine with a dam. 2 (often foll. by up)
block up; hold back; obstruct. [ME f. MLG, MDu.]
dam(2) n. the female parent of an animal, esp. a four-footed one.
[ME: var. of DAME]
damage n. & v. --n. 1 harm or injury impairing the value or
usefulness of something, or the health or normal function of a
person. 2 (in pl.) Law a sum of money claimed or awarded in
compensation for a loss or an injury. 3 the loss of what is
desirable. 4 (prec. by the) sl. cost (what's the damage?).
--v.tr. 1 inflict damage on. 2 (esp. as damaging adj.) detract
from the reputation of (a most damaging admission).
ЬЬdamagingly adv. [ME f. OF damage (n.), damagier (v.), f.
dam(me) loss f. L damnum loss, damage]
damascene v., n., & adj. --v.tr. decorate (metal, esp. iron or steel) by
etching or inlaying esp. with gold or silver, or with a watered
pattern produced in welding. --n. a design or article produced
in this way. --adj. of, relating to, or produced by this
process. [Damascene of Damascus, f. L Damascenus f. Gk
damask n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a a figured woven fabric (esp. silk or
linen) with a pattern visible on both sides. b twilled table
linen with woven designs shown by the reflection of light. 2 a
tablecloth made of this material. 3 hist. steel with a watered
pattern produced in welding. --adj. 1 made of or resembling
damask. 2 coloured like a damask rose, velvety pink or vivid
red. --v.tr. 1 weave with figured designs. 2 = DAMASCENE v.
3 ornament. Ьdamask rose an old sweet-scented variety of rose,
with very soft velvety petals, used to make attar. [ME, ult. f.
dame n. 1 (Dame) a (in the UK) the title given to a woman with the
rank of Knight Commander or holder of the Grand Cross in the
Orders of Chivalry. b a woman holding this title. 2 Brit. a
comic middle-aged woman in modern pantomime, usu. played by a
man. 3 archaic a mature woman. 4 US sl. a woman. Ьdame-school
hist. a primary school kept by an elderly woman. [ME f. OF f.
L domina mistress]
dammar n. 1 any E. Asian tree, esp. one of the genus Agathis or
Shorea, yielding a resin used in varnish-making. 2 this resin.
dammit int. damn it.
damn v., n., adj., & adv. --v.tr. 1 (often absol. or as int. of
anger or annoyance, = may God damn) curse (a person or thing).
2 doom to hell; cause the damnation of. 3 condemn, censure (a
review damning the performance). 4 a (often as damning adj.)
(of a circumstance, piece of evidence, etc.) show or prove to be
guilty; bring condemnation upon (evidence against them was
damning). b be the ruin of. --n. 1 an uttered curse. 2 sl. a
negligible amount (not worth a damn). --adj. & adv. colloq. =
DAMNED. Ьdamn all sl. nothing at all. damn well colloq. (as
an emphatic) simply (damn well do as I say). damn with faint
praise commend so unenthusiastically as to imply disapproval.
I'm (or I'll be) damned if colloq. I certainly do not, will
not, etc. not give a damn see GIVE. well I'm (or I'll be)
damned colloq. exclamation of surprise, dismay, etc.
ЬЬdamningly adv. [ME f. OF damner f. L damnare inflict loss on
f. damnum loss]
damnable adj. hateful, annoying. ЬЬdamnably adv. [ME f. OF damnable
damnation n. & int. --n. condemnation to eternal punishment, esp. in
hell. --int. expressing anger or annoyance. [ME f. OF
damnation (as DAMN)]
damnatory adj. conveying or causing censure or damnation. [L damnatorius
damned adj. & adv. colloq. --adj. damnable, infernal, unwelcome.
--adv. extremely (damned hot; damned lovely). Ьdamned well (as
an emphatic) simply (you've damned well got to). do one's
damnedest do one's utmost.
damnify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) Law cause injury to. ЬЬdamnification n.
[OF damnifier etc. f. LL damnificare injure (as DAMN)]
damp adj., n., & v. --adj. slightly wet; moist. --n. 1 diffused
moisture in the air, on a surface, or in a solid, esp. as a
cause of inconvenience or danger. 2 dejection; discouragement.
3 = FIREDAMP. --v.tr. 1 make damp; moisten. 2 (often foll. by
down) a take the force or vigour out of (damp one's enthusiasm).
b make flaccid or spiritless. c make (a fire) burn less
strongly by reducing the flow of air to it. 3 reduce or stop
the vibration of (esp. the strings of a musical instrument). 4
quieten. Ьdamp (or damp-proof) course a layer of waterproof
material in the wall of a building near the ground, to prevent
rising damp. damp off (of a plant) die from a fungus attack in
damp conditions. damp squib an unsuccessful attempt to impress
etc. ЬЬdamply adv. dampness n. [ME f. MLG, = vapour etc., OHG
dampf steam f. WG]
dampen v. 1 v.tr. & intr. make or become damp. 2 tr. make less
forceful or vigorous; stifle, choke. ЬЬdampener n.
damper n. 1 a person or thing that discourages, or tempers enthusiasm.
2 a device that reduces shock or noise. 3 a metal plate in a
flue to control the draught, and so the rate of combustion. 4
Mus. a pad silencing a piano string except when removed by means
of a pedal or by the note's being struck. 5 esp. Austral. & NZ
unleavened bread or cake of flour and water baked in wood ashes.
Ьput a damper on take the vigour or enjoyment out of.
damsel n. archaic or literary a young unmarried woman. [ME f. OF
dam(e)isele ult. f. L domina mistress]
n. a small brightly-coloured fish, Chromis chromis, found in or
near coral reefs.
damselfly n. (pl. -flies) any of various insects of the order Odonata,
like a dragonfly but with its wings folded over the body when
damson n. & adj. --n. 1 (in full damson plum) a a small dark-purple
plumlike fruit. b the small deciduous tree, Prunus institia,
bearing this. 2 a dark-purple colour. --adj. damson-coloured.
Ьdamson cheese a solid preserve of damsons and sugar. [ME
damacene, -scene, -sene f. L damascenum (prunum plum) of
Damascus: see DAMASCENE]
Dan. abbr. Daniel (Old Testament).
dan(1) n. 1 any of twelve degrees of advanced proficiency in judo. 2
a person who has achieved any of these. [Jap.]
dan(2) n. (in full dan buoy) a small buoy used as a marker in deep-sea
fishing, or to mark the limits of an area cleared by
minesweepers. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
dance v. & n. --v. 1 intr. move about rhythmically alone or with a
partner or in a set, usu. in fixed steps or sequences to music,
for pleasure or as entertainment. 2 intr. move in a lively way;
skip or jump about. 3 tr. a perform (a specified dance or form
of dancing). b perform (a specified role) in a ballet etc. 4
intr. move up and down (on water, in the field of vision, etc.).
5 tr. move (esp. a child) up and down; dandle. --n. 1 a a
piece of dancing; a sequence of steps in dancing. b a special
form of this. 2 a single round or turn of a dance. 3 a social
gathering for dancing, a ball. 4 a piece of music for dancing
to or in a dance rhythm. 5 a dancing or lively motion. Ьdance
attendance on follow or wait on (a person) obsequiously. dance
of death a medieval dance in which a personified Death is
represented as leading all to the grave. dance to a person's
tune accede obsequiously to a person's demands and wishes. lead
a person a dance (or merry dance) Brit. cause a person much
trouble in following a course one has instigated. ЬЬdanceable
adj. [ME f. OF dance, danse (n.), dancer, danser (v.), f. Rmc,
of unkn. orig.]
dancehall n. a public hall for dancing.
dancer n. 1 a person who performs a dance. 2 a person whose
profession is dancing.
d. and c. n. dilatation (of the cervix) and curettage (of the uterus),
performed after a miscarriage or for the removal of cysts,
dandelion n. a composite plant, Taraxacum officinale, with jagged leaves
and a large bright-yellow flower on a hollow stalk, followed by
a globular head of seeds with downy tufts. Ьdandelion clock the
downy seed-head of a dandelion. dandelion coffee dried and
powdered dandelion roots; a drink made from this. [F
dent-de-lion transl. med.L dens leonis lion's tooth]
dander n. colloq. temper, anger, indignation. Ьget one's dander up
lose one's temper; become angry. [19th c.: orig. uncert.]
dandify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) cause to resemble a dandy.
dandle v.tr. 1 dance (a child) on one's knees or in one's arms. 2
pamper, pet. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
dandruff n. 1 dead skin in small scales among the hair. 2 the condition
of having this. [16th c.: -ruff perh. rel. to ME rove
scurfiness f. ON hrufa or MLG, MDu. rove]
dandy n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a man unduly devoted to style,
smartness, and fashion in dress and appearance. 2 colloq. an
excellent thing. --adj. (dandier, dandiest) esp. US colloq.
very good of its kind; splendid, first-rate. Ьdandy-brush a
brush for grooming a horse. dandy roll (or roller) a device for
solidifying, and impressing a watermark in, paper during
manufacture. ЬЬdandyish adj. dandyism n. [18th c.: perh.
orig. = Andrew, in Jack-a-dandy]
Dane n. 1 a native or national of Denmark. 2 hist. a Viking invader
of England in the 9th-11th c. ЬGreat Dane 1 a dog of a very
large short-haired breed. 2 this breed. [ME f. ON Danir (pl.),
Danegeld n. hist. 1 (in pre-Conquest England) an annual tax to raise
funds for protection against Danish invaders. 2 appeasement by
bribery. [OE (as DANE + ON gjald payment)]
Danelaw n. hist. the part of N. & E. England occupied or administered
by Danes in the 9th-11th c. [OE Dena lagu Danes' law]
danger n. 1 liability or exposure to harm. 2 a thing that causes or
is likely to cause harm. 3 the status of a railway signal
directing a halt or caution. Ьdanger list a list of those
dangerously ill, esp. in a hospital. danger money extra payment
for dangerous work. in danger of likely to incur or to suffer
from. [earlier sense 'jurisdiction, power': ME f. OF dangier
ult. f. L dominus lord]
dangerous adj. involving or causing danger. ЬЬdangerously adv.
dangerousness n. [ME f. AF dangerous, daungerous, OF dangereus
dangle v. 1 intr. be loosely suspended, so as to be able to sway to
and fro. 2 tr. hold or carry loosely suspended. 3 tr. hold out
(a hope, temptation, etc.) enticingly. ЬЬdangler n. [16th c.
(imit.): cf. Sw. dangla, Da. dangle]
n. Physics & Chem. a primary voltaic cell with a copper anode
and a zinc-amalgam cathode giving a standard electromotive force
when either copper sulphate or sulphuric acid is used as the
electrolyte. [John Daniell, Brit. chemist d. 1845, its
Danish adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Denmark or the Danes. --n.
1 the Danish language. 2 (prec. by the; treated as pl.) the
Danish people. ЬDanish blue a soft salty white cheese with blue
veins. Danish pastry a cake of sweetened yeast pastry topped
with icing, fruit, nuts, etc. [ME f. AF danes, OF daneis f.
med.L Danensis (as DANE)]
dank adj. disagreeably damp and cold. ЬЬdankly adv. dankness n.
[ME prob. f. Scand.: cf. Sw. dank marshy spot]
n. = dance of death. [F (as DANCE, MACABRE)]
danseur n. (fem. danseuse) a ballet-dancer. [F, = dancer]
Dantean adj. & n. --adj. 1 of Dante. 2 in the style of or reminiscent
of Dante's writings. --n. a student or imitator of Dante.
ЬЬDantesque adj. [Dante Alighieri, It. poet d. 1321]
danthonia n. Austral. & NZ any tufted pasture grass of the genus
Danthonia. [mod.L f. E. Danthoine 19th-c. Fr. botanist]
dap v. (dapped, dapping) 1 intr. fish by letting the bait bob on
the water. 2 tr. & intr. dip lightly. 3 tr. & intr. bounce on
the ground. [cf. DAB(1)]
daphne n. any flowering shrub of the genus Daphne, e.g. the spurge
laurel or mezereon. [ME, = laurel, f. Gk daphne]
daphnia n. any freshwater branchiopod crustacean of the genus Daphnia,
enclosed in a transparent carapace and with long antennae and
prominent eyes. Also called freshwater flea. [mod.L f. Daphne
name of a nymph in Gk mythol., f. DAPHNE]
dapper adj. 1 neat and precise, esp. in dress or movement. 2
sprightly. ЬЬdapperly adv. dapperness n. [ME f. MLG, MDu.
dapper strong, stout]
dapple v. & n. --v. 1 tr. mark with spots or rounded patches of
colour or shade. 2 intr. become marked in this way. --n. 1 a
dappled effect. 2 a dappled animal, esp. a horse. Ьdapple grey
1 (of an animal's coat) grey or white with darker spots. 2 a
horse of this colour. [ME dappled, dappeld, (adj.), of unkn.
darbies n.pl. Brit. sl. handcuffs. [allusive use of Father Darby's
bands, some rigid form of agreement for debtors (16th c.)]
Darby and Joan
n. a devoted old married couple. ЬDarby and Joan club Brit. a
club for people over 60. [18th c.: perh. f. a poem of 1735 in
the Gentleman's Magazine]
dare v. & n. --v.tr. (3rd sing. present usu. dare before an
expressed or implied infinitive without to) 1 (foll. by infin.
with or without to) venture (to); have the courage or impudence
(to) (dare he do it?; if they dare to come; how dare you?; I
dare not speak; I do not dare to jump). 2 (usu. foll. by to +
infin.) defy or challenge (a person) (I dare you to own up). 3
literary attempt; take the risk of (dare all things; dared their
anger). --n. 1 an act of daring. 2 a challenge, esp. to prove
courage. ЬI dare say 1 (often foll. by that + clause) it is
probable. 2 probably; I grant that much (I dare say, but you
are still wrong). ЬЬdarer n. [OE durran with Gmc cognates: cf.
Skr. dhrsh, Gk tharseo be bold]
daredevil n. & adj. --n. a recklessly daring person. --adj. recklessly
daring. ЬЬdaredevilry n. daredeviltry n.
darg n. Sc., N.Engl., & Austral. 1 a day's work. 2 a definite
amount of work; a task. [ME f. daywerk or daywark day-work]
daring n. & adj. --n. adventurous courage. --adj. adventurous, bold;
prepared to take risks. ЬЬdaringly adv.
dariole n. a savoury or sweet dish cooked and served in a small mould
usu. shaped like a flowerpot. [ME f. OF]
n. a high-quality tea from Darjeeling in NE India.
dark adj. & n. --adj. 1 with little or no light. 2 of a deep or
sombre colour. 3 (of a person) with deep brown or black hair,
complexion, or skin. 4 gloomy, depressing, dismal (dark
thoughts). 5 evil, sinister (dark deeds). 6 sullen, angry (a
dark mood). 7 remote, secret, mysterious, little-known (the
dark and distant past; keep it dark). 8 ignorant,
unenlightened. --n. 1 absence of light. 2 nightfall (don't go
out after dark). 3 a lack of knowledge. 4 a dark area or
colour, esp. in painting (the skilled use of lights and darks).
Ьthe Dark Ages (or Age) 1 the period of European history
preceding the Middle Ages, esp. the 5th-10th c. 2 any period of
supposed unenlightenment. the Dark Continent a name for Africa,
esp. when little known to Europeans. dark glasses spectacles
with dark-tinted lenses. dark horse a little-known person who
is unexpectedly successful or prominent. dark star an invisible
star known to exist from reception of physical data other than
light. in the dark lacking information. ЬЬdarkish adj. darkly
adv. darkness n. darksome poet. adj. [OE deorc prob. f. Gmc]
darken v. 1 tr. make dark or darker. 2 intr. become dark or darker.
Ьnever darken a person's door keep away permanently. ЬЬdarkener
darkie var. of DARKY.
darkling adj. & adv. poet. in the dark; in the night.
darkroom n. a room for photographic work, with normal light excluded.
darky n. (also darkie) (pl. -ies) sl. offens. a Black person.
darling n. & adj. --n. 1 a beloved or lovable person or thing. 2 a
favourite. 3 colloq. a pretty or endearing person or thing.
--adj. 1 beloved, lovable. 2 favourite. 3 colloq. charming or
pretty. [OE deorling (as DEAR, -LING(1))]
darn(1) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 mend (esp. knitted material, or a hole in
it) by interweaving yarn across the hole with a needle. 2
embroider with a large running stitch. --n. a darned area in
material. Ьdarning needle 1 a long needle with a large eye,
used in darning. 2 US a dragonfly. [16th c.: perh. f. obs.
darn(2) v.tr., int., adj., & adv. (US durn) colloq. = DAMN (in
imprecatory senses). [corrupt. of DAMN]
darned adj. & adv. (US durned) colloq. = DAMNED.
darnel n. any of several grasses of the genus Lolium, growing as weeds
among cereal crops. [ME: cf. Walloon darnelle]
darner n. a person or thing that darns, esp. a darning needle.
darning n. 1 the action of a person who darns. 2 things to be darned.
dart n. & v. --n. 1 a small pointed missile used as a weapon or in
a game. 2 (in pl.; usu. treated as sing.) an indoor game in
which light feathered darts are thrown at a circular target to
score points. 3 a sudden rapid movement. 4 Zool. a dartlike
structure, such as an insect's sting or the calcareous
projections of a snail (used during copulation). 5 a tapering
tuck stitched in a garment. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by out,
in, past, etc.) move or go suddenly or rapidly (darted into the
shop). 2 tr. throw (a missile). 3 tr. direct suddenly (a
glance etc.). [ME f. OF darz, dars, f. Frank.]
dartboard n. a circular board marked with numbered segments, used as a
target in darts.
darter n. 1 any large water-bird of the genus Anhinga, having a narrow
head and long thin neck. 2 any of various small quick-moving
freshwater fish of the family Percidae, native to N. America.
n. 1 a small pony of a shaggy-coated breed. 2 this breed.
[Dartmoor in SW England]
Darwinian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Darwin's theory of the
evolution of species by the action of natural selection. --n.
an adherent of this theory. ЬЬDarwinism n. Darwinist n. [C.
Darwin, Engl. naturalist d. 1882]
dash v. & n. --v. 1 intr. rush hastily or forcefully (dashed up the
stairs). 2 tr. strike or fling with great force, esp. so as to
shatter (dashed it to the ground; the cup was dashed from my
hand). 3 tr. frustrate, daunt, dispirit (dashed their hopes).
4 tr. colloq. (esp. dash it or dash it all) = DAMN v. 1.
--n. 1 a rush or onset; a sudden advance (made a dash for
shelter). 2 a horizontal stroke in writing or printing to mark
a pause or break in sense or to represent omitted letters or
words. 3 impetuous vigour or the capacity for this. 4 showy
appearance or behaviour. 5 US a sprinting-race. 6 the longer
signal of the two used in Morse code (cf. DOT(1) n. 3). 7 a
slight admixture, esp. of a liquid. 8 = DASHBOARD. Ьcut a dash
make a brilliant show. dash down (or off) write or finish
hurriedly. [ME, prob. imit.]
dashboard n. 1 the surface below the windscreen of a motor vehicle or
aircraft, containing instruments and controls. 2 hist. a board
of wood or leather in front of a carriage, to keep out mud.
dashiki n. a loose brightly-coloured shirt worn by American Blacks.
dashpot n. a device for damping shock or vibration.
dassie n. S.Afr. 1 the Cape hyrax Procavia capensis. Also called
rock-rabbit (see ROCK(1)). 2 a small coastal fish Diplodus
sargus with rows of black stripes. [Afrik. f. Du. dasje dimin.
of das badger]
dastardly adj. cowardly, despicable. ЬЬdastardliness n. [dastard base
coward, prob. f. dazed past part. + -ARD, or obs. dasart
dasyure n. any small flesh-eating marsupial of the genus Dasyurus. [F
f. mod.L dasyurus f. Gk dasus rough + oura tail]
DAT abbr. digital audio tape.
data n.pl. (also treated as sing., as in that is all the data we
have, although the singular form is strictly datum) 1 known
facts or things used as a basis for inference or reckoning. 2
quantities or characters operated on by a computer etc. Ьdata
bank 1 a store or source of data. 2 = DATABASE. data capture
the action or process of entering data into a computer. data
processing a series of operations on data, esp. by a computer,
to retrieve or classify etc. information. data processor a
machine, esp. a computer, that carries out data processing.
data protection legal control over access to data stored in
computers. [pl. of DATUM]
database n. a structured set of data held in a computer, esp. one that
is accessible in various ways.
datable adj. (often foll. by to) capable of being dated (to a
date(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a day of the month, esp. specified by a number.
2 a particular day or year, esp. when a given event occurred. 3
a statement (usu. giving the day, month, and year) in a document
or inscription etc., of the time of composition or publication.
4 the period to which a work of art etc. belongs. 5 the time
when an event happens or is to happen. 6 colloq. a an
engagement or appointment, esp. with a person of the opposite
sex. b US a person with whom one has a social engagement. --v.
1 tr. mark with a date. 2 tr. a assign a date to (an object,
event, etc.). b (foll. by to) assign to a particular time,
period, etc. 3 intr. (often foll. by from, back to, etc.) have
its origins at a particular time. 4 intr. be recognizable as
from a past or particular period; become evidently out of date
(a design that does not date). 5 tr. indicate or expose as
being out of date (that hat really dates you). 6 colloq. a tr.
make an arrangement with (a person) to meet socially. b intr.
meet socially by agreement (they are now dating regularly).
Ьdate-line 1 the line from north to south partly along the
meridian 180ш from Greenwich, to the east of which the date is a
day earlier than it is to the west. 2 a line at the head of a
dispatch or special article in a newspaper showing the date and
place of writing. date-stamp n. 1 an adjustable rubber stamp
etc. used to record a date. 2 the impression made by this.
--v.tr. mark with a date-stamp. out of date ( attrib.
out-of-date) old-fashioned, obsolete. to date until now. up to
date ( attrib. up-to-date) meeting or according to the latest
requirements, knowledge, or fashion; modern. [ME f. OF f. med.L
data, fem. past part. of dare give: from the L formula used in
dating letters, data (epistola) (letter) given or delivered (at
a particular time or place)]
date(2) n. 1 a dark oval single-stoned fruit. 2 (in full date-palm)
the tall tree Phoenix dactylifera, native to W. Asia and N.
Africa, bearing this fruit. [ME f. OF f. L dactylus f. Gk
daktulos finger, from the shape of its leaf]
dateless adj. 1 having no date. 2 of immemorial age. 3 not likely to
become out of date.
dative n. & adj. Gram. --n. the case of nouns and pronouns (and words
in grammatical agreement with them) indicating an indirect
object or recipient. --adj. of or in the dative. ЬЬdatival
adj. dativally adv. [ME f. L (casus) dativus f. dare dat-
datum n. (pl. data: see DATA as main entry). 1 a piece of
information. 2 a thing known or granted; an assumption or
premiss from which inferences may be drawn (see sense-datum). 3
a fixed starting-point of a scale etc. (datum-line). [L, =
thing given, neut. past part. of dare give]
datura n. any poisonous plant of the genus Datura, e.g. the thorn
apple. [mod.L f. Hindi dhatura]
daub v. & n. --v.tr. 1 spread (paint, plaster, or some other thick
substance) crudely or roughly on a surface. 2 coat or smear (a
surface) with paint etc. 3 a (also absol.) paint crudely or
unskilfully. b lay (colours) on crudely and clumsily. --n. 1
paint or other substance daubed on a surface. 2 plaster, clay,
etc., for coating a surface, esp. mixed with straw and applied
to laths or wattles to form a wall. 3 a crude painting. [ME f.
OF dauber f. L dealbare whitewash f. albus white]
daube n. a stew of braised meat (usu. beef) with wine etc. [F]
dauber n. a person or implement that daubs, esp. in painting. Ьget
one's dauber down US sl. become dispirited or depressed.
daughter n. 1 a girl or woman in relation to either or both of her
parents. 2 a female descendant. 3 (foll. by of) a female
member of a family, nation, etc. 4 (foll. by of) a woman who is
regarded as the spiritual descendant of, or as spiritually
attached to, a person or thing. 5 a product or attribute
personified as a daughter in relation to its source (Fortune and
its daughter Confidence). 6 Physics a nuclide formed by the
radioactive decay of another. 7 Biol. a cell etc. formed by the
division etc. of another. Ьdaughter-in-law (pl.
daughters-in-law) the wife of one's son. ЬЬdaughterhood n.
daughterly adj. [OE dohtor f. Gmc]
daunt v.tr. discourage, intimidate. ЬЬdaunting adj. dauntingly adv.
[ME f. AF daunter, OF danter, donter f. L domitare frequent. of
dauntless adj. intrepid, persevering. ЬЬdauntlessly adv. dauntlessness
dauphin n. hist. the eldest son of the King of France. [ME f. F, ult.
f. L delphinus DOLPHIN, as a family name]
Davenport n. 1 Brit. an ornamental writing-desk with drawers and a
sloping surface for writing. 2 US a large heavily upholstered
sofa. [19th c.: from the name Davenport]
davit n. a small crane on board a ship, esp. one of a pair for
suspending or lowering a lifeboat. [AF & OF daviot dimin. of
Davy n. (pl. -ies) (in full Davy lamp) a miner's safety lamp with
the flame enclosed by wire gauze to prevent an explosion of gas.
[Sir H. Davy, Engl. chemist d. 1829, who invented it]
n. sl. 1 (in full Davy Jones's locker) the bottom of the sea,
esp. regarded as the grave of those drowned at sea. 2 the evil
spirit of the sea. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
daw n. = JACKDAW. [ME: cf. OHG taha]
dawdle v. & n. --v. 1 intr. a walk slowly and idly. b delay; waste
time. 2 tr. (foll. by away) waste (time). --n. an act or
instance of dawdling. ЬЬdawdler n. [perh. rel. to dial.
daddle, doddle idle, dally]
dawn n. & v. --n. 1 the first light of day; daybreak. 2 the
beginning or incipient appearance of something. --v.intr. 1
(of a day) begin; grow light. 2 (often foll. by on, upon) begin
to become evident or understood (by a person). Ьdawn chorus the
singing of many birds at the break of day. [orig. as verb:
back-form. f. dawning, ME f. earlier dawing after Scand. (as
dawning n. 1 daybreak. 2 the first beginning of something.
day n. 1 the time between sunrise and sunset. 2 a a period of 24
hours as a unit of time, esp. from midnight to midnight,
corresponding to a complete revolution of the earth on its axis.
b a corresponding period on other planets (Martian day). 3
daylight (clear as day). 4 the time in a day during which work
is normally done (an eight-hour day). 5 a (also pl.) a period
of the past or present (the modern day; the old days). b (prec.
by the) the present time (the issues of the day). 6 the
lifetime of a person or thing, esp. regarded as useful or
productive (have had my day; in my day things were different).
7 a point of time (will do it one day). 8 a the date of a
specific festival. b a day associated with a particular event
or purpose (graduation day; payday; Christmas day). 9 a
particular date; a date agreed on. 10 a day's endeavour, or the
period of an endeavour, esp. as bringing success (win the day).
Ьall in a (or the) day's work part of normal routine. at the
end of the day in the final reckoning, when all is said and
done. call it a day end a period of activity, esp. resting
content that enough has been done. day after day without
respite. day and night all the time. day-boy (or -girl) Brit.
a boy or girl who goes daily from home to school, esp. a school
that also has boarders. day by day gradually. day care the
supervision of young children during the working day. day
centre a place providing care for the elderly or handicapped
during the day. day-dream n. a pleasant fantasy or reverie.
--v.intr. indulge in this. day-dreamer a person who indulges in
day-dreams. day in, day out routinely, constantly. day
labourer an unskilled labourer hired by the day. day lily any
plant of the genus Hemerocallis, whose flowers last only a day.
day nursery a nursery where children are looked after during the
working day. day off a day's holiday from work. Day of
Judgement = Judgement Day. day of reckoning see RECKONING. day
of rest the Sabbath. day out a trip or excursion for a day.
day-owl any owl hunting by day esp. the short-eared owl. day
release Brit. a system of allowing employees days off work for
education. day return a fare or ticket at a reduced rate for a
journey out and back in one day. day-room a room, esp. a
communal room in an institution, used during the day.
day-school a school for pupils living at home. day-to-day
mundane, routine. day-trip a trip or excursion completed in one
day. day-tripper a person who goes on a day-trip. not one's
day a day of successive misfortunes for a person. on one's day
at one's peak of capability. one of these days before very
long. one of those days a day when things go badly. some day
at some point in the future. that will be the day colloq. that
will never happen. this day and age the present time or period.
ЬЬdayless adj. [OE d‘g f. Gmc]
Dayak var. of DYAK.
daybook n. an account-book in which a day's transactions are entered,
for later transfer to a ledger.
daybreak n. the first appearance of light in the morning.
Day-Glo n. & adj. --n. propr. a make of fluorescent paint or other
colouring. --adj. coloured with or like this. [DAY + GLOW]
daylight n. 1 the light of day. 2 dawn (before daylight). 3 a
openness, publicity. b open knowledge. 4 a visible gap or
interval, e.g. between boats in a race. 5 (usu. in pl.) sl.
one's life or consciousness (orig. the internal organs) esp. as
representing vulnerability to fear, attack, etc. (scared the
daylights out of me; beat the living daylights out of them).
Ьdaylight robbery colloq. a blatantly excessive charge.
daylight saving the achieving of longer evening daylight, esp.
in summer, by setting the time an hour ahead of the standard
time. see daylight begin to understand what was previously
daylong adj. lasting for a day.
dayside n. 1 US staff, esp. of a newspaper, who work during the day. 2
Astron. the side of a planet that faces the sun.
daytime n. the part of the day when there is natural light.
daywork n. work paid for according to the time taken.
daze v. & n. --v.tr. stupefy, bewilder. --n. a state of confusion
or bewilderment (in a daze). ЬЬdazedly adv. [ME dased past
part., f. ON dasathr weary]
dazzle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. blind temporarily or confuse the sight of
by an excess of light. 2 tr. impress or overpower (a person)
with knowledge, ability, or any brilliant display or prospect.
3 intr. archaic (of eyes) be dazzled. --n. bright confusing
light. ЬЬdazzlement n. dazzler n. dazzling adj. dazzlingly
adv. [ME, f. DAZE + -LE(4)]
de- prefix 1 forming verbs and their derivatives: a down, away
(descend; deduct). b completely (declare; denude; deride). 2
added to verbs and their derivatives to form verbs and nouns
implying removal or reversal (decentralize; de-ice;
demoralization). [from or after L de (adv. & prep.) = off,
from: sense 2 through OF des- f. L dis-]
deacon n. & v. --n. 1 (in Episcopal churches) a minister of the third
order, below bishop and priest. 2 (in Nonconformist churches) a
lay officer attending to a congregation's secular affairs. 3
(in the early Church) an appointed minister of charity. --v.tr.
appoint or ordain as a deacon. ЬЬdeaconate n. deaconship n.
[OE diacon f. eccl.L diaconus f. Gk diakonos servant]
deaconess n. a woman in the early Church and in some modern Churches with
functions analogous to a deacon's. [DEACON, after LL
v.tr. make inactive or less reactive. ЬЬdeactivation n.
dead adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 no longer alive. 2 colloq.
extremely tired or unwell. 3 benumbed; affected by loss of
sensation (my fingers are dead). 4 (foll. by to) unappreciative
or unconscious of; insensitive to. 5 no longer effective or in
use; obsolete, extinct. 6 (of a match, of coal, etc.) no longer
burning; extinguished. 7 inanimate. 8 a lacking force or
vigour; dull, lustreless, muffled. b (of sound) not resonant.
c (of sparkling wine etc.) no longer effervescent. 9 a quiet;
lacking activity (the dead season). b motionless, idle. 10 a
(of a microphone, telephone, etc.) not transmitting any sound,
esp. because of a fault. b (of a circuit, conductor, etc.)
carrying or transmitting no current; not connected to a source
of electricity (a dead battery). 11 (of the ball in a game) out
of play. 12 abrupt, complete, exact, unqualified, unrelieved
(come to a dead stop; a dead faint; a dead calm; in dead
silence; a dead certainty). 13 without spiritual life. --adv.
1 absolutely, exactly, completely (dead on target; dead level;
dead tired). 2 colloq. very, extremely (dead good; dead easy).
--n. (prec. by the) 1 (treated as pl.) those who have died. 2 a
time of silence or inactivity (the dead of night).
Ьdead-and-alive Brit. (of a place, person, activity, etc.)
dull, monotonous; lacking interest. dead as the dodo see DODO.
dead as a doornail see DOORNAIL. dead bat Cricket a bat held
loosely so that it imparts no motion to the ball when struck.
dead beat 1 colloq. exhausted. 2 Physics (of an instrument)
without recoil. dead-beat n. 1 colloq. a penniless person. 2
US sl. a person constantly in debt. dead centre 1 the exact
centre. 2 the position of a crank etc. in line with the
connecting-rod and not exerting torque. dead cert see CERT.
dead duck sl. an unsuccessful or useless person or thing. dead
end 1 a closed end of a road, passage, etc. 2 (often (with
hyphen) attrib.) a situation offering no prospects of progress
or advancement. dead-eye Naut. a round flat three-holed block
for extending shrouds. dead from the neck up colloq. stupid.
dead hand an oppressive persisting influence, esp. posthumous
control. dead heat 1 a race in which two or more competitors
finish exactly level. 2 the result of such a race. dead-heat
v.intr. run a dead heat. dead language a language no longer
commonly spoken, e.g. Latin. dead letter a law or practice no
longer observed or recognized. dead lift the exertion of one's
utmost strength to lift something. dead loss 1 colloq. a
useless person or thing. 2 a complete loss. dead man's fingers
1 a kind of orchis, Orchis mascula. 2 any soft coral of the
genus Alcyonium, with spongy lobes. 3 the finger-like divisions
of a lobster's or crab's gills. dead man's handle (or pedal
etc.) a controlling-device on an electric train, allowing power
to be connected only as long as the operator presses on it.
dead march a funeral march. dead men colloq. bottles after the
contents have been drunk. dead-nettle any plant of the genus
Lamium, having nettle-like leaves but without stinging hairs.
dead-on exactly right. dead reckoning Naut. calculation of a
ship's position from the log, compass, etc., when observations
are impossible. dead ringer see RINGER. dead shot one who is
extremely accurate. dead time Physics the period after the
recording of a pulse etc. when the detector is unable to record
another. dead to the world colloq. fast asleep; unconscious.
dead weight (or dead-weight) 1 a an inert mass. b a heavy
weight or burden. 2 a debt not covered by assets. 3 the total
weight carried on a ship. dead wood colloq. one or more
useless people or things. make a dead set at see SET(2).
wouldn't be seen dead in (or with etc.) colloq. shall have
nothing to do with; shall refuse to wear etc. ЬЬdeadness n.
[OE dead f. Gmc, rel. to DIE(1)]
deadbolt n. esp. US a bolt engaged by turning a knob or key, rather
than by spring action.
deaden v. 1 tr. & intr. deprive of or lose vitality, force,
brightness, sound, feeling, etc. 2 tr. (foll. by to) make
insensitive. ЬЬdeadener n.
deadeye n. 1 Naut. a circular wooden block with a groove round the
circumference to take a lanyard, used singly or in pairs to
tighten a shroud. 2 US colloq. an expert marksman.
deadfall n. US a trap in which a raised weight is made to fall on and
kill esp. large game.
deadhead n. & v. --n. 1 a faded flower-head. 2 a passenger or member
of an audience who has made use of a free ticket. 3 a useless
or unenterprising person. --v. 1 tr. remove deadheads from (a
plant). 2 intr. US (of a driver etc.) complete a journey with
an empty train, bus, etc.
deadlight n. Naut. 1 a shutter inside a porthole. 2 US a skylight that
cannot be opened.
deadline n. 1 a time-limit for the completion of an activity etc. 2
hist. a line beyond which prisoners were not allowed to go.
deadlock n. & v. --n. 1 a situation, esp. one involving opposing
parties, in which no progress can be made. 2 a type of lock
requiring a key to open or close it. --v.tr. & intr. bring or
come to a standstill.
deadly adj. & adv. --adj. (deadlier, deadliest) 1 a causing or able
to cause fatal injury or serious damage. b poisonous (deadly
snake). 2 intense, extreme (deadly dullness). 3 (of an aim
etc.) extremely accurate or effective. 4 deathlike (deadly
pale; deadly faintness; deadly gloom). 5 colloq. dreary, dull.
6 implacable. --adv. 1 like death; as if dead (deadly faint).
2 extremely, intensely (deadly serious). Ьdeadly nightshade =
BELLADONNA. deadly sin a sin regarded as leading to damnation,
esp. pride, covetousness, lust, gluttony, envy, anger, and
sloth. ЬЬdeadliness n. [OE deadlic, deadlice (as DEAD,
deadpan adj. & adv. with a face or manner totally lacking expression or
deadstock n. slaughtered farm stock, esp. diseased animals.
de-aerate v.tr. remove air from. ЬЬde-aeration n.
deaf adj. 1 wholly or partly without hearing (deaf in one ear). 2
(foll. by to) refusing to listen or comply. 3 insensitive to
harmony, rhythm, etc. (tone-deaf). Ьdeaf-aid Brit. a
hearing-aid. deaf-and-dumb alphabet (or language etc.) = sign
language ° Sign language is preferred in official use. deaf as
a post completely deaf. deaf mute a deaf and dumb person. fall
on deaf ears be ignored. turn a deaf ear (usu. foll. by to) be
unresponsive. ЬЬdeafly adv. deafness n. [OE deaf f. Gmc]
deafen v.tr. 1 (often as deafening adj.) overpower with sound. 2
deprive of hearing by noise, esp. temporarily. ЬЬdeafeningly
deal(1) v. & n. --v. (past and past part. dealt) 1 intr. (foll. by
with) a take measures concerning (a problem, person, etc.), esp.
in order to put something right. b do business with; associate
with. c discuss or treat (a subject). d (often foll. by by)
behave in a specified way towards a person (dealt honourably by
them). 2 intr. (foll. by in) to sell or be concerned with
commercially (deals in insurance). 3 tr. (often foll. by out,
round) distribute or apportion to several people etc. 4 tr.
(also absol.) distribute (cards) to players for a game or round.
5 tr. cause to be received; administer (deal a heavy blow). 6
tr. assign as a share or deserts to a person (Providence dealt
them much happiness). 7 tr. (foll. by in) colloq. include (a
person) in an activity (you can deal me in). --n. 1 (usu. a
good or great deal) colloq. a a large amount (a good deal of
trouble). b to a considerable extent (is a great deal better).
2 colloq. a business arrangement; a transaction. 3 a specified
form of treatment given or received (gave them a rough deal; got
a fair deal). 4 a the distribution of cards by dealing. b a
player's turn to do this (it's my deal). c the round of play
following this. d a set of hands dealt to players. Ьit's a
deal colloq. expressing assent to an agreement. [OE d‘l,
d‘lan, f. Gmc]
deal(2) n. 1 fir or pine timber, esp. sawn into boards of a standard
size. 2 a a board of this timber. b such boards collectively.
[ME f. MLG, MDu. dele plank f. Gmc]
dealer n. 1 a person or business dealing in (esp. retail) goods
(contact your dealer; car-dealer; a dealer in tobacco). 2 the
player dealing at cards. 3 a jobber on the Stock Exchange. °In
the UK from Oct. 1986 the name has been merged with broker (see
BROKER 2, JOBBER 1). ЬЬdealership n. (in sense 1).
dealings n.pl. contacts or transactions, esp. in business. Ьhave
dealings with associate with.
dealt past and past part. of DEAL(1).
dean(1) n. 1 a the head of the chapter of a cathedral or collegiate
church. b (usu. rural dean) Brit. a member of the clergy
exercising supervision over a group of parochial clergy within a
division of an archdeaconry. 2 a a college or university
official, esp. one of several fellows of a college, with
disciplinary and advisory functions. b the head of a university
faculty or department or of a medical school. 3 = DOYEN. ЬDean
of Faculty the president of the Faculty of Advocates in
Scotland. [ME f. AF deen, OF deien, f. LL decanus f. decem
ten; orig. = chief of a group of ten]
dean(2) var. of DENE(1).
deanery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a dean's house or office. 2 Brit. the group
of parishes presided over by a rural dean.
dear adj., n., adv., & int. --adj. 1 a beloved or much esteemed. b
as a merely polite or ironic form (my dear man). 2 used as a
formula of address, esp. at the beginning of letters (Dear Sir).
3 (often foll. by to) precious; much cherished. 4 (usu. in
superl.) earnest, deeply felt (my dearest wish). 5 a
high-priced relative to its value. b having high prices. c (of
money) available as a loan only at a high rate of interest.
--n. (esp. as a form of address) dear person. --adv. at a high
price or great cost (buy cheap and sell dear; will pay dear).
--int. expressing surprise, dismay, pity, etc. (dear me!; oh
dear!; dear, dear!). ЬDear John colloq. a letter terminating a
personal relationship. for dear life see LIFE. ЬЬdearly adv.
(esp. in sense 3 of adj.). dearness n. [OE deore f. Gmc]
dearie n. (esp. as a form of address) usu. joc. or iron. my dear.
Ьdearie me! int. expressing surprise, dismay, etc.
dearth n. scarcity or lack, esp. of food. [ME, formed as DEAR]
deasil adv. Sc. in the direction of the sun's apparent course
(considered as lucky); clockwise. [Gael. deiseil]
death n. 1 the final cessation of vital functions in an organism; the
ending of life. 2 the event that terminates life. 3 a the fact
or process of being killed or killing (stone to death; fight to
the death). b the fact or state of being dead (eyes closed in
death; their deaths caused rioting). 4 a the destruction or
permanent cessation of something (was the death of our hopes).
b colloq. something terrible or appalling. 5 (usu. Death) a
personification of death, esp. as a destructive power, usu.
represented by a skeleton. 6 a lack of religious faith or
spiritual life. Ьas sure as death quite certain. at death's
door close to death. be in at the death 1 be present when an
animal is killed, esp. in hunting. 2 witness the (esp. sudden)
ending of an enterprise etc. be the death of 1 cause the death
of. 2 be very harmful to. catch one's death colloq. catch a
serious chill etc. death adder any of various venomous snakes
of the genus Acanthopis esp. A. antarcticus of Australia.
death cap a poisonous toadstool, Amanita phalloides. death cell
a prison cell for a person condemned to death. death
certificate an official statement of the cause and date and
place of a person's death. death duty Brit. hist. a tax
levied on property after the owner's death. °Replaced in 1975
by capital transfer tax and in 1986 by inheritance tax. death
grant Brit. a State grant towards funeral expenses.
death-knell 1 the tolling of a bell to mark a person's death. 2
an event that heralds the end or destruction of something.
death-mask a cast taken of a dead person's face. death penalty
punishment by being put to death. death rate the number of
deaths per thousand of population per year. death-rattle a
gurgling sound sometimes heard in a dying person's throat.
death-roll 1 those killed in an accident, battle, etc. 2 a list
of these. death row US a prison block or section for prisoners
sentenced to death. death's head a human skull as an emblem of
mortality. death's head moth a large dark hawk moth, Acherontia
atropos, with skull-like markings on the back of the thorax.
death squad an armed paramilitary group formed to kill political
enemies etc. death tax US a tax on property payable on the
owner's death. death-toll the number of people killed in an
accident, battle, etc. death-trap colloq. a dangerous or
unhealthy building, vehicle, etc. death-warrant 1 an order for
the execution of a condemned person. 2 anything that causes the
end of an established practice etc. death-watch (in full
death-watch beetle) a small beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum)
which makes a sound like a watch ticking, once supposed to
portend death, and whose larva bores in old wood. death-wish
Psychol. a desire (usu. unconscious) for the death of oneself
or another. do to death 1 kill. 2 overdo. fate worse than
death colloq. a disastrous misfortune or experience. like
death warmed up sl. very tired or ill. put to death kill or
cause to be killed. to death to the utmost, extremely (bored to
death; worked to death). ЬЬdeathless adj. deathlessness n.
deathlike adj. [OE death f. Gmc: rel. to DIE(1)]
deathbed n. a bed as the place where a person is dying or has died.
deathblow n. 1 a blow or other action that causes death. 2 an event or
circumstance that abruptly ends an activity, enterprise, etc.
deathly adj. & adv. --adj. (deathlier, deathliest) suggestive of death
(deathly silence). --adv. in a deathly way (deathly pale).
deb n. colloq. a d‚butante. [abbr.]
d‚bѓcle n. (US debacle) 1 a an utter defeat or failure. b a sudden
collapse or downfall. 2 a confused rush or rout; a stampede. 3
a a break-up of ice in a river, with resultant flooding. b a
sudden rush of water carrying along blocks of stone and other
debris. [F f. d‚bѓcler unbar]
debag v.tr. (debagged, debagging) Brit. sl. remove the trousers of
(a person), esp. as a joke.
debar v.tr. (debarred, debarring) (foll. by from) exclude from
admission or from a right; prohibit from an action (was debarred
from entering). ЬЬdebarment n. [ME f. F d‚barrer, OF desbarrer
(as DE-, BAR(1))]
debark(1) v.tr. & intr. land from a ship. ЬЬdebarkation n. [F d‚barquer
(as DE-, BARK(3))]
debark(2) v.tr. remove the bark from (a tree).
debase v.tr. 1 lower in quality, value, or character. 2 depreciate
(coin) by alloying etc. ЬЬdebasement n. debaser n. [DE- +
obs. base for ABASE]
debatable adj. 1 questionable; subject to dispute. 2 capable of being
debated. ЬЬdebatably adv. [OF debatable or AL debatabilis (as
debate v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) discuss or dispute about (an
issue, proposal, etc.) esp. formally in a legislative assembly,
public meeting, etc. 2 a tr. consider, ponder (a matter). b
intr. consider different sides of a question. --n. 1 a formal
discussion on a particular matter, esp. in a legislative
assembly etc. 2 debating, discussion (open to debate).
Ьdebating point an inessential matter used to gain advantage in
a debate. ЬЬdebater n. [ME f. OF debatre, debat f. Rmc (as
debauch v. & n. --v.tr. 1 corrupt morally. 2 make intemperate or
sensually indulgent. 3 deprave or debase (taste or judgement).
4 (as debauched adj.) dissolute. 5 seduce (a woman). --n. 1 a
bout of sensual indulgence. 2 debauchery. ЬЬdebaucher n. [F
d‚bauche(r), OF desbaucher, of unkn. orig.]
debauchee n. a person addicted to excessive sensual indulgence. [F
d‚bauch‚ past part.: see DEBAUCH]
n. excessive sensual indulgence.
debenture n. 1 Brit. an acknowledgement of indebtedness, esp. a bond of a
company or corporation acknowledging a debt and providing for
payment of interest at fixed intervals. 2 US (in full debenture
bond) a fixed-interest bond of a company or corporation, backed
by general credit rather than specified assets. Ьdebenture
stock Brit. stock comprising debentures, with only the interest
secured. [ME f. L debentur are owing f. debere owe: assim. to
debility n. feebleness, esp. of health. [ME f. OF debilit‚ f. L
debilitas -tatis f. debilis weak]
debit n. & v. --n. 1 an entry in an account recording a sum owed. 2
the sum recorded. 3 the total of such sums. 4 the debit side
of an account. --v.tr. (debited, debiting) 1 (foll. by
against, to) enter (an amount) on the debit side of an account
(debited њ500 against me). 2 (foll. by with) enter (a person)
on the debit side of an account (debited me with њ500). [F
d‚bit f. L debitum DEBT]
debonair adj. 1 carefree, cheerful, self-assured. 2 having pleasant
manners. ЬЬdebonairly adv. [ME f. OF debonaire = de bon aire
of good disposition]
debouch v.intr. 1 (of troops or a stream) issue from a ravine, wood,
etc., into open ground. 2 (often foll. by into) (of a river,
road, etc.) merge into a larger body or area. ЬЬdebouchment n.
[F d‚boucher (as DE-, bouche mouth)]
debrief v.tr. colloq. interrogate (a person, e.g. a diplomat or pilot)
about a completed mission or undertaking. ЬЬdebriefing n.
debris n. 1 scattered fragments, esp. of something wrecked or
destroyed. 2 Geol. an accumulation of loose material, e.g. from
rocks or plants. [F d‚bris f. obs. d‚briser break down (as
DE-, briser break)]
debt n. 1 something that is owed, esp. money. 2 a state of
obligation to pay something owed (in debt; out of debt; get into
debt). Ьdebt-collector a person who is employed to collect
debts for creditors. debt of honour a debt not legally
recoverable, esp. a sum lost in gambling. in a person's debt
under an obligation to a person. [ME det(te) f. OF dette (later
debte) ult. f. L debitum past part. of debere owe]
debtor n. a person who owes a debt, esp. money. [ME f. OF det(t)or,
-our f. L debitor (as DEBT)]
debug v.tr. (debugged, debugging) 1 colloq. trace and remove
concealed listening devices from (a room etc.). 2 colloq.
identify and remove defects from (a machine, computer program,
etc.). 3 remove bugs from.
debunk v.tr. colloq. 1 show the good reputation or aspirations of (a
person, institution, etc.) to be spurious. 2 expose the
falseness of (a claim etc.). ЬЬdebunker n.
debus v.tr. & intr. (debussed, debussing) esp. Mil. unload
(personnel or stores) or alight from a motor vehicle.
d‚but n. (US debut) 1 the first public appearance of a performer on
stage etc. 2 the first appearance of a d‚butante in society.
[F f. d‚buter lead off]
d‚butante n. (US debutante) a (usu. wealthy) young woman making her
social d‚but. [F, fem. part. of d‚buter: see DђBUT]
Dec. abbr. December.
dec. abbr. 1 deceased. 2 declared.
deca- comb. form (also dec- before a vowel) 1 having ten. 2 tenfold.
3 ten, esp. of a metric unit (decagram; decalitre). [Gk deka
decade disp. n. 1 a period of ten years. 2 a set, series, or group
of ten. ЬЬdecadal adj. [ME f. F d‚cade f. LL decas -adis f. Gk
f. deka ten]
decadence n. 1 moral or cultural deterioration, esp. after a peak or
culmination of achievement. 2 decadent behaviour; a state of
decadence. [F d‚cadence f. med.L decadentia f. decadere DECAY]
decadent adj. & n. --adj. 1 a in a state of moral or cultural
deterioration; showing or characterized by decadence. b of a
period of decadence. 2 self-indulgent. --n. a decadent person.
ЬЬdecadently adv. [F d‚cadent (as DECADENCE)]
v.tr. 1 remove the caffeine from. 2 reduce the quantity of
caffeine in (usu. coffee).
decagon n. a plane figure with ten sides and angles. ЬЬdecagonal adj.
[med.L decagonum f. Gk dekagonon (as DECA-, -GON)]
adj. Bot. having ten pistils. [mod.L decagynus (as DECA-, Gk
n. a solid figure with ten faces. ЬЬdecahedral adj. [DECA- +
-HEDRON after POLYHEDRON]
decal n. = DECALCOMANIA 2. [abbr.]
decalcify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) remove lime or calcareous matter from (a
bone, tooth, etc.). ЬЬdecalcification n. decalcifier n.
n. US 1 a process of transferring designs from specially
prepared paper to the surface of glass, porcelain, etc. 2 a
picture or design made by this process. [F d‚calcomanie f.
decalitre n. a metric unit of capacity, equal to 10 litres.
Decalogue n. the Ten Commandments. [ME f. F d‚calogue or eccl.L
decalogus f. Gk dekalogos (after hoi deka logoi the Ten
decametre n. a metric unit of length, equal to 10 metres.
decamp v.intr. 1 break up or leave a camp. 2 depart suddenly;
abscond. ЬЬdecampment n. [F d‚camper (as DE-, CAMP(1))]
decanal adj. 1 of a dean or deanery. 2 of the south side of a choir,
the side on which the dean sits (cf. CANTORIAL). [med.L
decanalis f. LL decanus DEAN(1)]
adj. Bot. having ten stamens. [DECA- + Gk andr- man (= male
decani adj. Mus. to be sung by the decanal side in antiphonal singing
(cf. CANTORIS). [L, genit. of decanus DEAN(1)]
decant v.tr. gradually pour off (liquid, esp. wine or a solution) from
one container to another, esp. without disturbing the sediment.
[med.L decanthare (as DE-, L canthus f. Gk kanthos canthus, used
of the lip of a beaker)]
decanter n. a stoppered glass container into which wine or spirit is
v.tr. 1 behead (esp. as a form of capital punishment). 2 cut
the head or end from. ЬЬdecapitation n. decapitator n. [LL
decapitare (as DE-, caput -itis head)]
decapod n. 1 any crustacean of the chiefly marine order Decapoda,
characterized by five pairs of walking legs, e.g. shrimps,
crabs, and lobsters. 2 any of various molluscs of the class
Cephalopoda, having ten tentacles, e.g. squids and cuttlefish.
ЬЬdecapodan adj. [F d‚capode f. Gk deka ten + pous podos foot]
v.tr. (also -ise) remove carbon or carbonaceous deposits from
(an internal-combustion engine etc.). ЬЬdecarbonization n.
decastyle n. & adj. Archit. --n. a ten-columned portico. --adj. having
ten columns. [Gk dekastulos f. deka ten + stulos column]
n. a metrical line of ten syllables. ЬЬdecasyllabic adj. & n.
decathlon n. an athletic contest in which each competitor takes part in
ten events. ЬЬdecathlete n. [DECA- + Gk athlon contest]
decay v. & n. --v. 1 a intr. rot, decompose. b tr. cause to rot or
decompose. 2 intr. & tr. decline or cause to decline in
quality, power, wealth, energy, beauty, etc. 3 intr. Physics a
(usu. foll. by to) (of a substance etc.) undergo change by
radioactivity. b undergo a gradual decrease in magnitude of a
physical quantity. --n. 1 a rotten or ruinous state; a process
of wasting away. 2 decline in health, quality, etc. 3 Physics
a change into another substance etc. by radioactivity. b a
decrease in the magnitude of a physical quantity, esp. the
intensity of radiation or amplitude of oscillation. 4 decayed
tissue. ЬЬdecayable adj. [ME f. OF decair f. Rmc (as DE-, L
decease n. & v. formal esp. Law --n. death. --v.intr. die. [ME f. OF
deces f. L decessus f. decedere (as DE-, cedere cess- go)]
deceased adj. & n. formal --adj. dead. --n. (usu. prec. by the) a
person who has died, esp. recently.
decedent n. US Law a deceased person. [L decedere die: see DECEASE]
deceit n. 1 the act or process of deceiving or misleading, esp. by
concealing the truth. 2 a dishonest trick or stratagem. 3
willingness to deceive. [ME f. OF f. past part. of deceveir f.
L decipere deceive (as DE-, capere take)]
deceitful adj. 1 (of a person) using deceit, esp. habitually. 2 (of an
act, practice, etc.) intended to deceive. ЬЬdeceitfully adv.
deceive v. 1 tr. make (a person) believe what is false, mislead
purposely. 2 tr. be unfaithful to, esp. sexually. 3 intr. use
deceit. 4 tr. archaic disappoint (esp. hopes). Ьbe deceived
be mistaken or deluded. deceive oneself persist in a mistaken
belief. ЬЬdeceivable adj. deceiver n. [ME f. OF deceivre or
deceiv- stressed stem of deceveir (as DECEIT)]
v. 1 intr. & tr. begin or cause to begin to reduce speed. 2
tr. make slower (decelerated motion). ЬЬdeceleration n.
decelerator n. decelerometer n. [DE-, after ACCELERATE]
December n. the twelfth month of the year. [ME f. OF decembre f. L
December f. decem ten: orig. the tenth month of the Roman year]
decency n. (pl. -ies) 1 correct and tasteful standards of behaviour as
generally accepted. 2 conformity with current standards of
behaviour or propriety. 3 avoidance of obscenity. 4 (in pl.)
the requirements of correct behaviour. [L decentia f. decere
decennial adj. 1 lasting ten years. 2 recurring every ten years.
ЬЬdecennially adv. [L decennis of ten years f. decem ten +
decent adj. 1 a conforming with current standards of behaviour or
propriety. b avoiding obscenity. 2 respectable. 3 acceptable,
passable; good enough. 4 Brit. kind, obliging, generous (was
decent enough to apologize). ЬЬdecently adv. [F d‚cent or L
decere be fitting]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 transfer (powers etc.) from a central to a
local authority. 2 reorganize (a centralized institution,
organization, etc.) on the basis of greater local autonomy.
ЬЬdecentralist n. & adj. decentralization n.
deception n. 1 the act or an instance of deceiving; the process of being
deceived. 2 a thing that deceives; a trick or sham. [ME f. OF
or LL deceptio f. decipere (as DECEIT)]
deceptive adj. apt to deceive; easily mistaken for something else or as
having a different quality. ЬЬdeceptively adv. deceptiveness
n. [OF deceptif -ive or LL deceptivus (as DECEPTION)]
adj. having had the cerebrum removed.
deci- comb. form one-tenth, esp. of a unit in the metric system
(decilitre; decimetre). [L decimus tenth]
decibel n. a unit (one-tenth of a bel) used in the comparison of two
power levels relating to electrical signals or sound
intensities, one of the pair usually being taken as a standard.
decide v. 1 a intr. (often foll. by on, about) come to a resolution as
a result of consideration. b tr. (usu. foll. by to + infin., or
that + clause) have or reach as one's resolution about something
(decided to stay; decided that we should leave). 2 tr. a cause
(a person) to reach a resolution (was unsure about going but the
weather decided me). b resolve or settle (a question, dispute,
etc.). 3 intr. (usu. foll. by between, for, against, in favour
of, or that + clause) give a judgement concerning a matter.
ЬЬdecidable adj. [ME f. F d‚cider or f. L decidere (as DE-,
decided adj. 1 (usu. attrib.) definite, unquestionable (a decided
difference). 2 (of a person, esp. as a characteristic) having
clear opinions, resolute, not vacillating. ЬЬdecidedness n.
decidedly adv. undoubtedly, undeniably.
decider n. 1 a game, race, etc., to decide between competitors
finishing equal in a previous contest. 2 any person or thing
deciduous adj. 1 (of a tree) shedding its leaves annually. 2 (of leaves,
horns, teeth, etc.) shed periodically. 3 (of an ant etc.)
shedding its wings after copulation. 4 fleeting, transitory.
ЬЬdeciduousness n. [L deciduus f. decidere f. cadere fall]
decigram n. (also decigramme) a metric unit of mass, equal to 0.1 gram.
decile n. Statistics any of the nine values of a random variable which
divide a frequency distribution into ten groups, each containing
one-tenth of the total population. [F d‚cile, ult. f. L decem
decilitre n. a metric unit of capacity, equal to 0.1 litre.
decimal adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a system of numbers, weights, measures,
etc.) based on the number ten, in which the smaller units are
related to the principal units as powers of ten (units, tens,
hundreds, thousands, etc.). 2 of tenths or ten; reckoning or
proceeding by tens. --n. a decimal fraction. Ьdecimal fraction
a fraction whose denominator is a power of ten, esp. when
expressed positionally by units to the right of a decimal point.
decimal point a full point or dot placed before a numerator in a
decimal fraction. decimal scale a scale with successive places
denoting units, tens, hundreds, etc. ЬЬdecimally adv. [mod.L
decimalis f. L decimus tenth]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 express as a decimal. 2 convert to a
decimal system (esp. of coinage). ЬЬdecimalization n.
decimate v.tr. 1 disp. destroy a large proportion of. °Now the usual
sense, although often deplored as an inappropriate use. 2 orig.
Mil. kill or remove one in every ten of. ЬЬdecimation n.
decimator n. [L decimare take the tenth man f. decimus tenth]
decimetre n. a metric unit of length, equal to 0.1 metre.
decipher v.tr. 1 convert (a text written in cipher) into an intelligible
script or language. 2 determine the meaning of (anything
obscure or unclear). ЬЬdecipherable adj. decipherment n.
decision n. 1 the act or process of deciding. 2 a conclusion or
resolution reached, esp. as to future action, after
consideration (have made my decision). 3 (often foll. by of) a
the settlement of a question. b a formal judgement. 4 a
tendency to decide firmly; resoluteness. [ME f. OF decision or
L decisio (as DECIDE)]
decisive adj. 1 that decides an issue; conclusive. 2 (of a person, esp.
as a characteristic) able to decide quickly and effectively.
ЬЬdecisively adv. decisiveness n. [F d‚cisif -ive f. med.L
decisivus (as DECIDE)]
deck n. & v. --n. 1 a a platform in a ship covering all or part of
the hull's area at any level and serving as a floor. b the
accommodation on a particular deck of a ship. 2 anything
compared to a ship's deck, e.g. the floor or compartment of a
bus. 3 a component, usu. a flat horizontal surface, that
carries a particular recording medium (such as a disc or tape)
in sound-reproduction equipment. 4 US a a pack of cards. b sl.
a packet of narcotics. 5 sl. the ground. 6 any floor or
platform, esp. the floor of a pier or a platform for sunbathing.
--v.tr. 1 (often foll. by out) decorate, adorn. 2 furnish with
or cover as a deck. Ьbelow deck (or decks) in or into the space
below the main deck. deck-chair a folding chair of wood and
canvas, of a kind used on deck on passenger ships. deck-hand a
person employed in cleaning and odd jobs on a ship's deck. deck
quoits a game in which rope quoits are aimed at a peg. deck
tennis a game in which a quoit of rope, rubber, etc., is tossed
to and fro over a net. on deck 1 in the open air on a ship's
main deck. 2 esp. US ready for action, work, etc. [ME, =
covering f. MDu. dec roof, cloak]
-decker comb. form having a specified number of decks or layers
deckle n. a device in a paper-making machine for limiting the size of
the sheet. Ьdeckle-edge the rough uncut edge formed by a
deckle. ЬЬdeckle-edged adj. [G Deckel dimin. of Decke cover]
declaim v. 1 intr. & tr. speak or utter rhetorically or affectedly. 2
intr. practise oratory or recitation. 3 intr. (foll. by
against) protest forcefully. 4 intr. deliver an impassioned
(rather than reasoned) speech. ЬЬdeclaimer n. [ME f. F
d‚clamer or f. L declamare (as DE-, CLAIM)]
n. 1 the act or art of declaiming. 2 a rhetorical exercise or
set speech. 3 an impassioned speech; a harangue. ЬЬdeclamatory
adj. [F d‚clamation or L declamatio (as DECLAIM)]
declarant n. a person who makes a legal declaration. [F d‚clarant part.
of d‚clarer (as DECLARE)]
n. 1 the act or process of declaring. 2 a a formal, emphatic,
or deliberate statement or announcement. b a statement
asserting or protecting a legal right. 3 a written public
announcement of intentions, terms of an agreement, etc. 4
Cricket an act of declaring an innings closed. 5 Cards a the
naming of trumps. b an announcement of a combination held. 6
Law a a plaintiff's statement of claim. b an affirmation made
instead of taking an oath. 7 (in full declaration of the poll)
a public official announcement of the votes cast for candidates
in an election. [ME f. L declaratio (as DECLARE)]
declare v. 1 tr. announce openly or formally (declare war; declare a
dividend). 2 tr. pronounce (a person or thing) to be something
(declared him to be an impostor; declared it invalid). 3 tr.
(usu. foll. by that + clause) assert emphatically; state
explicitly. 4 tr. acknowledge possession of (dutiable goods,
income, etc.). 5 tr. (as declared adj.) who admits to be such
(a declared atheist). 6 tr. (also absol.) Cricket close (an
innings) voluntarily before all the wickets have fallen. 7 tr.
Cards a (also absol.) name (the trump suit). b announce that
one holds (certain combinations of cards etc.). 8 tr. (of
things) make evident, prove (your actions declare your honesty).
9 intr. (foll. by for, against) take the side of one party or
another. Ьdeclare oneself reveal one's intentions or identity.
well, I declare (or I do declare) an exclamation of incredulity,
surprise, or vexation. ЬЬdeclarable adj. declarative adj.
declaratively adv. declaratory adj. declaredly adv. declarer
n. [ME f. L declarare (as DE-, clarare f. clarus clear)]
d‚class‚ adj. (fem. d‚class‚e) that has fallen in social status. [F]
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) declare (information etc.) to be no longer
secret. ЬЬdeclassification n.
n. 1 Gram. a the variation of the form of a noun, pronoun, or
adjective, by which its grammatical case, number, and gender are
identified. b the class in which a noun etc. is put according
to the exact form of this variation. 2 deterioration,
declining. ЬЬdeclensional adj. [OF declinaison f. decliner
DECLINE after L declinatio: assim. to ASCENSION etc.]
n. 1 a downward bend or turn. 2 Astron. the angular distance
of a star etc. north or south of the celestial equator. 3
Physics the angular deviation of a compass needle from true
north. 4 US a formal refusal. ЬЬdeclinational adj. [ME f. L
declinatio (as DECLINE)]
decline v. & n. --v. 1 intr. deteriorate; lose strength or vigour;
decrease. 2 a tr. reply with formal courtesy that one will not
accept (an invitation, honour, etc.). b tr. refuse, esp.
formally and courteously (declined to be made use of; declined
doing anything). c tr. turn away from (a challenge, battle,
discussion, etc.). d intr. give or send a refusal. 3 intr.
slope downwards. 4 intr. bend down, droop. 5 tr. Gram. state
the forms of (a noun, pronoun, or adjective) corresponding to
cases, number, and gender. 6 intr. (of a day, life, etc.) draw
to a close. 7 intr. decrease in price etc. 8 tr. bend down.
--n. 1 gradual loss of vigour or excellence (on the decline).
2 decay, deterioration. 3 setting; the last part of the course
(of the sun, of life, etc.). 4 a fall in price. 5 archaic
tuberculosis or a similar wasting disease. Ьdeclining years old
age. ЬЬdeclinable adj. decliner n. [ME f. OF decliner f. L
declinare (as DE-, clinare bend)]
declivity n. (pl. -ies) a downward slope, esp. a piece of sloping
ground. ЬЬdeclivitous adj. [L declivitas f. declivis (as DE-,
declutch v.intr. disengage the clutch of a motor vehicle.
Ьdouble-declutch release and re-engage the clutch twice when
Deco n. (also deco) (usu. attrib.) = art deco. [F d‚coratif
decoct v.tr. extract the essence from by decoction. [ME f. L
decoquere boil down]
decoction n. 1 a process of boiling down so as to extract some essence.
2 the extracted liquor resulting from this. [ME f. OF decoction
or LL decoctio (as DE-, L coquere coct- boil)]
decode v.tr. convert (a coded message) into intelligible language.
decoder n. 1 a person or thing that decodes. 2 an electronic device
for analysing signals and feeding separate amplifier-channels.
decoke v. & n. Brit. colloq. --v.tr. remove carbon or carbonaceous
material from (an internal-combustion engine). --n. the
process of decoking.
n. a low neckline of a woman's dress etc. [F (as DE-, collet
collar of a dress)]
d‚collet‚ adj. & n. --adj. (also d‚collet‚e) 1 (of a dress etc.) having
a low neckline. 2 (of a woman) wearing a dress with a low
neckline. --n. a low neckline. [F (as DђCOLLETAGE)]
v.tr. (also -ise) (of a State) withdraw from (a colony),
leaving it independent. ЬЬdecolonization n.
v. (also -ise) 1 tr. remove the colour from. 2 intr. lose
colour. ЬЬdecolorization n.
v.tr. 1 close down (a nuclear reactor etc.). 2 take (a ship)
out of service.
decompose v. 1 intr. decay, rot. 2 tr. separate (a substance, light,
etc.) into its elements or simpler constituents. 3 intr.
disintegrate; break up. ЬЬdecomposition n. [F d‚composer (as
v.tr. subject to decompression; relieve or reduce the
n. 1 release from compression. 2 a gradual reduction of air
pressure on a person who has been subjected to high pressure
(esp. underwater). Ьdecompression chamber an enclosed space for
subjecting a person to decompression. decompression sickness a
condition caused by the sudden lowering of air pressure and
formation of bubbles in the blood: also called caisson disease,
the bends (see BEND 14).
n. a device for reducing pressure in the engine of a motor
adj. & n. --adj. that relieves (esp. nasal) congestion. --n. a
medicinal agent that relieves nasal congestion.
v.tr. transfer (esp. a building) from sacred to secular use.
v.tr. subject to deconstruction. ЬЬdeconstructive adj.
[back-form. f. DECONSTRUCTION]
n. a method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary
language. ЬЬdeconstructionism n. deconstructionist adj. & n.
[F d‚construction (as DE-, CONSTRUCTION)]
v.tr. remove contamination from (an area, person, clothes,
etc.). ЬЬdecontamination n.
decontrol v. & n. --v.tr. (decontrolled, decontrolling) release (a
commodity etc.) from controls or restrictions, esp. those
imposed by the State. --n. the act of decontrolling.
d‚cor n. 1 the furnishing and decoration of a room etc. 2 the
decoration and scenery of a stage. [F f. d‚corer (as
decorate v.tr. 1 provide with adornments. 2 provide (a room or
building) with new paint, wallpaper, etc. 3 serve as an
adornment to. 4 confer an award or distinction on. ЬDecorated
style Archit. the second stage of English Gothic (14th c.),
with increasing use of decoration and geometrical tracery. [L
decorare decorat- f. decus -oris beauty]
n. 1 the process or art of decorating. 2 a thing that
decorates or serves as an ornament. 3 a medal etc. conferred
and worn as an honour. 4 (in pl.) flags etc. put up on an
occasion of public celebration. ЬDecoration Day US Memorial
Day. [F d‚coration or LL decoratio (as DECORATE)]
adj. serving to decorate. ЬЬdecoratively adv. decorativeness
n. [F d‚coratif (as DECORATE)]
decorator n. a person who decorates, esp. one who paints or papers houses
decorous adj. 1 respecting good taste or propriety. 2 dignified and
decent. ЬЬdecorously adv. decorousness n. [L decorus seemly]
v.tr. 1 remove the bark, rind, or husk from. 2 remove the
outside layer from (the kidney, brain, etc.). [L decorticare
decorticat- (as DE-, cortex -icis bark)]
n. 1 the removal of the outside layer from an organ (e.g. the
kidney) or structure. 2 an operation removing the blood clot
and scar tissue formed after bleeding in the chest cavity.
decorum n. 1 a seemliness, propriety. b behaviour required by
politeness or decency. 2 a particular requirement of this kind.
3 etiquette. [L, neut. of decorus seemly]
d‚coupage n. the decoration of surfaces with paper cut-outs. [F, = the
action of cutting out]
decouple v.tr. 1 Electr. make the interaction between (oscillators etc.)
so weak that there is little transfer of energy between them. 2
separate, disengage, dissociate.
decoy n. & v. --n. 1 a a person or thing used to lure an animal or
person into a trap or danger. b a bait or enticement. 2 a pond
with narrow netted arms into which wild duck may be tempted in
order to catch them. --v.tr. (often foll. by into, out of)
allure or entice, esp. by means of a decoy. [17th c.: perh. f.
Du. de kooi the decoy f. de THE + kooi f. L cavea cage]
decrease v. & n. --v.tr. & intr. make or become smaller or fewer. --n.
1 the act or an instance of decreasing. 2 the amount by which a
thing decreases. ЬЬdecreasingly adv. [ME f. OF de(s)creiss-,
pres. stem of de(s)creistre ult. f. L decrescere (as DE-,
crescere cret- grow)]
decree n. & v. --n. 1 an official order issued by a legal authority.
2 a judgement or decision of certain lawcourts, esp. in
matrimonial cases. --v.tr. (decrees, decreed, decreeing)
ordain by decree. Ьdecree absolute a final order for divorce,
enabling either party to remarry. decree nisi a provisional
order for divorce, made absolute unless cause to the contrary is
shown within a fixed period. [ME f. OF decr‚ f. L decretum
neut. past part. of decernere decide (as DE-, cernere sift)]
decrement n. 1 Physics the ratio of the amplitudes in successive cycles
of a damped oscillation. 2 the amount lost by diminution or
waste. 3 the act of decreasing. [L decrementum (as DECREASE)]
decrepit adj. 1 weakened or worn out by age and infirmity. 2 worn out
by long use; dilapidated. ЬЬdecrepitude n. [ME f. L decrepitus
(as DE-, crepitus past part. of crepare creak)]
v. 1 tr. roast or calcine (a mineral or salt) until it stops
crackling. 2 intr. crackle under heat. ЬЬdecrepitation n.
[prob. mod.L decrepitare f. DE- + L crepitare crackle]
adv., adj., & n. (pl. -os) = DIMINUENDO. [It., part. of
adj. (usu. of the moon) waning, decreasing. [L decrescere: see
decretal n. 1 a papal decree. 2 (in pl.) a collection of these, forming
part of canon law. [ME f. med.L decretale f. LL (epistola)
decretalis (letter) of decree f. L decernere: see DECREE]
v.tr. (also -ise) cease to treat (an action etc.) as criminal.
decry v.tr. (-ies, -ied) disparage, belittle. ЬЬdecrier n. [after F
d‚crier: cf. cry down]
decrypt v.tr. decipher (a cryptogram), with or without knowledge of its
key. ЬЬdecryption n. [DE- + CRYPTOGRAM]
decumbent adj. Bot. & Zool. (of a plant, shoot, or bristles) lying along
the ground or a surface. [L decumbere decumbent- lie down]
decurve v.tr. & intr. Zool. & Bot. (esp. as decurved adj.) curve or
bend down (a decurved bill). ЬЬdecurvature n.
decussate adj. & v. --adj. 1 X-shaped. 2 Bot. with pairs of opposite
leaves etc. each at right angles to the pair below. --v.tr. &
intr. 1 arrange or be arranged in a decussate form. 2
intersect. ЬЬdecussation n. [L decussatus past part. of
decussare divide in a cross shape f. decussis the numeral ten
or the shape X f. decem ten]
dedans n. 1 (in real tennis) the open gallery at the end of the
service side of a court. 2 the spectators watching a match.
[F, = inside]
dedicate v.tr. 1 (foll. by to) devote (esp. oneself) to a special task
or purpose. 2 (foll. by to) address (a book, piece of music,
etc.) as a compliment to a friend, patron, etc. 3 (often foll.
by to) devote (a building etc.) to a deity or a sacred person or
purpose. 4 (as dedicated adj.) a (of a person) devoted to an
aim or vocation; having single-minded loyalty or integrity. b
(of equipment, esp. a computer) designed for a specific purpose.
ЬЬdedicatee n. dedicative adj. dedicator n. dedicatory adj.
[L dedicare (DE-, dicare declare, dedicate)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of dedicating; the process of being
dedicated. 2 the words with which a book etc. is dedicated. 3
a dedicatory inscription. [ME f. OF dedicacion or L dedicatio
deduce v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) infer; draw as a logical
conclusion. 2 archaic trace the course or derivation of.
ЬЬdeducible adj. [L deducere (as DE-, ducere duct- lead)]
deduct v.tr. (often foll. by from) subtract, take away, withhold (an
amount, portion, etc.). [L (as DEDUCE)]
adj. & n. --adj. that may be deducted, esp. from tax to be paid
or taxable income. --n. US = EXCESS n. 6.
deduction n. 1 a the act of deducting. b an amount deducted. 2 a the
inferring of particular instances from a general law (cf.
INDUCTION). b a conclusion deduced. [ME f. OF deduction or L
deductio (as DEDUCE)]
deductive adj. of or reasoning by deduction. ЬЬdeductively adv. [med.L
deductivus (as DEDUCE)]
dee n. 1 the letter D. 2 a a thing shaped like this. b Physics
either of two hollow semicircular electrodes in a cyclotron.
[the name of the letter]
deed n. & v. --n. 1 a thing done intentionally or consciously. 2 a
brave, skilful, or conspicuous act. 3 actual fact or
performance (kind in word and deed; in deed and not in name). 4
Law a written or printed document often used for a legal
transfer of ownership and bearing the disposer's signature.
--v.tr. US convey or transfer by legal deed. Ьdeed-box a
strong box for keeping deeds and other documents. deed of
covenant an agreement to pay a specified amount regularly to a
charity etc., enabling the recipient to recover the tax paid by
the donor on an equivalent amount of income. deed poll a deed
made and executed by one party only, esp. to change one's name
(the paper being polled or cut even, not indented). [OE ded f.
Gmc: cf. DO(1)]
deejay n. sl. a disc jockey. [abbr. DJ]
deem v.tr. formal regard, consider, judge (deem it my duty; was
deemed sufficient). [OE deman f. Gmc, rel. to DOOM]
deemster n. a judge in the Isle of Man. [DEEM + -STER]
deep adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 a extending far down from the top
(deep hole; deep water). b extending far in from the surface or
edge (deep wound; deep plunge; deep shelf; deep border). 2
(predic.) a extending to or lying at a specified depth (water 6
feet deep; ankle-deep in mud). b in a specified number of ranks
one behind another (soldiers drawn up six deep). 3 situated far
down or back or in (hands deep in his pockets). 4 coming or
brought from far down or in (deep breath; deep sigh). 5
low-pitched, full-toned, not shrill (deep voice; deep note; deep
bell). 6 intense, vivid, extreme (deep disgrace; deep sleep;
deep colour; deep secret). 7 heartfelt, absorbing (deep
affection; deep feelings; deep interest). 8 (predic.) fully
absorbed or overwhelmed (deep in a book; deep in debt). 9
profound, penetrating, not superficial; difficult to understand
(deep thinker; deep thought; deep insight; deep learning). 10
Cricket distant from the batsman (deep mid-off). 11 Football
distant from the front line of one's team. 12 sl. cunning or
secretive (a deep one). --n. 1 (prec. by the) poet. the sea.
2 a deep part of the sea. 3 an abyss, pit, or cavity. 4 (prec.
by the) Cricket the position of a fielder distant from the
batsman. 5 a deep state (deep of the night). 6 poet. a
mysterious region of thought or feeling. --adv. deeply; far
down or in (dig deep; read deep into the night). Ьdeep
breathing breathing with long breaths, esp. as a form of
exercise. deep-drawn (of metal etc.) shaped by forcing through
a die when cold. deep-fry (-fries, -fried) fry (food) in an
amount of fat or oil sufficient to cover it. deep kiss a kiss
with contact between tongues. deep-laid (of a scheme) secret
and elaborate. deep mourning mourning expressed by wearing only
black clothes. deep-mouthed (esp. of a dog) having a deep
voice. deep-rooted (esp. of convictions) firmly established.
deep sea the deeper parts of the ocean. deep-seated (of
emotion, disease, etc.) firmly established, profound. Deep
South the States of the US bordering the Gulf of Mexico. deep
space the regions beyond the solar system or the earth's
atmosphere. deep therapy curative treatment with short-wave
X-rays of high penetrating power. go off (or go in off) the
deep end colloq. give way to anger or emotion. in deep water
(or waters) in trouble or difficulty. jump (or be thrown) in at
the deep end face a difficult problem, undertaking, etc., with
little experience of it. ЬЬdeeply adv. deepness n. [OE deop
(adj.), diope, deope (adv.), f. Gmc: rel. to DIP]
deepen v.tr. & intr. make or become deep or deeper.
n. & v. --n. 1 a refrigerator in which food can be quickly
frozen and kept for long periods at a very low temperature. 2 a
suspension of activity. --v.tr. (-froze, -frozen) freeze or
store (food) in a deep-freeze.
deer n. (pl. same) any four-hoofed grazing animal of the family
Cervidae, the males of which usu. have deciduous branching
antlers. Ьdeer fly any bloodsucking fly of the genus Chrysops.
deer-forest an extensive area of wild land reserved for the
stalking of deer. deer-hound a large rough-haired greyhound.
deer-lick a spring or damp spot impregnated with salt etc. where
deer come to lick. [OE deor animal, deer]
deerskin n. & adj. --n. leather from a deer's skin. --adj. made from a
n. 1 a soft cloth cap with peaks in front and behind and
ear-flaps often joined at the top. 2 a person who stalks deer.
v.tr. reduce the level or intensity of. ЬЬde-escalation n.
deface v.tr. 1 spoil the appearance of; disfigure. 2 make illegible.
ЬЬdefaceable adj. defacement n. defacer n. [ME f. F d‚facer
f. OF desfacier (as DE-, FACE)]
de facto adv., adj., & n. --adv. in fact, whether by right or not.
--adj. that exists or is such in fact (a de facto ruler). --n.
(in full de facto wife or husband) a person living with another
as if married. [L]
defalcate v.intr. formal misappropriate property in one's charge, esp.
money. ЬЬdefalcator n. [med.L defalcare lop (as DE-, L falx
n. formal 1 Law a a misappropriation of money. b an amount
misappropriated. 2 a shortcoming. 3 defection. [ME f. med.L
defalcatio (as DEFALCATE)]
defame v.tr. attack the good reputation of; speak ill of.
ЬЬdefamation n. defamatory adj. defamer n. [ME f. OF diffamer
etc. f. L diffamare spread evil report (as DIS-, fama report)]
defat v.tr. (defatted, defatting) remove fat or fats from.
default n. & v. --n. 1 failure to fulfil an obligation, esp. to
appear, pay, or act in some way. 2 lack, absence. 3 a
preselected option adopted by a computer program when no
alternative is specified by the user or programmer. --v. 1
intr. fail to fulfil an obligation, esp. to pay money or to
appear in a lawcourt. 2 tr. declare (a party) in default and
give judgement against that party. Ьgo by default 1 be ignored
because of absence. 2 be absent. in default of because of the
absence of. judgement by default judgement given for the
plaintiff on the defendant's failure to plead. win by default
win because an opponent fails to be present. [ME f. OF
defaut(e) f. defaillir fail f. Rmc (as DE-, L fallere deceive):
defaulter n. a person who defaults, esp. Brit. a soldier guilty of a
n. the act or process of rendering null and void. [ME f. OF
defesance f. de(s)faire undo (as DE-, faire make f. L facere)]
adj. 1 capable of annulment. 2 liable to forfeiture.
ЬЬdefeasibility n. defeasibly adv. [AF (as DEFEASANCE)]
defeat v. & n. --v.tr. 1 overcome in a battle or other contest. 2
frustrate, baffle. 3 reject (a motion etc.) by voting. 4 Law
annul. --n. the act or process of defeating or being defeated.
[ME f. OF deffait, desfait past part. of desfaire f. med.L
disfacere (as DIS-, L facere do)]
defeatism n. 1 an excessive readiness to accept defeat. 2 conduct
conducive to this. ЬЬdefeatist n. & adj. [F d‚faitisme f.
defecate v.intr. discharge faeces from the body. ЬЬdefecation n.
[earlier as adj., = purified, f. L defaecare (as DE-, faex
defect n. & v. --n. also 1 lack of something essential or required;
imperfection. 2 a shortcoming or failing. 3 a blemish. 4 the
amount by which a thing falls short. --v.intr. abandon one's
country or cause in favour of another. ЬЬdefector n. [L
defectus f. deficere desert, fail (as DE-, facere do)]
defection n. 1 the abandonment of one's country or cause. 2 ceasing in
allegiance to a leader, party, religion, or duty. [L defectio
defective adj. & n. --adj. 1 having a defect or defects; incomplete,
imperfect, faulty. 2 mentally subnormal. 3 (usu. foll. by in)
lacking, deficient. 4 Gram. not having all the usual
inflections. --n. a mentally defective person. ЬЬdefectively
adv. defectiveness n. [ME f. OF defectif -ive or LL defectivus
defence n. (US defense) 1 the act of defending from or resisting
attack. 2 a a means of resisting attack. b a thing that
protects. c the military resources of a country. 3 (in pl.)
fortifications. 4 a justification, vindication. b a speech or
piece of writing used to this end. 5 a the defendant's case in
a lawsuit. b the counsel for the defendant. 6 a the action or
role of defending one's goal etc. against attack. b the players
in a team who perform this role. Ьdefence mechanism 1 the
body's reaction against disease organisms. 2 a usu. unconscious
mental process to avoid conscious conflict or anxiety.
ЬЬdefenceless adj. defencelessly adv. defencelessness n. [ME
f. OF defens(e) f. LL defensum, -a, past part. of defendere: see
defend v.tr. (also absol.) 1 (often foll. by against, from) resist an
attack made on; protect (a person or thing) from harm or danger.
2 support or uphold by argument; speak or write in favour of. 3
conduct the case for (a defendant in a lawsuit). ЬЬdefendable
adj. defender n. [ME f. OF defendre f. L defendere: cf.
defendant n. a person etc. sued or accused in a court of law. [ME f. OF,
part. of defendre: see DEFEND]
n. formal or joc. the action of throwing (esp. a person) out
of a window. ЬЬdefenestrate v.tr. [mod.L defenestratio (as
DE-, L fenestra window)]
defense US var. of DEFENCE.
adj. 1 justifiable; supportable by argument. 2 that can be
easily defended militarily. ЬЬdefensibility n. defensibly adv.
[ME f. LL defensibilis (as DEFEND)]
defensive adj. 1 done or intended for defence or to defend. 2 (of a
person or attitude) concerned to challenge criticism. Ьon the
defensive 1 expecting criticism. 2 in an attitude or position
of defence. ЬЬdefensively adv. defensiveness n. [ME f. F
d‚fensif -ive f. med.L defensivus (as DEFEND)]
defer(1) v.tr. (deferred, deferring) 1 put off to a later time;
postpone. 2 US postpone the conscription of (a person).
Ьdeferred payment payment by instalments. ЬЬdeferment n.
deferrable adj. deferral n. [ME, orig. the same as DIFFER]
defer(2) v.intr. (deferred, deferring) (foll. by to) yield or make
concessions in opinion or action. ЬЬdeferrer n. [ME f. F
d‚f‚rer f. L deferre (as DE-, ferre bring)]
deference n. 1 courteous regard, respect. 2 compliance with the advice
or wishes of another (pay deference to). Ьin deference to out
of respect for. [F d‚f‚rence (as DEFER(2))]
n. Med. the stopping of the fibrillation of the heart.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state or condition of being deficient. 2
(usu. foll. by of) a lack or shortage. 3 a thing lacking. 4
the amount by which a thing, esp. revenue, falls short.
Ьdeficiency disease a disease caused by the lack of some
essential or important element in the diet.
deficient adj. 1 (usu. foll. by in) incomplete; not having enough of a
specified quality or ingredient. 2 insufficient in quantity,
force, etc. 3 (in full mentally deficient) incapable of
adequate social or intellectual behaviour through imperfect
mental development. ЬЬdeficiently adv. [L deficiens part. of
deficere (as DEFECT)]
deficit n. 1 the amount by which a thing (esp. a sum of money) is too
small. 2 an excess of liabilities over assets in a given
period, esp. a financial year (opp. SURPLUS). Ьdeficit
financing financing of (esp. State) spending by borrowing.
deficit spending spending, esp. by the State, financed by
borrowing. [F d‚ficit f. L deficit 3rd sing. pres. of deficere
defier n. a person who defies.
defilade v. & n. --v.tr. secure (a fortification) against enfilading
fire. --n. this precaution or arrangement. [DEFILE(2) + -ADE]
defile(1) v.tr. 1 make dirty; pollute, befoul. 2 corrupt. 3 desecrate,
profane. 4 deprive (esp. a woman) of virginity. 5 make
ceremonially unclean. ЬЬdefilement n. defiler n. [ME defoul
f. OF defouler trample down, outrage (as DE-, fouler tread,
trample) altered after obs. befile f. OE befylan (BE-, ful
defile(2) n. & v. --n. also 1 a narrow way through which troops can only
march in file. 2 a gorge. --v.intr. march in file. [F d‚filer
and d‚fil‚ past part. (as DE-, FILE(2))]
define v.tr. 1 give the exact meaning of (a word etc.). 2 describe or
explain the scope of (define one's position). 3 make clear,
esp. in outline (well-defined image). 4 mark out the boundary
or limits of. 5 (of properties) make up the total character of.
ЬЬdefinable adj. definer n. [ME f. OF definer ult. f. L
definire (as DE-, finire finish, f. finis end)]
definite adj. 1 having exact and discernible limits. 2 clear and
distinct; not vague. °See the note at definitive. Ьdefinite
article see ARTICLE. definite integral see INTEGRAL.
ЬЬdefiniteness n. [L definitus past part. of definire (as
adv. & int. --adv. 1 in a definite manner. 2 certainly;
without doubt (they were definitely there). --int. colloq.
n. 1 a the act or process of defining. b a statement of the
meaning of a word or the nature of a thing. 2 a the degree of
distinctness in outline of an object or image (esp. of an image
produced by a lens or shown in a photograph or on a cinema or
television screen). b making or being distinct in outline. [ME
f. OF f. L definitio (as DEFINE)]
adj. 1 (of an answer, treaty, verdict, etc.) decisive,
unconditional, final. °Often confused in this sense with
definite, which does not have connotations of authority and
conclusiveness: a definite no is a firm refusal, whereas a
definitive no is an authoritative judgement or decision that
something is not the case. 2 (of an edition of a book etc.)
most authoritative. 3 Philately (of a series of stamps) for
permanent use, not commemorative etc. ЬЬdefinitively adv. [ME
f. OF definitif -ive f. L definitivus (as DEFINE)]
v.tr. & intr. burn away with sudden flame. ЬЬdeflagration n.
deflagrator n. [L deflagrare (as DE-, flagrare blaze)]
deflate v. 1 a tr. let air or gas out of (a tyre, balloon, etc.). b
intr. be emptied of air or gas. 2 a tr. cause to lose
confidence or conceit. b intr. lose confidence. 3 Econ. a tr.
subject (a currency or economy) to deflation. b intr. pursue a
policy of deflation. 4 tr. reduce the importance of,
depreciate. ЬЬdeflator n. [DE- + INFLATE]
deflation n. 1 the act or process of deflating or being deflated. 2
Econ. reduction of the amount of money in circulation to
increase its value as a measure against inflation. 3 Geol. the
removal of particles of rock etc. by the wind. ЬЬdeflationary
adj. deflationist n.
deflect v. 1 tr. & intr. bend or turn aside from a straight course or
intended purpose. 2 (often foll. by from) a tr. cause to
deviate. b intr. deviate. [L deflectere (as DE-, flectere
n. (also deflexion) 1 the act or process of deflecting or being
deflected. 2 a lateral bend or turn; a deviation. 3 Physics
the displacement of a pointer on an instrument from its zero
position. [LL deflexio (as DEFLECT)]
deflector n. a thing that deflects, esp. a device for deflecting a flow
of air etc.
n. deflowering. [ME f. OF or f. LL defloratio (as DEFLOWER)]
deflower v.tr. 1 deprive (esp. a woman) of virginity. 2 ravage, spoil.
3 strip of flowers. [ME f. OF deflourer, des-, ult. f. LL
deflorare (as DE-, L flos floris flower)]
defocus v.tr. & intr. (defocused, defocusing or defocussed,
defocussing) put or go out of focus.
defoliate v.tr. remove leaves from, esp. as a military tactic.
ЬЬdefoliant n. & adj. defoliation n. defoliator n. [LL
defoliare f. folium leaf]
deforest v.tr. clear of forests or trees. ЬЬdeforestation n.
deform v. 1 tr. make ugly, deface. 2 tr. put out of shape, misshape.
3 intr. undergo deformation; be deformed. ЬЬdeformable adj.
[ME f. OF deformer etc. f. med.L difformare ult. f. L deformare
(as DE-, formare f. forma shape)]
n. 1 disfigurement. 2 Physics a (often foll. by of) change in
shape. b a quantity representing the amount of this change. 3
a perverted form of a word (e.g. dang for damn).
ЬЬdeformational adj. [ME f. OF deformation or L deformatio (as
deformed adj. (of a person or limb) misshapen.
deformity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being deformed; ugliness,
disfigurement. 2 a malformation, esp. of body or limb. 3 a
moral defect; depravity. [ME f. OF deformit‚ etc. f. L
deformitas -tatis f. deformis (as DE-, forma shape)]
defraud v.tr. (often foll. by of) cheat by fraud. ЬЬdefrauder n. [ME
f. OF defrauder or L defraudare (as DE-, FRAUD)]
defray v.tr. provide money to pay (a cost or expense). ЬЬdefrayable
adj. defrayal n. defrayment n. [F d‚frayer (as DE-, obs.
frai(t) cost, f. med.L fredum, -us fine for breach of the
defrock v.tr. deprive (a person, esp. a priest) of ecclesiastical
status. [F d‚froquer (as DE-, FROCK)]
defrost v. 1 tr. a free (the interior of a refrigerator) of excess
frost, usu. by turning it off for a period. b remove frost or
ice from (esp. the windscreen of a motor vehicle). 2 tr.
unfreeze (frozen food). 3 intr. become unfrozen. ЬЬdefroster
deft adj. neatly skilful or dextrous; adroit. ЬЬdeftly adv.
deftness n. [ME, var. of DAFT in obs. sense 'meek']
defunct adj. 1 no longer existing. 2 no longer used or in fashion. 3
dead or extinct. ЬЬdefunctness n. [L defunctus dead, past
part. of defungi (as DE-, fungi perform)]
defuse v.tr. 1 remove the fuse from (an explosive device). 2 reduce
the tension or potential danger in (a crisis, difficulty, etc.).
defy v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 resist openly; refuse to obey. 2 (of a
thing) present insuperable obstacles to (defies solution). 3
(foll. by to + infin.) challenge (a person) to do or prove
something. 4 archaic challenge to combat. [ME f. OF defier f.
Rmc (as DIS-, L fidus faithful)]
deg. abbr. degree.
d‚gag‚ adj. (fem. d‚gag‚e) easy, unconstrained. [F, past part. of
d‚gager set free]
degas v.tr. (degassed, degassing) remove unwanted gas from.
degauss v.tr. neutralize the magnetism in (a thing) by encircling it
with a current-carrying conductor. ЬЬdegausser n. [DE- +
adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 having lost the qualities that are
normal and desirable or proper to its kind; fallen from former
excellence. 2 Biol. having changed to a lower type. --n. a
degenerate person or animal. --v.intr. become degenerate.
ЬЬdegeneracy n. degenerately adv. [L degeneratus past part. of
degenerare (as DE-, genus -eris race)]
n. 1 a the process of becoming degenerate. b the state of
being degenerate. 2 Med. morbid deterioration of tissue or
change in its structure. [ME f. F d‚g‚neration or f. LL
degeneratio (as DEGENERATE)]
adj. 1 of or tending to degeneration. 2 (of disease)
characterized by progressive often irreversible deterioration.
degrade v. 1 tr. reduce to a lower rank, esp. as a punishment. 2 tr.
bring into dishonour or contempt. 3 tr. Chem. reduce to a
simpler molecular structure. 4 tr. Physics reduce (energy) to
a less convertible form. 5 tr. Geol. wear down (rocks etc.) by
disintegration. 6 intr. degenerate. 7 intr. Chem.
disintegrate. ЬЬdegradable adj. degradation n. degradative
adj. degrader n. [ME f. OF degrader f. eccl.L degradare (as
DE-, L gradus step)]
degrading adj. humiliating; causing a loss of self-respect.
degrease v.tr. remove unwanted grease or fat from.
degree n. 1 a stage in an ascending or descending scale, series, or
process. 2 a stage in intensity or amount (to a high degree; in
some degree). 3 relative condition (each is good in its
degree). 4 Math. a unit of measurement of angles, one-ninetieth
of a right angle or the angle subtended by
one-three-hundred-and-sixtieth of the circumference of a circle.
°Symb.: ш (as in 45ш). 5 Physics a unit in a scale of
temperature, hardness, etc. °Abbr.: deg. (or omitted in the
Kelvin scale of temperature). 6 Med. an extent of burns on a
scale characterized by the destruction of the skin. 7 an
academic rank conferred by a college or university after
examination or after completion of a course, or conferred as an
honour on a distinguished person. 8 a grade of crime or
criminality (murder in the first degree). 9 a step in direct
genealogical descent. 10 social or official rank. 11 Math. the
highest power of unknowns or variables in an equation etc.
(equation of the third degree). 12 a masonic rank. 13 a thing
placed like a step in a series; a tier or row. 14 Mus. the
classification of a note by its position in the scale. Ьby
degrees a little at a time; gradually. degree of freedom 1
Physics the independent direction in which motion can occur. 2
Chem. the number of independent factors required to specify a
system at equilibrium. 3 Statistics the number of independent
values or quantities which can be assigned to a statistical
distribution. degrees of comparison see COMPARISON. forbidden
(or prohibited) degrees a number of degrees of descent too few
to allow of marriage between two related persons. to a degree
colloq. considerably. ЬЬdegreeless adj. [ME f. OF degr‚ f.
Rmc (as DE-, L gradus step)]
adj. 1 (of taxation) at successively lower rates on low
amounts. 2 reducing in amount. [L degredi (as DE-, gradi
de haut en bas
adv. in a condescending or superior manner. [F, = from above
dehisce v.intr. gape or burst open (esp. of a pod or seed-vessel or of
a cut or wound). ЬЬdehiscence n. dehiscent adj. [L dehiscere
(as DE-, hiscere incept. of hiare gape)]
dehorn v.tr. remove the horns from (an animal).
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 deprive of human characteristics. 2 make
impersonal or machine-like. ЬЬdehumanization n.
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) reduce the degree of humidity of; remove
moisture from (a gas, esp. air). ЬЬdehumidification n.
dehydrate v. 1 tr. a remove water from (esp. foods for preservation and
storage in bulk). b make dry, esp. make (the body) deficient in
water. c render lifeless or uninteresting. 2 intr. lose water.
ЬЬdehydration n. dehydrator n.
v.tr. Chem. remove a hydrogen atom or atoms from (a compound).
de-ice v.tr. 1 remove ice from. 2 prevent the formation of ice on.
de-icer n. a device or substance for de-icing, esp. a windscreen or ice
on an aircraft.
deicide n. 1 the killer of a god. 2 the killing of a god. [eccl.L
deicida f. L deus god + -CIDE]
deictic adj. & n. Philol. & Gram. --adj. pointing, demonstrative.
--n. a deictic word. [Gk deiktikos f. deiktos capable of proof
f. deiknumi show]
deify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 make a god of. 2 regard or worship as a
god. ЬЬdeification n. [ME f. OF deifier f. eccl.L deificare f.
deign v. 1 intr. (foll. by to + infin.) think fit, condescend. 2 tr.
(usu. with neg.) archaic condescend to give (an answer etc.).
[ME f. OF degnier, deigner, daigner f. L dignare, -ari deem
worthy f. dignus worthy]
adv. by the grace of God. [L]
v.tr. (also -ise) (usu. as deinstitutionalized adj.) remove
from an institution or from the effects of institutional life.
deionize v.tr. (also -ise) remove the ions or ionic constituents from
(water, air, etc.). ЬЬdeionization n. deionizer n.
deism n. belief in the existence of a supreme being arising from
reason rather than revelation (cf. THEISM). ЬЬdeist n.
deistic adj. deistical adj. [L deus god + -ISM]
deity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a god or goddess. 2 divine status, quality,
or nature. 3 (the Deity) the Creator, God. [ME f. OF deit‚ f.
eccl.L deitas -tatis transl. Gk theotes f. theos god]
d‚j… vu n. 1 Psychol. an illusory feeling of having already experienced
a present situation. 2 something tediously familiar. [F, =
deject v.tr. (usu. as dejected adj.) make sad or dispirited; depress.
ЬЬdejectedly adv. [ME f. L dejicere (DE-, jacere throw)]
dejection n. a dejected state; low spirits. [ME f. L dejectio (as
de jure adj. & adv. --adj. rightful. --adv. rightfully; by right. [L]
dekko n. (pl. -os) Brit. sl. a look or glance (took a quick
dekko). [Hindi dekho, imper. of dekhna look]
Del. abbr. Delaware.
delate v.tr. archaic 1 inform against; impeach (a person). 2 report
(an offence). ЬЬdelation n. delator n. [L delat- (as DE-,
lat- past part. stem of ferre carry)]
delay v. & n. --v. 1 tr. postpone; defer. 2 tr. make late (was
delayed at the traffic lights). 3 intr. loiter; be late (don't
delay!). --n. 1 the act or an instance of delaying; the
process of being delayed. 2 time lost by inaction or the
inability to proceed. 3 a hindrance. Ьdelayed-action (attrib.)
(esp. of a bomb, camera, etc.) operating some time after being
primed or set. delay line Electr. a device producing a desired
delay in the transmission of a signal. ЬЬdelayer n. [ME f. OF
delayer (v.), delai (n.), prob. f. des- DIS- + laier leave: see
dele v. & n. Printing --v.tr. (deled, deleing) delete or mark for
deletion (a letter, word, etc., struck out of a text). --n. a
sign marking something to be deleted; a deletion. [L, imper. of
delere: see DELETE]
adj. esp. literary. delightful, pleasant. ЬЬdelectability n.
delectably adv. [ME f. OF f. L delectabilis f. delectare
n. literary pleasure, enjoyment (sang for his delectation).
[ME f. OF (as DELECTABLE)]
delegacy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a system of delegating. 2 a an appointment as
a delegate. b a body of delegates; a delegation.
delegate n. & v. --n. 1 an elected representative sent to a conference.
2 a member of a committee. 3 a member of a deputation. --v.tr.
1 (often foll. by to) a commit (authority, power, etc.) to an
agent or deputy. b entrust (a task) to another person. 2 send
or authorize (a person) as a representative; depute.
ЬЬdelegable adj. [ME f. L delegatus (as DE-, legare depute)]
n. 1 a body of delegates; a deputation. 2 the act or process
of delegating or being delegated. [L delegatio (as DELEGATE)]
delete v.tr. remove or obliterate (written or printed matter), esp. by
striking out. ЬЬdeletion n. [L delere delet- efface]
adj. harmful (to the mind or body). ЬЬdeleteriously adv.
[med.L deleterius f. Gk deleterios noxious]
delft n. (also delftware) glazed, usu. blue and white, earthenware,
made in Delft in Holland.
deli n. (pl. delis) esp. US colloq. a delicatessen shop. [abbr.]
adj. & v. --adj. 1 a intentional (a deliberate foul). b fully
considered; not impulsive (made a deliberate choice). 2 slow in
deciding; cautious (a ponderous and deliberate mind). 3 (of
movement etc.) leisurely and unhurried. --v. 1 intr. think
carefully; take counsel (the jury deliberated for an hour). 2
tr. consider, discuss carefully (deliberated the question).
ЬЬdeliberately adv. deliberateness n. deliberator n. [L
deliberatus past part. of deliberare (as DE-, librare weigh f.
n. 1 careful consideration. 2 a the discussion of reasons for
and against. b a debate or discussion. 3 a caution and care.
b (of movement) slowness or ponderousness. [ME f. OF f. L
deliberatio -onis (as DELIBERATE)]
adj. of, or appointed for the purpose of, deliberation or
debate (a deliberative assembly). ЬЬdeliberatively adv.
deliberativeness n. [F d‚lib‚ratif -ive or L deliberativus (as
delicacy n. (pl. -ies) 1 (esp. in craftsmanship or artistic or natural
beauty) fineness or intricacy of structure or texture;
gracefulness. 2 susceptibility to injury or disease; weakness.
3 the quality of requiring discretion or sensitivity (a
situation of some delicacy). 4 a choice or expensive food. 5 a
consideration for the feelings of others. b avoidance of
immodesty or vulgarity. 6 (esp. in a person, a sense, or an
instrument) accuracy of perception; sensitiveness. [ME f.
DELICATE + -ACY]
delicate adj. 1 a fine in texture or structure; soft, slender, or
slight. b of exquisite quality or workmanship. c (of colour)
subtle or subdued; not bright. d subtle, hard to appreciate. 2
(of a person) easily injured; susceptible to illness. 3 a
requiring careful handling; tricky (a delicate situation). b
(of an instrument) highly sensitive. 4 deft (a delicate touch).
5 (of a person) avoiding the immodest or offensive. 6 (esp. of
actions) considerate. 7 (of food) dainty; suitable for an
invalid. Ьin a delicate condition archaic pregnant.
ЬЬdelicately adv. delicateness n. [ME f. OF delicat or L
delicatus, of unkn. orig.]
n. 1 a shop selling cooked meats, cheeses, and unusual or
foreign prepared foods. 2 (often attrib.) such foods
collectively (a delicatessen counter). [G Delikatessen or Du.
delicatessen f. F d‚licatesse f. d‚licat (as DELICATE)]
delicious adj. 1 highly delightful and enjoyable to the taste or sense of
smell. 2 (of a joke etc.) very witty. ЬЬdeliciously adv.
deliciousness n. [ME f. OF f. LL deliciosus f. L deliciae
delict n. archaic a violation of the law; an offence. [L delictum
neut. past part. of delinquere offend (as DE-, linquere leave)]
delight v. & n. --v. 1 tr. (often foll. by with) please greatly (the
gift delighted them; was delighted that you won; delighted with
the result). 2 intr. (often foll. by in, or to + infin.) take
great pleasure; be highly pleased (delighted in her success; was
delighted to help). --n. 1 great pleasure. 2 something giving
pleasure (her singing is a delight). ЬЬdelighted adj.
delightedly adv. [ME f. OF delitier, delit, f. L delectare
frequent. of delicere: alt. after light etc.]
adj. causing great delight; pleasant, charming. ЬЬdelightfully
adv. delightfulness n.
Delilah n. a seductive and wily temptress. [Delilah, betrayer of
Samson (Judges 16)]
delimit v.tr. (delimited, delimiting) 1 determine the limits of. 2 fix
the territorial boundary of. ЬЬdelimitation n. [F d‚limiter f.
L delimitare (as DE-, limitare f. limes -itis boundary)]
v.tr. = DELIMIT.
delineate v.tr. portray by drawing etc. or in words (delineated her
character). ЬЬdelineation n. delineator n. [L delineare
delineat- (as DE-, lineare f. linea line)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a crime, usu. not of a serious kind; a
misdeed. b minor crime in general, esp. that of young people
(juvenile delinquency). 2 wickedness (moral delinquency; an act
of delinquency). 3 neglect of one's duty. [eccl. L
delinquentia f. L delinquens part. of delinquere (as DELICT)]
n. & adj. --n. an offender (juvenile delinquent). --adj. 1
guilty of a minor crime or a misdeed. 2 failing in one's duty.
3 US in arrears. ЬЬdelinquently adv.
v.intr. 1 become liquid, melt. 2 Chem. dissolve in water
absorbed from the air. ЬЬdeliquescence n. deliquescent adj.
[L deliquescere (as DE-, liquescere incept. of liquere be
delirious adj. 1 affected with delirium; temporarily or apparently mad;
raving. 2 wildly excited, ecstatic. 3 (of behaviour) betraying
delirium or ecstasy. ЬЬdeliriously adv.
delirium n. 1 an acutely disordered state of mind involving incoherent
speech, hallucinations, and frenzied excitement, occurring in
metabolic disorders, intoxication, fever, etc. 2 great
excitement, ecstasy. Ьdelirium tremens a psychosis of chronic
alcoholism involving tremors and hallucinations. [L f.
delirare be deranged (as DE-, lira ridge between furrows)]
deliver v.tr. 1 a distribute (letters, parcels, ordered goods, etc.) to
the addressee or the purchaser. b (often foll. by to) hand over
(delivered the boy safely to his teacher). 2 (often foll. by
from) save, rescue, or set free (delivered him from his
enemies). 3 a give birth to (delivered a girl). b (in passive;
often foll. by of) give birth (was delivered of a child). c
assist at the birth of (delivered six babies that week). d
assist in giving birth (delivered the patient successfully). 4
a (often refl.) utter or recite (an opinion, a speech, etc.)
(delivered himself of the observation; delivered the sermon
well). b (of a judge) pronounce (a judgement). 5 (often foll.
by up, over) abandon; resign; hand over (delivered his soul up
to God). 6 present or render (an account). 7 launch or aim (a
blow, a ball, or an attack). 8 Law hand over formally (esp. a
sealed deed to a grantee). 9 colloq. = deliver the goods. 10
US cause (voters etc.) to support a candidate. Ьdeliver the
goods colloq. carry out one's part of an agreement.
ЬЬdeliverable adj. deliverer n. [ME f. OF delivrer f.
Gallo-Roman (as DE-, LIBERATE)]
n. 1 a the act or an instance of rescuing; the process of being
rescued. b a rescue. 2 a formally expressed opinion. [ME f.
OF delivrance (as DELIVER)]
delivery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the delivering of letters etc. b a regular
distribution of letters etc. (two deliveries a day). c
something delivered. 2 a the process of childbirth. b an act
of this. 3 deliverance. 4 a an act of throwing, esp. of a
cricket ball. b the style of such an act (a good delivery). 5
the act of giving or surrendering (delivery of the town to the
enemy). 6 a the uttering of a speech etc. b the manner or
style of such a delivery (a measured delivery). 7 Law a the
formal handing over of property. b the transfer of a deed to a
grantee or a third party. Ьtake delivery of receive (something
purchased). [ME f. AF delivree fem. past part. of delivrer (as
dell n. a small usu. wooded hollow or valley. [OE f. Gmc]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to the Academy della Crusca
in Florence, concerned with the purity of Italian. 2 of or
concerning a late 18th-c. school of English poets with an
artificial style. --n. a member of the Academy della Crusca or
the late 18th-c. school of English poets. [It. (Accademia)
della Crusca (Academy) of the bran (with ref. to sifting)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 a detach or remove (a thing) from its
place. b not limit to a particular location. 2 (as delocalized
adj.) Chem. (of electrons) shared among more than two atoms in a
molecule. ЬЬdelocalization n.
delouse v.tr. rid (a person or animal) of lice.
Delphic adj. (also Delphian) 1 (of an utterance, prophecy, etc.)
obscure, ambiguous, or enigmatic. 2 of or concerning the
ancient Greek oracle at Delphi.
n. any ranunculaceous garden plant of the genus Delphinium,
with tall spikes of usu. blue flowers. [mod.L f. Gk delphinion
larkspur f. delphin dolphin]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the family that includes dolphins,
porpoises, grampuses, etc. 2 dolphin-like. --n. 1 a member of
the delphinoid family of aquatic mammals. 2 a dolphin-like
animal. [Gk delphinoeides f. delphin dolphin]
delta n. 1 a triangular tract of deposited earth, alluvium, etc., at
the mouth of a river, formed by its diverging outlets. 2 a the
fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. b a fourth-class mark
given for a piece of work or in an examination. 3 Astron. the
fourth star in a constellation. 4 Math. an increment of a
variable. Ьdelta connection Electr. a triangular arrangement
of three-phase windings with circuit wire from each angle.
delta rays Physics rays of low penetrative power consisting of
slow electrons ejected from an atom by the impact of ionizing
radiation. delta rhythm (or wave) low-frequency electrical
activity of the brain during sleep. delta wing the triangular
swept-back wing of an aircraft. ЬЬdeltaic adj. [ME f. Gk f.
n. the collecting and study of postcards. ЬЬdeltiologist n.
[Gk deltion dimin. of deltos writing-tablet + -LOGY]
deltoid adj. & n. --adj. triangular; like a river delta. --n. (in full
deltoid muscle) a thick triangular muscle covering the shoulder
joint and used for raising the arm away from the body. [F
delto‹de or mod.L deltoides f. Gk deltoeides (as DELTA, -OID)]
delude v.tr. deceive or mislead (deluded by false optimism).
ЬЬdeluder n. [ME f. L deludere mock (as DE-, ludere lus- play)]
deluge n. & v. --n. 1 a great flood. 2 (the Deluge) the biblical
Flood (Gen. 6-8). 3 a great outpouring (of words, paper, etc.).
4 a heavy fall of rain. --v.tr. 1 flood. 2 inundate with a
great number or amount (deluged with complaints). [ME f. OF f.
L diluvium, rel. to lavare wash]
delusion n. 1 a false belief or impression. 2 Psychol. this as a
symptom or form of mental disorder. Ьdelusions of grandeur a
false idea of oneself as being important, noble, famous, etc.
ЬЬdelusional adj. [ME f. LL delusio (as DELUDE)]
delusive adj. 1 deceptive or unreal. 2 disappointing. ЬЬdelusively
adv. delusiveness n.
delustre v.tr. (US deluster) remove the lustre from (a textile).
de luxe adj. 1 luxurious or sumptuous. 2 of a superior kind. [F, = of
delve v. 1 intr. (often foll. by in, into) a search energetically
(delved into his pocket). b make a laborious search in
documents etc.; research (delved into his family history). 2
tr. & intr. poet. dig. ЬЬdelver n. [OE delfan f. WG]
Dem. abbr. US Democrat.
v.tr. (also -ise) remove the magnetic properties of.
ЬЬdemagnetization n. demagnetizer n.
demagogue n. (US -gog) 1 a political agitator appealing to the basest
instincts of a mob. 2 hist. a leader of the people, esp. in
ancient times. ЬЬdemagogic adj. demagoguery n. demagogy n.
[Gk demagogos f. demos the people + agogos leading]
demand n. & v. --n. 1 an insistent and peremptory request, made as of
right. 2 Econ. the desire of purchasers or consumers for a
commodity (no demand for solid tyres these days). 3 an urgent
claim (care of her mother makes demands on her). --v.tr. 1
(often foll. by of, from, or to + infin., or that + clause) ask
for (something) insistently and urgently, as of right (demanded
to know; demanded five pounds from him; demanded that his wife
be present). 2 require or need (a task demanding skill). 3
insist on being told (demanded her business). 4 (as demanding
adj.) making demands; requiring skill, effort, etc. (a demanding
but worthwhile job). Ьdemand feeding the practice of feeding a
baby when it cries for a feed rather than at set times. demand
note 1 a written request for payment. 2 US a bill payable at
sight. demand pull Econ. available money as a factor causing
economic inflation. in demand sought after. on demand as soon
as a demand is made (a cheque payable on demand). ЬЬdemandable
adj. demander n. demandingly adv. [ME f. OF demande (n.),
demander (v.) f. L demandare entrust (as DE-, mandare order: see
demantoid n. a lustrous green garnet. [G]
n. 1 the act of marking a boundary or limits. 2 the
trade-union practice of strictly assigning specific jobs to
different unions. Ьdemarcation dispute an inter-union dispute
about who does a particular job. ЬЬdemarcate v.tr. demarcator
n. [Sp. demarcaciўn f. demarcar mark the bounds of (as DE-,
d‚marche n. a political step or initiative. [F f. d‚marcher take steps
(as DE-, MARCH(1))]
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) make or become non-material or
spiritual (esp. of psychic phenomena etc.). ЬЬdematerialization
deme n. 1 a a political division of Attica in ancient Greece. b an
administrative division in modern Greece. 2 Biol. a local
population of closely related plants or animals. [Gk demos the
demean(1) v.tr. (usu. refl.) lower the dignity of (would not demean
myself to take it). [DE- + MEAN(2), after debase]
demean(2) v.refl. (with adv.) behave (demeaned himself well). [ME f. OF
demener f. Rmc (as DE-, L minare drive animals f. minari
demeanour n. (US demeanor) outward behaviour or bearing. [DEMEAN(2),
prob. after obs. havour behaviour]
dement n. archaic a demented person. [orig. adj. f. F d‚ment or L
demens (as DEMENTED)]
demented adj. mad; crazy. ЬЬdementedly adv. dementedness n. [past
part. of dement verb f. OF dementer or f. LL dementare f.
demens out of one's mind (as DE-, mens mentis mind)]
d‚menti n. an official denial of a rumour etc. [F f. d‚mentir accuse
dementia n. Med. a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental
processes marked by memory disorders, personality changes,
impaired reasoning, etc., due to brain disease or injury.
Ьdementia praecox schizophrenia. [L f. demens (as DEMENTED)]
demerara n. light-brown cane sugar coming orig. and chiefly from
Demerara. [Demerara in Guyana]
demerit n. 1 a quality or action deserving blame; a fault. 2 US a mark
given to an offender. ЬЬdemeritorious adj. [ME f. OF
de(s)merite or L demeritum neut. past part. of demereri deserve]
demersal adj. (of a fish etc.) being or living near the sea-bottom (cf.
PELAGIC). [L demersus past part. of demergere (as DE-, mergere
demesne n. 1 a a sovereign's or State's territory; a domain. b land
attached to a mansion etc. c landed property; an estate. 2
(usu. foll. by of) a region or sphere. 3 Law hist. possession
(of real property) as one's own. Ьheld in demesne (of an
estate) occupied by the owner, not by tenants. [ME f. AF, OF
demeine (later AF demesne) belonging to a lord f. L dominicus
demi- prefix 1 half; half-size. 2 partially or imperfectly such
(demigod). [ME f. F f. med.L dimedius half, for L dimidius]
demigod n. (fem. -goddess) 1 a a partly divine being. b the offspring
of a god or goddess and a mortal. 2 colloq. a person of
compelling beauty, powers, or personality.
demijohn n. a bulbous narrow-necked bottle holding from 3 to 10 gallons
and usu. in a wicker cover. [prob. corrupt. of F dame-jeanne
Lady Jane, assim. to DEMI- + the name John]
v.tr. (also -ise) remove a military organization or forces from
(a frontier, a zone, etc.). ЬЬdemilitarization n.
n. a woman of a demi-monde.
n. 1 a hist. a class of women in 19th-c. France considered to
be of doubtful social standing and morality. b a similar class
of women in any society. 2 any group considered to be on the
fringes of respectable society. [F, = half-world]
v.tr. (also -ise) remove salts from (sea water etc.).
n. hotel accommodation with bed, breakfast, and one main meal
per day. [F (as DEMI-, PENSION(2))]
demirep n. archaic a woman of doubtful sexual reputation. [abbr. of
demise n. & v. --n. 1 death (left a will on her demise; the demise of
the agreement). 2 Law conveyance or transfer (of property, a
title, etc.) by demising. --v.tr. Law 1 convey or grant (an
estate) by will or lease. 2 transmit (a title etc.) by death.
[AF use of past part. of OF de(s)mettre DISMISS, in refl.
n. Mus. a note having the time value of half a semiquaver and
represented by a large dot with a three-hooked stem. Also called
demist v.tr. clear mist from (a windscreen etc.). ЬЬdemister n.
demit v.tr. (demitted, demitting) (often absol.) resign or abdicate
(an office etc.). ЬЬdemission n. [F d‚mettre f. L demittere
(as DE-, mittere miss- send)]
demitasse n. 1 a small coffee-cup. 2 its contents. [F, = half-cup]
demiurge n. 1 (in the philosophy of Plato) the creator of the universe.
2 (in Gnosticism etc.) a heavenly being subordinate to the
Supreme Being. ЬЬdemiurgic adj. [eccl.L f. Gk demiourgos
craftsman f. demios public f. demos people + -ergos working]
demo n. (pl. -os) colloq. = DEMONSTRATION 2, 3. [abbr.]
demob v. & n. Brit. colloq. --v.tr. (demobbed, demobbing)
demobilize. --n. demobilization. [abbr.]
democracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a system of government by the whole
population, usu. through elected representatives. b a State so
governed. c any organization governed on democratic principles.
2 a classless and tolerant form of society. 3 US a the
principles of the Democratic Party. b its members. [F
d‚mocratie f. LL democratia f. Gk demokratia f. demos the
people + -CRACY]
democrat n. 1 an advocate of democracy. 2 (Democrat) (in the US) a
member of the Democratic Party. ЬЬdemocratism n. [F d‚mocrate
(as DEMOCRACY), after aristocrate]
adj. 1 of, like, practising, advocating, or constituting
democracy or a democracy. 2 favouring social equality.
Ьdemocratic centralism an organizational system in which policy
is decided centrally and is binding on all members. Democratic
Party one of the two main US political parties, considered to
support social reform and international commitment (cf.
Republican Party). ЬЬdemocratically adv. [F d‚mocratique f.
med.L democraticus f. Gk demokratikos f. demokratia DEMOCRACY]
v.tr. (also -ise) make (a State, institution, etc.) democratic.
d‚mod‚ adj. out of fashion. [F, past part. of d‚moder (as DE-, mode
v.tr. Physics extract (a modulating signal) from its carrier.
ЬЬdemodulation n. demodulator n.
n. the study of the statistics of births, deaths, disease,
etc., as illustrating the conditions of life in communities.
ЬЬdemographer n. demographic adj. demographical adj.
demographically adv. [Gk demos the people + -GRAPHY]
n. 1 Zool. a small crane, Anthropoides virgo, native to Asia
and N. Africa. 2 a a damselfly. b a damselfish. 3 archaic a
young woman. [F, = DAMSEL]
demolish v.tr. 1 a pull down (a building). b completely destroy or
break. 2 overthrow (an institution). 3 refute (an argument,
theory, etc.). 4 joc. eat up completely and quickly.
ЬЬdemolisher n. demolition n. demolitionist n. [F d‚molir f.
L demoliri (as DE-, moliri molit- construct f. moles mass)]
demon n. 1 a an evil spirit or devil, esp. one thought to possess a
person. b the personification of evil passion. 2 a malignant
supernatural being; the Devil. 3 (often attrib.) a forceful,
fierce, or skilful performer (a demon on the tennis court; a
demon player). 4 a cruel or destructive person. 5 (also
daemon) a an inner or attendant spirit; a genius (the demon of
creativity). b a supernatural being in ancient Greece. Ьdemon
bowler Cricket a very fast bowler. a demon for work colloq. a
person who works strenuously. [ME f. med.L demon f. L daemon f.
Gk daimon deity]
v.tr. (also -ise) withdraw (a coin etc.) from use as money.
ЬЬdemonetization n. [F d‚mon‚tiser (as DE-, L moneta MONEY)]
demoniac adj. & n. --adj. 1 fiercely energetic or frenzied. 2 a
supposedly possessed by an evil spirit. b of or concerning such
possession. 3 of or like demons. --n. a person possessed by an
evil spirit. ЬЬdemoniacal adj. demoniacally adv. [ME f. OF
demoniaque f. eccl.L daemoniacus f. daemonium f. Gk daimonion
dimin. of daimon: see DEMON)]
demonic adj. (also daemonic) 1 = DEMONIAC. 2 having or seeming to have
supernatural genius or power. [LL daemonicus f. Gk daimonikos
demonism n. belief in the power of demons.
demonize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make into or like a demon. 2 represent as
n. the worship of demons.
n. the study of demons etc. ЬЬdemonologist n.
adj. capable of being shown or logically proved.
ЬЬdemonstrability n. demonstrably adv. [ME f. L demonstrabilis
v. 1 tr. show evidence of (feelings etc.). 2 tr. describe and
explain (a scientific proposition, machine, etc.) by
experiment, practical use, etc. 3 tr. a logically prove the
truth of. b be proof of the existence of. 4 intr. take part in
or organize a public demonstration. 5 intr. act as a
demonstrator. [L demonstrare (as DE-, monstrare show)]
n. 1 (foll. by of) a the outward showing of feeling etc. b an
instance of this. 2 a public meeting, march, etc., for a
political or moral purpose. 3 a the exhibiting or explaining of
specimens or experiments as a method of esp. scientific
teaching. b an instance of this. 4 proof provided by logic,
argument, etc. 5 Mil. a show of military force.
ЬЬdemonstrational adj. [ME f. OF demonstration or L
demonstratio (as DEMONSTRATE)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 given to or marked by an open expression of
feeling, esp. of affection (a very demonstrative person). 2
(usu. foll. by of) logically conclusive; giving proof (the work
is demonstrative of their skill). 3 a serving to point out or
exhibit. b involving esp. scientific demonstration
(demonstrative technique). 4 Gram. (of an adjective or pronoun)
indicating the person or thing referred to (e.g. this, that,
those). --n. Gram. a demonstrative adjective or pronoun.
ЬЬdemonstratively adv. demonstrativeness n. [ME f. OF
demonstratif -ive f. L demonstrativus (as DEMONSTRATION)]
n. 1 a person who takes part in a political demonstration etc.
2 a person who demonstrates, esp. machines, equipment, etc., to
prospective customers. 3 a person who teaches by demonstration,
esp. in a laboratory etc. [L (as DEMONSTRATE)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 destroy (a person's) morale; make hopeless.
2 archaic corrupt (a person's) morals. ЬЬdemoralization n.
demoralizing adj. demoralizingly adv. [F d‚moraliser (as DE-,
demote v.tr. reduce to a lower rank or class. ЬЬdemotion n. [DE- +
demotic n. & adj. --n. 1 the popular colloquial form of a language. 2
a popular simplified form of ancient Egyptian writing (cf.
HIERATIC). --adj. 1 (esp. of language) popular, colloquial, or
vulgar. 2 of or concerning the ancient Egyptian or modern Greek
demotic. [Gk demotikos f. demotes one of the people (demos)]
v.tr. (also absol.) cause to lose motivation; discourage.
demount v.tr. 1 take (apparatus, a gun, etc.) from its mounting. 2
dismantle for later reassembly. ЬЬdemountable adj. & n. [F
d‚monter: cf. DISMOUNT]
demulcent adj. & n. --adj. soothing. --n. an agent that forms a
protective film soothing irritation or inflammation in the
mouth. [L demulcere (as DE-, mulcere soothe)]
demur v. & n. --v.intr. (demurred, demurring) 1 (often foll. by to,
at) raise scruples or objections. 2 Law put in a demurrer.
--n. (also demurral) (usu. in neg.) 1 an objection (agreed
without demur). 2 the act or process of objecting. ЬЬdemurrant
n. (in sense 2 of v.). [ME f. OF demeure (n.), demeurer (v.) f.
Rmc (as DE-, L morari delay)]
demure adj. (demurer, demurest) 1 composed, quiet, and reserved;
modest. 2 affectedly shy and quiet; coy. 3 decorous (a demure
high collar). ЬЬdemurely adv. demureness n. [ME, perh. f. AF
demur‚ f. OF demor‚ past part. of demorer remain, stay (as
DEMUR): infl. by OF meЃr f. L maturus ripe]
adj. esp. Law open to objection.
demurrage n. 1 a a rate or amount payable to a shipowner by a charterer
for failure to load or discharge a ship within the time agreed.
b a similar charge on railway trucks or goods. 2 such a
detention or delay. [OF demo(u)rage f. demorer (as DEMUR)]
demurrer n. Law an objection raised or exception taken. [AF (infin. as
noun), = DEMUR]
demy n. Printing a size of paper, 564 x 444 mm. [ME, var. of DEMI-]
demystify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 clarify (obscure beliefs or subjects
etc.). 2 reduce or remove the irrationality in (a person).
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 remove mythical elements from (a legend,
famous person's life, etc.). 2 reinterpret what some consider
to be the mythological elements in (the Bible).
den n. 1 a wild animal's lair. 2 a place of crime or vice (den of
iniquity; opium den). 3 a small private room for pursuing a
hobby etc. [OE denn f. Gmc, rel. to DEAN(2)]
denarius n. (pl. denarii) an ancient Roman silver coin. [L, = (coin)
of ten asses (as DENARY: see AS(2))]
denary adj. of ten; decimal. Ьdenary scale = decimal scale. [L
denarius containing ten (deni by tens)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 transfer (a nationalized industry or
institution etc.) from public to private ownership. 2 a deprive
(a nation) of its status or characteristics as a nation. b
deprive (a person) of nationality or national characteristics.
ЬЬdenationalization n. [F d‚nationaliser (as DE-, NATIONAL)]
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 change the nature or properties of; make
unnatural. 2 deprive of the rights of citizenship. 3 =
DENATURE v. 1. ЬЬdenaturalization n.
denature v.tr. 1 change the properties of (a protein etc.) by heat,
acidity, etc. 2 make (alcohol) unfit for drinking esp. by the
addition of another substance. ЬЬdenaturant n. denaturation n.
[F d‚naturer (as DE-, NATURE)]
dendrite n. 1 a a stone or mineral with natural treelike or mosslike
markings. b such marks on stones or minerals. 2 Chem. a
crystal with branching treelike growth. 3 Zool. & Anat. a
branching process of a nerve-cell conducting signals to a cell
body. [F f. Gk dendrites (adj.) f. dendron tree]
dendritic adj. 1 of or like a dendrite. 2 treelike in shape or markings.
n. 1 a system of dating using the characteristic patterns of
annual growth rings of trees to assign dates to timber. 2 the
study of these growth rings. ЬЬdendrochronological adj.
dendrochronologist n. [Gk dendron tree + CHRONOLOGY]
n. the scientific study of trees. ЬЬdendrological adj.
dendrologist n. [Gk dendron tree + -LOGY]
dene(1) n. (also dean) Brit. 1 a narrow wooded valley. 2 a vale (esp.
as the ending of place-names). [OE denu, rel. to DEN]
dene(2) n. Brit. a bare sandy tract, or a low sand-hill, by the sea.
[orig. unkn.: cf. DUNE]
dengue n. an infectious viral disease of the tropics causing a fever
and acute pains in the joints. [W. Ind. Sp., f. Swahili denga,
dinga, with assim. to Sp. dengue fastidiousness, with ref. to
the stiffness of the patient's neck and shoulders]
deniable adj. that may be denied.
denial n. 1 the act or an instance of denying. 2 a refusal of a
request or wish. 3 a statement that a thing is not true; a
rejection (denial of the accusation). 4 a disavowal of a person
as one's leader etc. 5 = SELF-DENIAL.
denier n. a unit of weight by which the fineness of silk, rayon, or
nylon yarn is measured. [orig. the name of a small coin: ME f.
OF f. L denarius]
denigrate v.tr. defame or disparage the reputation of (a person);
blacken. ЬЬdenigration n. denigrator n. denigratory adj. [L
denigrare (as DE-, nigrare f. niger black)]
denim n. 1 (often attrib.) a usu. blue hard-wearing cotton twill
fabric used for jeans, overalls, etc. (a denim skirt). 2 (in
pl.) colloq. jeans, overalls, etc. made of this. [for serge de
Nim f. NЊmes in S. France]
denitrify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) remove the nitrates or nitrites from (soil
etc.). ЬЬdenitrification n.
denizen n. 1 a foreigner admitted to certain rights in his or her
adopted country. 2 a naturalized foreign word, animal, or
plant. 3 (usu. foll. by of) poet. an inhabitant or occupant.
ЬЬdenizenship n. [ME f. AF deinzein f. OF deinz within f. L de
from + intus within + -ein f. L -aneus: see -ANEOUS]
v.tr. 1 give a name to. 2 call or describe (a person or thing)
as. [L denominare (as DE-, NOMINATE)]
n. 1 a Church or religious sect. 2 a class of units within a
range or sequence of numbers, weights, money, etc. (money of
small denominations). 3 a a name or designation, esp. a
characteristic or class name. b a class or kind having a
specific name. 4 the rank of a playing-card within a suit, or
of a suit relative to others. Ьdenominational education
education according to the principles of a Church or sect.
ЬЬdenominational adj. [ME f. OF denomination or L denominatio
adj. serving as or giving a name. [LL denominativus (as
n. Math. the number below the line in a vulgar fraction; a
divisor. Ьcommon denominator 1 a common multiple of the
denominators of several fractions. 2 a common feature of
members of a group. least (or lowest) common denominator the
lowest common multiple as above. [F d‚nominateur or med.L
denominator (as DE-, NOMINATE)]
de nos jours
adj. (placed after noun) of the present time. [F, = of our
denote v.tr. 1 be a sign of; indicate (the arrow denotes direction).
2 (usu. foll. by that + clause) mean, convey. 3 stand as a name
for; signify. ЬЬdenotation n. denotative adj. [F d‚noter or
f. L denotare (as DE-, notare mark f. nota NOTE)]
n. (also d‚nouement) 1 the final unravelling of a plot or
complicated situation. 2 the final scene in a play, novel,
etc., in which the plot is resolved. [F d‚nouement f. d‚nouer
unknot (as DE-, L nodare f. nodus knot)]
denounce v.tr. 1 accuse publicly; condemn (denounced him as a traitor).
2 inform against (denounced her to the police). 3 give notice
of the termination of (an armistice, treaty, etc.).
ЬЬdenouncement n. denouncer n. [ME f. OF denoncier f. L
denuntiare (as DE-, nuntiare make known f. nuntius messenger)]
adv. starting again; anew. [F]
de novo adv. starting again; anew. [L]
dense adj. 1 closely compacted in substance; thick (dense fog). 2
crowded together (the population is less dense on the
outskirts). 3 colloq. stupid. ЬЬdensely adv. denseness n. [F
dense or L densus]
n. an instrument for measuring the photographic density of an
image on a film or photographic print.
density n. (pl. -ies) 1 the degree of compactness of a substance. 2
Physics degree of consistency measured by the quantity of mass
per unit volume. 3 the opacity of a photographic image. 4 a
crowded state. 5 stupidity. [F densit‚ or L densitas (as
dent n. & v. --n. 1 a slight mark or hollow in a surface made by,
or as if by, a blow with a hammer etc. 2 a noticeable effect
(lunch made a dent in our funds). --v.tr. 1 mark with a dent.
2 have (esp. an adverse) effect on (the news dented our hopes).
[ME, prob. f INDENT(1)]
dental adj. 1 of the teeth; of or relating to dentistry. 2 Phonet.
(of a consonant) produced with the tongue-tip against the upper
front teeth (as th) or the ridge of the teeth (as n, s, t).
Ьdental floss a thread of floss silk etc. used to clean between
the teeth. dental mechanic a person who makes and repairs
artificial teeth. dental surgeon a dentist. ЬЬdentalize v.tr.
(also -ise). [LL dentalis f. L dens dentis tooth]
dentalium n. (pl. dentalia) 1 any marine mollusc of the genus Dentalium,
having a conical foot protruding from a tusklike shell. 2 this
shell used as an ornament or as a form of currency. [mod.L f.
LL dentalis: see DENTAL]
dentate adj. Bot. & Zool. toothed; with toothlike notches; serrated.
[L dentatus f. dens dentis tooth]
denticle n. Zool. a small tooth or toothlike projection, scale, etc.
ЬЬdenticulate adj. [ME f. L denticulus dimin. of dens dentis
n. a paste or powder for cleaning the teeth. [F f. L
dentifricium f. dens dentis tooth + fricare rub]
dentil n. Archit. each of a series of small rectangular blocks as a
decoration under the moulding of a cornice in classical
architecture. [obs. F dentille dimin. of dent tooth f. L dens
adj. Phonet. formed by the teeth and the tongue.
dentine n. (US dentin) a hard dense bony tissue forming the bulk of a
tooth. ЬЬdentinal adj. [L dens dentis tooth + -INE(4)]
dentist n. a person who is qualified to treat the diseases and
conditions that affect the mouth, jaws, teeth, and their
supporting tissues, esp. the repair and extraction of teeth and
the insertion of artificial ones. ЬЬdentistry n. [F dentiste
f. dent tooth]
dentition n. 1 the type, number, and arrangement of teeth in a species
etc. 2 the cutting of teeth; teething. [L dentitio f. dentire
denture n. a removable artificial replacement for one or more teeth
carried on a removable plate or frame. [F f. dent tooth]
v.tr. (also -ise) remove nuclear armaments from (a country
etc.). ЬЬdenuclearization n.
denude v.tr. 1 make naked or bare. 2 (foll. by of) a strip of
clothing, a covering, etc. b deprive of a possession or
attribute. 3 Geol. lay (rock or a formation etc.) bare by
removing what lies above. ЬЬdenudation n. denudative adj. [L
denudare (as DE-, nudus naked)]
adj. Math. countable by correspondence with the infinite set
of integers. ЬЬdenumerability n. denumerably adv. [LL
denumerare (as DE-, numerare NUMBER)]
n. 1 the act of denouncing (a person, policy, etc.); public
condemnation. 2 an instance of this. ЬЬdenunciate v.tr.
denunciative adj. denunciator n. denunciatory adj. [F
d‚nonciation or L denunciatio (as DENOUNCE)]
deny v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 declare untrue or non-existent (denied the
charge; denied that it is so; denied having lied). 2 repudiate
or disclaim (denied his faith; denied his signature). 3 (often
foll. by to) refuse (a person or thing, or something to a
person) (this was denied to me; denied him the satisfaction). 4
refuse access to (a person sought) (denied him his son). Ьdeny
oneself be abstinent. ЬЬdenier n. [ME f. OF denier f. L
denegare (as DE-, negare say no)]
deoch an doris
n. (also doch an dorris) Sc. & Ir. a drink taken at parting; a
stirrup-cup. [Gael. deoch an doruis drink at the door]
deodar n. the Himalayan cedar Cedrus deodara, the tallest of the cedar
family, with drooping branches bearing large barrel-shaped
cones. [Hindi de' odar f. Skr. deva-daru divine tree]
deodorant n. (often attrib.) a substance sprayed or rubbed on to the body
or sprayed into the air to remove or conceal unpleasant smells
(a roll-on deodorant; has a deodorant effect). [as DEODORIZE +
deodorize v.tr. (also -ise) remove or destroy the (usu. unpleasant) smell
of. ЬЬdeodorization n. deodorizer n. [DE- + L odor smell]
int. thanks be to God. [L, = (we give) thanks to God]
deontic adj. Philos. of or relating to duty and obligation as ethical
concepts. [Gk deont- part. stem of dei it is right]
n. Philos. the study of duty. ЬЬdeontological adj.
adv. God willing; if nothing prevents it. [L]
v.tr. remove oxygen, esp. free oxygen, from. ЬЬdeoxygenation
n. see DNA. [DE- + OXYGEN + RIBONUCLEIC (ACID)]
dep. abbr. 1 departs. 2 deputy.
depart v. 1 intr. a (usu. foll. by from) go away; leave (the train
departs from this platform). b (usu. foll. by for) start; set
out (trains depart for Crewe every hour). 2 intr. (usu. foll.
by from) diverge; deviate (departs from standard practice). 3 a
intr. leave by death; die. b tr. formal or literary leave by
death (departed this life). [ME f. OF departir ult. f. L
departed adj. & n. --adj. bygone (departed greatness). --n. (prec. by
the) euphem. a particular dead person or dead people (we are
here to mourn the departed).
n. 1 a separate part of a complex whole, esp.: a a branch of
municipal or State administration (Housing Department;
Department of Social Security). b a branch of study and its
administration at a university, school, etc. (the physics
department). c a specialized section of a large store (hardware
department). 2 colloq. an area of special expertise. 3 an
administrative district in France and other countries.
Ьdepartment store a large shop stocking many varieties of goods
in different departments. [F d‚partement (as DEPART)]
adj. of or belonging to a department. Ьdepartmental store =
department store. ЬЬdepartmentalism n. departmentalize v.tr.
(also -ise). departmentalization n. departmentally adv.
departure n. 1 the act or an instance of departing. 2 (often foll. by
from) a deviation (from the truth, a standard, etc.). 3 (often
attrib.) the starting of a train, an aircraft, etc. (the
departure was late; departure lounge). 4 a new course of action
or thought (driving a car is rather a departure for him). 5
Naut. the amount of a ship's change of longitude. [OF
departeЃre (as DEPART)]
depasture v. 1 a tr. (of cattle) graze upon. b intr. graze. c tr. put
(cattle) to graze. 2 tr. (of land) provide pasturage for
(cattle). ЬЬdepasturage n.
d‚pays‚ adj. (fem. d‚pays‚e pronunc. same) removed from one's habitual
surroundings. [F, = removed from one's own country]
depend v.intr. 1 (often foll. by on, upon) be controlled or determined
by (success depends on hard work; it depends on whether they
agree; it depends how you tackle the problem). 2 (foll. by on,
upon) a be unable to do without (depends on her mother). b rely
on (I'm depending on you to come). 3 (foll. by on, upon) be
grammatically dependent on. 4 (often foll. by from) archaic
poet. hang down. Ьdepend upon it! you may be sure! it (or it
all or that) depends expressing uncertainty or qualification in
answering a question (Will they come? It depends). [ME f. OF
dependre ult. f. L dependere (as DE-, pendere hang)]
adj. reliable. ЬЬdependability n. dependableness n.
dependant n. (US dependent) 1 a person who relies on another esp. for
financial support. 2 a servant. [F d‚pendant pres. part. of
d‚pendre (as DEPEND)]
n. 1 the state of being dependent, esp. on financial or other
support. 2 reliance; trust; confidence (shows great dependence
on his judgement). [F d‚pendance (as DEPEND)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a country or province controlled by another.
2 anything subordinate or dependent.
dependent adj. & n. --adj. 1 (usu. foll. by on) depending, conditional,
or subordinate. 2 unable to do without (esp. a drug). 3
maintained at another's cost. 4 Math. (of a variable) having a
value determined by that of another variable. 5 Gram. (of a
clause, phrase, or word) subordinate to a sentence or word.
--n. US var. of DEPENDANT. ЬЬdependently adv. [ME, earlier
-ant = DEPENDANT]
n. (also -isation) esp. Psychol. the loss of one's sense of
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make impersonal. 2 deprive of personality.
depict v.tr. 1 represent in a drawing or painting etc. 2 portray in
words; describe (the play depicts him as vain and petty).
ЬЬdepicter n. depiction n. depictive adj. depictor n. [L
depingere depict- (as DE-, pingere paint)]
depilate v.tr. remove the hair from. ЬЬdepilation n. [L depilare (as
DE-, pilare f. pilus hair)]
adj. & n. --adj. that removes unwanted hair. --n. (pl. -ies)
a depilatory substance.
deplane v. esp. US 1 intr. disembark from an aeroplane. 2 tr. remove
from an aeroplane.
deplete v.tr. (esp. in passive) 1 reduce in numbers or quantity
(depleted forces). 2 empty out; exhaust (their energies were
depleted). ЬЬdepletion n. [L deplere (as DE-, plere plet-
adj. 1 exceedingly bad (a deplorable meal). 2 that can be
deplored. ЬЬdeplorably adv.
deplore v.tr. 1 grieve over; regret. 2 be scandalized by; find
exceedingly bad. ЬЬdeploringly adv. [F d‚plorer or It.
deplorare f. L deplorare (as DE-, plorare bewail)]
deploy v. 1 Mil. a tr. cause (troops) to spread out from a column
into a line. b intr. (of troops) spread out in this way. 2 tr.
bring (arguments, forces, etc.) into effective action.
ЬЬdeployment n. [F d‚ployer f. L displicare (as DIS-, plicare
fold) & LL deplicare explain]
deplume v.tr. 1 strip of feathers, pluck. 2 deprive of honours etc.
[ME f. F d‚plumer or f. med.L deplumare (as DE-, L pluma
v.tr. (also -ise) Physics reduce or remove the polarization of.
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (a person, an organization, etc.)
non-political. 2 remove from political activity or influence.
v.tr. & intr. (also -ise) Chem. break down into monomers or
other smaller units. ЬЬdepolymerization n.
deponent adj. & n. --adj. Gram. (of a verb, esp. in Latin or Greek)
passive or middle in form but active in meaning. --n. 1 Gram.
a deponent verb. 2 Law a a person making a deposition under
oath. b a witness giving written testimony for use in court
etc. [L deponere (as DE-, ponere posit- place): adj. from the
notion that the verb had laid aside the passive sense]
v. 1 tr. reduce the population of. 2 intr. decline in
population. ЬЬdepopulation n. [L depopulari (as DE-, populari
lay waste f. populus people)]
deport v.tr. 1 a remove (an immigrant or foreigner) forcibly to
another country; banish. b exile (a native) to another country.
2 refl. conduct (oneself) or behave (in a specified manner)
(deported himself well). ЬЬdeportable adj. deportation n. [OF
deporter and (sense 1) F d‚porter (as DE-, L portare carry)]
deportee n. a person who has been or is being deported.
n. bearing, demeanour, or manners, esp. of a cultivated kind.
[F d‚portement (as DEPORT)]
depose v. 1 tr. remove from office, esp. dethrone. 2 intr. Law (usu.
foll. by to, or that + clause) bear witness, esp. on oath in
court. [ME f. OF deposer after L deponere: see DEPONENT,
deposit n. & v. --n. 1 a Brit. a sum of money kept in an account in a
bank. b anything stored or entrusted for safe keeping, usu. in
a bank. 2 a a sum payable as a first instalment on an item
bought on hire purchase, or as a pledge for a contract. b a
returnable sum payable on the short-term hire of a car, boat,
etc. 3 a a natural layer of sand, rock, coal, etc. b a layer
of precipitated matter on a surface, e.g. fur on a kettle.
--v.tr. (deposited, depositing) 1 a put or lay down in a (usu.
specified) place (deposited the book on the floor). b (of
water, wind, etc.) leave (matter etc.) lying in a displaced
position. 2 a store or entrust for keeping. b pay (a sum of
money) into a bank account, esp. a deposit account. 3 pay (a
sum) as a first instalment or as a pledge for a contract.
Ьdeposit account Brit. a bank account that pays interest but
from which money cannot usu. be withdrawn without notice or loss
of interest. on deposit (of money) placed in a deposit account.
[L depositum (n.), med.L depositare f. L deponere deposit- (as
n. (pl. -ies) a person to whom something is entrusted; a
trustee. [LL depositarius (as DEPOSIT)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of deposing, esp. a monarch;
dethronement. 2 Law a the process of giving sworn evidence;
allegation. b an instance of this. c evidence given under
oath; a testimony. 3 the act or an instance of depositing. 4
(the Deposition) a the taking down of the body of Christ from
the Cross. b a representation of this. [ME f. OF f. L
depositio -onis f. deponere: see DEPOSIT]
depositor n. a person who deposits money, property, etc.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a storehouse for furniture etc. b a store
(of wisdom, knowledge, etc.) (the book is a depository of wit).
2 = DEPOSITARY. [LL depositorium (as DEPOSIT)]
depot n. 1 a storehouse. 2 Mil. a a storehouse for equipment etc.
b the headquarters of a regiment. 3 a a building for the
servicing, parking, etc. of esp. buses, trains, or goods
vehicles. b US a railway or bus station. [F d‚p“t, OF depost
f. L (as DEPOSIT)]
deprave v.tr. pervert or corrupt, esp. morally. ЬЬdepravation n. [ME
f. OF depraver or L depravare (as DE-, pravare f. pravus
depravity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a moral corruption; wickedness. b an instance
of this; a wicked act. 2 Theol. the innate corruptness of human
nature. [DE- + obs. pravity f. L pravitas (as DEPRAVE)]
deprecate v.tr. 1 express disapproval of or a wish against; deplore
(deprecate hasty action). °Often confused with depreciate. 2
plead earnestly against. 3 archaic pray against.
ЬЬdeprecatingly adv. deprecation n. deprecative adj.
deprecator n. deprecatory adj. [L deprecari (as DE-, precari
v. 1 tr. & intr. diminish in value (the car has depreciated).
2 tr. disparage; belittle (they are always depreciating his
taste). 3 tr. reduce the purchasing power of (money).
ЬЬdepreciatingly adv. depreciatory adj. [LL depretiare (as
DE-, pretiare f. pretium price)]
n. 1 the amount of wear and tear (of a property etc.) for which
a reduction may be made in a valuation, an estimate, or a
balance sheet. 2 Econ. a decrease in the value of a currency.
3 the act or an instance of depreciating; belittlement.
n. (usu. in pl.) 1 despoiling, ravaging, or plundering. 2 an
instance or instances of this. [F d‚pr‚dation f. LL depraedatio
(as DE-, praedatio -onis f. L praedari plunder)]
n. a despoiler or pillager. ЬЬdepredatory adj. [LL
depraedator (as DEPREDATION)]
depress v.tr. 1 push or pull down; lower (depressed the lever). 2 make
dispirited or dejected. 3 Econ. reduce the activity of (esp.
trade). 4 (as depressed adj.) a dispirited or miserable. b
Psychol. suffering from depression. Ьdepressed area an area
suffering from economic depression. ЬЬdepressible adj.
depressing adj. depressingly adv. [ME f. OF depresser f. LL
depressare (as DE-, pressare frequent. of premere press)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 that depresses. 2 Med. sedative. --n. 1
Med. an agent, esp. a drug, that sedates. 2 an influence that
n. 1 a Psychol. a state of extreme dejection or morbidly
excessive melancholy; a mood of hopelessness and feelings of
inadequacy, often with physical symptoms. b a reduction in
vitality, vigour, or spirits. 2 a a long period of financial
and industrial decline; a slump. b (the Depression) the
depression of 1929-34. 3 Meteorol. a lowering of atmospheric
pressure, esp. the centre of a region of minimum pressure or the
system of winds round it. 4 a sunken place or hollow on a
surface. 5 a a lowering or sinking (often foll. by of :
depression of freezing-point). b pressing down. 6 Astron. &
Geog. the angular distance of an object below the horizon or a
horizontal plane. [ME f. OF or L depressio (as DE-, premere
adj. & n. --adj. 1 tending to depress. 2 Psychol. involving
or characterized by depression. --n. Psychol. a person
suffering or with a tendency to suffer from depression. [F
d‚pressif -ive or med.L depressivus (as DEPRESSION)]
depressor n. 1 Anat. a (in full depressor muscle) a muscle that causes
the lowering of some part of the body. b a nerve that lowers
blood pressure. 2 Surgery an instrument for pressing down an
organ etc. [L (as DEPRESSION)]
v.tr. (also -ise) cause an appreciable drop in the pressure of
the gas inside (a container), esp. to the ambient level.
n. 1 (usu. foll. by of) the act or an instance of depriving;
the state of being deprived (deprivation of liberty; suffered
many deprivations). 2 a deposition from esp. an ecclesiastical
office. b an instance of this. [med.L deprivatio (as DEPRIVE)]
deprive v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by of) strip, dispossess; debar from
enjoying (illness deprived him of success). 2 (as deprived
adj.) a (of a child etc.) suffering from the effects of a poor
or loveless home. b (of an area) with inadequate housing,
facilities, employment, etc. 3 archaic depose (esp. a
clergyman) from office. ЬЬdeprivable adj. deprival n. [ME f.
OF depriver f. med.L deprivare (as DE-, L privare deprive)]
adv. & n. --adv. from the depths (of sorrow etc.). --n. a cry
from the depths. [opening L words of Ps. 130]
Dept. abbr. Department.
depth n. 1 a deepness (the depth is not great at the edge). b the
measurement from the top down, from the surface inwards, or from
the front to the back (depth of the drawer is 12 inches). 2
difficulty; abstruseness. 3 a sagacity; wisdom. b intensity of
emotion etc. (the poem has little depth). 4 an intensity of
colour, darkness, etc. 5 (in pl.) a deep water, a deep place;
an abyss. b a low, depressed state. c the lowest or inmost
part (the depths of the country). 6 the middle (in the depth of
winter). Ьdepth-bomb (or -charge) a bomb capable of exploding
under water, esp. for dropping on a submerged submarine etc.
depth psychology psychoanalysis to reveal hidden motives etc.
in depth comprehensively, thoroughly, or profoundly. in-depth
adj. thorough; done in depth. out of one's depth 1 in water
over one's head. 2 engaged in a task or on a subject too
difficult for one. [ME (as DEEP, -TH(2))]
depurate v.tr. & intr. make or become free from impurities.
ЬЬdepuration n. depurative adj. & n. depurator n. [med.L
depurare (as DE-, purus pure)]
n. a group of people appointed to represent others, usu. for a
specific purpose; a delegation. [ME f. LL deputatio (as
depute v. & n. --v.tr. (often foll. by to) 1 appoint as a deputy. 2
delegate (a task, authority, etc.) (deputed the leadership to
her). --n. Sc. a deputy. [ME f. OF deput‚ past part. of
deputer f. L deputare regard as, allot (as DE-, putare think)]
deputize v.intr. (also -ise) (usu. foll. by for) act as a deputy or
deputy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a person appointed or delegated to act for
another or others (also attrib. : deputy manager). 2 Polit. a
parliamentary representative in certain countries, e.g. France.
3 a coalmine official responsible for safety. Ьby deputy by
proxy. Chamber of Deputies the lower legislative assembly in
some parliaments. deputy lieutenant Brit. the deputy of the
Lord Lieutenant of a county. ЬЬdeputyship n. [ME var. of
v.tr. literary 1 tear up by the roots. 2 obliterate, expunge.
ЬЬderacination n. [F d‚raciner (as DE-, racine f. LL radicina
dimin. of radix root)]
derail v.tr. (usu. in passive) cause (a train etc.) to leave the
rails. ЬЬderailment n. [F d‚railler (as DE-, RAIL(1))]
derange v.tr. 1 throw into confusion; disorganize; cause to act
irregularly. 2 (esp. as deranged adj.) make insane (deranged by
the tragic events). 3 disturb; interrupt. ЬЬderangement n. [F
d‚ranger (as DE-, rang RANK(1))]
derate v. 1 tr. remove part or all of the burden of rates from. 2
intr. diminish or remove rates.
deration v.tr. free (food etc.) from rationing.
Derby n. (pl. -ies) 1 a an annual horse-race run on the flat at
Epsom. b a similar race elsewhere (Kentucky Derby). 2 any
important sporting contest. 3 (derby) US a bowler hat. ЬDerby
Day the day on which the Derby is run. local Derby a match
between two teams from the same district. [the 12th Earl of
Derby d. 1834, founder of the horse-race]
v.tr. remove from a register. ЬЬderegistration n.
de rЉgle predic.adj. customary; proper. [F, = of rule]
derelict adj. & n. --adj. 1 abandoned, ownerless (esp. of a ship at sea
or an empty decrepit property). 2 (esp. of property) ruined;
dilapidated. 3 US negligent (of duty etc.). --n. 1 a social
outcast; a person without a home, a job, or property. 2
abandoned property, esp. a ship. [L derelictus past part. of
derelinquere (as DE-, relinquere leave)]
n. 1 (usu. foll. by of) a neglect; failure to carry out one's
obligations (dereliction of duty). b an instance of this. 2
the act or an instance of abandoning; the process of being
abandoned. 3 a the retreat of the sea exposing new land. b the
land so exposed. [L derelictio (as DERELICT)]
v.tr. return (requisitioned property) to its former owner.
v.tr. 1 remove restrictions from. 2 remove speed restrictions
from (a road, area, etc.). ЬЬderestriction n.
predic.adj. required by custom or etiquette (evening dress is
de rigueur). [F, = of strictness]
derision n. ridicule; mockery (bring into derision). Ьhold (or have) in
derision archaic mock at. ЬЬderisible adj. [ME f. OF f. LL
derisio -onis (as DERIDE)]
derisive adj. = DERISORY. ЬЬderisively adv. derisiveness n.
derisory adj. 1 scoffing; ironical; scornful (derisory cheers). 2 so
small or unimportant as to be ridiculous (derisory offer;
derisory costs). [LL derisorius (as DERISION)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of deriving or obtaining from a
source; the process of being derived. 2 a the formation of a
word from another word or from a root. b a derivative. c the
tracing of the origin of a word. d a statement or account of
this. 3 extraction, descent. 4 Math. a sequence of statements
showing that a formula, theorem, etc., is a consequence of
previously accepted statements. ЬЬderivational adj. [F
d‚rivation or L derivatio (as DERIVE)]
adj. & n. --adj. derived from another source; not original (his
music is derivative and uninteresting). --n. 1 something
derived from another source, esp.: a a word derived from another
or from a root (e.g. quickly from quick). b Chem. a chemical
compound that is derived from another. 2 Math. a quantity
measuring the rate of change of another. ЬЬderivatively adv.
[F d‚rivatif -ive f. L derivativus (as DERIVE)]
derive v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by from) get, obtain, or form (derived
satisfaction from work). 2 intr. (foll. by from) arise from,
originate in, be descended or obtained from (happiness derives
from many things). 3 tr. gather or deduce (derived the
information from the clues). 4 tr. a trace the descent of (a
person). b show the origin of (a thing). 5 tr. (usu. foll. by
from) show or state the origin or formation of (a word etc.)
(derived the word from Latin). 6 tr. Math. obtain (a function)
by differentiation. ЬЬderivable adj. [ME f. OF deriver or f. L
derivare (as DE-, rivus stream)]
derm (also derma) var. of DERMIS.
n. inflammation of the skin. [Gk derma -atos skin + -ITIS]
n. the science or study of skin markings or patterns, esp. of
the fingers, hands, and feet. ЬЬdermatoglyphic adj.
dermatoglyphically adv. [as DERMATITIS + Gk gluphe carving: see
n. the study of the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders.
ЬЬdermatological adj. dermatologist n. [as DERMATITIS + -LOGY]
dermis n. (also derm or derma) 1 (in general use) the skin. 2 Anat.
the true skin, the thick layer of living tissue below the
epidermis. ЬЬdermal adj. dermic adj. [mod.L, after EPIDERMIS]
n. the very latest fashion. [F, = last cry]
derogate v.intr. (foll. by from) formal 1 take away a part from; detract
from (a merit, a right, etc.). 2 deviate from (correct
behaviour etc.). ЬЬderogative adj. [L derogare (as DE-, rogare
n. 1 (foll. by of) a lessening or impairment of (a law,
authority, position, dignity, etc.). 2 deterioration;
debasement. [ME f. F d‚rogation or L derogatio (as DEROGATE)]
adj. (often foll. by to) involving disparagement or discredit;
insulting, depreciatory (made a derogatory remark; derogatory to
my position). ЬЬderogatorily adv. [LL derogatorius (as
derrick n. 1 a kind of crane for moving or lifting heavy weights,
having a movable pivoted arm. 2 the framework over an oil well
or similar excavation, holding the drilling machinery. [obs.
senses hangman, gallows, f. the name of a London hangman c.1600]
derriЉre n. colloq. euphem. the buttocks. [F, = behind]
n. literary joc. heroic courage or action. [ME, = daring to
do, misinterpreted by Spenser and by Scott]
derringer n. a small large-bore pistol. [H. Deringer, Amer. inventor d.
derris n. 1 any woody tropical climbing leguminous plant of the genus
Derris, bearing leathery pods. 2 an insecticide made from the
powdered root of some kinds of derris. [mod.L f. Gk, = leather
covering (with ref. to its pod)]
derry n. Ьhave a derry on Austral. & NZ colloq. be prejudiced
against (a person). [app. f. the song-refrain derry down]
derv n. Brit. diesel oil for road vehicles. [f. diesel- engined
dervish n. a member of any of several Muslim fraternities vowed to
poverty and austerity. Ьwhirling (or dancing or howling)
dervish a dervish performing a wild dance, or howling, according
to which sect he belongs to. [Turk. dervis f. Pers. darvesh
poor, a mendicant]
DES abbr. (in the UK) Department of Education and Science.
v.tr. remove salt from (esp. sea water). ЬЬdesalination n.
desalt v.tr. = DESALINATE.
descale v.tr. remove the scale from.
descant n. & v. --n. 1 Mus. an independent treble melody usu. sung or
played above a basic melody, esp. of a hymn tune. 2 poet. a
melody; a song. --v.intr. 1 (foll. by on, upon) talk lengthily
and prosily, esp. in praise of. 2 Mus. sing or play a descant.
Ьdescant recorder the most common size of recorder, with a range
of two octaves. [ME f. OF deschant f. med.L discantus (as DIS-,
cantus song, CHANT)]
descend v. 1 tr. & intr. go or come down (a hill, stairs, etc.). 2
intr. (of a thing) sink, fall (rain descended heavily). 3 intr.
slope downwards, lie along a descending slope (fields descended
to the beach). 4 intr. (usu. foll. by on) a make a sudden
attack. b make an unexpected and usu. unwelcome visit (hope
they don't descend on us at the weekend). 5 intr. (usu. foll.
by from, to) (of property, qualities, rights, etc.) be passed by
inheritance (the house descends from my grandmother; the
property descended to me). 6 intr. a sink in rank, quality,
etc. b (foll. by to) degrade oneself morally to (an unworthy
act) (descend to violence). 7 intr. Mus. (of sound) become
lower in pitch. 8 intr. (usu. foll. by to) proceed (in
discourse or writing): a in time (to a subsequent event etc.).
b from the general (to the particular) (now let's descend to
details). 9 tr. go along (a river etc.) to the sea etc. 10
intr. Printing (of a letter) have its tail below the line. Ьbe
descended from have as an ancestor. ЬЬdescendent adj. [ME f.
OF descendre f. L descendere (as DE-, scandere climb)]
n. (often foll. by of) a person or thing descended from another
(a descendant of Charles I). [F, part. of descendre (as
descender n. Printing a part of a letter that extends below the line.
adj. 1 (of a slope etc.) that may be descended. 2 Law capable
of descending by inheritance. [OF descendable (as DESCEND)]
descent n. 1 a the act of descending. b an instance of this. c a
downward movement. 2 a a way or path etc. by which one may
descend. b a downward slope. 3 a being descended; lineage,
family origin (traces his descent from William the Conqueror).
b the transmission of qualities, property, privileges, etc., by
inheritance. 4 a a decline; a fall. b a lowering (of pitch,
temperature, etc.). 5 a sudden violent attack. [ME f. OF
descente f. descendre DESCEND]
v.tr. 1 convert or restore (a signal) to intelligible form. 2
counteract the effects of (a scrambling device). 3 recover an
original signal from (a scrambled signal). ЬЬdescrambler n.
describe v.tr. 1 a state the characteristics, appearance, etc. of, in
spoken or written form (described the landscape). b (foll. by
as) assert to be; call (described him as a habitual liar). 2 a
mark out or draw (esp. a geometrical figure) (described a
triangle). b move in (a specified way, esp. a curve) (described
a parabola through the air). ЬЬdescribable adj. describer n.
[L describere (as DE-, scribere script- write)]
n. 1 a the act or an instance of describing; the process of
being described. b a spoken or written representation (of a
person, object, or event). 2 a sort, kind, or class (no food of
any description). Ьanswers (or fits) the description has the
qualities specified. [ME f. OF f. L descriptio -onis (as
adj. 1 serving or seeking to describe (a descriptive writer).
2 describing or classifying without expressing feelings or
judging (a purely descriptive account). 3 Linguistics
describing a language without comparing, endorsing, or
condemning particular usage, vocabulary, etc. 4 Gram. (of an
adjective) describing the noun, rather than its relation,
position, etc., e.g. blue as distinct from few.
ЬЬdescriptively adv. descriptiveness n. [LL descriptivus (as
n. Linguistics a word or expression etc. used to describe or
identify. [L, = describer (as DESCRIBE)]
descry v.tr. (-ies, -ied) literary catch sight of; discern (descried
him in the crowd; descries no glimmer of light in her
situation). [ME (earlier senses 'proclaim, DECRY') f. OF
descrier: prob. confused with var. of obs. descrive f. OF
desecrate v.tr. 1 violate (a sacred place or thing) with violence,
profanity, etc. 2 deprive (a church, a sacred object, etc.) of
sanctity; deconsecrate. ЬЬdesecration n. desecrator n. [DE- +
deseed v.tr. remove the seeds from (a plant, vegetable, etc.).
v.tr. abolish racial segregation in (schools etc.) or of
(people etc.). ЬЬdesegregation n.
deselect v.tr. Polit. decline to select or retain as a constituency
candidate in an election. ЬЬdeselection n.
v.tr. (also -ise) reduce or destroy the sensitiveness of
(photographic materials, an allergic person, etc.).
ЬЬdesensitization n. desensitizer n.
desert(1) v. 1 tr. abandon, give up, leave (deserted the sinking ship).
2 tr. forsake or abandon (a cause or a person, people, etc.,
having claims on one) (deserted his wife and children). 3 tr.
fail (his presence of mind deserted him). 4 intr. Mil. run
away (esp. from military service). 5 tr. (as deserted adj.)
empty, abandoned (a deserted house). ЬЬdeserter n. (in sense 4
of v.). desertion n. [F d‚serter f. LL desertare f. L desertus
desert(2) n. & adj. --n. a dry barren often sand-covered area of land,
characteristically desolate, waterless, and without vegetation;
an uninteresting or barren subject, period, etc. (a cultural
desert). --adj. 1 uninhabited, desolate. 2 uncultivated,
barren. Ьdesert boot a suede etc. boot reaching to or extending
just above the ankle. desert island a remote (usu. tropical)
island presumed to be uninhabited. desert rat Brit. colloq. a
soldier of the 7th British armoured division (with the jerboa as
a badge) in the N. African desert campaign of 1941-2. [ME f. OF
f. L desertus, eccl.L desertum (n.), past part. of deserere
desert(3) n. 1 (in pl.) a acts or qualities deserving reward or
punishment. b such reward or punishment (has got his deserts).
2 the fact of being worthy of reward or punishment;
deservingness. [ME f. OF f. deservir DESERVE]
n. the process of making or becoming a desert.
deserve v.tr. (often foll. by to + infin.) show conduct or qualities
worthy of (reward, punishment, etc.) (deserves to be
imprisoned; deserves a prize). Ьdeserve well (or ill) of be
worthy of good (or bad) treatment at the hands of (deserves well
of the electorate). ЬЬdeservedly adv. deservedness n.
deserver n. [ME f. OF deservir f. L deservire (as DE-, servire
deserving adj. meritorious. Ьdeserving of showing conduct or qualities
worthy of (praise, blame, help, etc.). ЬЬdeservingly adv.
desex v.tr. 1 castrate or spay (an animal). 2 deprive of sexual
qualities or attractions.
v.tr. (also -ise) deprive of sexual character or of the
distinctive qualities of a sex.
n. (also d‚shabille, dishabille) a state of being only partly
or carelessly clothed. [F, = undressed]
desiccant n. Chem. a hygroscopic substance used as a drying agent.
desiccate v.tr. remove the moisture from, dry (esp. food for
preservation) (desiccated coconut). ЬЬdesiccation n.
desiccative adj. [L desiccare (as DE-, siccus dry)]
n. 1 an apparatus for desiccating. 2 Chem. an apparatus
containing a drying agent to remove the moisture from specimens.
v.tr. archaic feel to be missing; regret the absence of; wish
to have. [L desiderare (as DE-, siderare as in CONSIDER)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 Gram. (of a verb, conjugation, etc.) formed
from another verb etc. and denoting a desire to perform the
action of that verb etc. 2 desiring. --n. Gram. a
desiderative verb, conjugation, etc. [LL desiderativus (as
n. (pl. desiderata) something lacking but needed or desired.
[L neut. past part.: see DESIDERATE]
design n. & v. --n. 1 a a preliminary plan or sketch for the making
or production of a building, machine, garment, etc. b the art
of producing these. 2 a scheme of lines or shapes forming a
pattern or decoration. 3 a plan, purpose, or intention. 4 a
the general arrangement or layout of a product. b an
established version of a product (one of our most popular
designs). --v. 1 tr. produce a design for (a building,
machine, picture, garment, etc.). 2 tr. intend, plan, or
purpose (the remark was designed to offend; a course designed
for beginners; designed an attack). 3 absol. be a designer.
Ьargument from design Theol. the argument that God's existence
is provable by the evidence of design in the universe. by
design on purpose. have designs on plan to harm or appropriate.
[F d‚signer appoint or obs. F desseing ult. f. L designare
designate v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by as) appoint to an office
or function (designated him as postmaster general; designated
his own successor). 2 specify or particularize (receives guests
at designated times). 3 (often foll. by as) describe as;
entitle, style. 4 serve as the name or distinctive mark of
(English uses French words to designate ballet steps). --adj.
(placed after noun) appointed to an office but not yet installed
(bishop designate). ЬЬdesignator n. [L designare, past part.
designatus (as DE-, signare f. signum mark)]
n. 1 a name, description, or title. 2 the act or process of
designating. [ME f. OF designation or L designatio (as
adv. by design; on purpose.
designer n. 1 a person who makes artistic designs or plans for
construction, e.g. for clothing, machines, theatre sets; a
draughtsman. 2 (attrib.) (of clothing etc.) bearing the name or
label of a famous designer; prestigious. Ьdesigner drug a
synthetic analogue, not itself illegal, of an illegal drug.
designing adj. crafty, artful, or scheming. ЬЬdesigningly adv.
desirable adj. 1 worth having or wishing for (it is desirable that nobody
should smoke). 2 arousing sexual desire; very attractive.
ЬЬdesirability n. desirableness n. desirably adv. [ME f. OF
desire n. & v. --n. 1 a an unsatisfied longing or craving. b an
expression of this; a request (expressed a desire to rest). 2
lust. 3 something desired (achieved his heart's desire).
--v.tr. 1 (often foll. by to + infin., or that + clause) long
for; crave. 2 request (desires a cup of tea). 3 archaic pray,
entreat, or command (desire him to wait). [ME f. OF desir f.
desirer f. L desiderare DESIDERATE]
desirous predic.adj. 1 (usu. foll. by of) ambitious, desiring (desirous
of stardom; desirous of doing well). 2 (usu. foll. by to +
infin., or that + clause) wishful; hoping (desirous to do the
right thing). [ME f. AF desirous, OF desireus f. Rmc (as
desist v.intr. (often foll. by from) literary abstain; cease (please
desist from interrupting; when requested, he desisted). [OF
desister f. L desistere (as DE-, sistere stop, redupl. f. stare
desk n. 1 a piece of furniture or a portable box with a flat or
sloped surface for writing on, and often drawers. 2 a counter
in a hotel, bank, etc., which separates the customer from the
assistant. 3 a section of a newspaper office etc. dealing with
a specified topic (the sports desk; the features desk). 4 Mus.
a music stand in an orchestra regarded as a unit of two players.
Ьdesk-bound obliged to remain working at a desk. [ME f. med.L
desca f. L DISCUS disc]
desktop n. 1 the working surface of a desk. 2 (attrib.) (esp. of a
microcomputer) suitable for use at an ordinary desk. Ьdesktop
publishing the production of printed matter with a desktop
computer and printer.
desman n. (pl. desmans) any aquatic flesh-eating shrewlike mammal of
two species, one originating in Russia (Desmana moschata) and
one in the Pyrenees (Galemys pyrenaicus). [F & G f. Sw.
desolate adj. & v. --adj. 1 left alone; solitary. 2 (of a building or
place) uninhabited, ruined, neglected, barren, dreary, empty (a
desolate moor). 3 forlorn; wretched; miserable (was left
desolate and weeping). --v.tr. 1 depopulate or devastate; lay
waste to. 2 (esp. as desolated adj.) make wretched or forlorn
(desolated by grief; inconsolable and desolated). ЬЬdesolately
adv. desolateness n. desolator n. [ME f. L desolatus past
part. of desolare (as DE-, solare f. solus alone)]
n. 1 a the act of desolating. b the process of being
desolated. 2 loneliness, grief, or wretchedness, esp. caused by
desertion. 3 a neglected, ruined, barren, or empty state. [ME
f. LL desolatio (as DESOLATE)]
desorb v. 1 tr. cause the release of (an adsorbed substance) from a
surface. 2 intr. (of an adsorbed substance) become released.
ЬЬdesorbent adj. & n. desorption n. [DE-, after ADSORB]
despair n. & v. --n. the complete loss or absence of hope. --v.intr.
1 (often foll. by of) lose or be without hope (despaired of ever
seeing her again). 2 (foll. by of) lose hope about (his life is
despaired of). Ьbe the despair of be the cause of despair by
badness or unapproachable excellence (he's the despair of his
parents). ЬЬdespairingly adv. [ME f. OF desespeir, desperer f.
L desperare (as DE-, sperare hope)]
despatch var. of DISPATCH.
desperado n. (pl. -oes or US -os) a desperate or reckless person, esp. a
criminal. [after DESPERATE (obs. n.) & words in -ADO]
desperate adj. 1 reckless from despair; violent and lawless. 2 a
extremely dangerous or serious (a desperate situation). b
staking all on a small chance (a desperate remedy). 3 very bad
(a desperate night; desperate poverty). 4 (usu. foll. by for)
needing or desiring very much (desperate for recognition).
ЬЬdesperately adv. desperateness n. desperation n. [ME f. L
desperatus past part. of desperare (as DE-, sperare hope)]
despise v.tr. look down on as inferior, worthless, or contemptible.
ЬЬdespiser n. [ME f. despis- pres. stem of OF despire f. L
despicere (as DE-, specere look at)]
despite prep. & n. --prep. in spite of. --n. archaic or literary 1
outrage, injury. 2 malice, hatred (died of mere despite).
Ьdespite (or in despite) of archaic in spite of. ЬЬdespiteful
adj. [ME f. OF despit f. L despectus noun f. despicere (as
despoil v.tr. literary (often foll. by of) plunder; rob; deprive
(despoiled the roof of its lead). ЬЬdespoiler n. despoilment
n. despoliation n. [ME f. OF despoill(i)er f. L despoliare (as
DE-, spoliare SPOIL)]
despond v. & n. --v.intr. lose heart or hope; be dejected. --n.
archaic despondency. [L despondere give up, abandon (as DE-,
adj. in low spirits, dejected. ЬЬdespondence n. despondency
n. despondently adv.
despot n. 1 an absolute ruler. 2 a tyrant or oppressor. ЬЬdespotic
adj. despotically adv. [F despote f. med.L despota f. Gk
despotes master, lord]
despotism n. 1 a rule by a despot. b a country ruled by a despot. 2
absolute power or control; tyranny.
v.intr. Med. (esp. of the skin) come off in scales (as in some
diseases). ЬЬdesquamation n. desquamative adj. desquamatory
adj. [L desquamare (as DE-, squama scale)]
des res n. sl. a desirable residence. [abbr.]
dessert n. 1 the sweet course of a meal, served at or near the end. 2
Brit. a course of fruit, nuts, etc., served after a meal.
Ьdessert wine usu. sweet wine drunk with or following dessert.
[F, past part. of desservir clear the table (as DIS-, servir
n. 1 a spoon used for dessert, smaller than a tablespoon and
larger than a teaspoon. 2 the amount held by this.
ЬЬdessertspoonful n. (pl. -fuls).
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 render unstable. 2 subvert (esp. a foreign
government). ЬЬdestabilization n.
n. a place to which a person or thing is going. [OF
destination or L destinatio (as DESTINE)]
destine v.tr. (often foll. by to, for, or to + infin.) set apart;
appoint; preordain; intend (destined him for the navy). Ьbe
destined to be fated or preordained to (was destined to become a
great man). [ME f. F destiner f. L destinare (as DE-, stanare
(unrecorded) settle f. stare stand)]
destiny n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the predetermined course of events; fate. b
this regarded as a power. 2 what is destined to happen to a
particular person etc. (it was their destiny to be rejected).
[ME f. OF destin‚e f. Rmc, past part. of destinare: see DESTINE]
destitute adj. 1 without food, shelter, etc.; completely impoverished. 2
(usu. foll. by of) lacking (destitute of friends).
ЬЬdestitution n. [ME f. L destitutus past part. of destituere
forsake (as DE-, statuere place)]
destrier n. hist. a war-horse. [ME f. AF destrer, OF destrier ult. f.
L DEXTER(1) right (as the knight's horse was led by the squire
with the right hand)]
destroy v.tr. 1 pull or break down; demolish (destroyed the bridge). 2
end the existence of (the accident destroyed her confidence). 3
kill (esp. a sick or savage animal). 4 make useless; spoil
utterly. 5 ruin financially, professionally, or in reputation.
6 defeat (destroyed the enemy). [ME f. OF destruire ult. f. L
destruere (as DE-, struere struct- build)]
destroyer n. 1 a person or thing that destroys. 2 Naut. a fast warship
with guns and torpedoes used to protect other ships.
destruct v. & n. US esp. Astronaut. --v. 1 tr. destroy (one's own
rocket etc.) deliberately, esp. for safety reasons. 2 intr. be
destroyed in this way. --n. an act of destructing. [L
destruere (as DESTROY) or as back-form. f. DESTRUCTION]
adj. able to be destroyed. ЬЬdestructibility n. [F
destructible or LL destructibilis (as DESTROY)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of destroying; the process of being
destroyed. 2 a cause of ruin; something that destroys (greed
was their destruction). [ME f. OF f. L destructio -onis (as
adj. 1 (often foll. by to, of) destroying or tending to destroy
(destructive of her peace of mind; is destructive to organisms;
a destructive child). 2 negative in attitude or criticism;
refuting without suggesting, helping, amending, etc. (opp.
CONSTRUCTIVE) (has only destructive criticism to offer).
ЬЬdestructively adv. destructiveness n. [ME f. OF destructif
-ive f. LL destructivus (as DESTROY)]
n. Brit. a refuse-burning furnace.
desuetude n. a state of disuse (the custom fell into desuetude). [F
d‚su‚tude or L desuetudo (as DE-, suescere suet- be accustomed)]
desultory adj. 1 going constantly from one subject to another, esp. in a
half-hearted way. 2 disconnected; unmethodical; superficial.
ЬЬdesultorily adv. desultoriness n. [L desultorius superficial
f. desultor vaulter f. desult- (as DE-, salt- past part. stem
of salire leap)]
detach v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) unfasten or disengage and remove
(detached the buttons; detached himself from the group). 2 Mil.
send (a ship, regiment, officer, messenger, etc.) on a separate
mission. 3 (as detached adj.) a impartial; unemotional (a
detached viewpoint). b (esp. of a house) not joined to another
or others; separate. ЬЬdetachable adj. detachedly adv. [F
d‚tacher (as DE-, ATTACH)]
n. 1 a a state of aloofness from or indifference to other
people, one's surroundings, public opinion, etc. b
disinterested independence of judgement. 2 a the act or process
of detaching or being detached. b an instance of this. 3 Mil.
a separate group or unit of an army etc. used for a specific
purpose. [F d‚tachement (as DETACH)]
detail n. & v. --n. 1 a a small or subordinate particular; an item.
b such a particular, considered (ironically) to be unimportant
(the truth of the statement is just a detail). 2 a small items
or particulars (esp. in an artistic work) regarded collectively
(has an eye for detail). b the treatment of them (the detail
was insufficient and unconvincing). 3 (often in pl.) a number
of particulars; an aggregate of small items (filled in the
details on the form). 4 a a minor decoration on a building, in
a picture, etc. b a small part of a picture etc. shown alone.
5 Mil. a the distribution of orders for the day. b a small
detachment of soldiers etc. for special duty. --v.tr. 1 give
particulars of (detailed the plans). 2 relate circumstantially
(detailed the anecdote). 3 Mil. assign for special duty. 4 (as
detailed adj.) a (of a picture, story, etc.) having many
details. b itemized (a detailed list). Ьgo into detail give
all the items or particulars. in detail item by item, minutely.
[F d‚tail, d‚tailler (as DE-, tailler cut, formed as TAIL(2))]
detain v.tr. 1 keep in confinement or under restraint. 2 keep
waiting; delay. ЬЬdetainment n. [ME f. OF detenir ult. f. L
detinere detent- (as DE-, tenere hold)]
detainee n. a person detained in custody, esp. for political reasons.
detainer n. Law 1 the wrongful detaining of goods taken from the owner
for distraint etc. 2 the detention of a person in prison etc.
[AF detener f. OF detenir (as DETAIN)]
detect v.tr. 1 a (often foll. by in) reveal the guilt of; discover
(detected him in his crime). b discover (a crime). 2 discover
or perceive the existence or presence of (detected a smell of
burning; do I detect a note of sarcasm?). 3 Physics use an
instrument to observe (a signal, radiation, etc.). ЬЬdetectable
adj. detectably adv. [L detegere detect- (as DE-, tegere
detection n. 1 a the act or an instance of detecting; the process of
being detected. b an instance of this. 2 the work of a
detective. 3 Physics the extraction of a desired signal; a
demodulation. [LL detectio (as DETECT)]
detective n. & adj. --n. (often attrib.) a person, esp. a member of a
police force, employed to investigate crime. --adj. serving to
detect. Ьprivate detective a usu. freelance detective carrying
out investigations for a private employer. [DETECT]
detector n. 1 a person or thing that detects. 2 Physics a device for
the detection or demodulation of signals.
detent n. 1 a catch by the removal of which machinery is allowed to
move. 2 (in a clock etc.) a catch that regulates striking. [F
d‚tente f. OF destente f. destendre slacken (as DE-, L
d‚tente n. an easing of strained relations esp. between States. [F, =
detention n. 1 detaining or being detained. 2 a being kept in school
after hours as a punishment. b an instance of this. 3 custody;
confinement. Ьdetention centre Brit. an institution for the
brief detention of young offenders. [F d‚tention or LL detentio
deter v.tr. (deterred, deterring) 1 (often foll. by from) discourage
or prevent (a person) through fear or dislike of the
consequences. 2 discourage, check, or prevent (a thing,
process, etc.). ЬЬdeterment n. [L deterrere (as DE-, terrere
detergent n. & adj. --n. a cleansing agent, esp. a synthetic substance
(usu. other than soap) used with water as a means of removing
dirt etc. --adj. cleansing, esp. in the manner of a detergent.
[L detergere (as DE-, tergere ters- wipe)]
v.tr. & intr. make or become bad or worse (food deteriorates in
hot weather; his condition deteriorated after the operation).
ЬЬdeterioration n. deteriorative adj. [LL deteriorare
deteriorat- f. L deterior worse]
adj. & n. --adj. serving to determine or define. --n. 1 a
determining factor, element, word, etc. 2 Math. a quantity
obtained by the addition of products of the elements of a square
matrix according to a given rule. [L determinare (as
adj. 1 limited in time, space, or character. 2 of definite
scope or nature. ЬЬdeterminacy n. determinately adv.
determinateness n. [ME f. L determinatus past part. (as
n. 1 firmness of purpose; resoluteness. 2 the process of
deciding, determining, or calculating. 3 a the conclusion of a
dispute by the decision of an arbitrator. b the decision
reached. 4 Law the cessation of an estate or interest. 5 Law a
judicial decision or sentence. 6 archaic a tendency to move in
a fixed direction. [ME (in sense 4) f. OF f. L determinatio
-onis (as DETERMINE)]
adj. & n. --adj. serving to define, qualify, or direct. --n. a
determinative thing or circumstance. ЬЬdeterminatively adv. [F
d‚terminatif -ive (as DETERMINE)]
determine v. 1 tr. find out or establish precisely (have to determine the
extent of the problem). 2 tr. decide or settle (determined who
should go). 3 tr. be a decisive factor in regard to (demand
determines supply). 4 intr. & tr. make or cause (a person) to
make a decision (we determined to go at once; what determined
you to do it?). 5 tr. & intr. esp. Law bring or come to an
end. 6 tr. Geom. fix or define the position of. Ьbe
determined be resolved (was determined not to give up).
ЬЬdeterminable adj. [ME f. OF determiner f. L determinare (as
DE-, terminus end)]
adj. showing determination; resolute, unflinching.
ЬЬdeterminedly adv. determinedness n.
n. 1 a person or thing that determines. 2 Gram. any of a class
of words (e.g. a, the, every) that determine the kind of
reference a noun or noun-substitute has.
n. Philos. the doctrine that all events, including human
action, are determined by causes regarded as external to the
will. ЬЬdeterminist n. deterministic adj. deterministically
deterrent adj. & n. --adj. that deters. --n. a deterrent thing or
factor, esp. a nuclear weapon regarded as deterring an enemy
from attack. ЬЬdeterrence n.
detest v.tr. hate, loathe. ЬЬdetester n. [L detestari (as DE-,
testari call to witness f. testis witness)]
n. 1 intense dislike, hatred. 2 a detested person or thing.
[ME f. OF f. L detestatio -onis (as DETEST)]
dethrone v.tr. 1 remove from the throne, depose. 2 remove from a
position of authority or influence. ЬЬdethronement n.
detonate v.intr. & tr. explode with a loud noise. ЬЬdetonative adj. [L
detonare detonat- (as DE-, tonare thunder)]
n. 1 a the act or process of detonating. b a loud explosion.
2 the premature combustion of fuel in an internal-combustion
engine, causing it to pink. [F d‚tonation f. d‚toner (as
detonator n. 1 a device for detonating an explosive. 2 a fog-signal that
detonates, e.g. as used on railways.
detour n. & v. --n. a divergence from a direct or intended route; a
roundabout course. --v.intr. & tr. make or cause to make a
detour. [F d‚tour change of direction f. d‚tourner turn away
(as DE-, TURN)]
v.tr. = DETOXIFY. ЬЬdetoxication n. [DE- + L toxicum poison,
detoxify v.tr. remove the poison from. ЬЬdetoxification n. [DE- + L
detract v.tr. (usu. foll. by from) take away (a part of something);
reduce, diminish (self-interest detracted nothing from their
achievement). ЬЬdetraction n. detractive adj. detractor n.
[L detrahere detract- (as DE-, trahere draw)]
detrain v.intr. & tr. alight or cause to alight from a train.
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 make (a person) no longer a member of a
tribe. 2 destroy the tribal habits of. ЬЬdetribalization n.
detriment n. 1 harm, damage. 2 something causing this. [ME f. OF
detriment or L detrimentum (as DE-, terere trit- rub, wear)]
detrition n. wearing away by friction. [med.L detritio (as DETRIMENT)]
detritus n. matter produced by erosion, such as gravel, sand, silt,
rock-debris, etc.; debris. ЬЬdetrital adj. [after F d‚tritus
f. L detritus (n.) = wearing down (as DETRIMENT)]
de trop predic.adj. not wanted, unwelcome, in the way. [F, =
n. subsidence from a swollen state. [L detumescere (as DE-,
deuce(1) n. 1 the two on dice or playing cards. 2 (in lawn tennis) the
score of 40 all, at which two consecutive points are needed to
win. [OF deus f. L duo (accus. duos) two]
deuce(2) n. misfortune, the Devil, used esp. colloq. as an exclamation
of surprise or annoyance (who the deuce are you?). Ьa (or the)
deuce of a a very bad or remarkable (a deuce of a problem; a
deuce of a fellow). the deuce to pay trouble to be expected.
[LG duus, formed as DEUCE(1), two aces at dice being the worst
deus ex machina
n. an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless
situation, esp. in a play or novel. [mod.L transl. of Gk theos
ek mekhanes, = god from the machinery (by which in the Greek
theatre the gods were suspended above the stage)]
Deut. abbr. Deuteronomy (Old Testament).
n. the person second in importance to the protagonist in a
drama. [Gk deuteragonistes (as DEUTERO-, agonistes actor)]
deuterate v.tr. replace the usual isotope of hydrogen in (a substance) by
deuterium. ЬЬdeuteration n.
deuterium n. Chem. a stable isotope of hydrogen with a mass about double
that of the usual isotope. [mod.L, formed as DEUTERO- + -IUM]
deutero- comb. form second. [Gk deuteros second]
n. the supposed later author of Isaiah 40-55.
deuteron n. Physics the nucleus of a deuterium atom, consisting of a
proton and a neutron. [DEUTERIUM + -ON]
n. (also Deutschmark) the chief monetary unit of the Federal
Republic of Germany. [G, = German mark (see MARK(2))]
deutzia n. any ornamental shrub of the genus Deutzia, with usu. white
flowers. [J. Deutz 18th-c. Du. patron of botany]
devalue v.tr. (devalues, devalued, devaluing) 1 reduce the value of. 2
Econ. reduce the value of (a currency) in relation to other
currencies or to gold (opp. REVALUE). ЬЬdevaluation n.
n. the alphabet used for Sanskrit, Hindi, and other Indian
languages. [Skr., = divine town script]
devastate v.tr. 1 lay waste; cause great destruction to. 2 (often in
passive) overwhelm with shock or grief; upset deeply.
ЬЬdevastation n. devastator n. [L devastare devastat- (as DE-,
vastare lay waste)]
develop v. (developed, developing) 1 tr. & intr. a make or become
bigger or fuller or more elaborate or systematic (the new town
developed rapidly). b bring or come to an active or visible
state or to maturity (developed a plan of action). 2 tr. begin
to exhibit or suffer from (developed a rattle). 3 tr. a
construct new buildings on (land). b convert (land) to a new
purpose so as to use its resources more fully. 4 tr. treat
(photographic film etc.) to make the latent image visible. 5
tr. Mus. elaborate (a theme) by modification of the melody,
harmony, rhythm, etc. 6 tr. Chess bring (a piece) into
position for effective use. Ьdeveloping country a poor or
primitive country that is developing better economic and social
conditions. ЬЬdeveloper n. [F d‚velopper f. Rmc (as DIS-,
orig. of second element unknown)]
adj. that can be developed. Ьdevelopable surface Geom. a
surface that can be flattened into a plane without overlap or
separation, e.g. a cylinder.
n. 1 the act or an instance of developing; the process of being
developed. 2 a a stage of growth or advancement. b a thing
that has developed, esp. an event or circumstance (the latest
developments). 3 a full-grown state. 4 the process of
developing a photograph. 5 a developed area of land. 6 Mus.
the elaboration of a theme or themes, esp. in the middle section
of a sonata movement. 7 Chess the developing of pieces from
their original position. Ьdevelopment area Brit. one where new
industries are encouraged in order to counteract unemployment.
deviant adj. & n. --adj. that deviates from the normal, esp. with
reference to sexual practices. --n. a deviant person or thing.
ЬЬdeviance n. deviancy n. [ME (as DEVIATE)]
deviate v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by from) turn aside or diverge
(from a course of action, rule, truth, etc.); digress. --n. a
deviant, esp. a sexual pervert. ЬЬdeviator n. deviatory adj.
[LL deviare deviat- (as DE-, via way)]
deviation n. 1 a deviating, digressing. b an instance of this. 2 Polit.
a departure from accepted (esp. Communist) party doctrine. 3
Statistics the amount by which a single measurement differs from
the mean. 4 Naut. the deflection of a ship's compass-needle
caused by iron in the ship etc. Ьstandard deviation Statistics
a quantity calculated to indicate the extent of deviation for a
group as a whole. ЬЬdeviational adj. deviationism n.
deviationist n. [F d‚viation f. med.L deviatio -onis (as
device n. 1 a thing made or adapted for a particular purpose, esp. a
mechanical contrivance. 2 a plan, scheme, or trick. 3 a an
emblematic or heraldic design. b a drawing or design. 4
archaic make, look (things of rare device). Ьleave a person to
his or her own devices leave a person to do as he or she wishes.
[ME f. OF devis ult. f. L (as DIVIDE)]
devil n. & v. --n. 1 (usu. the Devil) (in Christian and Jewish
belief) the supreme spirit of evil; Satan. 2 a an evil spirit;
a demon; a superhuman malignant being. b a personified evil
force or attribute. 3 a a wicked or cruel person. b a
mischievously energetic, clever, or self-willed person. 4
colloq. a person, a fellow (lucky devil). 5 fighting spirit,
mischievousness (the devil is in him tonight). 6 colloq.
something difficult or awkward (this door is a devil to open).
7 (the devil or the Devil) colloq. used as an exclamation of
surprise or annoyance (who the devil are you?). 8 a literary
hack exploited by an employer. 9 Brit. a junior legal counsel.
10 = Tasmanian devil. 11 applied to various instruments and
machines, esp. when used for destructive work. 12 S.Afr. = dust
devil. --v. (devilled, devilling; US deviled, deviling) 1 tr.
cook (food) with hot seasoning. 2 intr. act as a devil for an
author or barrister. 3 tr. US harass, worry. Ьbetween the
devil and the deep blue sea in a dilemma. devil-may-care
cheerful and reckless. a devil of colloq. a considerable,
difficult, or remarkable. devil a one not even one. devil ray
any cartilaginous fish of the family Mobulidae, esp. the manta.
devil's advocate a person who tests a proposition by arguing
against it. devil's bit any of various plants whose roots look
bitten off, esp. a kind of scabious (Succisa pratensis).
devil's coach-horse Brit. a large rove-beetle, Staphylinus
olens. devil's darning-needle a dragonfly or damselfly.
devil's dozen thirteen. devils-on-horseback a savoury of prune
or plum wrapped in slices of bacon. devil's own colloq. very
difficult or unusual (the devil's own job). devil take the
hindmost a motto of selfish competition. the devil to pay
trouble to be expected. go to the devil 1 be damned. 2 (in
imper.) depart at once. like the devil with great energy. play
the devil with cause severe damage to. printer's devil hist.
an errand-boy in a printing office. speak (or talk) of the
devil said when a person appears just after being mentioned.
the very devil (predic.) colloq. a great difficulty or
nuisance. [OE deofol f. LL diabolus f. Gk diabolos accuser,
slanderer f. dia across + ballo to throw]
devilfish n. (pl. same or -fishes) 1 = devil ray. 2 any of various fish,
esp. the stonefish. 3 hist. an octopus.
devilish adj. & adv. --adj. 1 of or like a devil; wicked. 2
mischievous. --adv. colloq. very, extremely. ЬЬdevilishly
adv. devilishness n.
devilment n. mischief, wild spirits.
devilry n. (also deviltry) (pl. -ies) 1 a wickedness; reckless
mischief. b an instance of this. 2 a black magic. b the Devil
and his works. [OF diablerie: -try wrongly after harlotry etc.]
devious adj. 1 (of a person etc.) not straightforward, underhand. 2
winding, circuitous. 3 erring, straying. ЬЬdeviously adv.
deviousness n. [L devius f. DE- + via way]
devise v. & n. --v.tr. 1 plan or invent by careful thought. 2 Law
leave (real estate) by the terms of a will (cf. BEQUEATH).
--n. 1 the act or an instance of devising. 2 Law a devising
clause in a will. ЬЬdevisable adj. devisee n. (in sense 2 of
v.). deviser n. devisor n. (in sense 2 of v.). [ME f. OF
deviser ult. f. L dividere divis- DIVIDE: (n.) f. OF devise f.
med.L divisa fem. past part. of dividere]
v.tr. (also -ise) take away strength and vigour from.
devitrify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) deprive of vitreous qualities; make (glass
or vitreous rock) opaque and crystalline. ЬЬdevitrification n.
devoid predic.adj. (foll. by of) quite lacking or free from (a book
devoid of all interest). [ME, past part. of obs. devoid f. OF
devoidier (as DE-, VOID)]
devoir n. archaic 1 duty, one's best (do one's devoir). 2 (in pl.)
courteous or formal attentions; respects (pay one's devoirs to).
[ME f. AF dever = OF deveir f. L debere owe]
devolute v.tr. transfer by devolution. [as DEVOLVE]
n. 1 the delegation of power, esp. by central government to
local or regional administration. 2 a descent or passing on
through a series of stages. b descent by natural or due
succession from one to another of property or qualities. 3 the
lapse of an unexercised right to an ultimate owner. 4 Biol.
degeneration. ЬЬdevolutionary adj. devolutionist n. [LL
devolutio (as DEVOLVE)]
devolve v. 1 (foll. by on, upon, etc.) a tr. pass (work or duties) to
(a deputy etc.). b intr. (of work or duties) pass to (a deputy
etc.). 2 intr. (foll. by on, to, upon) Law (of property etc.)
descend or fall by succession to. ЬЬdevolvement n. [ME f. L
devolvere devolut- (as DE-, volvere roll)]
Devonian adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Devon in SW England. 2
Geol. of or relating to the fourth period of the Palaeozoic era
with evidence of the first amphibians and tree forests. °Cf.
Appendix II. --n. 1 this period or system. 2 a native of
Devon. [med.L Devonia Devonshire]
d‚vot n. (fem. d‚vote) a devotee. [F f. OF (as DEVOUT)]
devote v.tr. & refl. 1 (foll. by to) apply or give over (resources
etc. or oneself) to (a particular activity or purpose or person)
(devoted their time to reading; devoted himself to his guests).
2 archaic doom to destruction. ЬЬdevotement n. [L devovere
devot- (as DE-, vovere vow)]
devoted adj. very loving or loyal (a devoted husband). ЬЬdevotedly
adv. devotedness n.
devotee n. 1 (usu. foll. by of) a zealous enthusiast or supporter. 2 a
zealously pious or fanatical person.
devotion n. 1 (usu. foll. by to) enthusiastic attachment or loyalty (to
a person or cause); great love. 2 a religious worship. b (in
pl.) prayers. c devoutness, religious fervour. ЬЬdevotional
adj. [ME f. OF devotion or L devotio (as DEVOTE)]
devour v.tr. 1 eat hungrily or greedily. 2 (of fire etc.) engulf,
destroy. 3 take in greedily with the eyes or ears (devoured
book after book). 4 absorb the attention of (devoured by
anxiety). ЬЬdevourer n. devouringly adv. [ME f. OF devorer f.
L devorare (as DE-, vorare swallow)]
devout adj. 1 earnestly religious. 2 earnestly sincere (devout hope).
ЬЬdevoutly adv. devoutness n. [ME f. OF devot f. L devotus
past part. (as DEVOTE)]
DEW abbr. distant early warning.
dew n. & v. --n. 1 atmospheric vapour condensing in small drops on
cool surfaces at night. 2 beaded or glistening moisture
resembling this, e.g. tears. 3 freshness, refreshing quality.
--v.tr. wet with or as with dew. Ьdew-claw 1 a rudimentary
inner toe found on some dogs. 2 a false hoof on a deer etc.
dew-fall 1 the time when dew begins to form. 2 evening.
dew-point the temperature at which dew forms. dew-pond a
shallow usu. artificial pond once supposed to have been fed by
atmospheric condensation. [OE deaw f. Gmc]
dewan n. the prime minister or finance minister of an Indian state.
[Arab. & Pers. diwan fiscal register]
dewar n. Physics a double-walled flask with a vacuum between the
walls to reduce the transfer of heat. [Sir James Dewar, Brit.
physicist d. 1923]
dewberry n. (pl. -ies) 1 a bluish fruit like the blackberry. 2 the
shrub, Rubus caesius, bearing this.
dewdrop n. a drop of dew.
n. a decimal system of library classification. [M. Dewey,
Amer. librarian d. 1931, its deviser]
dewlap n. 1 a loose fold of skin hanging from the throat of cattle,
dogs, etc. 2 similar loose skin round the throat of an elderly
person. [ME f. DEW + LAP(1), perh. after ON (unrecorded)
dewy adj. (dewier, dewiest) 1 a wet with dew. b moist as if with
dew. 2 of or like dew. Ьdewy-eyed innocently trusting; na‹vely
sentimental. ЬЬdewily adv. dewiness n. [OE deawig (as DEW,
dexter(1) adj. esp. Heraldry on or of the right-hand side (the observer's
left) of a shield etc. [L, = on the right]
dexter(2) n. 1 an animal of a small hardy breed of Irish cattle. 2 this
breed. [19th c.: perh. f. the name of a breeder]
dexterity n. 1 skill in handling. 2 manual or mental adroitness. 3
right-handedness, using the right hand. [F dext‚rit‚ f. L
dexteritas (as DEXTER(1))]
dexterous adj. (also dextrous) having or showing dexterity.
ЬЬdexterously adv. dexterousness n. [L DEXTER(1) + -OUS]
dextral adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a person) right-handed. 2 of or on the
right. 3 Zool. (of a spiral shell) with whorls rising to the
right and coiling in an anticlockwise direction. 4 Zool. (of a
flat-fish) with the right side uppermost. --n. a right-handed
person. ЬЬdextrality n. dextrally adv. [med.L dextralis f. L
dextra right hand]
dextran n. Chem. & Pharm. 1 an amorphous gum formed by the
fermentation of sucrose etc. 2 a degraded form of this used as
a substitute for blood-plasma. [G (as DEXTRO- + - an as in
dextrin n. Chem. a soluble gummy substance obtained from starch and
used as an adhesive. [F dextrine f. L dextra: see DEXTRO-, -IN]
dextro- comb. form on or to the right (dextrorotatory; dextrose). [L
dexter, dextra on or to the right]
adj. Chem. having the property of rotating the plane of a
polarized light ray to the right (cf. LAEVOROTATORY).
dextrorse adj. rising towards the right, esp. of a spiral stem. [L
dextrorsus (as DEXTRO-)]
dextrose n. Chem. the dextrorotatory form of glucose. [formed as
DEXTRO- + -OSE(2)]
di-(1) comb. form 1 twice, two-, double. 2 Chem. containing two atoms,
molecules, or groups of a specified kind (dichromate; dioxide).
[Gk f. dis twice]
di-(2) prefix form of DIS- occurring before l, m, n, r, s (foll. by a
consonant), v, usu. g, and sometimes j. [L var. of dis-]
di-(3) prefix form of DIA- before a vowel.
dia. abbr. diameter.
dia- prefix (also di- before a vowel) 1 through (diaphanous). 2
apart (diacritical). 3 across (diameter). [Gk f. dia through]
diabetes n. 1 any disorder of the metabolism with excessive thirst and
the production of large amounts of urine. 2 (in full diabetes
mellitus) the commonest form of diabetes in which sugar and
starch are not properly absorbed from the blood, with thirst,
emaciation, and excessive excretion of urine with glucose.
Ьdiabetes insipidus a rare metabolic disorder due to a pituitary
deficiency, with excessive urination and thirst. [orig. =
siphon: L f. Gk f. diabaino go through]
diabetic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to or having diabetes. 2
for use by diabetics. --n. a person suffering from diabetes.
diablerie n. 1 the devil's work; sorcery. 2 wild recklessness. 3 the
realm of devils; devil-lore. [F f. diable f. L diabolus DEVIL]
diabolic adj. (also diabolical) 1 of the Devil. 2 devilish; inhumanly
cruel or wicked. 3 fiendishly clever or cunning or annoying.
ЬЬdiabolically adv. [ME f. OF diabolique or LL diabolicus f. L
diabolus (as DEVIL)]
diabolism n. 1 a belief in or worship of the Devil. b sorcery. 2
devilish conduct or character. ЬЬdiabolist n. [Gk diabolos
diabolize v.tr. (also -ise) make into or represent as a devil.
diabolo n. (pl. -os) 1 a game in which a two-headed top is thrown up
and caught with a string stretched between two sticks. 2 the
top itself. [It., = DEVIL: formerly called devil on two sticks]
adj. Linguistics etc. concerned with the historical development
of a subject (esp. a language) (opp. SYNCHRONIC).
ЬЬdiachronically adv. diachronism n. diachronistic adj.
diachronous adj. diachrony n. [F diachronique (as DIA-,
diaconal adj. of a deacon. [eccl.L diaconalis f. diaconus DEACON]
diaconate n. 1 a the office of deacon. b a person's time as deacon. 2 a
body of deacons. [eccl.L diaconatus (as DIACONAL)]
diacritic n. & adj. --n. a sign (e.g. an accent, diaeresis, cedilla) used
to indicate different sounds or values of a letter. --adj. =
DIACRITICAL. [Gk diakritikos (as DIA-, CRITIC)]
adj. & n. --adj. distinguishing, distinctive. --n. (in full
diacritical mark or sign) = DIACRITIC.
adj. Bot. with the stamens united in two bundles (cf.
MONADELPHOUS, POLYADELPHOUS). [DI-(1) + Gk adelphos brother]
diadem n. & v. --n. 1 a crown or headband worn as a sign of
sovereignty. 2 a wreath of leaves or flowers worn round the
head. 3 sovereignty. 4 a crowning distinction or glory.
--v.tr. (esp. as diademed adj.) adorn with or as with a diadem.
[ME f. OF diademe f. L diadema f. Gk diadema (as DIA-, deo
diaeresis n. (US dieresis) (pl. -ses) 1 a mark (as in na‹ve) over a
vowel to indicate that it is sounded separately. 2 Prosody a
break where a foot ends at the end of a word. [L f. Gk, =
n. Geol. the transformation occurring during the conversion of
sedimentation to sedimentary rock.
diagnose v.tr. make a diagnosis of (a disease, a mechanical fault, etc.)
from its symptoms. ЬЬdiagnosable adj.
diagnosis n. (pl. diagnoses) 1 a the identification of a disease by
means of a patient's symptoms. b an instance or formal
statement of this. 2 a the identification of the cause of a
mechanical fault etc. b an instance of this. 3 a the
distinctive characterization in precise terms of a genus,
species, etc. b an instance of this. [mod.L f. Gk (as DIA-,
adj. & n. --adj. of or assisting diagnosis. --n. a symptom.
ЬЬdiagnostically adv. diagnostician n. [Gk diagnostikos (as
n. 1 (treated as pl.) Computing programs and other mechanisms
used to detect and identify faults in hardware or software. 2
(treated as sing.) the science or study of diagnosing disease.
diagonal adj. & n. --adj. 1 crossing a straight-sided figure from
corner to corner. 2 slanting, oblique. --n. a straight line
joining two non-adjacent corners. ЬЬdiagonally adv. [L
diagonalis f. Gk diagonios (as DIA-, gonia angle)]
diagram n. & v. --n. 1 a drawing showing the general scheme or outline
of an object and its parts. 2 a graphic representation of the
course or results of an action or process. 3 Geom. a figure
made of lines used in proving a theorem etc. --v.tr.
(diagrammed, diagramming; US diagramed, diagraming) represent by
means of a diagram. ЬЬdiagrammatic adj. diagrammatically adv.
[L diagramma f. Gk (as DIA-, -GRAM)]
diagrid n. Archit. a supporting structure of diagonally intersecting
ribs of metal etc. [DIAGONAL + GRID]
n. (pl. diakineses) Biol. a stage during the prophase of
meiosis when the separation of homologous chromosomes is
complete and crossing over has occurred. [mod.L f. G Diakinese
(as DIA-, Gk kinesis motion)]
dial n. & v. --n. 1 the face of a clock or watch, marked to show
the hours etc. 2 a similar flat plate marked with a scale for
measuring weight, volume, pressure, consumption, etc., indicated
by a pointer. 3 a movable disc on a telephone, with
finger-holes and numbers for making a connection. 4 a a plate
or disc etc. on a radio or television set for selecting
wavelength or channel. b a similar selecting device on other
equipment, e.g. a washing machine. 5 Brit. sl. a person's
face. --v. (dialled, dialling; US dialed, dialing) 1 tr. (also
absol.) select (a telephone number) by means of a dial or set of
buttons (dialled 999). 2 tr. measure, indicate, or regulate by
means of a dial. Ьdialling code a sequence of numbers dialled
to connect a telephone with the exchange of the telephone being
called. dialling tone (US dial tone) a sound indicating that a
caller may start to dial. ЬЬdialler n. [ME, = sundial, f.
med.L diale clock-dial ult. f. L dies day]
dialect n. 1 a form of speech peculiar to a particular region. 2 a
subordinate variety of a language with non-standard vocabulary,
pronunciation, or grammar. ЬЬdialectal adj. dialectology n.
dialectologist n. [F dialecte or L dialectus f. Gk dialektos
discourse f. dialegomai converse]
dialectic n. & adj. Philos. --n. 1 a the art of investigating the truth
of opinions; the testing of truth by discussion. b logical
disputation. 2 a inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and
their solutions, esp. in the thought of Kant and Hegel. b the
existence or action of opposing social forces etc. --adj. 1 of
or relating to logical disputation. 2 fond of or skilled in
logical disputation. [ME f. OF dialectique or L dialectica f.
Gk dialektike (tekhne) (art) of debate (as DIALECT)]
adj. of dialectic or dialectics. Ьdialectical materialism the
Marxist theory that political and historical events are due to a
conflict of social forces caused by man's material needs.
n. a person skilled in dialectic. [F dialecticien f. L
n. (treated as sing. or pl.) = DIALECTIC n. 1.
dialogic adj. of or in dialogue. [LL dialogicus f. Gk dialogikos (as
dialogist n. a speaker in or writer of dialogue. [LL dialogista f. Gk
dialogistes (as DIALOGUE)]
dialogue n. (US dialog) 1 a conversation. b conversation in written
form; this as a form of composition. 2 a a discussion, esp. one
between representatives of two political groups. b a
conversation, a talk (long dialogues between the two main
characters). [ME f. OF dialoge f. L dialogus f. Gk dialogos f.
dialyse v.tr. (US dialyze) separate by means of dialysis.
dialysis n. (pl. dialyses) 1 Chem. the separation of particles in a
liquid by differences in their ability to pass through a
membrane into another liquid. 2 Med. the clinical purification
of blood by this technique. ЬЬdialytic adj. [L f. Gk dialusis
(as DIA-, luo set free)]
adj. & n. --adj. tending to become magnetized in a direction at
right angles to the applied magnetic field. --n. a diamagnetic
body or substance. ЬЬdiamagnetically adv. diamagnetism n.
diamant‚ adj. & n. --adj. decorated with powdered crystal or another
sparkling substance. --n. fabric or costume jewellery so
decorated. [F, past part. of diamanter set with diamonds f.
adj. diamond-yielding. [F diamantifЉre f. diamant DIAMOND]
adj. of or like diamonds. [F diamantin (as DIAMANTIFEROUS)]
diameter n. 1 a a straight line passing from side to side through the
centre of a body or figure, esp. a circle or sphere. b the
length of this line. 2 a transverse measurement; width,
thickness. 3 a unit of linear measurement of magnifying power
(a lens magnifying 2000 diameters). ЬЬdiametral adj. [ME f. OF
diametre f. L diametrus f. Gk diametros (gramme) (line)
measuring across f. metron measure]
adj. (also diametric) 1 of or along a diameter. 2 (of
opposition, difference, etc.) complete, like that between
opposite ends of a diameter. ЬЬdiametrically adv. [Gk
diametrikos (as DIAMETER)]
diamond n., adj., & v. --n. 1 a precious stone of pure carbon
crystallized in octahedrons etc., the hardest
naturally-occurring substance. 2 a figure shaped like the
cross-section of a diamond; a rhombus. 3 a a playing-card of a
suit denoted by a red rhombus. b (in pl.) this suit. 4 a
glittering particle or point (of frost etc.). 5 a tool with a
small diamond for glass-cutting. 6 Baseball a the space
delimited by the bases. b the entire field. --adj. 1 made of
or set with diamonds or a diamond. 2 rhombus-shaped. --v.tr.
adorn with or as with diamonds. Ьdiamond cut diamond wit or
cunning is met by its like. diamond jubilee the 60th (or 75th)
anniversary of an event, esp. a sovereign's accession. diamond
wedding a 60th (or 75th) wedding anniversary. ЬЬdiamondiferous
adj. [ME f. OF diamant f. med.L diamas diamant- var. of L
adamas ADAMANT f. Gk]
n. 1 an edible freshwater terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin, native
to N. America, with lozenge-shaped markings on its shell. 2 any
rattlesnake of the genus Crotalus, native to N. America, with
diandrous adj. having two stamens. [DI-(1) + Gk aner andr- man]
dianthus n. any flowering plant of the genus Dianthus, e.g. a carnation
or pink. [Gk Dios of Zeus + anthos flower]
diapason n. Mus. 1 the compass of a voice or musical instrument. 2 a
fixed standard of musical pitch. 3 (in full open or stopped
diapason) either of two main organ-stops extending through the
organ's whole compass. 4 a a combination of notes or parts in a
harmonious whole. b a melodious succession of notes, esp. a
grand swelling burst of harmony. 5 an entire compass, range, or
scope. [ME in sense 'octave' f. L diapason f. Gk dia pason
(khordon) through all (notes)]
diapause n. a period of retarded or suspended development in some
diaper n. & v. --n. 1 US a baby's nappy. 2 a a linen or cotton
fabric with a small diamond pattern. b this pattern. 3 a
similar ornamental design of diamonds etc. for panels, walls,
etc. --v.tr. decorate with a diaper pattern. [ME f. OF diapre
f. med.L diasprum f. med.Gk diaspros (adj.) (as DIA-, aspros
adj. (of fabric etc.) light and delicate, and almost
transparent. ЬЬdiaphanously adv. [med.L diaphanus f. Gk
diaphanes (as DIA-, phaino show)]
n. Med. sweating, esp. artificially induced. [LL f. Gk f.
diaphoreo carry through]
adj. & n. --adj. inducing perspiration. --n. an agent inducing
perspiration. [LL diaphoreticus f. Gk diaphoretikos (formed as
diaphragm n. 1 a muscular partition separating the thorax from the
abdomen in mammals. 2 a partition in animal and plant tissues.
3 a disc pierced by one or more holes in optical and acoustic
systems etc. 4 a device for varying the effective aperture of
the lens in a camera etc. 5 a thin contraceptive cap fitting
over the cervix. 6 a thin sheet of material used as a partition
etc. Ьdiaphragm pump a pump using a flexible diaphragm in place
of a piston. ЬЬdiaphragmatic adj. [ME f. LL diaphragma f. Gk
(as DIA-, phragma -atos f. phrasso fence in)]
n. a positive photographic slide or transparency.
diarchy n. (also dyarchy) (pl. -ies) 1 government by two independent
authorities (esp. in India 1921-37). 2 an instance of this.
ЬЬdiarchal adj. diarchic adj. [DI-(1) + Gk -arkhia rule, after
diarist n. a person who keeps a diary. ЬЬdiaristic adj.
diarize v. (also -ise) 1 intr. keep a diary. 2 tr. enter in a diary.
diarrhoea n. (esp. US diarrhea) a condition of excessively frequent and
loose bowel movements. ЬЬdiarrhoeal adj. diarrhoeic adj. [ME
f. LL f. Gk diarrhoia (as DIA-, rheo flow)]
diary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a daily record of events or thoughts. 2 a
book for this or for noting future engagements, usu. printed and
with a calendar and other information. [L diarium f. dies day]
diascope n. an optical projector giving images of transparent objects.
Diaspora n. 1 (prec. by the) a the dispersion of the Jews among the
Gentiles mainly in the 8th-6th c. BC. b Jews dispersed in this
way. 2 (also diaspora) a any group of people similarly
dispersed. b their dispersion. [Gk f. diaspeiro (as DIA-,
diastase n. Biochem. = AMYLASE. ЬЬdiastasic adj. diastatic adj. [F
f. Gk diastasis separation (as DIA-, stasis placing)]
diastole n. Physiol. the period between two contractions of the heart
when the heart muscle relaxes and allows the chambers to fill
with blood (cf. SYSTOLE). ЬЬdiastolic adj. [LL f. Gk
diastello (as DIA-, stello place)]
n. the quality of transmitting radiant heat. ЬЬdiathermic adj.
diathermous adj. [F diathermansie f. Gk dia through +
thermansis heating: assim. to -ANCY]
diathermy n. the application of high-frequency electric currents to
produce heat in the deeper tissues of the body. [G Diathermie
f. Gk dia through + thermon heat]
diathesis n. Med. a constitutional predisposition to a certain state,
esp. a diseased one. [mod.L f. Gk f. diatithemi arrange]
diatom n. a microscopic unicellular alga with a siliceous cell-wall,
found as plankton and forming fossil deposits. ЬЬdiatomaceous
adj. [mod.L Diatoma (genus-name) f. Gk diatomos (as DIA-, temno
diatomic adj. consisting of two atoms. [DI-(1) + ATOM]
diatomite n. a deposit composed of the siliceous skeletons of diatoms.
diatonic adj. Mus. 1 (of a scale, interval, etc.) involving only notes
proper to the prevailing key without chromatic alteration. 2
(of a melody or harmony) constructed from such a scale. [F
diatonique or LL diatonicus f. Gk diatonikos at intervals of a
tone (as DIA-, TONIC)]
diatribe n. a forceful verbal attack; a piece of bitter criticism. [F
f. L diatriba f. Gk diatribe spending of time, discourse f.
diatribo (as DIA-, tribo rub)]
diazepam n. a tranquillizing muscle-relaxant drug with anticonvulsant
properties used to relieve anxiety, tension, etc. [benzo
diazepine + am]
diazo n. (in full diazotype) a copying or colouring process using a
diazo compound decomposed by light. Ьdiazo compound Chem. a
chemical compound containing two usu. multiply-bonded nitrogen
atoms, often highly coloured and used as dyes. [DI-(1) + AZO-]
dib v.intr. (dibbed, dibbing) = DAP. [var. of DAB(1)]
dibasic adj. Chem. having two replaceable protons. [DI-(1) + BASE(1)
dibber n. = DIBBLE.
dibble n. & v. --n. a hand-tool for making holes in the ground for
seeds or young plants. --v. 1 tr. sow or plant with a dibble.
2 tr. prepare (soil) with a dibble. 3 intr. use a dibble. [ME:
perh. rel. to DIB]
dibs n.pl. sl. money. [earlier sense 'pebbles for game', also
dib-stones, perh. f. DIB]
dice n. & v. --n.pl. 1 a small cubes with faces bearing 1-6 spots
used in games of chance. b (treated as sing.) one of these
cubes (see DIE(2)). 2 a game played with one or more such
cubes. 3 food cut into small cubes for cooking. --v. 1 a
intr. play dice. b intr. take great risks, gamble (dicing with
death). c tr. (foll. by away) gamble away. 2 tr. cut (food)
into small cubes. 3 tr. Austral. sl. reject; leave alone. 4
tr. chequer, mark with squares. Ьno dice sl. no success or
prospect of it. ЬЬdicer n. (in sense 1 of v.). [pl. of DIE(2)]
dicey adj. (dicier, diciest) sl. risky, unreliable. [DICE + -Y(1)]
dichotomy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a division into two, esp. a sharply defined
one. b the result of such a division. 2 binary classification.
3 Bot. & Zool. repeated bifurcation. ЬЬdichotomic adj.
dichotomize v. dichotomous adj. [mod.L dichotomia f. Gk
dikhotomia f. dikho- apart + -TOMY]
dichroic adj. (esp. of doubly refracting crystals) showing two colours.
ЬЬdichroism n. [Gk dikhroos (as DI-(1), khros colour)]
adj. 1 two-coloured. 2 a (of animal species) having
individuals that show different colorations. b having vision
sensitive to only two of the three primary colours.
ЬЬdichromatism n. [DI-(1) + Gk khromatikos f. khroma -atos
dick(1) n. 1 Brit. colloq. (in certain set phrases) fellow; person
(clever dick). 2 coarse sl. the penis. °In sense 2 usually
considered a taboo word. [pet form of the name Richard]
dick(2) n. sl. a detective. [perh. abbr.]
dick(3) n. Ьtake one's dick (often foll. by that + clause) sl. swear,
affirm. [abbr. of declaration]
dicken int. Austral. sl. an expression of disgust or disbelief.
[usu. assoc. with DICKENS or the name Dickens]
dickens n. (usu. prec. by how, what, why, etc., the) colloq. (esp. in
exclamations) deuce; the Devil (what the dickens are you doing
here?). [16th c.: prob. a use of the surname Dickens]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to Charles Dickens, Engl.
novelist d. 1870, or his work. 2 resembling or reminiscent of
the situations, poor social conditions, or comically repulsive
characters described in Dickens's work. --n. an admirer or
student of Dickens or his work. ЬЬDickensianly adv.
dicker v. & n. esp. US --v. 1 a intr. bargain, haggle. b tr.
barter, exchange. 2 intr. dither, hesitate. --n. a deal, a
barter. ЬЬdickerer n. [perh. f. dicker set of ten (hides), as
a unit of trade]
dicky(1) n. (also dickey) (pl. -ies or -eys) colloq. 1 a false
shirt-front. 2 (in full dicky-bird) a child's word for a little
bird. 3 Brit. a driver's seat in a carriage. 4 Brit. an extra
folding seat at the back of a vehicle. 5 (in full dicky bow)
Brit. a bow-tie. [some senses f. Dicky (as DICK(1))]
dicky(2) adj. (dickier, dickiest) Brit. sl. unsound, likely to
collapse or fail. [19th c.: perh. f. 'as queer as Dick's
dicot n. = DICOTYLEDON. [abbr.]
n. any flowering plant having two cotyledons. ЬЬdicotyledonous
adj. [mod.L dicotyledones (as DI-(1), COTYLEDON)]
dicrotic adj. (of the pulse) having a double beat. [Gk dikrotos]
dicta pl. of DICTUM.
n. propr. a machine for recording and playing back dictated
words. [DICTATE + PHONE]
dictate v. & n. --v. 1 tr. say or read aloud (words to be written down
or recorded). 2 a tr. prescribe or lay down authoritatively
(terms, things to be done). b intr. lay down the law; give
orders. --n. (usu. in pl.) an authoritative instruction
(dictates of conscience). [L dictare dictat- frequent. of
dicere dict- say]
dictation n. 1 a the saying of words to be written down or recorded. b
an instance of this, esp. as a school exercise. c the material
that is dictated. 2 a authoritative prescription. b an
instance of this. c a command. Ьdictation speed a slow rate of
speech suitable for dictation.
dictator n. 1 a ruler with (often usurped) unrestricted authority. 2 a
person with supreme authority in any sphere. 3 a domineering
person. 4 a person who dictates for transcription. 5 Rom.Hist.
a chief magistrate with absolute power, appointed in an
emergency. [ME f. L (as DICTATE)]
adj. 1 of or like a dictator. 2 imperious, overbearing.
ЬЬdictatorially adv. [L dictatorius (as DICTATOR)]
n. 1 a State ruled by a dictator. 2 a the position, rule, or
period of rule of a dictator. b rule by a dictator. 3 absolute
authority in any sphere.
diction n. 1 the manner of enunciation in speaking or singing. 2 the
choice of words or phrases in speech or writing. [F diction or
L dictio f. dicere dict- say]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a book that lists (usu. in alphabetical order)
and explains the words of a language or gives equivalent words
in another language. 2 a reference book on any subject, the
items of which are arranged in alphabetical order (dictionary of
architecture). [med.L dictionarium (manuale manual) &
dictionarius (liber book) f. L dictio (as DICTION)]
dictum n. (pl. dicta or dictums) 1 a formal utterance or
pronouncement. 2 a saying or maxim. 3 Law = OBITER DICTUM.
[L, = neut. past part. of dicere say]
dicty adj. US sl. 1 conceited, snobbish. 2 elegant, stylish. [20th
c.: orig. unkn.]
did past of DO(1).
didactic adj. 1 meant to instruct. 2 (of a person) tediously pedantic.
ЬЬdidactically adv. didacticism n. [Gk didaktikos f. didasko
didakai var. of DIDICOI.
diddicoy var. of DIDICOI.
diddle v. colloq. 1 tr. cheat, swindle. 2 intr. US waste time.
ЬЬdiddler n. [prob. back-form. f. Jeremy Diddler in Kenney's
'Raising the Wind' (1803)]
diddums int. expressing commiseration esp. to a child. [= did 'em,
i.e. did they (tease you etc.)?]
n. (also didjeridoo) an Australian Aboriginal musical wind
instrument of long tubular shape. [imit.]
didicoi n. (also didakai, diddicoy) sl. a gypsy; an itinerant tinker.
didn't contr. did not.
dido n. (pl. -oes or -os) US colloq. an antic, a caper, a prank.
Ьcut (or cut up) didoes play pranks. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
didst archaic 2nd sing. past of DO(1).
didymium n. a mixture of praesodymium and neodymium, orig. regarded as
an element. [mod.L f. Gk didumos twin (from being closely
associated with lanthanum)]
die(1) v. (dies, died, dying) 1 intr. (often foll. by of) (of a
person, animal, or plant) cease to live; expire, lose vital
force (died of hunger). 2 intr. a come to an end, cease to
exist, fade away (the project died within six months). b cease
to function; break down (the engine died). c (of a flame) go
out. 3 intr. (foll. by on) die or cease to function while in
the presence or charge of (a person). 4 intr. (usu. foll. by
of, from, with) be exhausted or tormented (nearly died of
boredom; was dying from the heat). 5 tr. suffer (a specified
death) (died a natural death). Ьbe dying (foll. by for, or to +
infin.) wish for longingly or intently (was dying for a drink;
am dying to see you). die away become weaker or fainter to the
point of extinction. die-away adj. languishing. die back (of
a plant) decay from the tip towards the root. die down become
less loud or strong. die hard die reluctantly, not without a
struggle (old habits die hard). die-hard n. a conservative or
stubborn person. die out become extinct, cease to exist. never
say die keep up courage, not give in. [ME, prob. f. ON deyja f.
die(2) n. 1 sing. of DICE n. 1a. ° Dice is now standard in general
use in this sense. 2 (pl. dies) a an engraved device for
stamping a design on coins, medals, etc. b a device for
stamping, cutting, or moulding material into a particular shape.
3 (pl. dice) Archit. the cubical part of a pedestal between the
base and the cornice; a dado or plinth. Ьas straight (or true)
as a die 1 quite straight. 2 entirely honest or loyal.
die-cast cast (hot metal) in a die or mould. die-casting the
process or product of casting from metal moulds. the die is
cast an irrevocable step has been taken. die-sinker an engraver
of dies. die-stamping embossing paper etc. with a die. [ME f.
OF de f. L datum neut. past part. of dare give, play]
dieldrin n. a crystalline insecticide produced by the oxidation of
aldrin. [O. Diels, Ger. chemist d. 1954 + ALDRIN]
adj. & n. Electr. --adj. insulating. --n. an insulating
medium or substance. Ьdielectric constant permittivity.
ЬЬdielectrically adv. [DI-(3) + ELECTRIC = through which
electricity is transmitted (without conduction)]
diene n. Chem. any organic compound possessing two double bonds
between carbon atoms. [DI-(1) + -ENE]
dieresis US var. of DIAERESIS.
diesel n. 1 (in full diesel engine) an internal-combustion engine in
which the heat produced by the compression of air in the
cylinder ignites the fuel. 2 a vehicle driven by a diesel
engine. 3 fuel for a diesel engine. Ьdiesel-electric n. a
vehicle driven by the electric current produced by a
diesel-engined generator. --adj. of or powered by this means.
diesel oil a heavy petroleum fraction used as fuel in diesel
engines. ЬЬdieselize v.tr. (also -ise). [R. Diesel, Ger.
engineer d. 1913]
Dies irae n. a Latin hymn sung in a Mass for the dead. [L (its first
words), = day of wrath]
dies non n. Law 1 a day on which no legal business can be done. 2 a day
that does not count for legal purposes. [L, short for dies non
juridicus non-judicial day]
diet(1) n. & v. --n. 1 the kinds of food that a person or animal
habitually eats. 2 a special course of food to which a person
is restricted, esp. for medical reasons or to control weight. 3
a regular occupation or series of activities to which one is
restricted or which form one's main concern, usu. for a purpose
(a diet of light reading and fresh air). --v. (dieted,
dieting) 1 intr. restrict oneself to small amounts or special
kinds of food, esp. to control one's weight. 2 tr. restrict (a
person or animal) to a special diet. ЬЬdieter n. [ME f. OF
diete (n.), dieter (v.) f. L diaeta f. Gk diaita a way of life]
diet(2) n. 1 a legislative assembly in certain countries. 2 hist. a
national or international conference, esp. of a federal State or
confederation. 3 Sc. Law a meeting or session of a court. [ME
f. med.L dieta day's work, wages, etc.]
dietary adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to a diet. --n. (pl. -ies) a
regulated or restricted diet. [ME f. med.L dietarium (as
dietetic adj. of or relating to diet. ЬЬdietetically adv. [L
dieteticus f. Gk diaitetikos (as DIET(1))]
dietetics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) the scientific study of diet and
n. Chem. = ETHER 1.
dietitian n. (also dietician) an expert in dietetics.
dif- prefix assim. form of DIS- before f. [L var. of DIS-]
differ v.intr. 1 (often foll. by from) be unlike or distinguishable.
2 (often foll. by with) disagree; be at variance (with a
person). [ME f. OF differer f. L differre, differ, DEFER(1),
(as DIS-, ferre bear, tend)]
n. & v. --n. 1 the state or condition of being different or
unlike. 2 a point in which things differ; a distinction. 3 a
degree of unlikeness. 4 a the quantity by which amounts differ;
a deficit (will have to make up the difference). b the
remainder left after subtraction. 5 a a disagreement, quarrel,
or dispute. b the grounds of disagreement (put aside their
differences). 6 Heraldry an alteration in a coat of arms
distinguishing members of a family. --v.tr. Heraldry alter (a
coat of arms) to distinguish members of a family. Ьmake a (or
all the etc.) difference (often foll. by to) have a significant
effect or influence (on a person, situation, etc.). make no
difference (often foll. by to) have no effect (on a person,
situation, etc.). with a difference having a new or unusual
feature. [ME f. OF f. L differentia (as DIFFERENT)]
different adj. 1 (often foll. by from, to, than) unlike, distinguishable
in nature, form, or quality (from another). ° Different from
is generally regarded as the most acceptable collocation; to is
common in less formal use; than is established in US use and
also found in British use, esp. when followed by a clause, e.g.
I am a different person than I was a year ago. 2 distinct,
separate; not the same one (as another). 3 colloq. unusual
(wanted to do something different). ЬЬdifferently adv.
differentness n. [ME f. OF different f. L different- (as
n. (pl. differentiae) a distinguishing mark, esp. between
species within a genus. [L: see DIFFERENCE]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of, exhibiting, or depending on a
difference. b varying according to circumstances. 2 Math.
relating to infinitesimal differences. 3 constituting a
specific difference; distinctive; relating to specific
differences (differential diagnosis). 4 Physics & Mech.
concerning the difference of two or more motions, pressures,
etc. --n. 1 a difference between individuals or examples of
the same kind. 2 Brit. a difference in wage or salary between
industries or categories of employees in the same industry. 3 a
difference between rates of interest etc. 4 Math. a an
infinitesimal difference between successive values of a
variable. b a function expressing this as a rate of change with
respect to another variable. 5 (in full differential gear) a
gear allowing a vehicle's driven wheels to revolve at different
speeds in cornering. Ьdifferential calculus Math. a method of
calculating rates of change, maximum or minimum values, etc.
(cf. INTEGRAL). differential coefficient Math. = DERIVATIVE.
differential equation Math. an equation involving differentials
among its quantities. ЬЬdifferentially adv. [med. & mod.L
differentialis (as DIFFERENCE)]
v. 1 tr. constitute a difference between or in. 2 tr. & (often
foll. by between) intr. find differences (between);
discriminate. 3 tr. & intr. make or become different in the
process of growth or development (species, word-forms, etc.). 4
tr. Math. transform (a function) into its derivative.
ЬЬdifferentiation n. differentiator n. [med.L differentiare
differentiat- (as DIFFERENCE)]
difficult adj. 1 a needing much effort or skill. b troublesome,
perplexing. 2 (of a person): a not easy to please or satisfy.
b uncooperative, troublesome. 3 characterized by hardships or
problems (a difficult period in his life). ЬЬdifficultly adv.
difficultness n. [ME, back-form. f. DIFFICULTY]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state or condition of being difficult. 2
a a difficult thing; a problem or hindrance. b (often in pl.) a
cause of distress or hardship (in financial difficulties; there
was someone in difficulties in the water). Ьmake difficulties
be intransigent or unaccommodating. with difficulty not easily.
[ME f. L difficultas (as DIS-, facultas FACULTY)]
diffract v.tr. Physics (of the edge of an opaque body, a narrow slit,
etc.) break up (a beam of light) into a series of dark or light
bands or coloured spectra, or (a beam of radiation or particles)
into a series of alternately high and low intensities.
ЬЬdiffraction n. diffractive adj. diffractively adv. [L
diffringere diffract- (as DIS-, frangere break)]
n. an instrument for measuring diffraction, esp. in
diffuse adj. & v. --adj. 1 (of light, inflammation, etc.) spread out,
diffused, not concentrated. 2 (of prose, speech, etc.) not
concise, long-winded, verbose. --v.tr. & intr. 1 disperse or
be dispersed from a centre. 2 spread or be spread widely; reach
a large area. 3 Physics (esp. of fluids) intermingle by
diffusion. ЬЬdiffusely adv. diffuseness n. diffusible adj.
diffusive adj. [ME f. F diffus or L diffusus extensive (as
DIS-, fusus past part. of fundere pour)]
diffuser n. (also diffusor) 1 a person or thing that diffuses, esp. a
device for diffusing light. 2 Engin. a duct for broadening an
airflow and reducing its speed.
diffusion n. 1 the act or an instance of diffusing; the process of being
diffused. 2 Physics & Chem. the interpenetration of substances
by the natural movement of their particles. 3 Anthropol. the
spread of elements of culture etc. to another region or people.
ЬЬdiffusionist n. [ME f. L diffusio (as DIFFUSE)]
dig v. & n. --v. (digging; past and past part. dug) 1 intr. break
up and remove or turn over soil, ground, etc., with a tool,
one's hands, (of an animal) claws, etc. 2 tr. a break up and
displace (the ground etc.) in this way. b (foll. by up) break
up the soil of (fallow land). 3 tr. make (a hole, grave,
tunnel, etc.) by digging. 4 tr. (often foll. by up, out) a
obtain or remove by digging. b find or discover after
searching. 5 tr. (also absol.) excavate (an archaeological
site). 6 tr. sl. like, appreciate, or understand. 7 tr. &
intr. (foll. by in, into) thrust or poke into or down into. 8
intr. make one's way by digging (dug through the mountainside).
--n. 1 a piece of digging. 2 a thrust or poke (a dig in the
ribs). 3 colloq. (often foll. by at) a pointed or critical
remark. 4 an archaeological excavation. 5 (in pl.) Brit.
colloq. lodgings. Ьdig one's feet (or heels or toes) in be
obstinate. dig in colloq. begin eating. dig oneself in 1
prepare a defensive trench or pit. 2 establish one's position.
[ME digge, of uncert. orig.: cf. OE dic ditch]
digamma n. the sixth letter of the early Greek alphabet (prob.
pronounced w), later disused. [L f. Gk (as DI-(1), GAMMA)]
digastric adj. & n. Anat. --adj. (of a muscle) having two wide parts
with a tendon between. --n. the muscle that opens the jaw.
[mod.L digastricus (as DI-(1), Gk gaster belly)]
digest v. & n. --v.tr. 1 assimilate (food) in the stomach and bowels.
2 understand and assimilate mentally. 3 Chem. treat (a
substance) with heat, enzymes, or a solvent in order to
decompose it, extract the essence, etc. 4 a reduce to a
systematic or convenient form; classify; summarize. b think
over; arrange in the mind. --n. 1 a a methodical summary esp.
of a body of laws. b (the Digest) the compendium of Roman law
compiled in the reign of Justinian (6th c. AD). 2 a regular or
occasional synopsis of current literature or news. ЬЬdigester
n. digestible adj. digestibility n. [ME f. L digerere digest-
distribute, dissolve, digest (as DI-(2), gerere carry)]
digestion n. 1 the process of digesting. 2 the capacity to digest food
(has a weak digestion). 3 digesting a substance by means of
heat, enzymes, or a solvent. [ME f. OF f. L digestio -onis (as
digestive adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to digestion. 2 aiding or
promoting digestion. --n. 1 a substance that aids digestion.
2 (in full digestive biscuit) Brit. a usu. round semi-sweet
wholemeal biscuit. ЬЬdigestively adv. [ME f. OF digestif -ive
or L digestivus (as DIGEST)]
digger n. 1 a person or machine that digs, esp. a mechanical
excavator. 2 a miner, esp. a gold-digger. 3 colloq. an
Australian or New Zealander, esp. a private soldier. 4 Austral.
& NZ colloq. (as a form of address) mate, fellow.
diggings n.pl. 1 a a mine or goldfield. b material dug out of a mine
etc. 2 Brit. colloq. lodgings, accommodation.
dight adj. archaic clothed, arrayed. [past part. of dight (v.) f. OE
dihtan f. L dictare DICTATE]
digit n. 1 any numeral from 0 to 9, esp. when forming part of a
number. 2 Anat. & Zool. a finger, thumb, or toe. [ME f. L
digital adj. 1 of or using a digit or digits. 2 (of a clock, watch,
etc.) that gives a reading by means of displayed digits instead
of hands. 3 (of a computer) operating on data represented as a
series of usu. binary digits or in similar discrete form. 4 a
(of a recording) with sound-information represented in digits
for more reliable transmission. b (of a recording medium) using
this process. Ьdigital audio tape magnetic tape on which sound
is recorded digitally. digital to analog converter Computing a
device for converting digital values to analog form.
ЬЬdigitalize v.tr. (also -ise). digitally adv. [L digitalis
digitalin n. the pharmacologically active constituent(s) of the foxglove.
[DIGITALIS + -IN]
digitalis n. a drug prepared from the dried leaves of foxgloves and
containing substances that stimulate the heart muscle. [mod.L,
genus-name of foxglove after G Fingerhut thimble: see DIGITAL]
digitate adj. 1 Zool. having separate fingers or toes. 2 Bot. having
deep radiating divisions. ЬЬdigitately adv. digitation n. [L
digitatus (as DIGIT)]
adj. & n. Zool. --adj. (of an animal) walking on its toes and
not touching the ground with its heels, e.g. dogs, cats, and
rodents. --n. a digitigrade animal (cf. PLANTIGRADE). [F f. L
digitus + -gradus -walking]
digitize v.tr. (also -ise) convert (data etc.) into digital form, esp.
for processing by a computer. ЬЬdigitization n.
dignified adj. having or expressing dignity; noble or stately in
appearance or manner. ЬЬdignifiedly adv.
dignify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 give dignity or distinction to. 2
ennoble; make worthy or illustrious. 3 give the form or
appearance of dignity to (dignified the house with the name of
mansion). [obs. F dignifier f. OF dignefier f. LL dignificare
f. dignus worthy]
dignitary n. (pl. -ies) a person holding high rank or office. [DIGNITY
+ -ARY(1), after PROPRIETARY]
dignity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a composed and serious manner or style. 2 the
state of being worthy of honour or respect. 3 worthiness,
excellence (the dignity of work). 4 a high or honourable rank
or position. 5 high regard or estimation. Ьbeneath one's
dignity not considered worthy enough for one to do. stand on
one's dignity insist (esp. by one's manner) on being treated
with due respect. [ME f. OF dignet‚, dignit‚ f. L dignitas
-tatis f. dignus worthy]
digraph n. a group of two letters representing one sound, as in ph and
ey. ЬЬdigraphic adj.
digress v.intr. depart from the main subject temporarily in speech or
writing. ЬЬdigresser n. digression n. digressive adj.
digressively adv. digressiveness n. [L digredi digress- (as
DI-(2), gradi walk)]
digs see DIG n. 5.
dihedral adj. & n. --adj. having or contained by two plane faces. --n.
= dihedral angle. Ьdihedral angle an angle formed by two plane
surfaces, esp. by an aircraft wing with the horizontal.
[dihedron f. DI-(1) + -HEDRON]
dihydric adj. Chem. containing two hydroxyl groups. [DI-(1) + HYDRIC]
dik-dik n. any dwarf antelope of the genus Madoqua, native to Africa.
[name in E. Africa and in Afrik.]
dike(1) var. of DYKE(1).
dike(2) var. of DYKE(2).
diktat n. a categorical statement or decree, esp. terms imposed after
a war by a victor. [G, = DICTATE]
v.intr. & tr. fall or cause to fall into disrepair or ruin. [L
dilapidare demolish, squander (as DI-(2), lapis lapid- stone)]
adj. in a state of disrepair or ruin, esp. as a result of age
n. 1 a the process of dilapidating. b a state of disrepair. 2
(in pl.) repairs required at the end of a tenancy or lease. 3
Eccl. a sum charged against an incumbent for wear and tear
during a tenancy. [ME f. LL dilapidatio (as DILAPIDATE)]
n. 1 the widening or expansion of a hollow organ or cavity. 2
the process of dilating. Ьdilatation and curettage an operation
in which the cervix is expanded and the womb-lining scraped off
with a curette.
dilate v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become wider or larger (esp. of an
opening in the body) (dilated pupils). 2 intr. (often foll. by
on, upon) speak or write at length. ЬЬdilatable adj. dilation
n. [ME f. OF dilater f. L dilatare spread out (as DI-(2), latus
dilator n. 1 Anat. a muscle that dilates an organ. 2 Surgery an
instrument for dilating a tube or cavity in the body.
dilatory adj. given to or causing delay. ЬЬdilatorily adv.
dilatoriness n. [LL dilatorius (as DI-(2), dilat- past part.
stem of differre DEFER(1))]
dildo n. (pl. -os) an object shaped like an erect penis and used,
esp. by women, for sexual stimulation. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
dilemma n. 1 a situation in which a choice has to be made between two
equally undesirable alternatives. 2 a state of indecision
between two alternatives. 3 disp. a difficult situation. 4 an
argument forcing an opponent to choose either of two
unfavourable alternatives. [L f. Gk (as DI-(1), lemma premiss)]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. dilettanti or dilettantes) 1 a person who
studies a subject or area of knowledge superficially. 2 a
person who enjoys the arts. --adj. trifling, not thorough;
amateurish. ЬЬdilettantish adj. dilettantism n. [It. f. pres.
part. of dilettare delight f. L delectare]
n. 1 careful and persistent application or effort. 2 (as a
characteristic) industriousness. [ME f. OF f. L diligentia (as
n. hist. a public stagecoach, esp. in France. [F, for
carrosse de diligence coach of speed]
diligent adj. 1 careful and steady in application to one's work or
duties. 2 showing care and effort. ЬЬdiligently adv. [ME f.
OF f. L diligens assiduous, part. of diligere love, take delight
in (as DI-(2), legere choose)]
dill(1) n. 1 an umbelliferous herb, Anethum graveolens, with yellow
flowers and aromatic seeds. 2 the leaves or seeds of this plant
used for flavouring and medicinal purposes. Ьdill pickle
pickled cucumber etc. flavoured with dill. dill-water a
distillate of dill used as a carminative. [OE dile]
dill(2) n. Austral. sl. 1 a fool or simpleton. 2 the victim of a
trickster. [app. back-form. f. DILLY(2)]
dilly(1) n. (pl. -ies) esp. US sl. a remarkable or excellent person
or thing. [dilly (adj.) f. DELIGHTFUL or DELICIOUS]
dilly(2) adj. Austral. sl. 1 odd or eccentric. 2 foolish, stupid,
mad. [perh. f. DAFT, SILLY]
dillybag n. Austral. a small bag or basket. [Aboriginal dilly + BAG]
diluent adj. & n. Chem. & Biochem. --adj. that serves to dilute. --n.
a diluting agent. [L diluere diluent- DILUTE]
dilute v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 reduce the strength of (a fluid) by adding
water or another solvent. 2 weaken or reduce the strength or
forcefulness of, esp. by adding something. --adj. also 1 (esp.
of a fluid) diluted, weakened. 2 (of a colour) washed out; low
in saturation. 3 Chem. a (of a solution) having relatively low
concentration of solute. b (of a substance) in solution (dilute
sulphuric acid). ЬЬdiluter n. dilution n. [L diluere dilut-
(as DI-(2), luere wash)]
diluvial adj. 1 of a flood, esp. of the Flood in Genesis. 2 Geol. of
the Glacial Drift formation (see DRIFT n. 8). [LL diluvialis
f. diluvium DELUGE]
diluvium n. (pl. diluvia) Geol. = DRIFT n. 8. [L: see DILUVIAL]
dim adj. & v. --adj. (dimmer, dimmest) 1 a only faintly luminous
or visible; not bright. b obscure; ill-defined. 2 not clearly
perceived or remembered. 3 colloq. stupid; slow to understand.
4 (of the eyes) not seeing clearly. --v. (dimmed, dimming) 1
tr. & intr. make or become dim or less bright. 2 tr. US dip
(headlights). Ьdim-wit colloq. a stupid person. dim-witted
colloq. stupid, unintelligent. take a dim view of colloq. 1
disapprove of. 2 feel gloomy about. ЬЬdimly adv. dimmish adj.
dimness n. [OE dim, dimm, of unkn. orig.]
dim. abbr. diminuendo.
dime n. US & Can. colloq. 1 a ten-cent coin. 2 a small amount of
money. Ьa dime a dozen very cheap or commonplace. dime novel a
cheap popular novel. turn on a dime US colloq. make a sharp
turn in a vehicle. [ME (orig. = tithe) f. OF disme f. L decima
pars tenth part]
dimension n. & v. --n. 1 a measurable extent of any kind, as length,
breadth, depth, area, and volume. 2 (in pl.) size, scope,
extent. 3 an aspect or facet of a situation, problem, etc. 4
Algebra one of a number of unknown or variable quantities
contained as factors in a product (x(3), x(2)y, xyz, are all of
three dimensions). 5 Physics the product of mass, length, time,
etc., raised to the appropriate power, in a derived physical
quantity. --v.tr. (usu. as dimensioned adj.) mark the
dimensions on (a diagram etc.). ЬЬdimensional adj. (also in
comb.). dimensionless adj. [ME f. OF f. L dimensio -onis (as
DI-(2), metiri mensus measure)]
dimer n. Chem. a compound consisting of two identical molecules
linked together (cf. MONOMER). ЬЬdimeric adj. [DI-(1) + -mer
dimerous adj. (of a plant) having two parts in a whorl etc. [mod.L
dimerus f. Gk dimeres bipartite]
dimeter n. Prosody a line of verse consisting of two metrical feet.
[LL dimetrus f. Gk dimetros (as DI-(1), METER)]
diminish v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become smaller or less. 2 tr. lessen
the reputation or influence of (a person). Ьlaw of diminishing
returns Econ. the fact that the increase of expenditure,
investment, taxation, etc., beyond a certain point ceases to
produce a proportionate yield. ЬЬdiminishable adj. [ME,
blending of earlier minish f. OF menusier (formed as MINCE) and
diminue f. OF diminuer f. L diminuere diminut- break up small]
adj. 1 reduced; made smaller or less. 2 Mus. (of an interval,
usu. a seventh or fifth) less by a semitone than the
corresponding minor or perfect interval. Ьdiminished
responsibility Law the limitation of criminal responsibility on
the ground of mental weakness or abnormality.
adv. & n. Mus. --adv. with a gradual decrease in loudness.
--n. (pl. -os) a passage to be played in this way. [It.,
part. of diminuire DIMINISH]
n. 1 a the act or an instance of diminishing. b the amount by
which something diminishes. 2 Mus. the repetition of a passage
in notes shorter than those originally used. [ME f. OF f. L
diminutio - onis (as DIMINISH)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 remarkably small; tiny. 2 Gram. (of a word
or suffix) implying smallness, either actual or imputed in token
of affection, scorn, etc. (e.g. -let, -kins). --n. Gram. a
diminutive word or suffix. ЬЬdiminutival adj. diminutively
adv. diminutiveness n. [ME f. OF diminutif, -ive f. LL
diminutivus (as DIMINISH)]
dimissory adj. 1 ordering or permitting to depart. 2 Eccl. granting
permission for a candidate to be ordained outside the bishop's
own see (dimissory letters). [ME f. LL dimissorius f.
dimittere dimiss- send away (as DI-(2), mittere send)]
dimity n. (pl. -ies) a cotton fabric woven with stripes or checks.
[ME f. It. dimito or med.L dimitum f. Gk dimitos (as DI-(1),
dimmer n. 1 a device for varying the brightness of an electric light.
2 US a (in pl.) small parking lights on a motor vehicle. b a
headlight on low beam.
dimorphic adj. (also dimorphous) Biol., Chem., & Mineral. exhibiting, or
occurring in, two distinct forms. ЬЬdimorphism n. [Gk
dimorphos (as DI-(1), morphe form)]
dimple n. & v. --n. a small hollow or dent in the flesh, esp. in the
cheeks or chin. --v. 1 intr. produce or show dimples. 2 tr.
produce dimples in (a cheek etc.). ЬЬdimply adj. [ME prob. f.
OE dympel (unrecorded) f. a Gmc root dump-, perh. a nasalized
form rel. to DEEP]
dim sum n. (also dim sim) 1 a meal or course of savoury Cantonese-style
snacks. 2 (usu. dim sim) Austral. a dish of Cantonese origin,
consisting of steamed or fried meat cooked in thin dough.
[Cantonese dim-sam, lit. 'dot of the heart']
DIN n. any of a series of technical standards originating in W.
Germany and used internationally, esp. to designate electrical
connections, film speeds, and paper sizes. [G, f. Deutsche
din n. & v. --n. a prolonged loud and distracting noise. --v.
(dinned, dinning) 1 tr. (foll. by into) instil (something to be
learned) by constant repetition. 2 intr. make a din. [OE dyne,
dynn, dynian f. Gmc]
dinar n. 1 the chief monetary unit of Yugoslavia. 2 the chief
monetary unit of certain countries of the Middle East and N.
Africa. [Arab. & Pers. dinar f. Gk denarion f. L denarius: see
dine v. 1 intr. eat dinner. 2 tr. give dinner to. Ьdine out 1 dine
away from home. 2 (foll. by on) be entertained to dinner etc.
on account of (one's ability to relate an interesting event,
story, etc.). dining-car a railway carriage equipped as a
restaurant. dining-room a room in which meals are eaten. [ME
f. OF diner, disner, ult. f. DIS- + LL jejunare f. jejunus
diner n. 1 a person who dines, esp. in a restaurant. 2 a railway
dining-car. 3 US a small restaurant. 4 a small dining-room.
dinette n. a small room or part of a room used for eating meals.
ding(1) v. & n. --v.intr. make a ringing sound. --n. a ringing sound,
as of a bell. [imit.: infl. by DIN]
ding(2) n. Austral. sl. a party or celebration, esp. a wild one.
[perh. f. DING-DONG or WINGDING]
Ding an sich
n. Philos. a thing in itself. [G]
dingbat n. sl. 1 US & Austral. a stupid or eccentric person. 2 (in
pl.) Austral. & NZ a madness. b discomfort, unease (gives me
the dingbats). [19th c.: perh. f. ding to beat + BAT(1)]
ding-dong n., adj., & adv. --n. 1 the sound of alternate chimes, as of
two bells. 2 colloq. an intense argument or fight. 3 colloq. a
riotous party. --adj. (of a contest etc.) evenly matched and
intensely waged; thoroughgoing. --adv. with vigour and energy
(hammer away at it ding-dong). [16th c.: imit.]
dinge n. & v. --n. a dent or hollow caused by a blow. --v.tr. make
such a dent in. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
dinghy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a small boat carried by a ship. 2 a small
pleasure-boat. 3 a small inflatable rubber boat (esp. for
emergency use). [orig. a rowing-boat used on Indian rivers, f.
Hindi dingi, dengi]
dingle n. a deep wooded valley or dell. [ME: orig. unkn.]
dingo n. (pl. -oes) 1 a wild or half-domesticated Australian dog,
Canis dingo. 2 Austral. sl. a coward or scoundrel.
dingy adj. (dingier, dingiest) dirty-looking, drab, dull-coloured.
ЬЬdingily adv. dinginess n. [perh. ult. f. OE dynge DUNG]
dinky(1) adj. (dinkier, dinkiest) colloq. 1 Brit. colloq. (esp. of a
thing) neat and attractive; small, dainty. 2 US trifling,
insignificant. [Sc. dink neat, trim, of unkn. orig.]
dinky(2) n. (pl. -ies) 1 a well-off young working couple with no
children. 2 either partner of this. [contr. of double income
no kids + -Y(2)]
dinner n. 1 the main meal of the day, taken either at midday or in the
evening. 2 a formal evening meal, often in honour of a person
or event. Ьdinner-dance a formal dinner followed by dancing.
dinner-jacket a man's short usu. black formal jacket for evening
wear. dinner lady a woman who supervises children's lunch in a
school. dinner service a set of usu. matching crockery for
serving a meal. [ME f. OF diner, disner: see DINE]
dinosaur n. 1 an extinct reptile of the Mesozoic era, often of enormous
size. 2 a large unwieldy system or organization, esp. one not
adapting to new conditions. ЬЬdinosaurian adj. & n. [mod.L
dinosaurus f. Gk deinos terrible + sauros lizard]
dinothere n. any elephant-like animal of the extinct genus Deinotherium,
having downward curving tusks. [mod.L dinotherium f. Gk deinos
terrible + therion wild beast]
dint n. & v. --n. 1 a dent. 2 archaic a blow or stroke. --v.tr.
mark with dints. Ьby dint of by force or means of. [ME f. OE
dynt, and partly f. cogn. ON dyntr: ult. orig. unkn.]
diocesan adj. & n. --adj. of or concerning a diocese. --n. the bishop
of a diocese. [ME f. F dioc‚sain f. LL diocesanus (as DIOCESE)]
diocese n. a district under the pastoral care of a bishop. [ME f. OF
diocise f. LL diocesis f. L dioecesis f. Gk dioikesis
administration (as DI-(3), oikeo inhabit)]
diode n. Electronics 1 a semiconductor allowing the flow of current
in one direction only and having two terminals. 2 a thermionic
valve having two electrodes. [DI-(1) + ELECTRODE]
dioecious adj. 1 Bot. having male and female organs on separate plants.
2 Zool. having the two sexes in separate individuals (cf.
MONOECIOUS). [DI-(1) + Gk -oikos -housed]
diol n. Chem. any alcohol containing two hydroxyl groups in each
molecule. [DI-(1) + -OL(1)]
Dionysiac adj. (also Dionysian) 1 wildly sensual; unrestrained. 2 (in
Greek mythology) of or relating to Dionysus, the Greek god of
wine, or his worship. [LL Dionysiacus f. L Dionysus f. Gk
n. Math. an equation with integral coefficients for which
integral solutions are required. [Diophantus of Alexandria,
mathematician of uncert. date]
dioptre n. (US diopter) Optics a unit of refractive power of a lens,
equal to the reciprocal of its focal length in metres. [F
dioptre f. L dioptra f. Gk dioptra: see DIOPTRIC]
dioptric adj. Optics 1 serving as a medium for sight; assisting sight by
refraction (dioptric glass; dioptric lens). 2 of refraction;
refractive. [Gk dioptrikos f. dioptra a kind of theodolite]
dioptrics n. Optics the part of optics dealing with refraction.
diorama n. 1 a scenic painting in which changes in colour and direction
of illumination simulate a sunrise etc. 2 a small
representation of a scene with three-dimensional figures, viewed
through a window etc. 3 a small-scale model or film-set.
ЬЬdioramic adj. [DI-(3) + Gk horama -atos f. horao see]
diorite n. a coarse-grained plutonic igneous rock containing quartz.
ЬЬdioritic adj. [F f. Gk diorizo distinguish]
dioxan n. (also dioxane) Chem. a colourless toxic liquid used as a
solvent. °Chem. formula: CHO.
dioxide n. Chem. an oxide containing two atoms of oxygen which are not
linked together (carbon dioxide).
DIP n. Computing a form of integrated circuit consisting of a small
plastic or ceramic slab with two parallel rows of pins.
ЬDIP-switch an arrangement of switches on a printer for
selecting a printing mode. [abbr. of dual in-line package]
Dip. abbr. Diploma.
dip v. & n. --v. (dipped, dipping) 1 tr. put or let down briefly
into liquid etc.; immerse. 2 intr. a go below a surface or
level (the sun dipped below the horizon). b (of a level of
income, activity, etc.) decline slightly, esp. briefly (profits
dipped in May). 3 intr. extend downwards; take or have a
downward slope (the road dips after the bend). 4 intr. go under
water and emerge quickly. 5 intr. (foll. by into) a read
briefly from (a book etc.). b take a cursory interest in (a
subject). 6 (foll. by into) a intr. put a hand, ladle, etc.,
into a container to take something out. b tr. put (a hand etc.)
into a container to do this. c intr. spend from or make use of
one's resources (dipped into our savings). 7 tr. & intr. lower
or be lowered, esp. in salute. 8 tr. Brit. lower the beam of
(a vehicle's headlights) to reduce dazzle. 9 tr. colour (a
fabric) by immersing it in dye. 10 tr. wash (sheep) by
immersion in a vermin-killing liquid. 11 tr. make (a candle) by
immersing a wick briefly in hot tallow. 12 tr. baptize by
immersion. 13 tr. (often foll. by up, out of) remove or scoop
up (liquid, grain, etc., or something from liquid). --n. 1 an
act of dipping or being dipped. 2 a liquid into which something
is dipped. 3 a brief bathe in the sea, river, etc. 4 a brief
downward slope, followed by an upward one, in a road etc. 5 a
sauce or dressing into which food is dipped before eating. 6 a
depression in the skyline. 7 Astron. & Surveying the apparent
depression of the horizon from the line of observation, due to
the curvature of the earth. 8 Physics the angle made with the
horizontal at any point by the earth's magnetic field. 9 Geol.
the angle a stratum makes with the horizon. 10 sl. a
pickpocket. 11 a quantity dipped up. 12 a candle made by
dipping. Ьdip-switch a switch for dipping a vehicle's headlight
beams. [OE dyppan f. Gmc: rel. to DEEP]
Dip. A.D. abbr. Brit. Diploma in Art and Design.
Dip. Ed. abbr. Diploma in Education.
dipeptide n. Biochem. a peptide formed by the combination of two amino
Dip. H.E. abbr. Brit. Diploma of Higher Education.
disp. n. an acute infectious bacterial disease with
inflammation of a mucous membrane esp. of the throat, resulting
in the formation of a false membrane causing difficulty in
breathing and swallowing. ЬЬdiphtherial adj. diphtheric adj.
diphtheritic adj. diphtheroid adj. [mod.L f. F diphth‚rie,
earlier diphth‚rite f. Gk diphthera skin, hide]
diphthong n. 1 a speech sound in one syllable in which the articulation
begins as for one vowel and moves as for another (as in coin,
loud, and side). 2 a a digraph representing the sound of a
diphthong or single vowel (as in feat). b a compound vowel
character; a ligature (as ‘). ЬЬdiphthongal adj. [F diphtongue
f. LL diphthongus f. Gk diphthoggos (as DI-(1), phthoggos
v.tr. (also -ise) pronounce as a diphthong. ЬЬdiphthongization
diplo- comb. form double. [Gk diplous double]
n. (pl. diplococci) Biol. any coccus that occurs mainly in
n. a giant plant-eating dinosaur of the order Sauropoda, with a
long neck and tail. [DIPLO- + Gk dokos wooden beam]
diploid adj. & n. Biol. --adj. (of an organism or cell) having two
complete sets of chromosomes per cell. --n. a diploid cell or
organism. [G (as DIPLO-, -OID)]
diploidy n. Biol. the condition of being diploid.
diploma n. 1 a certificate of qualification awarded by a college etc.
2 a document conferring an honour or privilege. 3 a State
paper; an official document; a charter. ЬЬdiplomaed adj. (also
diploma'd). [L f. Gk diploma -atos folded paper f. diploo to
fold f. diplous double]
diplomacy n. 1 a the management of international relations. b expertise
in this. 2 adroitness in personal relations; tact. [F
diplomatie f. diplomatique DIPLOMATIC after aristocratic]
diplomat n. 1 an official representing a country abroad; a member of a
diplomatic service. 2 a tactful person. [F diplomate,
back-form. f. diplomatique: see DIPLOMATIC]
diplomate n. esp. US a person who holds a diploma, esp. in medicine.
adj. 1 a of or involved in diplomacy. b skilled in diplomacy.
2 tactful; adroit in personal relations. 3 (of an edition etc.)
exactly reproducing the original. Ьdiplomatic bag a container
in which official mail etc. is dispatched to or from an embassy,
not usu. subject to customs inspection. diplomatic corps the
body of diplomats representing other countries at a seat of
government. diplomatic immunity the exemption of diplomatic
staff abroad from arrest, taxation, etc. diplomatic service
Brit. the branch of public service concerned with the
representation of a country abroad. ЬЬdiplomatically adv.
[mod.L diplomaticus and F diplomatique f. L DIPLOMA]
n. = DIPLOMAT.
diplont n. Biol. an animal or plant which has a diploid number of
chromosomes in its somatic cells. [DIPLO- + Gk ont- stem of on
diplotene n. Biol. a stage during the prophase of meiosis where paired
chromosomes begin to separate. [DIPLO- + Gk tainia band]
dipolar adj. having two poles, as in a magnet.
dipole n. 1 Physics two equal and oppositely charged or magnetized
poles separated by a distance. 2 Chem. a molecule in which a
concentration of positive charges is separated from a
concentration of negative charges. 3 an aerial consisting of a
horizontal metal rod with a connecting wire at its centre.
dipper n. 1 a diving bird, Cinclus cinclus. Also called water ouzel.
2 a ladle. 3 colloq. an Anabaptist or Baptist.
n. an abnormal craving for alcohol. ЬЬdipsomaniac n. [Gk
dipso- f. dipsa thirst + -MANIA]
dipstick n. a graduated rod for measuring the depth of a liquid, esp. in
a vehicle's engine.
dipteral adj. Archit. having a double peristyle. [L dipteros f. Gk (as
DI-(1), pteron wing)]
dipteran n. & adj. --n. a dipterous insect. --adj. = DIPTEROUS 1.
[mod.L diptera f. Gk diptera neut. pl. of dipterous two-winged
(as DI-(2), pteron wing)]
dipterous adj. 1 (of an insect) of the order Diptera, having two
membranous wings, e.g. the fly, gnat, or mosquito. 2 Bot.
having two winglike appendages. [mod.L dipterus f. Gk dipteros:
diptych n. 1 a painting, esp. an altarpiece, on two hinged usu. wooden
panels which may be closed like a book. 2 an ancient
writing-tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner
sides. [LL diptycha f. Gk diptukha (as DI-(1), ptukhe fold)]
dire adj. 1 a calamitous, dreadful (in dire straits). b ominous
(dire warnings). 2 urgent (in dire need). ЬЬdirely adv.
direness n. [L dirus]
direct adj., adv., & v. --adj. 1 extending or moving in a straight
line or by the shortest route; not crooked or circuitous. 2 a
straightforward; going straight to the point. b frank; not
ambiguous. 3 without intermediaries or the intervention of
other factors (direct rule; the direct result; made a direct
approach). 4 (of descent) lineal, not collateral. 5 exact,
complete, greatest possible (esp. where contrast is implied)
(the direct opposite). 6 Mus. (of an interval or chord) not
inverted. 7 Astron. (of planetary etc. motion) proceeding from
East to West; not retrograde. --adv. 1 in a direct way or
manner; without an intermediary or intervening factor (dealt
with them direct). 2 frankly; without evasion. 3 by a direct
route (send it direct to London). --v.tr. 1 control, guide;
govern the movements of. 2 (foll. by to + infin., or that +
clause) give a formal order or command to. 3 (foll. by to) a
address or give indications for the delivery of (a letter etc.).
b tell or show (a person) the way to a destination. 4 (foll. by
at, to, towards) a point, aim, or cause (a blow or missile) to
move in a certain direction. b point or address (one's
attention, a remark, etc.). 5 guide as an adviser, as a
principle, etc. (I do as duty directs me). 6 a (also absol.)
supervise the performing, staging, etc., of (a film, play,
etc.). b supervise the performance of (an actor etc.). 7 (also
absol.) guide the performance of (a group of musicians), esp. as
a participant. Ьdirect access the facility of retrieving data
immediately from any part of a computer file. direct action
action such as a strike or sabotage directly affecting the
community and meant to reinforce demands on a government,
employer, etc. direct address Computing an address (see ADDRESS
n. 1c) which specifies the location of data to be used in an
operation. direct current an electric current flowing in one
direction only. °Abbr.: DC, d.c. direct debit an arrangement
for the regular debiting of a bank account at the request of the
payee. direct-grant school hist. (in the UK) a school
receiving funds from the Government and not from a local
authority. direct method a system of teaching a foreign
language using only that language and without the study of
formal grammar. direct object Gram. the primary object of the
action of a transitive verb. direct proportion a relation
between quantities whose ratio is constant. direct speech (or
oration) words actually spoken, not reported in the third
person. direct tax a tax levied on the person who ultimately
bears the burden of it, esp. on income. ЬЬdirectness n. [ME f.
L directus past part. of dirigere direct- (as DI-(2), regere put
direction n. 1 the act or process of directing; supervision. 2 (usu. in
pl.) an order or instruction, esp. each of a set guiding use of
equipment etc. 3 a the course or line along which a person or
thing moves or looks, or which must be taken to reach a
destination (sailed in an easterly direction). b (in pl.)
guidance on how to reach a destination. c the point to or from
which a person or thing moves or looks. 4 the tendency or scope
of a theme, subject, or inquiry. Ьdirection-finder a device for
determining the source of radio waves, esp. as an aid in
navigation. ЬЬdirectionless adj. [ME f. F direction or L
directio (as DIRECT)]
adj. 1 of or indicating direction. 2 Electronics a concerned
with the transmission of radio or sound waves in a particular
direction. b (of equipment) designed to receive radio or sound
waves most effectively from a particular direction or directions
and not others. ЬЬdirectionality n. directionally adv.
directive n. & adj. --n. a general instruction from one in authority.
--adj. serving to direct. [ME f. med.L directivus (as DIRECT)]
directly adv. & conj. --adv. 1 a at once; without delay. b presently,
shortly. 2 exactly, immediately (directly opposite; directly
after lunch). 3 in a direct manner. --conj. colloq. as soon
as (will tell you directly they come).
adj. Needlework & Art in imitation of styles prevalent during
the French Directory. ЬDirectoire drawers (or knickers)
knickers which are straight, full, and knee-length. [F (as
director n. 1 a person who directs or controls something. 2 a member of
the managing board of a commercial company. 3 a person who
directs a film, play, etc., esp. professionally. 4 a person
acting as spiritual adviser. 5 esp. US = CONDUCTOR 1.
Ьdirector-general the chief executive of a large (esp. public)
organization. director of public prosecutions Brit. = public
prosecutor. ЬЬdirectorial adj. directorship n. (esp. in sense
2). [AF directour f. LL director governor (as DIRECT)]
n. 1 a board of directors. 2 the office of director.
directory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a book listing alphabetically or thematically
a particular group of individuals (e.g. telephone subscribers)
or organizations with various details. 2 (Directory) hist. the
revolutionary executive of five persons in power in France
1795-9. 3 a book of rules, esp. for the order of private or
public worship. [LL directorium (as DIRECT)]
n. (also directrice) a woman director. [DIRECTOR, F directrice
directrix n. (pl. directrices) Geom. a fixed line used in describing a
curve or surface. [med.L f. LL director: see DIRECTOR, -TRIX]
dirge n. 1 a lament for the dead, esp. forming part of a funeral
service. 2 any mournful song or lament. ЬЬdirgeful adj. [ME
f. L dirige (imper.) direct, the first word in the Latin
antiphon (from Ps. 5:8) in the Matins part of the Office for
dirham n. the principal monetary unit of Morocco and the United Arab
Emirates. [Arab. f. L DRACHMA]
dirigible adj. & n. --adj. capable of being guided. --n. a dirigible
balloon or airship. [L dirigere arrange, direct: see DIRECT]
diriment adj. Law nullifying. Ьdiriment impediment a factor (e.g. the
existence of a prior marriage) rendering a marriage null and
void from the beginning. [L dirimere f. dir- = DIS- + emere
dirk n. a long dagger, esp. as formerly worn by Scottish
Highlanders. [17th-c. durk, of unkn. orig.]
dirndl n. 1 a woman's dress styled in imitation of Alpine peasant
costume, with close-fitting bodice, tight waistband, and full
skirt. 2 a full skirt of this kind. [G dial., dimin. of Dirne
dirt n. 1 unclean matter that soils. 2 a earth, soil. b earth,
cinders, etc., used to make a surface for a road etc. (usu.
attrib. : dirt track; dirt road). 3 foul or malicious words or
talk. 4 excrement. 5 a dirty condition. 6 a person or thing
considered worthless. Ьdirt bike a motor cycle designed for use
on unmade roads and tracks, esp. in scrambling. dirt cheap
colloq. extremely cheap. dirt-track a course made of rolled
cinders, soil, etc., for motor-cycle racing or flat racing. do
a person dirt sl. harm or injure a person's reputation
maliciously. eat dirt 1 suffer insults etc. without
retaliating. 2 US make a humiliating confession. treat like
dirt treat (a person) contemptuously; abuse. [ME f. ON drit
dirty adj., adv., & v. --adj. (dirtier, dirtiest) 1 soiled, unclean.
2 causing one to become dirty (a dirty job). 3 sordid, lewd;
morally illicit or questionable (dirty joke). 4 unpleasant,
nasty. 5 dishonest, dishonourable, unfair (dirty play). 6 (of
weather) rough, squally. 7 (of a colour) not pure or clear,
dingy. 8 colloq. (of a nuclear weapon) producing considerable
radioactive fallout. --adv. sl. (with adjectives expressing
magnitude) very (a dirty great diamond). --v.tr. & intr.
(-ies, -ied) make or become dirty. Ьdirty dog colloq. a
scoundrel; a despicable person. the dirty end of the stick
colloq. the difficult or unpleasant part of an undertaking,
situation, etc. dirty linen (or washing) colloq. intimate
secrets, esp. of a scandalous nature. dirty look colloq. a
look of disapproval, anger, or disgust. dirty money extra money
paid to those who handle dirty materials. dirty trick 1 a
dishonourable and deceitful act. 2 (in pl.) underhand political
activity, esp. to discredit an opponent. dirty weekend colloq.
a weekend spent clandestinely with a lover. dirty word 1 an
offensive or indecent word. 2 a word for something which is
disapproved of (profit is a dirty word). dirty work
dishonourable or illegal activity, esp. done clandestinely. do
the dirty on colloq. play a mean trick on. ЬЬdirtily adv.
dis- prefix forming nouns, adjectives, and verbs: 1 expressing
negation (dishonest). 2 indicating reversal or absence of an
action or state (disengage; disbelieve). 3 indicating removal
of a thing or quality (dismember; disable). 4 indicating
separation (distinguish; dispose). 5 indicating completeness or
intensification of the action (disembowel; disgruntled). 6
indicating expulsion from (disbar). [L dis-, sometimes through
n. (pl. -ies) 1 physical incapacity, either congenital or
caused by injury, disease, etc. 2 a lack of some asset,
quality, or attribute, that prevents one's doing something. 3 a
disable v.tr. 1 render unable to function; deprive of an ability. 2
(often as disabled adj.) deprive of or reduce the power to walk
or do other normal activities, esp. by crippling. ЬЬdisablement
disabuse v.tr. 1 (foll. by of) free from a mistaken idea. 2
disaccord n. & v. --n. disagreement, disharmony. --v.intr. (usu. foll.
by with) disagree; be at odds. [ME f. F d‚saccorder (as
n. & v. --n. 1 an unfavourable circumstance or condition. 2
damage to one's interest or reputation. --v.tr. cause
disadvantage to. Ьat a disadvantage in an unfavourable position
or aspect. [ME f. OF desavantage: see ADVANTAGE]
adj. placed in unfavourable circumstances (esp. of a person
lacking the normal social opportunities).
adj. 1 disloyal, esp. to one's superiors. 2 estranged; no
longer friendly; discontented. ЬЬdisaffectedly adv. [past
part. of disaffect (v.), orig. = dislike, disorder (as DIS-,
n. 1 disloyalty. 2 political discontent.
v. 1 tr. end the affiliation of. 2 intr. end one's
affiliation. 3 tr. & intr. detach. ЬЬdisaffiliation n.
disaffirm v.tr. Law 1 reverse (a previous decision). 2 repudiate (a
settlement). ЬЬdisaffirmation n.
v.tr. Brit. 1 clear of forests or trees. 2 reduce from the
legal status of forest to that of ordinary land.
ЬЬdisafforestation n. [ME f. AL disafforestare (as DIS-,
disagree v.intr. (-agrees, -agreed, -agreeing) (often foll. by with) 1
hold a different opinion. 2 quarrel. 3 (of factors or
circumstances) not correspond. 4 have an adverse effect upon (a
person's health, digestion, etc.). ЬЬdisagreement n. [ME f. OF
desagreer (as DIS-, AGREE)]
adj. 1 unpleasant, not to one's liking. 2 quarrelsome; rude or
bad-tempered. ЬЬdisagreeableness n. disagreeably adv. [ME f.
OF desagreable (as DIS-, AGREEABLE)]
disallow v.tr. refuse to allow or accept as valid; prohibit.
ЬЬdisallowance n. [ME f. OF desalouer (as DIS-, ALLOW)]
v.tr. remove ambiguity from. ЬЬdisambiguation n.
n. (pl. -ies) an unpleasant feature (of a place etc.); a
disappear v.intr. 1 cease to be visible; pass from sight. 2 cease to
exist or be in circulation or use (trams had all but
disappeared). ЬЬdisappearance n.
v.tr. 1 (also absol.) fail to fulfil a desire or expectation of
(a person). 2 frustrate (hopes etc.); cause the failure of (a
plan etc.). Ьbe disappointed (foll. by with, at, in, or to +
infin., or that + clause) fail to have one's expectation etc.
fulfilled in some regard (was disappointed with you;
disappointed at the result; am disappointed to be last).
ЬЬdisappointedly adv. disappointing adj. disappointingly adv.
[ME f. F d‚sappointer (as DIS-, APPOINT)]
n. 1 an event, thing, or person that disappoints. 2 a feeling
of distress, vexation, etc., resulting from this (I cannot hide
n. strong (esp. moral) disapproval.
v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by of) have or express an unfavourable
opinion. 2 tr. be displeased with. ЬЬdisapproval n.
disapprover n. disapproving adj. disapprovingly adv.
disarm v. 1 tr. a take weapons away from (a person, State, etc.)
(often foll. by of : were disarmed of their rifles). b Fencing
etc. deprive of a weapon. 2 tr. deprive (a ship etc.) of its
means of defence. 3 intr. (of a State etc.) disband or reduce
its armed forces. 4 tr. remove the fuse from (a bomb etc.). 5
tr. deprive of the power to injure. 6 tr. pacify or allay the
hostility or suspicions of; mollify; placate. ЬЬdisarmer n.
disarming adj. (esp. in sense 6). disarmingly adv. [ME f. OF
desarmer (as DIS-, ARM(2))]
n. the reduction by a State of its military forces and weapons.
v.tr. bring into disorder. ЬЬdisarrangement n.
disarray n. & v. --n. (often prec. by in, into) disorder, confusion
(esp. among people). --v.tr. throw into disorder.
v.tr. & intr. separate at the joints. ЬЬdisarticulation n.
v.tr. take (a machine etc.) to pieces. ЬЬdisassembly n.
v.tr. & intr. = DISSOCIATE. ЬЬdisassociation n.
disaster n. 1 a great or sudden misfortune. 2 a a complete failure. b
a person or enterprise ending in failure. ЬЬdisastrous adj.
disastrously adv. [orig. 'unfavourable aspect of a star', f. F
d‚sastre or It. disastro (as DIS-, astro f. L astrum star)]
disavow v.tr. disclaim knowledge of, responsibility for, or belief in.
ЬЬdisavowal n. [ME f. OF desavouer (as DIS-, AVOW)]
disband v. 1 intr. (of an organized group etc.) cease to work or act
together; disperse. 2 tr. cause (such a group) to disband.
ЬЬdisbandment n. [obs. F desbander (as DIS-, BAND(1) 6)]
disbar v.tr. (disbarred, disbarring) deprive (a barrister) of the
right to practise; expel from the Bar. ЬЬdisbarment n.
v. 1 tr. be unable or unwilling to believe (a person or
statement). 2 intr. have no faith. ЬЬdisbelief n. disbeliever
n. disbelievingly adv.
disbound adj. (of a pamphlet etc.) removed from a bound volume.
disburden v.tr. 1 relieve (a person, one's mind, etc.) of a burden (often
foll. by of : was disburdened of all worries). 2 get rid of,
discharge (a duty, anxiety, etc.).
disburse v. 1 tr. expend (money). 2 tr. defray (a cost). 3 intr. pay
money. ЬЬdisbursal n. disbursement n. disburser n. [OF
desbourser (as DIS-, BOURSE)]
disc n. (also disk esp. US and in sense 4) 1 a a flat thin circular
object. b a round flat or apparently flat surface (the sun's
disc). c a mark of this shape. 2 a layer of cartilage between
vertebrae. 3 a gramophone record. 4 a (usu. disk; in full
magnetic disk) a computer storage device consisting of several
flat circular magnetically coated plates formed into a rotatable
disc. b (in full optical disc) a smooth non-magnetic disc with
large storage capacity for data recorded and read by laser. 5 a
device with a pointer or rotating disc indicating time of
arrival or latest permitted time of departure, for display in a
parked motor vehicle. Ьdisc brake a brake employing the
friction of pads against a disc. disk drive Computing a
mechanism for rotating a disk and reading or writing data from
or to it. disc harrow a harrow with cutting edges consisting of
a row of concave discs set at an oblique angle. disc jockey the
presenter of a selection of gramophone records of popular music,
esp. in a broadcast. [F disque or L discus: see DISCUS]
discalced adj. (of a friar or a nun) barefoot or wearing only sandals.
[var. of discalceated (after F d‚chaux) f. L discalceatus (as
DIS-, calceatus f. calceus shoe)]
discard v. & n. --v.tr. 1 reject or get rid of as unwanted or
superfluous. 2 (also absol.) Cards remove or put aside (a card)
from one's hand. --n. a discarded item, esp. a card in a
card-game. ЬЬdiscardable adj. [DIS- + CARD(1)]
adj. having no physical body; separated from the flesh. [DIS-,
L caro carnis flesh]
discern v.tr. 1 perceive clearly with the mind or the senses. 2 make
out by thought or by gazing, listening, etc. ЬЬdiscerner n.
discernible adj. discernibly adv. [ME f. OF discerner f. L (as
DIS-, cernere cret- separate)]
adj. having or showing good judgement or insight.
n. good judgement or insight.
adj. literary able to be plucked apart; divisible.
ЬЬdiscerptibility n. [L discerpere discerpt- (as DIS-, carpere
n. archaic 1 a pulling apart; severance. b an instance of
this. 2 a severed piece. [LL discerptio (as DISCERPTIBLE)]
discharge v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a let go, release, esp. from a duty,
commitment, or period of confinement. b relieve (a bankrupt) of
residual liability. 2 tr. dismiss from office, employment, army
commission, etc. 3 tr. a fire (a gun etc.). b (of a gun etc.)
fire (a bullet etc.). 4 a tr. (also absol.) pour out or cause
to pour out (pus, liquid, etc.) (the wound was discharging). b
tr. throw; eject (discharged a stone at the cat). c tr. utter
(abuse etc.). d intr. (foll. by into) (of a river etc.) flow
into (esp. the sea). 5 tr. a carry out, perform (a duty or
obligation). b relieve oneself of (a financial commitment)
(discharged his debt). 6 tr. Law cancel (an order of court).
7 tr. Physics release an electrical charge from. 8 tr. a
relieve (a ship etc.) of its cargo. b unload (a cargo) from a
ship. --n. 1 the act or an instance of discharging; the
process of being discharged. 2 a dismissal, esp. from the armed
services. 3 a a release, exemption, acquittal, etc. b a
written certificate of release etc. 4 an act of firing a gun
etc. 5 a an emission (of pus, liquid, etc.). b the liquid or
matter so discharged. 6 (usu. foll. by of) a the payment (of a
debt). b the performance (of a duty etc.). 7 Physics a the
release of a quantity of electric charge from an object. b a
flow of electricity through the air or other gas esp. when
accompanied by the emission of light. c the conversion of
chemical energy in a cell into electrical energy. 8 the
unloading (of a ship or a cargo). ЬЬdischargeable adj.
discharger n. (in sense 7 of v.). [ME f. OF descharger (as
disciple n. 1 a follower or pupil of a leader, teacher, philosophy, etc.
(a disciple of Zen Buddhism). 2 any early believer in Christ,
esp. one of the twelve Apostles. ЬЬdiscipleship n. discipular
adj. [OE discipul f. L discipulus f. discere learn]
n. a person who upholds or practises firm discipline (a strict
n. & v. --n. 1 a control or order exercised over people or
animals, esp. children, prisoners, military personnel, church
members, etc. b the system of rules used to maintain this
control. c the behaviour of groups subjected to such rules
(poor discipline in the ranks). 2 a mental, moral, or physical
training. b adversity as used to bring about such training
(left the course because he couldn't take the discipline). 3 a
branch of instruction or learning (philosophy is a hard
discipline). 4 punishment. 5 Eccl. mortification by physical
self-punishment, esp. scourging. --v.tr. 1 punish, chastise.
2 bring under control by training in obedience; drill.
ЬЬdisciplinable adj. disciplinal adj. [ME f. OF discipliner or
LL & med.L disciplinare, disciplina f. discipulus DISCIPLE]
disclaim v.tr. 1 deny or disown (disclaim all responsibility). 2 (often
absol.) Law renounce a legal claim to (property etc.). [ME f.
AF desclaim- stressed stem of desclamer (as DIS-, CLAIM)]
n. a renunciation or disavowal, esp. of responsibility. [ME f.
AF (= DISCLAIM as noun)]
disclose v.tr. 1 make known; reveal (disclosed the truth). 2 remove the
cover from; expose to view. ЬЬdiscloser n. [ME f. OF desclos-
stem of desclore f. Gallo-Roman (as DIS-, CLOSE(2))]
n. 1 the act or an instance of disclosing; the process of being
disclosed. 2 something disclosed; a revelation. [DISCLOSE +
-URE after closure]
disco n. & v. colloq. --n. (pl. -os) = DISCOTH°QUE. --v.intr.
(-oes, -oed) 1 attend a discothЉque. 2 dance to disco music
(discoed the night away). Ьdisco music popular dance music
characterized by a heavy bass rhythm. [abbr.]
n. (pl. discoboli) 1 a discus-thrower in ancient Greece. 2 a
statue of a discobolus. [L f. Gk diskobolos f. diskos DISCUS +
-bolos -throwing f. ballo to throw]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a descriptive catalogue of gramophone records,
esp. of a particular performer or composer. 2 the study of
gramophone records. ЬЬdiscographer n. [DISC + -GRAPHY after
discolour v.tr. & intr. (US discolor) spoil or cause to spoil the colour
of; stain; tarnish. ЬЬdiscoloration n. (also discolouration).
[ME f. OF descolorer or med.L discolorare (as DIS-, COLOUR)]
v.tr. US joc. disturb; disconcert. [prob. based on discompose
discomfit v.tr. (discomfited, discomfiting) 1 a disconcert or baffle. b
thwart. 2 archaic defeat in battle. ЬЬdiscomfiture n. [ME f.
disconfit f. OF past part. of desconfire f. Rmc (as DIS-, L
conficere put together: see CONFECTION)]
n. & v. --n. 1 a a lack of ease; slight pain (tight collar
caused discomfort). b mental uneasiness (his presence caused
her discomfort). 2 a lack of comfort. --v.tr. make uneasy.
[ME f. OF desconfort(er) (as DIS-, COMFORT)]
v.tr. inconvenience (a person etc.). ЬЬdiscommodious adj.
[obs. F discommoder var. of incommoder (as DIS-, INCOMMODE)]
v.tr. disturb the composure of; agitate; disturb.
v.tr. 1 disturb the composure of; agitate; fluster
(disconcerted by his expression). 2 spoil or upset (plans
etc.). ЬЬdisconcertedly adv. disconcerting adj.
disconcertingly adv. disconcertion n. disconcertment n. [obs.
F desconcerter (as DIS-, CONCERT)]
v.tr. formal disprove or tend to disprove (a hypothesis etc.).
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a lack of conformity. b an instance of this.
2 Geol. a difference of plane between two parallel,
approximately horizontal sets of strata.
v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) break the connection of (things,
ideas, etc.). 2 put (an electrical device) out of action by
disconnecting the parts, esp. by pulling out the plug.
adj. (of speech, writing, argument, etc.) incoherent and
illogical. ЬЬdisconnectedly adv. disconnectedness n.
n. (also disconnexion) the act or an instance of disconnecting;
the state of being disconnected.
adj. 1 forlorn or inconsolable. 2 unhappy or disappointed.
ЬЬdisconsolately adv. disconsolateness n. disconsolation n.
[ME f. med.L disconsolatus (as DIS-, consolatus past part. of L
n., adj., & v. --n. lack of contentment; restlessness,
dissatisfaction. --adj. dissatisfied (was discontent with his
lot). --v.tr. (esp. as discontented adj.) make dissatisfied.
ЬЬdiscontentedly adv. discontentedness n. discontentment n.
v. (-continues, -continued, -continuing) 1 intr. & tr. cease or
cause to cease to exist or be made (a discontinued line). 2 tr.
give up, cease from (discontinued his visits). 3 tr. cease
taking or paying (a newspaper, a subscription, etc.).
ЬЬdiscontinuance n. discontinuation n. [ME f. OF discontinuer
f. med.L discontinuare (as DIS-, CONTINUE)]
adj. lacking continuity in space or time; intermittent.
ЬЬdiscontinuity n. discontinuously adv. [med.L discontinuus
(as DIS-, CONTINUOUS)]
discord n. & v. --n. 1 disagreement; strife. 2 harsh clashing noise;
clangour. 3 Mus. a a lack of harmony between notes sounding
together. b an unpleasing or unfinished chord needing to be
completed by another. c any interval except unison, an octave,
a perfect fifth and fourth, a major and minor third and sixth,
and their octaves. d a single note dissonant with another.
--v.intr. 1 (usu. foll. by with) a disagree or quarrel. b be
different or inconsistent. 2 jar, clash, be dissonant. [ME f.
OF descord, (n.), descorder (v.) f. L discordare f. discors
discordant (as DIS-, cor cord- heart)]
adj. (usu. foll. by to, from, with) 1 disagreeing; at variance.
2 (of sounds) not in harmony; dissonant. ЬЬdiscordance n.
discordancy n. discordantly adv. [ME f. OF, part. of
discorder: see DISCORD]
n. 1 a club etc. for dancing to recorded popular music. 2 a
the professional lighting and sound equipment used at a
discothЉque. b a business that provides this. 3 a party with
dancing to popular music, esp. using such equipment. [F, =
discount n. & v. --n. 1 a deduction from a bill or amount due given
esp. in consideration of prompt or advance payment or to a
special class of buyers. 2 a deduction from the amount of a
bill of exchange etc. by a person who gives value for it before
it is due. 3 the act or an instance of discounting. --v.tr. 1
disregard as being unreliable or unimportant (discounted his
story). 2 reduce the effect of (an event etc.) by previous
action. 3 detract from; lessen; deduct (esp. an amount from a
bill etc.). 4 give or get the present worth of (a bill not yet
due). Ьat a discount 1 below the nominal or usual price (cf.
PREMIUM). 2 not in demand; depreciated. discount house 1 Brit.
a firm that discounts bills. 2 US = discount store. discount
rate US the minimum lending rate. discount store esp. US a
shop etc. that sells goods at less than the normal retail price.
ЬЬdiscountable adj. discounter n. [obs. F descompte, -conte,
descompter or It. (di)scontare (as DIS-, COUNT(1))]
v.tr. 1 (esp. in passive) disconcert (was discountenanced by
his abruptness). 2 refuse to countenance; show disapproval of.
v.tr. 1 deprive of courage, confidence, or energy. 2 (usu.
foll. by from) dissuade (discouraged him from going). 3 show
disapproval of (smoking is discouraged). ЬЬdiscouragement n.
discouragingly adv. [ME f. OF descouragier (as DIS-, COURAGE)]
discourse n. & v. --n. 1 literary a conversation; talk. b a
dissertation or treatise on an academic subject. c a lecture or
sermon. 2 Linguistics a connected series of utterances; a text.
--v. 1 intr. talk; converse. 2 intr. (usu. foll. by of, on,
upon) speak or write learnedly or at length (on a subject). 3
tr. archaic give forth (music etc.). [ME f. L discursus (as
DIS-, COURSE): (v.) partly after F discourir]
adj. impolite; rude. ЬЬdiscourteously adv. discourteousness
n. (pl. -ies) 1 bad manners; rudeness. 2 an impolite act or
discover v.tr. 1 (often foll. by that + clause) a find out or become
aware of, whether by research or searching or by chance
(discovered a new entrance; discovered that they had been
overpaid). b be the first to find or find out (who discovered
America?). 2 give (check) in a game of chess by removing one's
own obstructing piece. 3 (in show business) find and promote as
a new singer, actor, etc. 4 archaic a make known. b exhibit;
manifest. c disclose; betray. ЬЬdiscoverable adj. discoverer
n. [ME f. OF descovrir f. LL discooperire (as DIS-, COVER)]
discovery n. (pl. -ies) 1 a the act or process of discovering or being
discovered. b an instance of this (the discovery of a new
planet). 2 a person or thing discovered. 3 Law the compulsory
disclosure, by a party to an action, of facts or documents on
which the other party wishes to rely. [DISCOVER after recover,
discredit n. & v. --n. 1 harm to reputation (brought discredit on the
enterprise). 2 a person or thing causing this (he is a
discredit to his family). 3 lack of credibility; doubt (throws
discredit on her story). 4 the loss of commercial credit.
--v.tr. (-credited, -crediting) 1 harm the good reputation of.
2 cause to be disbelieved. 3 refuse to believe.
discreet adj. (discreeter, discreetest) 1 a circumspect in speech or
action, esp. to avoid social disgrace or embarrassment. b
tactful; trustworthy. 2 unobtrusive (a discreet touch of
rouge). ЬЬdiscreetly adv. discreetness n. [ME f. OF discret
-ete f. L discretus separate (as DIS-, cretus past part. of
cernere sift), with LL sense f. its derivative discretio
n. (pl. -ies) 1 difference; failure to correspond;
inconsistency. 2 an instance of this. ЬЬdiscrepant adj. [L
discrepare be discordant (as DIS-, crepare creak)]
discrete adj. individually distinct; separate, discontinuous.
ЬЬdiscretely adv. discreteness n. [ME f. L discretus: see
n. 1 being discreet; discreet behaviour (treats confidences
with discretion). 2 prudence; self-preservation. 3 the freedom
to act and think as one wishes, usu. within legal limits (it is
within his discretion to leave). 4 Law a court's freedom to
decide a sentence etc. Ьat discretion as one pleases. at the
discretion of to be settled or disposed of according to the
judgement or choice of. discretion is the better part of valour
reckless courage is often self-defeating. use one's discretion
act according to one's own judgement. years (or age) of
discretion the esp. legal age at which a person is able to
manage his or her own affairs. ЬЬdiscretionary adj. [ME f. OF
f. L discretio -onis (as DISCREET)]
v. 1 intr. (often foll. by between) make or see a distinction;
differentiate (cannot discriminate between right and wrong). 2
intr. make a distinction, esp. unjustly and on the basis of
race, colour, or sex. 3 intr. (foll. by against) select for
unfavourable treatment. 4 tr. (usu. foll. by from) make or see
or constitute a difference in or between (many things
discriminate one person from another). 5 intr. observe
distinctions carefully; have good judgement. 6 tr. mark as
distinctive; be a distinguishing feature of. ЬЬdiscriminately
adv. discriminative adj. discriminator n. discriminatory adj.
[L discriminare f. discrimen -minis distinction f. discernere
adj. 1 able to discern, esp. distinctions. 2 having good
taste. ЬЬdiscriminatingly adv.
n. 1 unfavourable treatment based on prejudice, esp. regarding
race, colour, or sex. 2 good taste or judgement in artistic
matters etc. 3 the power of discriminating or observing
differences. 4 a distinction made with the mind or in action.
adj. 1 rambling or digressive. 2 Philos. proceeding by
argument or reasoning (opp. INTUITIVE). ЬЬdiscursively adv.
discursiveness n. [med.L discursivus f. L discurrere discurs-
(as DIS-, currere run)]
discus n. (pl. discuses) 1 a heavy thick-centred disc thrown in
ancient Greek games. 2 a similar disc thrown in modern field
sports. [L f. Gk diskos]
discuss v.tr. 1 hold a conversation about (discussed their holidays).
2 examine by argument, esp. written; debate. ЬЬdiscussable adj.
discussant n. discusser n. discussible adj. [ME f. L
discutere discuss- disperse (as DIS-, quatere shake)]
n. 1 a conversation, esp. on specific subjects; a debate (had a
discussion about what they should do). 2 an examination by
argument, written or spoken. [ME f. OF f. LL discussio -onis
disdain n. & v. --n. scorn; contempt. --v.tr. 1 regard with disdain.
2 think oneself superior to; reject (disdained his offer;
disdained to enter; disdained answering). [ME f. OF
desdeign(ier) ult. f. L dedignari (as DE-, dignari f. dignus
adj. showing disdain or contempt. ЬЬdisdainfully adv.
disease n. 1 an unhealthy condition of the body (or a part of it) or
the mind; illness, sickness. 2 a corresponding physical
condition of plants. 3 a particular kind of disease with
special symptoms or location. [ME f. OF desaise]
diseased adj. 1 affected with disease. 2 abnormal, disordered. [ME,
past part. of disease (v.) f. OF desaisier (as DISEASE)]
n. Econ. the absence or reverse of economy, esp. the increase
of costs in a large-scale operation.
disembark v.tr. & intr. put or go ashore or land from a ship or an
aircraft. ЬЬdisembarkation n. [F d‚sembarquer (as DIS-,
v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by of) relieve (of a load etc.). 2 free
from embarrassment. ЬЬdisembarrassment n.
disembody v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 separate or free (esp. the soul) from the
body or a concrete form (disembodied spirit). 2 archaic disband
(troops). ЬЬdisembodiment n.
v.tr. & intr. (disembogues, disembogued, disemboguing) (of a
river etc.) pour forth (waters) at the mouth. [Sp. desembocar
(as DIS-, en in, boca mouth)]
v.tr. (-embowelled, -embowelling; US -emboweled, -emboweling)
remove the bowels or entrails of. ЬЬdisembowelment n.
v.tr. extricate from confusion or entanglement.
v.tr. free from enchantment; disillusion. ЬЬdisenchantingly
adv. disenchantment n. [F d‚senchanter (as DIS-, ENCHANT)]
v.tr. free from encumbrance.
disendow v.tr. strip (esp. the Church) of endowments. ЬЬdisendowment n.
v.tr. (also disfranchise) 1 a deprive (a person) of the right
to vote. b deprive (a place) of the right to send a
representative to parliament. 2 deprive (a person) of rights as
a citizen or of a franchise held. ЬЬdisenfranchisement n.
disengage v. & n. --v. 1 tr. detach, free, loosen, or separate (parts
etc.) (disengaged the clutch). 2 tr. Mil. remove (troops) from
a battle or a battle area. 3 intr. become detached. 4 intr.
Fencing pass the point of one's sword to the other side of one's
opponent's. 5 intr. (as disengaged adj.) a unoccupied; free;
vacant. b uncommitted, esp. politically. --n. Fencing a
n. 1 a the act of disengaging. b an instance of this. 2
freedom from ties; detachment. 3 the dissolution of an
engagement to marry. 4 ease of manner or behaviour. 5 Fencing
disentail v.tr. Law free (property) from entail; break the entail of.
v. 1 tr. a unravel, untwist. b free from complications;
extricate (disentangled her from the difficulty). 2 intr.
become disentangled. ЬЬdisentanglement n.
v.tr. (US disenthrall) (-enthralled, -enthralling) literary
free from enthralment. ЬЬdisenthralment n.
v.tr. (usu. foll. by to) deprive of any rightful claim.
disentomb v.tr. literary 1 remove from a tomb; disinter. 2 unearth.
n. a lack or loss of equilibrium; instability.
v.tr. 1 deprive (a Church) of State support. 2 depose from an
official position. 3 terminate the establishment of.
disesteem v. & n. --v.tr. have a low opinion of; despise. --n. low
esteem or regard.
diseuse n. (masc. diseur) a female artiste entertaining with spoken
monologues. [F, = talker f. dire dis- say]
disfavour n. & v. (US disfavor) --n. 1 disapproval or dislike. 2 the
state of being disliked (fell into disfavour). --v.tr. regard
or treat with disfavour.
disfigure v.tr. spoil the beauty of; deform; deface. ЬЬdisfigurement n.
[ME f. OF desfigurer f. Rmc (as DIS-, FIGURE)]
disforest v.tr. Brit. = DISAFFOREST. ЬЬdisforestation n.
var. of DISENFRANCHISE.
disfrock v.tr. unfrock.
disgorge v.tr. 1 eject from the throat or stomach. 2 pour forth,
discharge (contents, ill-gotten gains, etc.). ЬЬdisgorgement n.
[ME f. OF desgorger (as DIS-, GORGE)]
disgrace n. & v. --n. 1 the loss of reputation; shame; ignominy
(brought disgrace on his family). 2 a dishonourable,
inefficient, or shameful person, thing, state of affairs, etc.
(the bus service is a disgrace). --v.tr. 1 bring shame or
discredit on; be a disgrace to. 2 degrade from a position of
honour; dismiss from favour. Ьin disgrace having lost respect
or reputation; out of favour. [F disgrѓce, disgracier f. It.
disgrazia, disgraziare (as DIS-, GRACE)]
adj. discontented; moody; sulky. ЬЬdisgruntlement n. [DIS- +
gruntle obs. frequent. of GRUNT]
disguise v. & n. --v.tr. 1 (often foll. by as) alter the appearance,
sound, smell, etc., of so as to conceal the identity; make
unrecognizable (disguised herself as a policewoman; disguised
the taste by adding sugar). 2 misrepresent or cover up
(disguised the truth; disguised their intentions). --n. 1 a a
costume, false beard, make-up, etc., used to alter the
appearance so as to conceal or deceive. b any action, manner,
etc., used for deception. 2 a the act or practice of
disguising; the concealment of reality. b an instance of this.
Ьin disguise 1 wearing a concealing costume etc. 2 appearing to
be the opposite (a blessing in disguise). ЬЬdisguisement n.
[ME f. OF desguis(i)er (as DIS-, GUISE)]
disgust n. & v. --n. (usu. foll. by at, for) 1 strong aversion;
repugnance. 2 indignation. --v.tr. cause disgust in (their
behaviour disgusts me; was disgusted to find a slug). Ьin
disgust as a result of disgust (left in disgust). ЬЬdisgustedly
adv. [OF degoust, desgouster, or It. disgusto, disgustare (as
adj. arousing aversion or indignation (disgusting behaviour).
ЬЬdisgustingly adv. disgustingness n.
dish n. & v. --n. 1 a a shallow, usu. flat-bottomed container for
cooking or serving food, made of glass, ceramics, metal, etc. b
the food served in a dish (all the dishes were delicious). c a
particular kind of food (a meat dish). 2 (in pl.) dirty plates,
cutlery, cooking pots, etc. after a meal. 3 a a dish-shaped
receptacle, object, or cavity. b = satellite dish. 4 sl. a
sexually attractive person. --v.tr. 1 put (food) into a dish
ready for serving. 2 colloq. a outmanoeuvre. b Brit. destroy
(one's hopes, chances, etc.). 3 make concave or dish-shaped.
Ьdish out sl. distribute, esp. carelessly or indiscriminately.
dish up 1 serve or prepare to serve (food). 2 colloq. seek to
present (facts, argument, etc.) attractively. ЬЬdishful n.
(pl. -fuls). dishlike adj. [OE disc plate, bowl (with Gmc and
ON cognates) f. L discus DISC]
var. of DђSHABILLђ.
n. a lack of harmony; discord. ЬЬdisharmonious adj.
disharmoniously adv. disharmonize v.tr.
dishcloth n. a usu. open-weave cloth for washing dishes. Ьdishcloth
gourd a loofah.
v.tr. cause to lose courage or confidence; make despondent.
ЬЬdishearteningly adv. disheartenment n.
adj. (US disheveled) (of the hair, a person, etc.) untidy;
ruffled; disordered. ЬЬdishevel v.tr. (dishevelled,
dishevelling; US disheveled, disheveling). dishevelment n. [ME
dischevelee f. OF deschevel‚ past part. (as DIS-, chevel hair f.
dishonest adj. (of a person, act, or statement) fraudulent or insincere.
ЬЬdishonestly adv. [ME f. OF deshoneste (as DIS-, HONEST)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a a lack of honesty. b deceitfulness, fraud.
2 a dishonest or fraudulent act. [ME f. OF deshon(n)est‚ (as
dishonour n. & v. (US dishonor) --n. 1 a state of shame or disgrace;
discredit. 2 something that causes dishonour (a dishonour to
his profession). --v.tr. 1 treat without honour or respect. 2
disgrace (dishonoured his name). 3 refuse to accept or pay (a
cheque or a bill of exchange). 4 archaic violate the chastity
of; rape. [ME f. OF deshonor, deshonorer f. med.L dishonorare
(as DIS-, HONOUR)]
n. & v. --n. freedom from illusions; disenchantment. --v.tr.
rid of illusions; disenchant. ЬЬdisillusionize v.tr. (also
-ise). disillusionment n.
n. & adj. --n. 1 something that tends to discourage a
particular action etc. 2 Econ. a source of discouragement to
productivity or progress. --adj. tending to discourage.
n. (usu. foll. by for, or to + infin.) the absence of
willingness; a reluctance (a disinclination for work;
disinclination to go).
v.tr. (usu. foll. by to + infin. or for) make unwilling or
v.tr. dissolve (a corporate body).
disinfect v.tr. cleanse (a wound, a room, clothes, etc.) of infection,
esp. with a disinfectant. ЬЬdisinfection n. [F d‚sinfecter (as
n. & adj. --n. a usu. commercially produced chemical liquid
that destroys germs etc. --adj. causing disinfection.
disinfest v.tr. rid (a person, a building, etc.) of vermin, infesting
insects, etc. ЬЬdisinfestation n.
n. Econ. a policy designed to counteract inflation without
causing deflation. ЬЬdisinflationary adj.
n. false information, intended to mislead.
adj. having secret motives; insincere. ЬЬdisingenuously adv.
v.tr. (disinherited, disinheriting) reject as one's heir;
deprive of the right of inheritance. ЬЬdisinheritance n. [ME
f. DIS- + INHERIT in obs. sense 'make heir']
v. 1 tr. & intr. a separate into component parts or fragments.
b lose or cause to lose cohesion. 2 intr. colloq. deteriorate
mentally or physically. 3 intr. & tr. Physics undergo or cause
to undergo disintegration. ЬЬdisintegrator n.
n. 1 the act or an instance of disintegrating. 2 Physics any
process in which a nucleus emits a particle or particles or
divides into smaller nuclei.
disinter v.tr. (disinterred, disinterring) 1 remove (esp. a corpse) from
the ground; unearth; exhume. 2 find after a protracted search
(disinterred the letter from the back of the drawer).
ЬЬdisinterment n. [F d‚senterrer (as DIS-, INTER)]
n. 1 impartiality. 2 disp. lack of interest; unconcern.
adj. 1 not influenced by one's own advantage; impartial. 2
disp. uninterested. ЬЬdisinterestedly adv. disinterestedness
n. [past part. of disinterest (v.) divest of interest]
disinvest v.intr. (foll. by from, or absol.) reduce or dispose of one's
investment (in a place, company, etc.). ЬЬdisinvestment n.
n.pl. scattered remains; fragments, esp. of written work. [L,
alt. of disjecti membra poetae (Horace) limbs of a dismembered
disjoin v.tr. separate or disunite; part. [ME f. OF desjoindre f. L
disjungere (as DIS-, jungere junct- join)]
disjoint v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 take apart at the joints. 2 (as
disjointed adj.) (esp. of conversation) incoherent; desultory.
3 disturb the working or connection of; dislocate. --adj. (of
two or more sets) having no elements in common. ЬЬdisjointedly
adv. disjointedness n. [ME f. obs. disjoint (adj.) f. past
part. of OF desjoindre (as DISJOIN)]
n. 1 the process of disjoining; separation. 2 an instance of
this. [ME f. OF disjunction or L disjunctio (as DISJOIN)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 involving separation; disjoining. 2 Gram.
(esp. of a conjunction) expressing a choice between two words
etc., e.g. or in asked if he was going or staying (cf.
COPULATIVE). 3 Logic (of a proposition) expressing
alternatives. --n. 1 Gram. a disjunctive conjunction or other
word. 2 Logic a disjunctive proposition. ЬЬdisjunctively adv.
[ME f. L disjunctivus (as DISJOIN)]
disk var. of DISC (esp. US & Computing).
diskette n. Computing = floppy disk.
dislike v. & n. --v.tr. have an aversion or objection to; not like.
--n. 1 a feeling of repugnance or not liking. 2 an object of
dislike. ЬЬdislikable adj. (also dislikeable).
dislocate v.tr. 1 disturb the normal connection of (esp. a joint in the
body). 2 disrupt; put out of order. 3 displace. [prob.
back-form. f. DISLOCATION]
n. 1 the act or result of dislocating. 2 Crystallog. the
displacement of part of a crystal lattice structure. [ME f. OF
dislocation or med.L dislocatio f. dislocare (as DIS-, locare
dislodge v.tr. remove from an established or fixed position (was
dislodged from his directorship). ЬЬdislodgement n. (also
dislodgment). [ME f. OF dislog(i)er (as DIS-, LODGE)]
disloyal adj. (often foll. by to) 1 not loyal; unfaithful. 2 untrue to
one's allegiance; treacherous to one's government etc.
ЬЬdisloyalist n. disloyally adv. disloyalty n. [ME f. OF
desloial (as DIS-, LOYAL)]
dismal adj. 1 causing or showing gloom; miserable. 2 dreary or sombre
(dismal brown walls). 3 colloq. feeble or inept (a dismal
performance). Ьthe dismals colloq. melancholy. the dismal
science joc. economics. ЬЬdismally adv. dismalness n. [orig.
noun = unlucky days: ME f. AF dis mal f. med.L dies mali two
days in each month held to be unpropitious]
dismantle v.tr. 1 take to pieces; pull down. 2 deprive of defences or
equipment. 3 (often foll. by of) strip of covering or
protection. ЬЬdismantlement n. dismantler n. [OF desmanteler
(as DIS-, MANTLE)]
dismast v.tr. deprive (a ship) of masts; break down the mast or masts
dismay v. & n. --v.tr. fill with consternation or anxiety; discourage
or depress; reduce to despair. --n. 1 consternation or
anxiety. 2 depression or despair. [ME f. OF desmaiier
(unrecorded) ult. f. a Gmc root = deprive of power (as DIS-,
dismember v.tr. 1 tear or cut the limbs from. 2 partition or divide up
(an empire, country, etc.). ЬЬdismemberment n. [ME f. OF
desmembrer f. Rmc (as DIS-, L membrum limb)]
dismiss v. 1 a tr. send away, cause to leave one's presence, disperse;
disband (an assembly or army). b intr. (of an assembly etc.)
disperse; break ranks. 2 tr. discharge from employment, office,
etc., esp. dishonourably. 3 tr. put out of one's thoughts;
cease to feel or discuss (dismissed him from memory). 4 tr.
treat (a subject) summarily (dismissed his application). 5 tr.
Law refuse further hearing to (a case); send out of court. 6
tr. Cricket put (a batsman or a side) out (was dismissed for 75
runs). 7 intr. (in imper.) Mil. a word of command at the end of
drilling. ЬЬdismissal n. dismissible adj. dismission n. [ME,
orig. as past part. after OF desmis f. med.L dismissus (as DIS-,
L mittere miss- send)]
adj. tending to dismiss from consideration; disdainful.
ЬЬdismissively adv. dismissiveness n.
dismount v. 1 a intr. alight from a horse, bicycle, etc. b tr. (usu. in
passive) throw from a horse, unseat. 2 tr. remove (a thing)
from its mounting (esp. a gun from its carriage).
adj. disobeying; rebellious, rule-breaking. ЬЬdisobedience n.
disobediently adv. [ME f. OF desobedient (as DIS-, OBEDIENT)]
disobey v.tr. (also absol.) fail or refuse to obey; disregard (orders);
break (rules) (disobeyed his mother; how dare you disobey!).
ЬЬdisobeyer n. [ME f. OF desobeir f. Rmc (as DIS-, OBEY)]
disoblige v.tr. 1 refuse to consider the convenience or wishes of. 2 (as
disobliging adj.) uncooperative. [F d‚sobliger f. Rmc (as DIS-,
disorder n. & v. --n. 1 a lack of order; confusion. 2 a riot; a
commotion. 3 Med. a usu. minor ailment or disease. --v.tr. 1
throw into confusion; disarrange. 2 Med. put out of good
health; upset. [ME, alt. after ORDER v. of earlier disordain f.
OF desordener (as DIS-, ORDAIN)]
adj. 1 untidy; confused. 2 irregular; unruly; riotous. 3 Law
contrary to public order or morality. Ьdisorderly house Law a
brothel. ЬЬdisorderliness n.
v.tr. (also -ise) 1 destroy the system or order of; throw into
confusion. 2 (as disorganized adj.) lacking organization or
system. ЬЬdisorganization n. [F d‚sorganiser (as DIS-,
v.tr. 1 confuse (a person) as to his or her whereabouts or
bearings. 2 confuse (a person) (disorientated by his unexpected
behaviour). ЬЬdisorientation n.
disown v.tr. 1 refuse to recognize; repudiate; disclaim. 2 renounce
one's connection with or allegiance to. ЬЬdisowner n.
disparage v.tr. 1 speak slightingly of; depreciate. 2 bring discredit
on. ЬЬdisparagement n. disparagingly adv. [ME f. OF
desparagier marry unequally (as DIS-, parage equality of rank
ult. f. L par equal)]
disparate adj. & n. --adj. essentially different in kind; without
comparison or relation. --n. (in pl.) things so unlike that
there is no basis for their comparison. ЬЬdisparately adv.
disparateness n. [L disparatus separated (as DIS-, paratus past
part. of parare prepare), infl. in sense by L dispar unequal]
disparity n. (pl. -ies) 1 inequality; difference; incongruity. 2 an
instance of this. [F disparit‚ f. LL disparitas -tatis (as
adj. free from passion; calm; impartial. ЬЬdispassionately
adv. dispassionateness n.
dispatch v. & n. (also despatch) --v.tr. 1 send off to a destination or
for a purpose (dispatched him with the message). 2 perform
(business, a task, etc.) promptly; finish off. 3 kill, execute
(dispatched him with the revolver). 4 colloq. eat (food, a
meal, etc.) quickly. --n. 1 the act or an instance of sending
(a messenger, letter, etc.). 2 the act or an instance of
killing; execution. 3 a an official written message on State or
esp. military affairs. b a report sent in by a newspaper's
correspondent, usu. from a foreign country. 4 promptness,
efficiency (done with dispatch). Ьdispatch-box (or -case) a
container for esp. official State or military documents or
dispatches. dispatch-rider a motor cyclist or rider on
horseback carrying military dispatches. ЬЬdispatcher n. [It.
dispacciare or Sp. despachar expedite (as DIS-, It. impacciare
and Sp. empachar hinder, of uncert. orig.)]
dispel v.tr. (dispelled, dispelling) dissipate; disperse; scatter (the
dawn dispelled their fears). ЬЬdispeller n. [L dispellere (as
DIS-, pellere drive)]
adj. 1 able to be done without; unnecessary. 2 (of a law etc.)
able to be relaxed in special cases. ЬЬdispensability n.
[med.L dispensabilis (as DISPENSE)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a place where medicines etc. are dispensed. 2
a public or charitable institution for medical advice and the
dispensing of medicines. [med.L dispensarius (as DISPENSE)]
n. 1 a the act or an instance of dispensing or distributing. b
(foll. by with) the state of doing without (a thing). c
something distributed. 2 (usu. foll. by from) a exemption from
a penalty or duty; an instance of this. b exemption from a
religious observance; an instance of this. 3 a religious or
political system obtaining in a nation etc. (the Christian
dispensation). 4 a the ordering or management of the world by
Providence. b a specific example of such ordering (of a
community, a person, etc.). ЬЬdispensational adj. [ME f. OF
dispensation or L dispensatio (as DISPENSE)]
dispense v. 1 tr. distribute; deal out. 2 tr. administer (a sacrament,
justice, etc.). 3 tr. make up and give out (medicine etc.)
according to a doctor's prescription. 4 tr. (usu. foll. by
from) grant a dispensation to (a person) from an obligation,
esp. a religious observance. 5 intr. (foll. by with) a do
without; render needless. b give exemption from (a rule).
Ьdispensing chemist a chemist qualified to make up and give out
medicine etc. [ME f. OF despenser f. L dispensare frequent. of
dispendere weigh or pay out (as DIS-, pendere pens- weigh)]
dispenser n. 1 a person or thing that dispenses something, e.g. medicine,
good advice. 2 an automatic machine that dispenses an item or a
specific amount of something (e.g. cash).
n. Chem. an agent used to disperse small particles in a
disperse v. 1 intr. & tr. go, send, drive, or distribute in different
directions or over a wide area. 2 a intr. (of people at a
meeting etc.) leave and go their various ways. b tr. cause to
do this. 3 tr. send to or station at separate points. 4 tr.
put in circulation; disseminate. 5 tr. Chem. distribute (small
particles) uniformly in a medium. 6 tr. Physics divide (white
light) into its coloured constituents. ЬЬdispersable adj.
dispersal n. disperser n. dispersible adj. dispersive adj.
[ME f. L dispergere dispers- (as DIS-, spargere scatter)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of dispersing; the process of being
dispersed. 2 Chem. a mixture of one substance dispersed in
another. 3 Physics the separation of white light into colours
or of any radiation according to wavelength. 4 Statistics the
extent to which values of a variable differ from the mean. 5
(the Dispersion) the Jews dispersed among the Gentiles after the
Captivity in Babylon. [ME f. LL dispersio (as DISPERSE),
transl. Gk diaspora: see DIASPORA]
dispirit v.tr. 1 (esp. as dispiriting adj.) make despondent; discourage.
2 (as dispirited adj.) dejected; discouraged. ЬЬdispiritedly
adv. dispiritedness n. dispiritingly adv.
displace v.tr. 1 shift from its accustomed place. 2 remove from office.
3 take the place of; oust. Ьdisplaced person a person who is
forced to leave his or her home country because of war,
persecution, etc.; a refugee.
n. 1 a the act or an instance of displacing; the process of
being displaced. b an instance of this. 2 Physics the amount
of a fluid displaced by a solid floating or immersed in it (a
ship with a displacement of 11,000 tons). 3 Psychol. a the
substitution of one idea or impulse for another. b the
unconscious transfer of strong unacceptable emotions from one
object to another. 4 the amount by which a thing is shifted
from its place.
display v. & n. --v.tr. 1 expose to view; exhibit; show. 2 show
ostentatiously. 3 allow to appear; reveal; betray (displayed
his ignorance). --n. 1 the act or an instance of displaying.
2 an exhibition or show. 3 ostentation; flashiness. 4 the
distinct behaviour of some birds and fish, esp. used to attract
a mate. 5 a the presentation of signals or data on a visual
display unit etc. b the information so presented. 6 Printing
the arrangement and choice of type in order to attract
attention. ЬЬdisplayer n. [ME f. OF despleier f. L displicare
(as DIS-, plicare fold): cf. DEPLOY]
displease v.tr. make indignant or angry; offend; annoy. Ьbe displeased
(often foll. by at, with) be indignant or dissatisfied;
disapprove. ЬЬdispleasing adj. displeasingly adv. [ME f. OF
desplaisir (as DIS-, L placere please)]
n. & v. --n. disapproval; anger; dissatisfaction. --v.tr.
archaic cause displeasure to; annoy. [ME f. OF (as DISPLEASE):
assim. to PLEASURE]
disport v. & n. --v.intr. & refl. frolic; gambol; enjoy oneself
(disported on the sand; disported themselves in the sea). --n.
archaic 1 relaxation. 2 a pastime. [ME f. AF & OF desporter
(as DIS-, porter carry f. L portare)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 intended to be used once and then thrown
away (disposable nappies). 2 that can be got rid of, made over,
or used. 3 (esp. of financial assets) at the owner's disposal.
--n. a thing designed to be thrown away after one use.
Ьdisposable income income after tax etc. ЬЬdisposability n.
disposal n. (usu. foll. by of) 1 the act or an instance of disposing of
something. 2 the arrangement, disposition, or placing of
something. 3 control or management (of a person, business,
etc.). 4 (esp. as waste disposal) the disposing of rubbish.
Ьat one's disposal 1 available for one's use. 2 subject to
one's orders or decisions.
dispose v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by to, or to + infin.) a make willing;
incline (disposed him to the idea; was disposed to release
them). b give a tendency to (the wheel was disposed to buckle).
2 tr. place suitably or in order (disposed the pictures in
sequence). 3 tr. (as disposed adj.) have a specified mental
inclination (usu. in comb. : ill-disposed). 4 intr. determine
the course of events (man proposes, God disposes). Ьdispose of
1 a deal with. b get rid of. c finish. d kill. 2 sell. 3
prove (a claim, an argument, an opponent, etc.) to be incorrect.
4 consume (food). ЬЬdisposer n. [ME f. OF disposer (as DIS-,
POSE(1)) after L disponere disposit-]
n. 1 (often foll. by to) a natural tendency; an inclination; a
person's temperament (a happy disposition; a disposition to
overeat). 2 a setting in order; arranging. b the relative
position of parts; an arrangement. 3 (usu. in pl.) a Mil. the
stationing of troops ready for attack or defence. b
preparations; plans. 4 a a bestowal by deed or will. b
control; the power of disposing. 5 ordinance, dispensation.
[ME f. OF f. L dispositio (as DIS-, ponere posit- place)]
v.tr. 1 dislodge; oust (a person). 2 (usu. foll. by of)
deprive. ЬЬdispossession n. [OF despossesser (as DIS-,
dispraise v. & n. --v.tr. express disapproval or censure of. --n.
disapproval, censure. [ME f. OF despreisier ult. f. LL
disproof n. 1 something that disproves. 2 a refutation. b an instance
n. 1 a lack of proportion. 2 an instance of this.
ЬЬdisproportional adj. disproportionally adv.
adj. 1 lacking proportion. 2 relatively too large or small,
long or short, etc. ЬЬdisproportionately adv.
disprove v.tr. prove false; refute. ЬЬdisprovable adj. disproval n.
[ME f. OF desprover (as DIS-, PROVE)]
adj. open to question; uncertain. ЬЬdisputably adv. [F or f.
L disputabilis (as DISPUTE)]
n. 1 a disputing, debating. b an argument; a controversy. 2 a
formal debate. [ME f. F disputation or L disputatio (as
adj. fond of or inclined to argument. ЬЬdisputatiously adv.
dispute v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by with, against) a debate,
argue (was disputing with them about the meaning of life). b
quarrel. 2 tr. discuss, esp. heatedly (disputed whether it was
true). 3 tr. question the truth or correctness or validity of
(a statement, alleged fact, etc.) (I dispute that number). 4
tr. contend for; strive to win (disputed the crown; disputed the
field). 5 tr. resist (a landing, advance, etc.). --n. 1 a
controversy; a debate. 2 a quarrel. 3 a disagreement between
management and employees, esp. one leading to industrial action.
Ьbeyond (or past or without) dispute certainly; indisputably.
in dispute 1 being argued about. 2 (of a workforce) involved in
industrial action. ЬЬdisputant n. disputer n. [ME f. OF
desputer f. L disputare estimate (as DIS-, putare reckon)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of disqualifying; the state of
being disqualified. 2 something that disqualifies.
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 (often foll. by from) debar from a
competition or pronounce ineligible as a winner because of an
infringement of the rules etc. (disqualified from the race for
taking drugs). 2 (often foll. by for, from) make or pronounce
ineligible or unsuitable (his age disqualifies him for the job;
a criminal record disqualified him from applying). 3 (often
foll. by from) incapacitate legally; pronounce unqualified
(disqualified from practising as a doctor).
disquiet v. & n. --v.tr. deprive of peace; worry. --n. anxiety; unrest.
ЬЬdisquieting adj. disquietingly adv.
n. a state of uneasiness; anxiety.
n. a long or elaborate treatise or discourse on a subject.
ЬЬdisquisitional adj. [F f. L disquisitio (as DIS-, quaerere
disrate v.tr. Naut. reduce (a sailor) to a lower rating or rank.
disregard v. & n. --v.tr. 1 pay no attention to; ignore. 2 treat as of
no importance. --n. (often foll. by of, for) indifference;
neglect. ЬЬdisregardful adj. disregardfully adv.
disrelish n. & v. --n. dislike; distaste. --v.tr. regard with dislike or
v.tr. & intr. esp. US or dial. fail to remember; forget.
disrepair n. poor condition due to neglect (in disrepair; in a state of
adj. 1 of bad reputation; discreditable. 2 not respectable in
appearance; dirty, untidy. ЬЬdisreputableness n. disreputably
disrepute n. a lack of good reputation or respectability; discredit (esp.
fall into disrepute).
n. a lack of respect; discourtesy. ЬЬdisrespectful adj.
disrobe v.tr. & refl. (also absol.) 1 divest (oneself or another) of a
robe or a garment; undress. 2 divest (oneself or another) of
office, authority, etc.
disrupt v.tr. 1 interrupt the flow or continuity of (a meeting, speech,
etc.); bring disorder to. 2 separate forcibly; shatter.
ЬЬdisrupter n. (also disruptor). disruption n. disruptive
adj. disruptively adv. disruptiveness n. [L disrumpere
disrupt- (as DIS-, rumpere break)]
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) make discontented; fail to satisfy
(dissatisfied with the accommodation; dissatisfied to find him
gone). ЬЬdissatisfaction n. dissatisfactory adj.
dissect v.tr. 1 cut into pieces. 2 cut up (a plant or animal) to
examine its parts, structure, etc., or (a corpse) for a post
mortem. 3 analyse; criticize or examine in detail.
ЬЬdissection n. dissector n. [L dissecare dissect- (as DIS-,
dissemble v. 1 intr. conceal one's motives; talk or act hypocritically.
2 tr. a disguise or conceal (a feeling, intention, act, etc.).
b simulate (dissembled grief in public). ЬЬdissemblance n.
dissembler n. dissemblingly adv. [ME, alt. after semblance of
obs. dissimule f. OF dissimuler f. L dissimulare (as DIS-,
n. disagreement giving rise to discord. [ME f. OF f. L
dissensio (as DIS-, sentire sens- feel)]
dissent v. & n. --v.intr. (often foll. by from) 1 think differently,
disagree; express disagreement. 2 differ in religious opinion,
esp. from the doctrine of an established or orthodox church.
--n. 1 a a difference of opinion. b an expression of this. 2
the refusal to accept the doctrines of an established or
orthodox church; nonconformity. ЬЬdissenting adj. dissentingly
adv. [ME f. L dissentire (as DIS-, sentire feel)]
dissenter n. 1 a person who dissents. 2 (Dissenter) Brit. a member of a
non-established church; a Nonconformist.
adj. & n. --adj. disagreeing with a majority or official view.
--n. a person who dissents. [L dissentire (as DIS-, sentire
n. a detailed discourse on a subject, esp. one submitted in
partial fulfilment of the requirements of a degree or diploma.
ЬЬdissertational adj. [L dissertatio f. dissertare discuss,
frequent. of disserere dissert- examine (as DIS-, serere join)]
n. an ill turn; an injury, esp. done when trying to help.
ЬЬdisserve v.tr. archaic.
dissever v.tr. & intr. sever; divide into parts. ЬЬdisseverance n.
disseverment n. [ME f. AF dis(c)everer, OF dessevrer f. LL
disseparare (as DIS-, SEPARATE)]
n. disagreement; dissent. [F dissidence or L dissidentia (as
dissident adj. & n. --adj. disagreeing, esp. with an established
government, system, etc. --n. a dissident person. [F or f. L
dissidere disagree (as DIS-, sedere sit)]
adj. (often foll. by to) unlike, not similar. ЬЬdissimilarity
n. (pl. -ies). dissimilarly adv.
v. (often foll. by to) Phonet. 1 tr. change (a sound or sounds
in a word) to another when the word originally had the same
sound repeated, as in cinnamon, orig. cinnamom. 2 intr. (of a
sound) be changed in this way. ЬЬdissimilation n.
dissimilatory adj. [L dissimilis (as DIS-, similis like), after
n. unlikeness, dissimilarity. [L dissimilitudo (as
v.tr. & intr. dissemble. ЬЬdissimulation n. dissimulator n.
[L dissimulare (as DIS-, SIMULATE)]
dissipate v. 1 a tr. cause (a cloud, vapour, fear, darkness, etc.) to
disappear or disperse. b intr. disperse, scatter, disappear. 2
intr. & tr. break up; bring or come to nothing. 3 tr. squander
or fritter away (money, energy, etc.). 4 intr. (as dissipated
adj.) given to dissipation, dissolute. ЬЬdissipater n.
dissipative adj. dissipator n. [L dissipare dissipat- (as
DIS-, sipare (unrecorded) throw)]
n. 1 intemperate, dissolute, or debauched living. 2 (usu.
foll. by of) wasteful expenditure (dissipation of resources). 3
scattering, dispersion, or disintegration. 4 a frivolous
amusement. [F dissipation or L dissipatio (as DISSIPATE)]
v. 1 tr. & intr. (usu. foll. by from) disconnect or become
disconnected; separate (dissociated her from their guilt). 2
tr. Chem. decompose, esp. reversibly. 3 tr. Psychol. cause (a
person's mind) to develop more than one centre of consciousness.
Ьdissociated personality Psychol. the pathological coexistence
of two or more distinct personalities in the same person.
dissociate oneself from 1 declare oneself unconnected with. 2
decline to support or agree with (a proposal etc.).
ЬЬdissociative adj. [L dissociare (as DIS-, socius companion)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of dissociating. 2 Psychol. the
state of suffering from dissociated personality.
adj. able to be disintegrated, loosened, or disconnected;
soluble. ЬЬdissolubility n. dissolubly adv. [F dissoluble or
L dissolubilis (as DIS-, SOLUBLE)]
dissolute adj. lax in morals; licentious. ЬЬdissolutely adv.
dissoluteness n. [ME f. L dissolutus past part. of dissolvere
n. 1 disintegration; decomposition. 2 (usu. foll. by of) the
undoing or relaxing of a bond, esp.: a a marriage. b a
partnership. c an alliance. 3 the dismissal or dispersal of an
assembly, esp. of a parliament at the end of its term. 4 death.
5 bringing or coming to an end; fading away; disappearance. 6
dissipation; debauchery. [ME f. OF dissolution or L dissolutio
dissolve v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become liquid, esp. by
immersion or dispersion in a liquid. 2 intr. & tr. disappear or
cause to disappear gradually. 3 a tr. dismiss or disperse (an
assembly, esp. parliament). b intr. (of an assembly) be
dissolved (cf. DISSOLUTION). 4 tr. annul or put an end to (a
partnership, marriage, etc.). 5 intr. (of a person) become
enfeebled or emotionally overcome (completely dissolved when he
saw her; dissolved into tears). 6 intr. (often foll. by into)
Cinematog. change gradually (from one picture into another).
--n. Cinematog. the act or process of dissolving a picture.
ЬЬdissolvable adj. [ME f. L dissolvere dissolut- (as DIS-,
adj. & n. --adj. tending to dissolve or dissipate. --n. a
dissolvent substance. [L dissolvere (as DISSOLVE)]
dissonant adj. 1 Mus. harsh-toned; unharmonious. 2 incongruous;
clashing. ЬЬdissonance n. dissonantly adv. [ME f. OF
dissonant or L dissonare (as DIS-, sonare sound)]
dissuade v.tr. (often foll. by from) discourage (a person); persuade
against (dissuaded him from continuing; was dissuaded from his
belief). ЬЬdissuader n. dissuasion n. dissuasive adj. [L
dissuadere (as DIS-, suadere suas- persuade)]
var. of DISYLLABLE.
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a lack of symmetry. b an instance of this. 2
symmetry as of mirror images or the left and right hands (esp.
of crystals with two corresponding forms). ЬЬdissymmetrical
distaff n. 1 a a cleft stick holding wool or flax wound for spinning by
hand. b the corresponding part of a spinning-wheel. 2 women's
work. Ьdistaff side the female branch of a family. [OE dist‘f
(as STAFF(1)), the first element being app. rel. to LG diesse,
MLG dise(ne) bunch of flax]
distal adj. Anat. situated away from the centre of the body or point
of attachment; terminal. ЬЬdistally adv. [DISTANT + -AL]
distance n. & v. --n. 1 the condition of being far off; remoteness. 2
a a space or interval between two things. b the length of this
(a distance of twenty miles). 3 a distant point or place (came
from a distance). 4 the avoidance of familiarity; aloofness;
reserve (there was a certain distance between them). 5 a
remoter field of vision (saw him in the distance). 6 an
interval of time (can't remember what happened at this
distance). 7 a the full length of a race etc. b Brit. Racing
a length of 240 yards from the winning-post on a racecourse. c
Boxing the scheduled length of a fight. --v.tr. (often refl.) 1
place far off (distanced herself from them; distanced the
painful memory). 2 leave far behind in a race or competition.
Ьat a distance far off. distance-post Racing a post at the
distance on a racecourse, used to disqualify runners who have
not reached it by the end of the race. distance runner an
athlete who competes in long- or middle-distance races. go the
distance 1 Boxing complete a fight without being knocked out. 2
complete, esp. a hard task; endure an ordeal. keep one's
distance maintain one's reserve. middle distance the part of a
landscape or painting between the foreground and the furthest
part. within hailing (or walking) distance near enough to reach
by hailing or walking. [ME f. OF distance, destance f. L
distantia f. distare stand apart (as DI-(2), stare stand)]
distant adj. 1 a far away in space or time. b (usu. predic.; often
foll. by from) at a specified distance (three miles distant from
them). 2 remote or far apart in position, time, resemblance,
etc. (a distant prospect; a distant relation; a distant
likeness). 3 not intimate; reserved; cool (a distant bow). 4
remote; abstracted (a distant stare). 5 faint, vague (he was a
distant memory to her). Ьdistant early warning US a radar
system for the early detection of a missile attack. distant
signal Railways a railway signal preceding a home signal to give
warning. ЬЬdistantly adv. [ME f. OF distant or L distant-
part. stem of distare: see DISTANCE]
distaste n. (usu. foll. by for) dislike; repugnance; aversion, esp.
slight (a distaste for prunes; a distaste for polite company).
ЬЬdistasteful adj. distastefully adv. distastefulness n.
n. & v. --n. 1 a kind of paint using glue or size instead of
an oil-base, for use on walls or for scene-painting. 2 a method
of mural and poster painting using this. --v.tr. paint (walls
etc.) with distemper. [earlier as verb, f. OF destremper or LL
distemperare soak, macerate: see DISTEMPER(2)]
n. 1 a disease of some animals, esp. dogs, causing fever,
coughing, and catarrh. 2 archaic political disorder. [earlier
as verb, = upset, derange: ME f. LL distemperare (as DIS-,
temperare mingle correctly)]
distend v.tr. & intr. swell out by pressure from within (distended
stomach). ЬЬdistensible adj. distensibility n. distension n.
[ME f. L distendere (as DIS-, tendere tens- stretch)]
distich n. Prosody a pair of verse lines; a couplet. [L distichon f.
Gk distikhon (as DI-(1), stikhos line)]
adj. Bot. arranged in two opposite vertical rows. [L
distichus (as DISTICH)]
distil v. (US distill) (distilled, distilling) 1 tr. Chem. purify (a
liquid) by vaporizing it with heat, then condensing it with cold
and collecting the result. 2 tr. a Chem. extract the essence
of (a plant etc.) usu. by heating it in a solvent. b extract
the essential meaning or implications of (an idea etc.). 3 tr.
make (whisky, essence, etc.) by distilling raw materials. 4 tr.
(foll. by off, out) Chem. drive (the volatile constituent) off
or out by heat. 5 tr. & intr. come as or give forth in drops;
exude. 6 intr. undergo distillation. ЬЬdistillatory adj. [ME
f. L distillare f. destillare (as DE-, stilla drop)]
n. a product of distillation.
n. 1 the process of distilling or being distilled (in various
senses). 2 something distilled.
distiller n. a person who distils, esp. a manufacturer of alcoholic
n. (pl. -ies) a place where alcoholic liquor is distilled.
distinct adj. 1 (often foll. by from) a not identical; separate;
individual. b different in kind or quality; unlike. 2 a
clearly perceptible; plain. b clearly understandable; definite.
3 unmistakable, decided (had a distinct impression of being
watched). ЬЬdistinctly adv. distinctness n. [ME f. L
distinctus past part. of distinguere DISTINGUISH]
n. 1 a the act or an instance of discriminating or
distinguishing. b an instance of this. c the difference made
by distinguishing. 2 a something that differentiates, e.g. a
mark, name, or title. b the fact of being different. 3 special
consideration or honour. 4 distinguished character; excellence;
eminence (a film of distinction; shows distinction in his
bearing). 5 a grade in an examination denoting great excellence
(passed with distinction). Ьdistinction without a difference a
merely nominal or artificial distinction. [ME f. OF f. L
distinctio -onis (as DISTINGUISH)]
adj. distinguishing, characteristic. ЬЬdistinctively adv.
distingu‚ adj. (fem. distingu‚e pronunc. same) having a distinguished
air, features, manner, etc. [F, past part. of distinguer: see
v. 1 tr. (often foll. by from) a see or point out the
difference of; draw distinctions (cannot distinguish one from
the other). b constitute such a difference (the mole
distinguishes him from his twin). c draw distinctions between;
differentiate. 2 tr. be a mark or property of; characterize
(distinguished by his greed). 3 tr. discover by listening,
looking, etc. (could distinguish two voices). 4 tr. (usu.
refl.; often foll. by by) make prominent or noteworthy
(distinguished himself by winning first prize). 5 tr. (often
foll. by into) divide; classify. 6 intr. (foll. by between)
make or point out a difference between. ЬЬdistinguishable adj.
[F distinguer or L distinguere (as DIS-, stinguere stinct-
extinguish): cf. EXTINGUISH]
adj. 1 (often foll. by for, by) of high standing; eminent;
famous. 2 = DISTINGUђ.
distort v.tr. 1 a put out of shape; make crooked or unshapely. b
distort the appearance of, esp. by curved mirrors etc. 2
misrepresent (motives, facts, statements, etc.). ЬЬdistortedly
adv. distortedness n. [L distorquere distort- (as DIS-,
n. 1 the act or an instance of distorting; the process of being
distorted. 2 Electronics a change in the form of a signal
during transmission etc. usu. with some impairment of quality.
ЬЬdistortional adj. distortionless adj. [L distortio (as
distract v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from) draw away the attention of (a
person, the mind, etc.). 2 bewilder, perplex. 3 (as distracted
adj.) mad or angry (distracted by grief; distracted with worry).
4 amuse, esp. in order to take the attention from pain or worry.
ЬЬdistractedly adv. [ME f. L distrahere distract- (as DIS-,
n. 1 a the act of distracting, esp. the mind. b something that
distracts; an interruption. 2 a relaxation from work; an
amusement. 3 a lack of concentration. 4 confusion; perplexity.
5 frenzy; madness. Ьto distraction almost to a state of
madness. [ME f. OF distraction or L distractio (as DISTRACT)]
distrain v.intr. Law (usu. foll. by upon) impose distraint (on a person,
goods, etc.). ЬЬdistrainee n. distrainer n. distrainment n.
distrainor n. [ME f. OF destreindre f. L distringere (as DIS-,
stringere strict- draw tight)]
distraint n. Law the seizure of chattels to make a person pay rent etc.
or meet an obligation, or to obtain satisfaction by their sale.
[DISTRAIN, after constraint]
distrait adj. (fem. distraite) not paying attention; absent-minded;
distraught. [ME f. OF destrait past part. of destraire (as
adj. distracted with worry, fear, etc.; extremely agitated.
[ME, alt. of obs. distract (adj.) (as DISTRACT), after straught
obs. past part. of STRETCH]
distress n. & v. --n. 1 severe pain, sorrow, anguish, etc. 2 the lack
of money or comforts. 3 Law = DISTRAINT. 4 breathlessness;
exhaustion. --v.tr. 1 subject to distress; exhaust, afflict.
2 cause anxiety to; make unhappy; vex. Ьdistress-signal a
signal from a ship in danger. distress-warrant Law a warrant
authorizing distraint. in distress 1 suffering or in danger. 2
(of a ship, aircraft, etc.) in danger or damaged. ЬЬdistressful
adj. distressingly adv. [ME f. OF destresse etc., AF
destresser, OF -ecier f. Gallo-Roman (as DISTRAIN)]
adj. 1 suffering from distress. 2 impoverished (distressed
gentlefolk; in distressed circumstances). 3 (of furniture,
leather, etc.) having simulated marks of age and wear.
Ьdistressed area Brit. a region of high unemployment and
n. (pl. -ies) a branch of a river or glacier that does not
return to the main stream after leaving it (as in a delta).
v.tr. 1 give shares of; deal out. 2 spread about; scatter
(distributed the seeds evenly over the garden). 3 divide into
parts; arrange; classify. 4 Printing separate (type that has
been set up) and return the characters to their separate boxes.
5 Logic use (a term) to include every individual of the class to
which it refers. ЬЬdistributable adj. [ME f. L distribuere
distribut- (as DIS-, tribuere assign)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of distributing; the process of
being distributed. 2 Econ. a the dispersal of goods etc. among
consumers, brought about by commerce. b the extent to which
different groups, classes, or individuals share in the total
production or wealth of a community. 3 Statistics the way in
which a characteristic is spread over members of a class.
ЬЬdistributional adj. [ME f. OF distribution or L distributio
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of, concerned with, or produced by
distribution. 2 Logic & Gram. (of a pronoun etc.) referring to
each individual of a class, not to the class collectively (e.g.
each, either). --n. Gram. a distributive word.
ЬЬdistributively adv. [ME f. F distributif -ive or LL
distributivus (as DISTRIBUTE)]
n. 1 a person or thing that distributes. 2 an agent who
supplies goods. 3 Electr. a device in an internal-combustion
engine for passing current to each spark-plug in turn.
district n. & v. --n. 1 a (often attrib.) a territory marked off for
special administrative purposes. b Brit. a division of a county
or region electing its own councillors. 2 an area which has
common characteristics; a region (the wine-growing district).
--v.tr. US divide into districts. Ьdistrict attorney (in the
US) the prosecuting officer of a district. district court (in
the US) the Federal court of first instance. district heating a
supply of heat or hot water from one source to a district or a
group of buildings. district nurse Brit. a peripatetic nurse
serving a rural or urban area. district visitor Brit. a person
working for a member of the clergy in a section of a parish. [F
f. med.L districtus (territory of) jurisdiction (as DISTRAIN)]
distrust n. & v. --n. a lack of trust; doubt; suspicion. --v.tr. have
no trust or confidence in; doubt. ЬЬdistruster n. distrustful
adj. distrustfully adv.
disturb v.tr. 1 break the rest, calm, or quiet of; interrupt. 2
agitate; worry (your story disturbs me). 3 move from a settled
position, disarrange (the papers had been disturbed). 4 (as
disturbed adj.) Psychol. emotionally or mentally unstable or
abnormal. ЬЬdisturber n. disturbing adj. disturbingly adv.
[ME f. OF desto(u)rber f. L disturbare (as DIS-, turbare f.
n. 1 the act or an instance of disturbing; the process of being
disturbed. 2 a tumult; an uproar. 3 agitation; worry. 4 an
interruption. 5 Law interference with rights or property;
molestation. [ME f. OF desto(u)rbance (as DISTURB)]
n. (US disulfide) Chem. a binary chemical containing two atoms
of sulphur in each molecule.
disunion n. a lack of union; separation; dissension. ЬЬdisunite v.tr. &
intr. disunity n.
disuse n. & v. --n. 1 lack of use or practice; discontinuance. 2 a
disused state. --v.tr. cease to use. Ьfall into disuse cease
to be used. [ME f. OF desuser (as DIS-, USE)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 harmfulness, injuriousness. 2 a factor
tending to nullify the utility of something; a drawback.
n. (also dissyllable) Prosody a word or metrical foot of two
syllables. ЬЬdisyllabic adj. [F disyllabe f. L disyllabus f.
Gk disullabos (as DI-(1), SYLLABLE)]
dit n. Telegraphy (in the Morse system) = DOT (cf. DAH). [imit.]
ditch n. & v. --n. 1 a long narrow excavated channel esp. for
drainage or to mark a boundary. 2 a watercourse, stream, etc.
--v. 1 intr. make or repair ditches (hedging and ditching). 2
tr. provide with ditches; drain. 3 tr. sl. leave in the lurch;
abandon. 4 tr. colloq. a bring (an aircraft) down on the sea
in an emergency. b drive (a vehicle) into a ditch. 5 intr.
colloq. (of an aircraft) make a forced landing on the sea. 6
tr. sl. defeat; frustrate. 7 tr. US derail (a train).
Ьditch-water stagnant water in a ditch. dull as ditch-water
extremely dull. last ditch a place of final desperate defence
(fight to the last ditch). ЬЬditcher n. [OE dic, of unkn.
orig.: cf. DIKE(1)]
ditheism n. Theol. 1 a belief in two gods; dualism. 2 a belief in
equal independent ruling principles of good and evil.
dither v. & n. --v.intr. 1 hesitate; be indecisive. 2 dial. tremble;
quiver. --n. colloq. 1 a state of agitation or apprehension.
2 a state of hesitation; indecisiveness. Ьall of a dither
colloq. in a state of extreme agitation or vacillation.
ЬЬditherer n. dithery adj. [var. of didder, DODDER(1)]
dithyramb n. 1 a a wild choral hymn in ancient Greece, esp. to Dionysus.
b a Bacchanalian song. 2 any passionate or inflated poem,
speech, etc. ЬЬdithyrambic adj. [L dithyrambus f. Gk
dithurambos, of unkn. orig.]
dittany n. (pl. -ies) any herb of the genus Dictamnus, formerly used
medicinally. [ME f. OF dita(i)n f. med.L dictamus f. L
dictamnus f. Gk diktamnon perh. f. Dikte, a mountain in Crete]
ditto n. & v. --n. (pl. -os) 1 (in accounts, inventories, lists,
etc.) the aforesaid, the same. °Often represented by '' under
the word or sum to be repeated. 2 colloq. (replacing a word or
phrase to avoid repetition) the same (came in late last night
and ditto the night before). 3 a similar thing; a duplicate.
--v.tr. (-oes, -oed) repeat (another's action or words).
Ьditto marks inverted commas etc. representing 'ditto'. say
ditto to colloq. agree with; endorse. [It. dial. f. L dictus
past part. of dicere say]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a copyist's mistaken repetition of a letter,
word, or phrase. 2 an example of this. ЬЬdittographic adj.
[Gk dittos double + -GRAPHY]
ditty n. (pl. -ies) a short simple song. [ME f. OF dit‚ composition
f. L dictatum neut. past part. of dictare DICTATE]
ditty-bag n. (also ditty-box) a sailor's or fisherman's receptacle for
odds and ends. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
diuresis n. Med. an increased excretion of urine. [mod.L f. Gk (as
DI-(3), ouresis urination)]
diuretic adj. & n. --adj. causing increased output of urine. --n. a
diuretic drug. [ME f. OF diuretique or LL diureticus f. Gk
diouretikos f. dioureo urinate]
diurnal adj. 1 of or during the day; not nocturnal. 2 daily; of each
day. 3 Astron. occupying one day. 4 Zool. (of animals) active
in the daytime. 5 Bot. (of plants) open only during the day.
ЬЬdiurnally adv. [ME f. LL diurnalis f. L diurnus f. dies day]
Div. abbr. Division.
diva n. (pl. divas) a great or famous woman singer; a prima donna.
[It. f. L, = goddess]
divalent adj. Chem. 1 having a valency of two; bivalent. 2 having two
valencies. ЬЬdivalency n. [DI-(1) + valent- part. stem (as
divan n. 1 a a long, low, padded seat set against a room-wall; a
backless sofa. b a bed consisting of a base and mattress, usu.
with no board at either end. 2 an oriental State legislative
body, council-chamber, or court of justice. 3 archaic a a
cigar-shop. b a smoking-room attached to such a shop. [F divan
or It. divano f. Turk. divan f. Arab. diwan f. Pers. divan
anthology, register, court, bench]
v.intr. diverge, branch; separate widely. ЬЬdivaricate adj.
divarication n. [L divaricare (as DI-(2), varicus straddling)]
dive v. & n. --v. (dived or US dove) 1 intr. plunge head first into
water, esp. as a sport. 2 intr. a Aeron. (of an aircraft)
plunge steeply downwards at speed. b Naut. (of a submarine)
submerge. c (of a person) plunge downwards. 3 intr. (foll. by
into) colloq. a put one's hand into (a pocket, handbag, vessel,
etc.) quickly and deeply. b occupy oneself suddenly and
enthusiastically with (a subject, meal, etc.). 4 tr. (foll. by
into) plunge (a hand etc.) into. --n. 1 an act of diving; a
plunge. 2 a the submerging of a submarine. b the steep descent
of an aircraft. 3 a sudden darting movement. 4 colloq. a
disreputable nightclub etc.; a drinking-den (found themselves in
a low dive). 5 Boxing sl. a pretended knockout (took a dive in
the second round). Ьdive-bomb bomb (a target) while diving in
an aircraft. dive-bomber an aircraft designed to dive-bomb.
dive in colloq. help oneself (to food). diving-bell an
open-bottomed box or bell, supplied with air, in which a person
can descend into deep water. diving-board an elevated board
used for diving from. diving-suit a watertight suit usu. with a
helmet and an air-supply, worn for working under water. [OE
dufan (v.intr.) dive, sink, and dyfan (v.tr.) immerse, f. Gmc:
rel. to DEEP, DIP]
diver n. 1 a person who dives. 2 a a person who wears a diving-suit
to work under water for long periods. b a pearl-diver etc. 3
any of various diving birds, esp. large water-birds of the
diverge v. 1 intr. a proceed in a different direction or in different
directions from a point (diverging rays; the path diverges
here). b take a different course or different courses (their
interests diverged). 2 intr. a (often foll. by from) depart
from a set course (diverged from the track; diverged from his
parents' wishes). b differ markedly (they diverged as to the
best course). 3 tr. cause to diverge; deflect. 4 intr. Math.
(of a series) increase indefinitely as more of its terms are
added. [med.L divergere (as DI-(2), L vergere incline)]
divergent adj. 1 diverging. 2 Psychol. (of thought) tending to reach a
variety of possible solutions when analysing a problem. 3 Math.
(of a series) increasing indefinitely as more of its terms are
added; not convergent. ЬЬdivergence n. divergency n.
divers adj. archaic or literary more than one; sundry; several. [ME
f. OF f. L diversus DIVERSE (as DI-(2), versus past part. of
diverse adj. unlike in nature or qualities; varied. ЬЬdiversely adv.
[ME (as DIVERS)]
diversify v. (-ies, -ied) 1 tr. make diverse; vary; modify. 2 tr.
Commerce a spread (investment) over several enterprises or
products, esp. to reduce the risk of loss. b introduce a spread
of investment in (an enterprise etc.). 3 intr. (often foll. by
into) esp. Commerce (of a firm etc.) expand the range of
products handled. ЬЬdiversification n. [ME f. OF diversifier
f. med.L diversificare (as DIVERS)]
diversion n. 1 a the act of diverting; deviation. b an instance of this.
2 a the diverting of attention deliberately. b a stratagem for
this purpose (created a diversion to secure their escape). 3 a
recreation or pastime. 4 Brit. an alternative route when a road
is temporarily closed to traffic. ЬЬdiversional adj.
diversionary adj. [LL diversio (as DIVERT)]
n. 1 a person who engages in disruptive or subversive
activities. 2 Polit. (esp. used by communists) a conspirator
against the State; a saboteur.
diversity n. (pl. -ies) 1 being diverse; variety. 2 a different kind; a
variety. [ME f. OF diversit‚ f. L diversitas -tatis (as
divert v.tr. 1 (often foll. by from, to) a turn aside; deflect. b
draw the attention of; distract. 2 (often as diverting adj.)
entertain; amuse. ЬЬdivertingly adv. [ME f. F divertir f. L
divertere (as DI-(2), vertere turn)]
adj. Med. of or relating to a diverticulum. Ьdiverticular
disease a condition with abdominal pain as a result of muscle
spasms in the presence of diverticula.
n. Med. inflammation of a diverticulum.
n. (pl. diverticula) Anat. a blind tube forming at weak
points in a cavity or passage esp. of the alimentary tract.
ЬЬdiverticulosis n. [med.L, var. of L deverticulum byway f.
devertere (as DE-, vertere turn)]
n. (pl. divertimenti or -os) Mus. a light and entertaining
composition, often in the form of a suite for chamber orchestra.
[It., = diversion]
n. 1 a diversion; an entertainment. 2 a short ballet etc.
between acts or longer pieces. [F, f. divertiss- stem of
Dives n. a rich man. [L, in Vulgate transl. of Luke 16]
divest v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by of; often refl.) unclothe; strip
(divested himself of his jacket). 2 deprive, dispossess; free,
rid (cannot divest himself of the idea). ЬЬdivestiture n.
divestment n. divesture n. [earlier devest f. OF desvestir
etc. (as DIS-, L vestire f. vestis garment)]
divi var. of DIVVY.
divide v. & n. --v. 1 tr. & intr. (often foll. by in, into) separate
or be separated into parts; break up; split (the river divides
into two; the road divides; divided them into three groups). 2
tr. & intr. (often foll. by out) distribute; deal; share
(divided it out between them). 3 tr. a cut off; separate; part
(divide the sheep from the goats). b mark out into parts (a
ruler divided into inches). c specify different kinds of,
classify (people can be divided into two types). 4 tr. cause to
disagree; set at variance (religion divided them). 5 Math. a
tr. find how many times (a number) contains another (divide 20
by 4). b intr. (of a number) be contained in (a number) without
a remainder (4 divides into 20). c intr. be susceptible of
division (10 divides by 2 and 5). d tr. find how many times (a
number) is contained in another (divide 4 into 20). 6 intr.
Math. do division (can divide well). 7 Parl. a intr. (of a
legislative assembly etc.) part into two groups for voting (the
House divided). b tr. so divide (a Parliament etc.) for voting.
--n. 1 a dividing or boundary line (the divide between rich and
poor). 2 a watershed. Ьdivided against itself formed into
factions. divided highway US a dual carriageway. divided skirt
culottes. the Great Divide the boundary between life and death.
[ME f. L dividere divis- (as DI-(2), vid- separate)]
dividend n. 1 a a sum of money to be divided among a number of persons,
esp. that paid by a company to shareholders. b a similar sum
payable to winners in a football pool, to members of a
cooperative, or to creditors of an insolvent estate. c an
individual's share of a dividend. 2 Math. a number to be
divided by a divisor. 3 a benefit from any action (their long
training paid dividends). Ьdividend stripping the evasion of
tax on dividends by arrangement between the company liable to
pay tax and another able to claim repayment of tax. dividend
warrant Brit. the documentary authority for a shareholder to
receive a dividend. dividend yield a dividend expressed as a
percentage of a current share price. [AF dividende f. L
dividendum (as DIVIDE)]
divider n. 1 a screen, piece of furniture, etc., dividing a room into
two parts. 2 (in pl.) a measuring-compass, esp. with a screw
for setting small intervals.
divi-divi n. (pl. divi-divis) 1 a small tree, Caesalpinia coriaria,
native to tropical Africa, bearing curved pods. 2 this pod used
as a source of tannin. [Carib]
n. 1 supposed insight into the future or the unknown gained by
supernatural means. 2 a a skilful and accurate forecast. b a
good guess. ЬЬdivinatory adj. [ME f. OF divination or L
divinatio (as DIVINE)]
divine adj., v., & n. --adj. (diviner, divinest) 1 a of, from, or
like God or a god. b devoted to God; sacred (divine service).
2 a more than humanly excellent, gifted, or beautiful. b
colloq. excellent; delightful. --v. 1 tr. discover by
guessing, intuition, inspiration, or magic. 2 tr. foresee,
predict, conjecture. 3 intr. practise divination. --n. 1 a
cleric, usu. an expert in theology. 2 (the Divine) providence
or God. Ьdivine office see OFFICE. divine right of kings the
doctrine that kings derive their sovereignty and authority from
God, not from their subjects. divining-rod = dowsing-rod (see
DOWSE(1)). ЬЬdivinely adv. divineness n. diviner n. divinize
v.tr. (also -ise). [ME f. OF devin -ine f. L divinus f. divus
divinity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state or quality of being divine. 2 a a
god; a divine being. b (as the Divinity) God. 3 the study of
religion; theology. [ME f. OF divinit‚ f. L divinitas -tatis
divisible adj. 1 capable of being divided, physically or mentally. 2
(foll. by by) Math. containing (a number) a number of times
without a remainder (15 is divisible by 3 and 5).
ЬЬdivisibility n. [F divisible or LL divisibilis (as DIVIDE)]
division n. 1 the act or an instance of dividing; the process of being
divided. 2 Math. the process of dividing one number by another
(see also long division (see LONG(1)), short division). 3
disagreement or discord (division of opinion). 4 Parl. the
separation of members of a legislative body into two sets for
counting votes for and against. 5 one of two or more parts into
which a thing is divided. 6 a major unit of administration or
organization, esp.: a a group of army brigades or regiments. b
Sport a grouping of teams within a league, usu. by ability. 7 a
a district defined for administrative purposes. b Brit. a part
of a county or borough returning a Member of Parliament. 8 a
Bot. a major taxonomic grouping. b Zool. a subsidiary category
between major levels of classification. 9 Logic a
classification of kinds, parts, or senses. Ьdivision of labour
the improvement of efficiency by giving different parts of a
manufacturing process etc. to different people. division sign
the sign (*!) indicating that one quantity is to be divided by
another. ЬЬdivisional adj. divisionally adv. divisionary adj.
[ME f. OF divisiun f. L divisio -onis (as DIVIDE)]
divisive adj. tending to divide, esp. in opinion; causing disagreement.
ЬЬdivisively adv. divisiveness n. [LL divisivus (as DIVIDE)]
divisor n. Math. 1 a number by which another is to be divided. 2 a
number that divides another without a remainder. [ME f. F
diviseur or L divisor (as DIVIDE)]
divorce n. & v. --n. 1 a the legal dissolution of a marriage. b a
legal decree of this. 2 a severance or separation (a divorce
between thought and feeling). --v. 1 a tr. (usu. as divorced
adj.) (often foll. by from) legally dissolve the marriage of (a
divorced couple; he wants to get divorced from her). b intr.
separate by divorce (they divorced last year). c tr. end one's
marriage with (divorced him for neglect). 2 tr. (often foll. by
from) detach, separate (divorced from reality). 3 tr. archaic
dissolve (a union). ЬЬdivorcement n. [ME f. OF divorce (n.),
divorcer (v.) f. LL divortiare f. L divortium f. divortere (as
DI-(2), vertere turn)]
divorcee n. (also masc. divorc‚, fem. divorc‚e) a divorced person.
divot n. 1 a piece of turf cut out by a golf club in making a stroke.
2 esp. Sc. a piece of turf; a sod. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
divulge v.tr. disclose; reveal (a secret etc.). ЬЬdivulgation n.
divulgement n. divulgence n. [L divulgare (as DI-(2), vulgare
publish f. vulgus common people)]
divvy n. & v. (also divi) colloq. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 Brit. a
dividend; a share, esp. of profits earned by a cooperative. 2 a
distribution. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (often foll. by up) share
out; divide. [abbr. of DIVIDEND]
Diwali n. a Hindu festival with illuminations, held between September
and November. [Hind. diwali f. Skr. dipavali row of lights f.
Dixie n. the southern States of the US. [19th c.: orig. uncert.]
dixie n. a large iron cooking pot used by campers etc. [Hind.
degchi cooking pot f. Pers. degcha dimin. of deg pot]
Dixieland n. 1 = DIXIE. 2 a kind of jazz with a strong two-beat rhythm
and collective improvisation. [DIXIE]
DIY abbr. Brit. do-it-yourself.
dizzy adj. & v. --adj. (dizzier, dizziest) 1 a giddy, unsteady. b
feeling confused. 2 causing giddiness (dizzy heights; dizzy
speed). --v.tr. 1 make dizzy. 2 bewilder. ЬЬdizzily adv.
dizziness n. [OE dysig f. WG]
do(1) v. & n. --v. (3rd sing. present does; past did; past part.
done) 1 tr. perform, carry out, achieve, complete (work etc.)
(did his homework; there's a lot to do; he can do anything). 2
tr. a produce, make (she was doing a painting; I did a
translation; decided to do a casserole). b provide (do you do
lunches?). 3 tr. bestow, grant; have a specified effect on (a
walk would do you good; do me a favour). 4 intr. act, behave,
proceed (do as I do; she would do well to accept the offer). 5
tr. work at, study; be occupied with (what does your father do?;
he did chemistry at university; we're doing Chaucer next term).
6 a intr. be suitable or acceptable; suffice (this dress won't
do for a wedding; a sandwich will do until we get home; that
will never do). b tr. satisfy; be suitable for (that hotel will
do me nicely). 7 tr. deal with; put in order (the garden needs
doing; the barber will do you next; I must do my hair before we
go). 8 intr. a fare; get on (the patients were doing
excellently; he did badly in the test). b perform, work (could
do better). 9 tr. a solve; work out (we did the puzzle). b
(prec. by can or be able to) be competent at (can you do
cartwheels?; I never could do maths). 10 tr. a traverse (a
certain distance) (we did fifty miles today). b travel at a
specified speed (he overtook us doing about eighty). 11 tr.
colloq. a act or behave like (did a Houdini). b play the part
of (she was asked to do hostess). 12 intr. a colloq. finish
(have you done annoying me?; I've done in the bathroom). b (as
done adj.) be over (the day is done). 13 tr. produce or give a
performance of (the school does many plays and concerts; we've
never done 'Pygmalion'). 14 tr. cook, esp. to the right degree
(do it in the oven; the potatoes aren't done yet). 15 intr. be
in progress (what's doing?). 16 tr. colloq. visit; see the
sights of (we did all the art galleries). 17 tr. colloq. a
(often as done adj.) exhaust; tire out (the climb has completely
done me). b beat up, defeat, kill. c ruin (now you've done
it). 18 tr. (foll. by into) translate or transform (the book
was done into French). 19 tr. colloq. (with qualifying adverb)
provide food etc. for in a specified way (they do one very well
here). 20 tr. sl. a rob (they did a shop in Soho). b swindle
(I was done at the market). 21 tr. sl. prosecute, convict
(they were done for shoplifting). 22 tr. sl. undergo (a
specified term of imprisonment) (he did two years for fraud).
23 tr. coarse sl. have sexual intercourse with. 24 tr. sl.
take (a drug). --v.aux. 1 a (except with be, can, may, ought,
shall, will) in questions and negative statements (do you
understand?; I don't smoke). b (except with can, may, ought,
shall, will) in negative commands (don't be silly; do not come
tomorrow). 2 ellipt. or in place of verb or verb and object
(you know her better than I do; I wanted to go and I did so;
tell me, do!). 3 forming emphatic present and past tenses (I do
want to; do tell me; they did go but she was out). 4 in
inversion for emphasis (rarely does it happen; did he but know
it). --n. (pl. dos or do's) 1 colloq. an elaborate event,
party, or operation. 2 Brit. sl. a swindle or hoax. Ьbe done
with see DONE. be nothing to do with 1 be no business or
concern of (his financial situation is nothing to do with me).
2 be unconnected with (his depression is nothing to do with his
father's death). be to do with be concerned or connected with
(the argument was to do with money). do about see ABOUT prep.
1d. do away with colloq. 1 abolish. 2 kill. do battle enter
into combat. do one's best see BEST. do one's bit see BIT. do
by treat or deal with in a specified way (do as you would be
done by). do credit to see CREDIT. do down colloq. 1 cheat,
swindle. 2 get the better of; overcome. do for 1 be
satisfactory or sufficient for. 2 colloq. (esp. as done for
adj.) destroy, ruin, kill (he knew he was done for). 3 colloq.
act as housekeeper for. do one's head (or nut) sl. be
extremely angry or agitated. do the honours see HONOUR. do in
1 sl. a kill. b ruin, do injury to. 2 colloq. exhaust, tire
out. do-it-yourself adj. (of work, esp. building, painting,
decorating, etc.) done or to be done by an amateur at home.
--n. such work. do justice to see JUSTICE. do nothing for (or
to) colloq. detract from the appearance or quality of (such
behaviour does nothing for our reputation). do or die persist
regardless of danger. do out colloq. clean or redecorate (a
room). do a person out of colloq. unjustly deprive a person
of; swindle out of (he was done out of his holiday). do over 1
sl. attack; beat up. 2 colloq. redecorate, refurbish. 3 US
colloq. do again. do proud see PROUD. dos and don'ts rules of
behaviour. do something for (or to) colloq. enhance the
appearance or quality of (that carpet does something for the
room). do one's stuff see STUFF. do to (archaic unto) = do by.
do to death see DEATH. do the trick see TRICK. do up 1 fasten,
secure. 2 colloq. a refurbish, renovate. b adorn, dress up.
3 sl. a ruin, get the better of. b beat up. do well for
oneself prosper. do well out of profit by. do with (prec. by
could) would be glad to have; would profit by (I could do with a
rest; you could do with a wash). do without manage without;
forgo (also absol. : we shall just have to do without). have
nothing to do with 1 have no connection or dealings with (our
problem has nothing to do with the latest news; after the
disagreement he had nothing to do with his father). 2 be no
business or concern of (the decision has nothing to do with
him). have to do (or something to do) with be connected with
(his limp has to do with a car accident). [OE don f. Gmc: rel.
to Skr d dhami put, Gk tithemi place, L facere do]
do(2) var. of DOH.
do. abbr. ditto.
DOA abbr. dead on arrival (at hospital etc.).
doable adj. that can be done.
dob v.tr. (dobbed, dobbing) (foll. by in) Austral. sl. inform
against; implicate; betray. [var. of DAB(1)]
dobbin n. a draught-horse; a farm horse. [pet-form of the name
dobe n. US colloq. adobe. [abbr.]
Dobermann n. (in full Dobermann pinscher) 1 a large dog of a German breed
with a smooth coat. 2 this breed. [L. Dobermann, 19th-c. Ger.
dog-breeder + G Pinscher terrier]
doc n. colloq. doctor. [abbr.]
doch an dorris
var. of DEOCH AN DORIS.
docile adj. 1 submissive, easily managed. 2 archaic teachable.
ЬЬdocilely adv. docility n. [ME f. L docilis f. docere teach]
dock(1) n. & v. --n. 1 an artificially enclosed body of water for the
loading, unloading, and repair of ships. 2 (in pl.) a range of
docks with wharves and offices; a dockyard. 3 US a ship's
berth, a wharf. 4 = dry dock. 5 Theatr. = scene-dock. --v. 1
tr. & intr. bring or come into a dock. 2 a tr. join
(spacecraft) together in space. b intr. (of spacecraft) be
joined. 3 tr. provide with a dock or docks. Ьdock-glass a
large glass for wine-tasting. in dock Brit. colloq. in
hospital or (of a vehicle) laid up for repairs. [MDu. docke,
of unkn. orig.]
dock(2) n. the enclosure in a criminal court for the accused. Ьdock
brief a brief handed direct to a barrister selected by a
prisoner in the dock. in the dock on trial. [16th c.: prob.
orig. cant = Flem. dok cage, of unkn. orig.]
dock(3) n. any weed of the genus Rumex, with broad leaves. [OE docce]
dock(4) v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a cut short (an animal's tail). b cut short
the tail of (an animal). 2 a (often foll. by from) deduct (a
part) from wages, supplies, etc. b reduce (wages etc.) in this
way. --n. 1 the solid bony part of an animal's tail. 2 the
crupper of a saddle or harness. Ьdock-tailed having a docked
tail. [ME, of uncert. orig.]
dockage n. 1 the charge made for using docks. 2 dock accommodation. 3
the berthing of vessels in docks.
docker n. a person employed to load and unload ships.
docket n. & v. --n. 1 Brit. a a document or label listing goods
delivered or the contents of a package, or recording payment of
customs dues etc. b a voucher; an order form. 2 US a list of
causes for trial or persons having causes pending. 3 US a list
of things to be done. --v.tr. (docketed, docketing) label with
a docket. [15th c.: orig. unkn.]
dockland n. a district near docks. [DOCK(1)]
dockyard n. an area with docks and equipment for building and repairing
ships, esp. for naval use.
doctor n. & v. --n. 1 a a qualified practitioner of medicine; a
physician. b US a qualified dentist or veterinary surgeon. 2 a
person who holds a doctorate (Doctor of Civil Law). 3 colloq. a
person who carries out repairs. 4 archaic a teacher or learned
man. 5 sl. a cook on board a ship or in a camp. 6 (in full
doctor-blade) Printing a blade for removing surplus ink etc. 7
an artificial fishing-fly. --v. colloq. 1 a tr. treat
medically. b intr. (esp. as doctoring n.) practise as a
physician. 2 tr. castrate or spay. 3 tr. patch up (machinery
etc.); mend. 4 tr. adulterate. 5 tr. tamper with, falsify. 6
tr. confer a degree of doctor on. ЬDoctor of the Church any of
several early Christian Fathers of the Church. Doctor of
Philosophy a doctorate in any faculty except law, medicine, or
sometimes theology. go for the doctor Austral. sl. 1 make an
all-out effort. 2 bet all one has. what the doctor ordered
colloq. something beneficial or desirable. ЬЬdoctorhood n.
doctorial adj. doctorly adj. doctorship n. [ME f. OF doctour
f. L doctor f. docere doct- teach]
doctoral adj. of or for a degree of doctor.
doctorate n. the highest university degree in any faculty, often
adj. & n. --adj. seeking to apply a theory or doctrine in all
circumstances without regard to practical considerations;
theoretical and impractical. --n. a doctrinaire person; a
pedantic theorist. ЬЬdoctrinairism n. doctrinarian n. [F f.
doctrine DOCTRINE + -aire -ARY(1)]
doctrinal adj. of or inculcating a doctrine or doctrines. ЬЬdoctrinally
adv. [LL doctrinalis (as DOCTRINE)]
doctrine n. 1 what is taught; a body of instruction. 2 a a principle of
religious or political etc. belief. b a set of such principles;
dogma. ЬЬdoctrinism n. doctrinist n. [ME f. OF f. L doctrina
teaching (as DOCTOR)]
docudrama n. a dramatized television film based on real events.
[DOCUMENTARY + DRAMA]
document n. & v. Law --n. a piece of written or printed matter that
provides a record or evidence of events, an agreement,
ownership, identification, etc. --v.tr. 1 prove by or provide
with documents or evidence. 2 record in a document.
ЬЬdocumental adj. [ME f. OF f. L documentum proof f. docere
n. a person engaged in documentation.
adj. & n. --adj. 1 consisting of documents (documentary
evidence). 2 providing a factual record or report. --n. (pl.
-ies) a documentary film etc. ЬЬdocumentarily adv.
n. 1 the accumulation, classification, and dissemination of
information. 2 the material collected or disseminated. 3 the
collection of documents relating to a process or event, esp. the
written specification and instructions accompanying a computer
DOD abbr. US Department of Defense.
dodder(1) v.intr. tremble or totter, esp. from age. Ьdodder-grass
quaking-grass. ЬЬdodderer n. [17th c.: var. of obs. dial.
dodder(2) n. any climbing parasitic plant of the genus Cuscuta, with
slender leafless threadlike stems. [ME f. Gmc]
doddered adj. (of a tree, esp. an oak) having lost its top or branches.
[prob. f. obs. dod poll, lop]
doddery adj. tending to tremble or totter, esp. from age.
ЬЬdodderiness n. [DODDER(1) + -Y(1)]
doddle n. Brit. colloq. an easy task. [perh. f. doddle = TODDLE]
dodeca- comb. form twelve. [Gk dodeka twelve]
dodecagon n. a plane figure with twelve sides.
n. a solid figure with twelve faces. ЬЬdodecahedral adj.
adj. Mus. = twelve-note.
dodge v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (often foll. by about, behind, round)
move quickly to one side or quickly change position, to elude a
pursuer, blow, etc. (dodged behind the chair). 2 tr. a evade
by cunning or trickery (dodged paying the fare). b elude (a
pursuer, opponent, blow, etc.) by a sideward movement etc. 3
tr. Austral. sl. acquire dishonestly. 4 intr. (of a bell in
change-ringing) move one place contrary to the normal sequence.
--n. 1 a quick movement to avoid or evade something. 2 a
clever trick or expedient. 3 the dodging of a bell in
change-ringing. Ьdodge the column see COLUMN. [16th c.: orig.
dodgem n. each of a number of small electrically-driven cars in an
enclosure at a funfair, driven round and bumped into each other.
[DODGE + 'EM]
dodger n. 1 a person who dodges, esp. an artful or elusive person. 2
a screen on a ship's bridge etc. as protection from spray etc.
3 US a small handbill. 4 US a maize-flour cake. 5 sl. a
sandwich; bread; food.
dodo n. (pl. -os or -oes) 1 any large flightless bird of the
extinct family Raphidae, formerly native to Mauritius. 2 an
old-fashioned, stupid, or inactive person. Ьas dead as the (or
a) dodo 1 completely or unmistakably dead. 2 entirely obsolete.
[Port. doudo simpleton]
DoE abbr. (in the UK) Department of the Environment.
doe n. a female fallow deer, reindeer, hare, or rabbit. [OE da]
doek n. S.Afr. a cloth, esp. a head-cloth. [Afrik.]
doer n. 1 a person who does something. 2 one who acts rather than
merely talking or thinking. 3 (in full hard doer) Austral. an
eccentric or amusing person.
does 3rd sing. present of DO(1).
doeskin n. 1 a the skin of a doe fallow deer. b leather made from
this. 2 a fine cloth resembling it.
doesn't contr. does not.
doest archaic 2nd sing. present of DO(1).
doeth archaic = DOTH.
doff v.tr. literary take off (one's hat, clothing). [ME, = do off]
dog n. & v. --n. 1 any four-legged flesh-eating animal of the
genus Canis, of many breeds domesticated and wild, kept as pets
or for work or sport. 2 the male of the dog, or of the fox
(also dog-fox) or wolf (also dog-wolf). 3 colloq. a a
despicable person. b a person or fellow of a specified kind (a
lucky dog). c US & Austral. sl. an informer; a traitor. d sl.
a horse that is difficult to handle. 4 a mechanical device for
gripping. 5 US sl. something poor; a failure. 6 = FIREDOG. 7
(in pl.; prec. by the) Brit. colloq. greyhound-racing. --v.tr.
(dogged, dogging) 1 follow closely and persistently; pursue,
track. 2 Mech. grip with a dog. Ьdie like a dog die miserably
or shamefully. dog-biscuit a hard thick biscuit for feeding
dogs. dog-box Austral. sl. a compartment in a railway
carriage without a corridor. dog-clutch Mech. a device for
coupling two shafts in the transmission of power, one member
having teeth which engage with slots in another. dog-collar 1 a
collar for a dog. 2 a colloq. a clerical collar. b a straight
high collar. dog days the hottest period of the year (reckoned
in antiquity from the heliacal rising of the dog-star).
dog-eared (of a book etc.) with the corners worn or battered
with use. dog-eat-dog colloq. ruthlessly competitive. dog-end
sl. a cigarette-end. dog-fall a fall in which wrestlers touch
the ground together. dog in the manger a person who prevents
others from using something, although that person has no use for
it. dog-leg (or -legged) bent like a dog's hind leg. dog-leg
hole Golf a hole at which a player cannot aim directly at the
green from the tee. dog-paddle n. an elementary
swimming-stroke like that of a dog. --v.intr. swim using this
stroke. dog-rose a wild hedge-rose, Rosa canina: also called
brier-rose. dog's breakfast (or dinner) colloq. a mess. dog's
disease Austral. sl. influenza. dog's life a life of misery
or harassment. dog's meat horse's or other flesh as food for
dogs; carrion. dogs of war poet. the havoc accompanying war.
dog's- (or dog-) tail any grass of the genus Cynosurus, esp. C.
cristatus, a common pasture grass. dog-star the chief star of
the constellation Canis Major or Minor, esp. Sirius. dog's
tooth (in full dog's tooth violet) 1 any liliaceous plant of the
genus Erythronium, esp. E. dens-canis with speckled leaves,
purple flowers, and a toothed perianth. 2 = dog-tooth 2.
dog-tired tired out. dog-tooth 1 a small pointed ornament or
moulding esp. in Norman and Early English architecture. 2 a
broken check pattern used esp. in cloth for suits. dog trials
Austral. & NZ a public competitive display of the skills of
sheepdogs. dog-violet any of various scentless wild violets,
esp. Viola riviniana. go to the dogs sl. deteriorate, be
ruined. hair of the dog further drink to cure the effects of
drink. like a dog's dinner colloq. smartly or flashily
(dressed, arranged, etc.). not a dog's chance no chance at all.
put on dog colloq. behave pretentiously. ЬЬdoglike adj. [OE
docga, of unkn. orig.]
dogberry n. (pl. -ies) the fruit of the dogwood.
dogcart n. a two-wheeled driving-cart with cross seats back to back.
doge n. hist. the chief magistrate of Venice or Genoa. [F f. It.
f. Venetian doze f. L dux ducis leader]
dogfight n. 1 a close combat between fighter aircraft. 2 uproar; a
fight like that between dogs.
dogfish n. (pl. same or dogfishes) any of various small sharks esp. of
the families Scyliorhinidae or Squalidae.
dogged adj. tenacious; grimly persistent. Ьit's dogged as does it
colloq. persistence succeeds. ЬЬdoggedly adv. doggedness n.
[ME f. DOG + -ED(1)]
dogger(1) n. a two-masted bluff-bowed Dutch fishing-boat. [ME f. MDu., =
dogger(2) n. Geol. a large spherical concretion occurring in sedimentary
rock. [dial., = kind of iron-stone, perh. f. DOG]
doggerel n. poor or trivial verse. [ME, app. f. DOG: cf. -REL]
doggie var. of DOGGY n.
doggish adj. 1 of or like a dog. 2 currish, malicious, snappish.
ЬЬdoggishly adv. doggishness n.
doggo adv. Ьlie doggo sl. lie motionless or hidden, making no sign.
[prob. f. DOG: cf. -O]
doggone adj., adv., & int. esp. US sl. --adj. & adv. damned. --int.
expressing annoyance. [prob. f. dog on it = God damn it]
doggy adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or like a dog. 2 devoted to dogs. --n.
(also doggie) (pl. -ies) a little dog; a pet name for a dog.
Ьdoggy bag a bag given to a customer in a restaurant or to a
guest at a party etc. for putting leftovers in to take home.
doghouse n. US a dog's kennel. Ьin the doghouse sl. in disgrace or
dogie n. US a motherless or neglected calf. [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
dogma n. 1 a a principle, tenet, or system of these, esp. as laid
down by the authority of a Church. b such principles
collectively. 2 an arrogant declaration of opinion. [L f. Gk
dogma -matos opinion f. dokeo seem]
dogman n. (pl. -men) Austral. a person giving directional signals to
the operator of a crane, often while sitting on the crane's
dogmatic adj. 1 a (of a person) given to asserting or imposing personal
opinions; arrogant. b intolerantly authoritative. 2 a of or in
the nature of dogma; doctrinal. b based on a priori principles,
not on induction. ЬЬdogmatically adv. [LL dogmaticus f. Gk
dogmatikos (as DOGMA)]
dogmatics n. 1 the study of religious dogmas; dogmatic theology. 2 a
system of dogma. [DOGMATIC]
dogmatism n. a tendency to be dogmatic. ЬЬdogmatist n. [F dogmatisme f.
med.L dogmatismus (as DOGMA)]
dogmatize v. (also -ise) 1 intr. make positive unsupported assertions;
speak dogmatically. 2 tr. express (a principle etc.) as a
dogma. [F dogmatiser or f. LL dogmatizare f. Gk (as DOGMA)]
do-gooder n. a well-meaning but unrealistic philanthropist or reformer.
ЬЬdo-good adj. & n. do-goodery n. do-goodism n.
dogsbody n. (pl. -ies) 1 colloq. a drudge. 2 Naut. sl. a junior
dogshore n. a temporary wooden support for a ship just before launching.
dogskin n. leather made of or imitating dog's skin, used for gloves.
dogtrot n. a gentle easy trot.
dogwatch n. Naut. either of two short watches (4-6 or 6-8 p.m.).
dogwood n. 1 any of various shrubs of the genus Cornus, esp. the wild
cornel with dark red branches, greenish-white flowers, and
purple berries, found in woods and hedgerows. 2 any of various
similar trees. 3 the wood of the dogwood.
DoH abbr. (in the UK) Department of Health.
doh n. (also do) Mus. 1 (in tonic sol-fa) the first and eighth
note of a major scale. 2 the note C in the fixed-doh system.
[18th c.: f. It. do]
doily n. (also doyley) (pl. -ies or -eys) a small ornamental mat of
paper, lace, etc., on a plate for cakes etc. [orig. the name of
a fabric: f. Doiley, the name of a draper]
doing n. 1 a an action; the performance of a deed (famous for his
doings; it was my doing). b activity, effort (it takes a lot of
doing). 2 colloq. a scolding; a beating. 3 (in pl.) sl. things
needed; adjuncts; things whose names are not known (have we got
all the doings?).
doit n. archaic a very small amount of money. [MLG doyt, MDu.
duit, of unkn. orig.]
dojo n. (pl. -os) 1 a room or hall in which judo and other martial
arts are practised. 2 a mat on which judo etc. is practised.
dol. abbr. dollar(s).
Dolby n. propr. an electronic noise-reduction system used esp. in
tape-recording to reduce hiss. [R. M. Dolby, US inventor]
dolce far niente
n. pleasant idleness. [It., = sweet doing nothing]
n. a life of pleasure and luxury. [It., = sweet life]
doldrums n.pl. (usu. prec. by the) 1 low spirits; a feeling of boredom
or depression. 2 a period of inactivity or state of stagnation.
3 an equatorial ocean region of calms, sudden storms, and light
unpredictable winds. [prob. after dull and tantrum]
dole(1) n. & v. --n. 1 (usu. prec. by the) Brit. colloq. benefit
claimable by the unemployed from the State. 2 a charitable
distribution. b a charitable (esp. sparing, niggardly) gift of
food, clothes, or money. 3 archaic one's lot or destiny.
--v.tr. (usu. foll. by out) deal out sparingly. Ьdole-bludger
Austral. sl. one who allegedly prefers the dole to work. on
the dole Brit. colloq. receiving State benefit for the
unemployed. [OE dal f. Gmc]
dole(2) n. poet. grief, woe; lamentation. [ME f. OF do(e)l etc. f.
pop.L dolus f. L dolere grieve]
doleful adj. 1 mournful, sad. 2 dreary, dismal. ЬЬdolefully adv.
dolefulness n. [ME f. DOLE(2) + -FUL]
dolerite n. a coarse basaltic rock. [F dol‚rite f. Gk doleros deceptive
(because it is difficult to distinguish from diorite)]
adj. (also dolichocephalous) having a long or narrow head. [Gk
dolikhos long + -CEPHALIC, -CEPHALOUS]
dolina n. (also doline) Geol. an extensive depression or basin.
[Russ. dolina valley]
doll n. & v. --n. 1 a small model of a human figure, esp. a baby or
a child, as a child's toy. 2 a colloq. a pretty but silly young
woman. b sl. a young woman, esp. an attractive one. 3 a
ventriloquist's dummy. --v.tr. & intr. (foll. by up) dress up
smartly. Ьdoll's house 1 a miniature toy house for dolls. 2 a
very small house. [pet form of the name Dorothy]
dollar n. 1 the chief monetary unit in the US, Canada, and Australia.
2 the chief monetary unit of certain countries in the Pacific,
West Indies, SE Asia, Africa, and S. America. Ьdollar area the
area in which currency is linked to the US dollar. dollar
diplomacy diplomatic activity aimed at advancing a country's
international influence by furthering its financial and
commercial interests abroad. dollar gap the excess of a
country's import trade with the dollar area over the
corresponding export trade. dollar mark (or sign) the sign $,
representing a dollar. dollar spot 1 a fungal disease of lawns
etc. 2 a discoloured patch caused by this. [LG daler f. G
Taler, short for Joachimstaler, a coin from the silver-mine of
Joachimstal in Czechoslovakia]
dollhouse n. US = doll's house (see DOLL).
dollop n. & v. --n. a shapeless lump of food etc. --v.tr. (dolloped,
dolloping) (usu. foll. by out) serve out in large shapeless
quantities. [perh. f. Scand.]
dolly n., v., & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 a child's name for a doll.
2 a movable platform for a cine-camera. 3 Cricket colloq. an
easy catch or hit. 4 a stick for stirring in clothes-washing.
5 = corn dolly (see CORN(1)). 6 colloq. = dolly-bird. --v.
(-ies, -ied) 1 tr. (foll. by up) dress up smartly. 2 intr.
(foll. by in, up) move a cine-camera in or up to a subject, or
out from it. --adj. (dollier, dolliest) 1 Brit. colloq. (esp.
of a girl) attractive, stylish. 2 Cricket colloq. easily hit or
caught. Ьdolly-bird Brit. colloq. an attractive and stylish
young woman. dolly mixture any of a mixture of small variously
shaped and coloured sweets.
n. 1 a woman's large hat with one side drooping and with a
floral trimming. 2 a brightly spotted char, Salvelinus malma,
of western N. America. [a character in Dickens's Barnaby Rudge]
dolma n. (pl. dolmas or dolmades) an E. European delicacy of spiced
rice or meat etc. wrapped in vine or cabbage leaves. [Turk. f.
dolmak fill, be filled: dolmades f. mod.Gk]
dolman n. 1 a long Turkish robe open in front. 2 a hussar's jacket
worn with the sleeves hanging loose. 3 a woman's mantle with
capelike or dolman sleeves. Ьdolman sleeve a loose sleeve cut
in one piece with the body of the coat etc. [ult. f. Turk.
dolmen n. a megalithic tomb with a large flat stone laid on upright
ones. [F, perh. f. Cornish tolmen hole of stone]
dolomite n. a mineral or rock of calcium magnesium carbonate.
ЬЬdolomitic adj. [F f. D. de Dolomieu, Fr. geologist d. 1801]
dolorous adj. literary or joc. 1 distressing, painful; doleful, dismal.
2 distressed, sad. ЬЬdolorously adv. [ME f. OF doleros f. LL
dolorosus (as DOLOUR)]
dolour n. (US dolor) literary sorrow, distress. [ME f. OF f. L dolor
-oris pain, grief]
dolphin n. 1 any of various porpoise-like sea mammals of the family
Delphinidae having a slender beaklike snout. 2 (in general use)
= DORADO 1. 3 a bollard, pile, or buoy for mooring. 4 a
structure for protecting the pier of a bridge. 5 a curved fish
in heraldry, sculpture, etc. [ME, also delphin f. L delphinus
f. Gk delphis -inos]
n. (pl. dolphinariums) an aquarium for dolphins, esp. one open
to the public.
dolt n. a stupid person. ЬЬdoltish adj. doltishly adv.
doltishness n. [app. related to dol, dold, obs. var. of DULL]
Dom n. 1 a title prefixed to the names of some Roman Catholic
dignitaries, and Benedictine and Carthusian monks. 2 the
Portuguese equivalent of Don (see DON(1)). [L dominus master:
sense 2 through Port.]
-dom suffix forming nouns denoting: 1 state or condition (freedom).
2 rank or status (earldom). 3 domain (kingdom). 4 a class of
people (or the attitudes etc. associated with them) regarded
collectively (officialdom). [OE -dom, orig. = DOOM]
domain n. 1 an area under one rule; a realm. 2 an estate or lands
under one control. 3 a sphere of control or influence. 4 Math.
the set of possible values of an independent variable. 5
Physics a discrete region of magnetism in ferromagnetic
material. ЬЬdomanial adj. [ME f. F domaine, OF demeine
DEMESNE, assoc. with L dominus lord]
domaine n. a vineyard. [F: see DOMAIN]
dome n. & v. --n. 1 a a rounded vault as a roof, with a circular,
elliptical, or polygonal base; a large cupola. b the revolving
openable hemispherical roof of an observatory. 2 a a natural
vault or canopy (of the sky, trees, etc.). b the rounded summit
of a hill etc. 3 Geol. a dome-shaped structure. 4 sl. the
head. 5 poet. a stately building. --v.tr. (usu. as domed adj.)
cover with or shape as a dome. ЬЬdomelike adj. [F d“me f. It.
duomo cathedral, dome f. L domus house]
Domesday n. (in full Domesday Book) a record of the lands of England made
in 1086 by order of William I. [ME var. of doomsday, as being a
book of final authority]
domestic adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the home, household, or family affairs.
2 a of one's own country, not foreign or international. b
home-grown or home-made. 3 (of an animal) kept by or living
with man. 4 fond of home life. --n. a household servant.
Ьdomestic science the study of household management.
ЬЬdomestically adv. [F domestique f. L domesticus f. domus
v.tr. 1 tame (an animal) to live with humans. 2 accustom to
home life and management. 3 naturalize (a plant or animal).
ЬЬdomesticable adj. domestication n. [med.L domesticare (as
n. 1 the state of being domestic. 2 domestic or home life.
domicile n. & v. (also domicil) --n. 1 a dwelling-place; one's home. 2
Law a a place of permanent residence. b the fact of residing.
3 the place at which a bill of exchange is made payable.
--v.tr. 1 (usu. as domiciled adj.) (usu. foll. by at, in)
establish or settle in a place. 2 (usu. foll. by at) make (a
bill of exchange) payable at a certain place. [ME f. OF f. L
domicilium f. domus home]
adj. of a dwelling place (esp. of a doctor's, official's, etc.,
visit to a person's home). [F domiciliaire f. med.L
domiciliarius (as DOMICILE)]
dominance n. 1 the state of being dominant. 2 control, authority.
dominant adj. & n. --adj. 1 dominating, prevailing, most influential.
2 (of a high place) prominent, overlooking others. 3 a (of an
allele) expressed even when inherited from only one parent. b
(of an inherited characteristic) appearing in an individual even
when its allelic counterpart is also inherited (cf. RECESSIVE).
--n. Mus. the fifth note of the diatonic scale of any key.
ЬЬdominantly adv. [F f. L dominari (as DOMINATE)]
dominate v. 1 tr. & (foll. by over) intr. have a commanding influence
on; exercise control over (fear dominated them for years;
dominates over his friends). 2 intr. (of a person, sound,
feature of a scene, etc.) be the most influential or
conspicuous. 3 tr. & (foll. by over) intr. (of a building etc.)
have a commanding position over; overlook. ЬЬdominator n. [L
dominari dominat- f. dominus lord]
n. 1 command, control. 2 the act or an instance of dominating;
the process of being dominated. 3 (in pl.) angelic beings of
the fourth order of the celestial hierarchy. [ME f. OF f. L
dominatio -onis (as DOMINATE)]
domineer v.intr. (often as domineering adj.) behave in an arrogant and
overbearing way. ЬЬdomineeringly adv. [Du. dominieren f. F
dominical adj. 1 of the Lord's day, of Sunday. 2 of the Lord (Jesus
Christ). Ьdominical letter the one of the seven letters A-G
indicating the dates of Sundays in a year. [F dominical or L
dominicalis f. L dominicus f. dominus lord]
Dominican adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to St Dominic or the order
of preaching friars which he founded in 1215-16. 2 of or
relating to either of the two orders of female religious founded
on Dominican principles. --n. a Dominican friar, nun, or sister
(see also Black Friar). [med.L Dominicanus f. Dominicus L name
of Domingo de Guzm n (St Dominic)]
dominie n. Sc. a schoolmaster. [later spelling of domine sir, voc. of
L dominus lord]
dominion n. 1 sovereignty, control. 2 the territory of a sovereign or
government; a domain. 3 hist. the title of each of the
self-governing territories of the British Commonwealth. [ME f.
OF f. med.L dominio -onis f. L dominium f. dominus lord]
domino n. (pl. -oes) 1 a any of 28 small oblong pieces marked with
0-6 pips in each half. b (in pl., usu. treated as sing.) a game
played with these. 2 a loose cloak with a mask for the upper
part of the face, worn at masquerades. Ьdomino theory the
theory that a political event etc. in one country will cause
similar events in neighbouring countries, like a row of falling
dominoes. [F, prob. f. L dominus lord, but unexplained]
don(1) n. 1 a university teacher, esp. a senior member of a college at
Oxford or Cambridge. 2 (Don) a a Spanish title prefixed to a
forename. b a Spanish gentleman; a Spaniard. [Sp. f. L dominus
don(2) v.tr. (donned, donning) put on (clothing). [= do on]
dona n. (also donah) Brit. sl. a woman; a sweetheart. [Sp. do¤a
or Port. dona f. L (as DONNA)]
donate v.tr. give or contribute (money etc.), esp. voluntarily to a
fund or institution. ЬЬdonator n. [back-form. f. DONATION]
donation n. 1 the act or an instance of donating. 2 something, esp. an
amount of money, donated. [ME f. OF f. L donatio -onis f.
donare give f. donum gift]
donative n. & adj. --n. a gift or donation, esp. one given formally or
officially as a largess. --adj. 1 given as a donation or
bounty. 2 hist. (of a benefice) given directly, not
presentative. [ME f. L donativum gift, largess f. donare: see
done past part. of DO(1). --adj. 1 colloq. socially acceptable (the
done thing; it isn't done). 2 (often with in, up) colloq. tired
out. 3 (esp. as int. in reply to an offer etc.) accepted. Ьbe
done with have finished with, be finished with. done for
colloq. in serious trouble. have done have ceased or finished.
have done with be rid of; have finished dealing with.
donee n. the recipient of a gift. [DONOR + -EE]
dong(1) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. make the deep sound of a large bell. 2
tr. Austral. & NZ colloq. hit, punch. --n. 1 the deep sound
of a large bell. 2 Austral. & NZ colloq. a heavy blow. [imit.]
dong(2) n. the chief monetary unit of Vietnam. [Vietnamese]
donga n. S.Afr. & Austral. 1 a dry watercourse. 2 a ravine caused
by erosion. [Zulu]
dongle n. Computing a security attachment required by a computer to
enable protected software to be used. [arbitrary form.]
donjon n. the great tower or innermost keep of a castle. [archaic
spelling of DUNGEON]
Don Juan n. a seducer of women; a libertine. [name of a legendary Sp.
nobleman celebrated in fiction, e.g. by Byron]
donkey n. (pl. -eys) 1 a domestic ass. 2 colloq. a stupid or foolish
person. Ьdonkey engine a small auxiliary engine. donkey jacket
a thick weatherproof jacket worn by workers and as a fashion
garment. donkey's years colloq. a very long time. donkey-work
the laborious part of a job; drudgery. [earlier with pronunc.
as monkey: perh. f. DUN(1), or the Christian name Duncan]
donna n. 1 an Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese lady. 2 (Donna) the
title of such a lady. [It. f. L domina mistress fem. of
dominus: cf. DON(1)]
donn‚e n. (also donn‚) 1 the subject or theme of a story etc. 2 a
basic fact or assumption. [F, fem. or masc. past part. of
donnish adj. like or resembling a college don, esp. in supposed
pedantry. ЬЬdonnishly adv. donnishness n.
donor n. 1 a person who gives or donates something (e.g. to a
charity). 2 one who provides blood for a transfusion, semen for
insemination, or an organ or tissue for transplantation. 3
Chem. an atom or molecule that provides a pair of electrons in
forming a coordinate bond. 4 Physics an impurity atom in a
semiconductor which contributes a conducting electron to the
material. Ьdonor card an official card authorizing use of
organs for transplant, carried by the donor. [ME f. AF donour,
OF doneur f. L donator -oris f. donare give]
don't contr. do not. --n. a prohibition (dos and don'ts).
donut US var. of DOUGHNUT.
doodad n. US = DOODAH. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
doodah n. 1 a fancy article; a trivial ornament. 2 a gadget or
'thingummy'. Ьall of a doodah excited, dithering. [from the
refrain of the song Camptown Races]
doodle v. & n. --v.intr. scribble or draw, esp. absent-mindedly. --n.
a scrawl or drawing made. Ьdoodle-bug 1 US any of various
insects, esp. the larva of an ant-lion. 2 US an unscientific
device for locating minerals. 3 colloq. a flying bomb.
ЬЬdoodler n. [orig. = foolish person; cf. LG dudelkopf]
doohickey n. (pl. -eys) US colloq. a small object, esp. mechanical.
[DOODAD + HICKEY]
doom n. & v. --n. 1 a a grim fate or destiny. b death or ruin. 2
a a condemnation; a judgement or sentence. b the Last Judgement
(the crack of doom). 3 hist. a statute, law, or decree.
--v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by to) condemn or destine (a city doomed
to destruction). 2 (esp. as doomed adj.) consign to misfortune
or destruction. [OE dom statute, judgement f. Gmc: rel. to
doomsday n. the day of the Last Judgement. Ьtill doomsday for ever (cf.
DOMESDAY). [OE domes d‘g: see DOOM]
doomwatch n. organized vigilance or observation to avert danger, esp.
from environmental pollution. ЬЬdoomwatcher n.
door n. 1 a a hinged, sliding, or revolving barrier for closing and
opening an entrance to a building, room, cupboard, etc. b this
as representing a house etc. (lives two doors away). 2 a an
entrance or exit; a doorway. b a means of access or approach.
Ьclose the door to exclude the opportunity for. door-case (or
-frame) the structure into which a door is fitted. door-head
the upper part of a door-case. door-keeper = DOORMAN.
door-plate a plate on the door of a house or room bearing the
name of the occupant. door-to-door (of selling etc.) done at
each house in turn. lay (or lie) at the door of impute (or be
imputable) to. leave the door open ensure that an option
remains available. next door in or to the next house or room.
next door to 1 in the next house to. 2 nearly, almost, near to.
open the door to create an opportunity for. out of doors in or
into the open air. ЬЬdoored adj. (also in comb.). [OE duru,
dor f. Gmc]
doorbell n. a bell in a house etc. rung by visitors outside to signal
doorknob n. a knob for turning to release the latch of a door.
doorman n. (pl. -men) a person on duty at the door to a large
building; a janitor or porter.
doormat n. 1 a mat at an entrance for wiping mud etc. from the shoes.
2 a feebly submissive person.
doornail n. a nail with which doors were studded for strength or
ornament. Ьdead as a doornail completely or unmistakably dead.
doorpost n. each of the uprights of a door-frame, on one of which the
door is hung.
doorstep n. & v. --n. 1 a step leading up to the outer door of a house
etc. 2 sl. a thick slice of bread. --v.intr. (-stepped,
-stepping) go from door to door selling, canvassing, etc. Ьon
one's (or the) doorstep very close.
doorstop n. a device for keeping a door open or to prevent it from
striking a wall etc. when opened.
doorway n. an opening filled by a door.
dooryard n. US a yard or garden near a house-door.
dop n. S.Afr. 1 a cheap kind of brandy. 2 a tot of liquor.
dopa n. Pharm. a crystalline amino acid derivative used in the
treatment of Parkinsonism. [G f. Di oxy phenyl alanine, former
name of the compound]
dopant n. Electronics a substance used in doping a semiconductor.
dope n. & v. --n. 1 a varnish applied to the cloth surface of
aeroplane parts to strengthen them, keep them airtight, etc. 2
a thick liquid used as a lubricant etc. 3 a substance added to
petrol etc. to increase its effectiveness. 4 a sl. a narcotic;
a stupefying drug. b a drug etc. given to a horse or greyhound,
or taken by an athlete, to affect performance. 5 sl. a stupid
person. 6 sl. a information about a subject, esp. if not
generally known. b misleading information. --v. 1 tr.
administer dope to, drug. 2 tr. Electronics add an impurity to
(a semiconductor) to produce a desired electrical
characteristic. 3 tr. smear, daub; apply dope to. 4 intr. take
addictive drugs. Ьdope out sl. discover. ЬЬdoper n. [Du.
doop sauce f. doopen to dip]
dopey adj. (also dopy ) (dopier, dopiest) colloq. 1 a half asleep.
b stupefied by or as if by a drug. 2 stupid, silly. ЬЬdopily
adv. dopiness n.
n. an apparition or double of a living person. [G, =
Dopper n. S.Afr. a member of the Gereformeerde Kerk, a strictly
orthodox Calvinistic denomination, usu. regarded as
old-fashioned in ideas etc.
n. (also Doppler shift) Physics an increase (or decrease) in
the frequency of sound, light, or other waves as the source and
observer move towards (or away) from each other. [C. J.
Doppler, Austrian physicist d. 1853]
dopy var. of DOPEY.
dorado n. (pl. -os) 1 a blue and silver marine fish, Coryphaena
hippurus, showing brilliant colours when dying out of water. 2
a brightly coloured freshwater-fish, Salminus maxillosus, native
to S. America. [Sp. f. LL deauratus gilt f. aurum gold]
Dorian n. & adj. --n. (in pl.) a Greek-speaking people thought to have
entered Greece from the north c.1100 BC and settled in parts of
Central and S. Greece. --adj. of or relating to the Dorians or
to Doris in Central Greece. ЬDorian mode Mus. the mode
represented by the natural diatonic scale D-D. [L Dorius f. Gk
Dorios f. Doros, the mythical ancestor]
Doric adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a dialect) broad, rustic. 2 Archit. of
the oldest, sturdiest, and simplest of the Greek orders. --n.
1 rustic English or esp. Scots. 2 Archit. the Doric order. 3
the dialect of the Dorians in ancient Greece. [L Doricus f. Gk
Dorikos (as DORIAN)]
dorm n. colloq. dormitory. [abbr.]
dormant adj. 1 lying inactive as in sleep; sleeping. 2 a (of a volcano
etc.) temporarily inactive. b (of potential faculties etc.) in
abeyance. 3 (of plants) alive but not actively growing. 4
Heraldry (of a beast) lying with its head on its paws.
ЬЬdormancy n. [ME f. OF, pres. part. of dormir f. L dormire
dormer n. (in full dormer window) a projecting upright window in a
sloping roof. [OF dorm‰or (as DORMANT)]
dormitory n. (pl. -ies) 1 a sleeping-room with several beds, esp. in a
school or institution. 2 (in full dormitory town etc.) a small
town or suburb from which people travel to work in a city etc.
3 US a university or college hall of residence or hostel. [ME
f. L dormitorium f. dormire dormit- sleep]
Dormobile n. propr. a type of motor caravan with a rear compartment
convertible for sleeping and eating in. [blend of DORMITORY,
dormouse n. (pl. dormice) any small mouselike hibernating rodent of the
family Gliridae, having a long bushy tail. [ME: orig. unkn.]
dormy adj. Golf (of a player or side) ahead by as many holes as there
are holes left to play (dormy five). [19th c.: orig. unkn.]
doronicum n. = leopard's bane (see LEOPARD). [mod.L (Linnaeus) ult. f.
dorp n. S.Afr. a village or small township. [Du. (as THORP)]
dorsal adj. Anat., Zool., & Bot. 1 of, on, or near the back (cf.
VENTRAL). 2 ridge-shaped. ЬЬdorsally adv. [F dorsal or LL
dorsalis f. L dorsum back]
dory(1) n. (pl. -ies) any of various marine fish having a compressed
body and flat head, esp. the John Dory, used as food. [ME f. F
dor‚e fem. past part. of dorer gild (as DORADO)]
dory(2) n. (pl. -ies) US a flat-bottomed fishing-boat with high sides.
[Miskito dўri dugout]
DOS n. Computing a program for manipulating information on a disk.
[abbr. of disk operating system]
dos-…-dos adj. & n. --adj. (of two books) bound together with a shared
central board and facing in opposite directions. --n. (pl.
same) a seat, carriage, etc., in which the occupants sit back to
back (cf. DO-SE-DO). [F, = back to back]
dosage n. 1 the giving of medicine in doses. 2 the size of a dose.
dose n. & v. --n. 1 an amount of a medicine or drug for taking or
taken at one time. 2 a quantity of something administered or
allocated (e.g. work, praise, punishment, etc.). 3 the amount
of ionizing radiation received by a person or thing. 4 sl. a
venereal infection. --v.tr. 1 treat (a person or animal) with
doses of medicine. 2 give a dose or doses to. 3 adulterate or
blend (esp. wine with spirit). Ьlike a dose of salts colloq.
very fast and efficiently. [F f. LL dosis f. Gk dosis gift f.
do-se-do n. (also do-si-do) (pl. -os) a figure in which two dancers
pass round each other back to back and return to their original
positions. [corrupt. of DOS-°-DOS]
dosh n. sl. money. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
dosimeter n. a device used to measure an absorbed dose of ionizing
radiation. ЬЬdosimetric adj. dosimetry n.
doss v. & n. Brit. sl. --v.intr. (often foll. by down) sleep, esp.
roughly or in cheap lodgings. --n. a bed, esp. in cheap
lodgings. Ьdoss-house a cheap lodging-house, esp. for vagrants.
[prob. = doss ornamental covering for a seat-back etc. f. OF dos
ult. f. L dorsum back]
dossal n. a hanging cloth behind an altar or round a chancel. [med.L
dossale f. LL dorsalis DORSAL]
dosser n. Brit. sl. 1 a person who dosses. 2 = doss-house.
dossier n. a set of documents, esp. a collection of information about a
person, event, or subject. [F, so called from the label on the
back, f. dos back f. L dorsum]
dost archaic 2nd sing. present of DO(1).
DoT abbr. (in the UK) Department of Transport.
dot(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a small spot, speck, or mark. b such a mark
written or printed as part of an i or j, as a diacritical mark,
as one of a series of marks to signify omission, or as a full
stop. c a decimal point. 2 Mus. a dot used to denote the
lengthening of a note or rest, or to indicate staccato. 3 the
shorter signal of the two used in Morse code (cf. DASH n. 6).
4 a tiny or apparently tiny object (a dot on the horizon).
--v.tr. (dotted, dotting) 1 a mark with a dot or dots. b place
a dot over (a letter). 2 Mus. mark (a note or rest) to show
that the time value is increased by half. 3 (often foll. by
about) scatter like dots. 4 partly cover as with dots (a sea
dotted with ships). 5 sl. hit (dotted him one in the eye).
Ьdot the i's and cross the t's colloq. 1 be minutely accurate,
emphasize details. 2 add the final touches to a task, exercise,
etc. dot matrix printer Computing a printer with characters
formed from dots printed by configurations of the tips of small
wires. dotted line a line of dots on a document, esp. to show a
place left for a signature. on the dot exactly on time. the
year dot Brit. colloq. far in the past. ЬЬdotter n. [OE dott
head of a boil, perh. infl. by Du. dot knot]
dot(2) n. a woman's dowry. [F f. L dos dotis]
dotage n. feeble-minded senility (in his dotage).
dotard n. a person who is feeble-minded, esp. from senility. [ME f.
DOTE + -ARD]
dote v.intr. 1 (foll. by on, upon) be foolishly or excessively fond
of. 2 be silly or feeble-minded, esp. from old age. ЬЬdoter n.
dotingly adv. [ME, corresp. to MDu. doten be silly]
doth archaic 3rd sing. present of DO(1).
dotterel n. a small migrant plover, Eudromias morinellus. [ME f. DOTE
+ -REL, named from the ease with which it is caught, taken to
dottle n. a remnant of unburnt tobacco in a pipe. [DOT(1) + -LE(1)]
douane n. a foreign custom-house. [F f. It. do(g)ana f. Turk.
duwan, Arab. diwan: cf. DIVAN]
n. (also Douay version) an English translation of the Bible
formerly used in the Roman Catholic Church, completed at Douai
in France early in the seventeenth century.
double adj., adv., n., & v. --adj. 1 a consisting of two usu. equal
parts or things; twofold. b consisting of two identical parts.
2 twice as much or many (double the amount; double the number;
double thickness). 3 having twice the usual size, quantity,
strength, etc. (double whisky). 4 designed for two people
(double bed). 5 a having some part double. b (of a flower)
having more than one circle of petals. c (of a domino) having
the same number of pips on each half. 6 having two different
roles or interpretations, esp. implying confusion or deceit
(double meaning; leads a double life). 7 Mus. lower in pitch by
an octave (double bassoon). --adv. 1 at or to twice the amount
etc. (counts double). 2 two together (sleep double). --n. 1 a
a double quantity or thing; twice as much or many. b colloq. a
double measure of spirits. 2 a a counterpart of a person or
thing; a person who looks exactly like another. b an
understudy. c a wraith. 3 (in pl.) Sport (in lawn tennis) a
game between two pairs of players. 4 Sport a pair of victories
over the same team, a pair of championships at the same game,
etc. 5 a system of betting in which the winnings and stake from
the first bet are transferred to a second. 6 Bridge the
doubling of an opponent's bid. 7 Darts a hit on the narrow ring
enclosed by the two outer circles of a dartboard, scoring
double. 8 a sharp turn, esp. of the tracks of a hunted animal,
or the course of a river. --v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become
twice as much or many; increase twofold; multiply by two. 2 tr.
amount to twice as much as. 3 a tr. fold or bend (paper, cloth,
etc.) over on itself. b intr. become folded. 4 a tr. (of an
actor) play (two parts) in the same piece. b intr. (often foll.
by for) be understudy etc. 5 intr. (usu. foll. by as) play a
twofold role. 6 intr. turn sharply in flight or pursuit; take a
tortuous course. 7 tr. Naut. sail round (a headland). 8 tr.
Bridge make a call increasing the value of the points to be won
or lost on (an opponent's bid). 9 Mus. a intr. (often foll. by
on) play two or more musical instruments (the clarinettist
doubles on tenor sax). b tr. add the same note in a higher or
lower octave to (a note). 10 tr. clench (a fist). 11 intr.
move at twice the usual speed; run. 12 Billiards a intr.
rebound. b tr. cause to rebound. Ьat the double running,
hurrying. bent double folded, stooping. double acrostic see
ACROSTIC. double agent one who spies simultaneously for two
rival countries etc. double axe an axe with two blades. double
back take a new direction opposite to the previous one.
double-banking 1 double-parking. 2 Austral. & NZ riding two on
a horse etc. double-barrelled 1 (of a gun) having two barrels.
2 Brit. (of a surname) having two parts joined by a hyphen. 3
twofold. double-bass 1 the largest and lowest-pitched
instrument of the violin family. 2 its player. double bill a
programme with two principal items. double bind a dilemma.
double-blind adj. (of a test or experiment) in which neither
the tester nor the subject has knowledge of identities etc. that
might lead to bias. --n. such a test or experiment. double
bluff an action or statement intended to appear as a bluff, but
in fact genuine. double boiler a saucepan with a detachable
upper compartment heated by boiling water in the lower one.
double bond Chem. a pair of bonds between two atoms in a
molecule. double-book accept two reservations simultaneously
for (the same seat, room, etc.). double-breasted (of a coat
etc.) having two fronts overlapping across the body.
double-check verify twice or in two ways. double chin a chin
with a fold of loose flesh below it. double-chinned having a
double chin. double concerto a concerto for two solo
instruments. double cream thick cream with a high fat-content.
double-cross v.tr. deceive or betray (a person one is
supposedly helping). --n. an act of doing this. double-crosser
a person who double-crosses. double dagger Printing = double
obelus. double-dealer a deceiver. double-dealing n. deceit,
esp. in business. --adj. deceitful; practising deceit.
double-decker 1 esp. Brit. a bus having an upper and lower
deck. 2 colloq. anything consisting of two layers.
double-declutch see DECLUTCH. double decomposition Chem. a
chemical reaction involving exchange of radicals between two
reactants: also called METATHESIS. double density Computing
designating a storage device, esp. a disk, having twice the
basic capacity. double dummy Bridge play with two hands
exposed, allowing every card to be located. double Dutch Brit.
colloq. incomprehensible talk. double-dyed deeply affected
with guilt. double eagle 1 a figure of a two-headed eagle. 2
US Golf = ALBATROSS. 3 US a coin worth twenty dollars.
double-edged 1 having two functions or (often contradictory)
applications. 2 (of a knife etc.) having two cutting-edges.
double entry a system of bookkeeping in which each transaction
is entered as a debit in one account and a credit in another.
double exposure Photog. the accidental or deliberate repeated
exposure of a plate, film, etc. double-faced 1 insincere. 2
(of a fabric or material) finished on both sides so that either
may be used as the right side. double fault (in lawn tennis)
two consecutive faults in serving. double feature a cinema
programme with two full-length films. double figures the
numbers from 10 to 99. double first Brit. 1 first-class
honours in two subjects or examinations at a university. 2 a
person achieving this. double-fronted (of a house) with
principal windows on either side of the front door.
double-ganger = DOPPELGЋNGER. double glazing 1 a window
consisting of two layers of glass with a space between them,
designed to reduce loss of heat and exclude noise. 2 the
provision of this. double Gloucester a kind of hard cheese
orig. made in Gloucestershire. double header 1 a train pulled
by two locomotives coupled together. 2 US two games etc. in
succession between the same opponents. 3 Austral. colloq. a
coin with a head on both sides. double helix a pair of parallel
helices with a common axis, esp. in the structure of the DNA
molecule. double-jointed having joints that allow unusual
bending of the fingers, limbs, etc. double-lock lock by a
double turn of the key. double negative Gram. a negative
statement containing two negative elements (e.g. didn't say
nothing). °Considered ungrammatical in standard English.
double obelus (or obelisk) Printing a sign used to introduce a
reference. double or quits a gamble to decide whether a
player's loss or debt be doubled or cancelled. double-park park
(a vehicle) alongside one that is already parked at the
roadside. double play Baseball putting out two runners. double
pneumonia pneumonia affecting both lungs. double-quick very
quick or quickly. double refraction Optics refraction forming
two separate rays from a single incident ray. double rhyme a
rhyme including two syllables. double salt Chem. a salt
composed of two simple salts and having different crystal
properties from either. double saucepan Brit. = double boiler.
double shuffle Dancing a shuffle executed twice with one foot
and then twice with the other. double standard 1 a rule or
principle applied more strictly to some people than to others
(or to oneself). 2 bimetallism. double star two stars actually
or apparently very close together. double-stopping Mus. the
sounding of two strings at once on a violin etc. double take a
delayed reaction to a situation etc. immediately after one's
first reaction. double-talk verbal expression that is (usu.
deliberately) ambiguous or misleading. double-think the mental
capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time
esp. as a result of political indoctrination. double time 1
payment of an employee at twice the normal rate. 2 Mil. the
regulation running-pace. double-tonguing rapid articulation in
playing a wind instrument. double top Darts a score of double
twenty. double up 1 a bend or curl up. b cause to do this,
esp. by a blow. 2 be overcome with pain or laughter. 3 share
or assign to a room, quarters, etc., with another or others. 4
fold or become folded. 5 use winnings from a bet as stake for
another. ЬЬdoubler n. doubly adv. [ME f. OF doble, duble
(n.), dobler, dubler (v.) f. L duplus DUPLE]
n. 1 a word or phrase open to two interpretations, one usu.
risqu‚ or indecent. 2 humour using such words or phrases.
[obs. F, = double understanding]
doublet n. 1 either of a pair of similar things, esp. either of two
words of the same derivation but different sense (e.g. fashion
and faction, cloak and clock). 2 hist. a man's short
close-fitting jacket, with or without sleeves. 3 a historical
or biblical account occurring twice in differing contexts, usu.
traceable to different sources. 4 (in pl.) the same number on
two dice thrown at once. 5 a pair of associated lines close
together in a spectrum. 6 a combination of two simple lenses.
[ME f. OF f. double: see DOUBLE]
doubloon n. 1 hist. a Spanish gold coin. 2 (in pl.) sl. money. [F
doublon or Sp. doblўn (as DOUBLE)]
doublure n. an ornamental lining, usu. leather, inside a book-cover.
[F, = lining (doubler to line)]
doubt n. & v. --n. 1 a feeling of uncertainty; an undecided state of
mind (be in no doubt about; have no doubt that). 2 (often foll.
by of, about) an inclination to disbelieve (have one's doubts
about). 3 an uncertain state of things. 4 a lack of full proof
or clear indication (benefit of the doubt). --v. 1 tr. (often
foll. by whether, if, that + clause; also foll. (after neg. or
interrog.) by but, but that) feel uncertain or undecided about
(I doubt that you are right; I do not doubt but that you are
wrong). 2 tr. hesitate to believe or trust. 3 intr. (often
foll. by of) feel uncertain or undecided; have doubts (never
doubted of success). 4 tr. call in question. 5 tr. Brit.
archaic or dial. rather think that; suspect or fear that (I
doubt we are late). Ьbeyond doubt certainly. doubting Thomas
an incredulous or sceptical person (after John 20:24-29). in
doubt uncertain; open to question. no doubt certainly;
probably; admittedly. without doubt (or a doubt) certainly.
ЬЬdoubtable adj. doubter n. doubtingly adv. [ME doute f. OF
doute (n.), douter (v.) f. L dubitare hesitate; mod. spelling
doubtful adj. 1 feeling doubt or misgivings; unsure or guarded in one's
opinion. 2 causing doubt; ambiguous; uncertain in meaning etc.
3 unreliable (a doubtful ally). ЬЬdoubtfully adv. doubtfulness
doubtless adv. (often qualifying a sentence) 1 certainly; no doubt. 2
probably. ЬЬdoubtlessly adv.
douce adj. Sc. sober, gentle, sedate. [ME f. OF dous douce f. L
douche n. & v. --n. 1 a jet of liquid applied to part of the body for
cleansing or medicinal purposes. 2 a device for producing such
a jet. --v. 1 tr. treat with a douche. 2 intr. use a douche.
[F f. It. doccia pipe f. docciare pour by drops ult. f. L
ductus: see DUCT]
dough n. 1 a thick mixture of flour etc. and liquid (usu. water), for
baking into bread, pastry, etc. 2 sl. money. [OE dag f. Gmc]
doughboy n. 1 a boiled dumpling. 2 US colloq. a United States
infantryman, esp. in the war of 1914-18.
doughnut n. (US donut) 1 a small fried cake of sweetened dough, usu. in
the shape of a ball or ring. 2 a ring-shaped object, esp.
Physics a vacuum chamber for acceleration of particles in a
betatron or synchrotron.
doughty adj. (doughtier, doughtiest) archaic or joc. valiant,
stout-hearted. ЬЬdoughtily adv. doughtiness n. [OE dohtig
var. of dyhtig f. Gmc]
doughy adj. (doughier, doughiest) 1 having the form or consistency of
dough. 2 pale and sickly in colour. ЬЬdoughiness n.
n. (also Douglas pine or spruce) any large conifer of the genus
Pseudotsuga, of Western N. America. [D. Douglas, Sc. botanist
doum n. (in full doum-palm) a palm-tree, Hyphaene thebaica, with
edible fruit. [Arab. dawm, dum]
dour adj. severe, stern, or sullenly obstinate in manner or
appearance. ЬЬdourly adv. dourness n. [ME (orig. Sc.), prob.
f. Gael. dЈr dull, obstinate, perh. f. L durus hard]
n. (pl. douroucoulis) any nocturnal monkey of the genus Aotus,
native to S. America, having large staring eyes. [Indian name]
douse v.tr. (also dowse) 1 a throw water over. b plunge into water.
2 extinguish (a light). 3 Naut. a lower (a sail). b close (a
porthole). [16th c.: perh. rel. to MDu., LG dossen strike]
dove(1) n. 1 any bird of the family Columbidae, with short legs, small
head, and large breast. 2 a gentle or innocent person. 3
Polit. an advocate of peace or peaceful policies (cf. HAWK(1)).
4 (Dove) Relig. a representation of the Holy Spirit (John 1:32).
5 a soft grey colour. Ьdove's-foot a cranesbill, Geranium
molle. dove-tree a tree with dovelike flowers, Davidia
involucrata, native to China. ЬЬdovelike adj. [ME f. ON dЈfa
dove(2) US past and past part. of DIVE.
dovecote n. (also dovecot) a shelter with nesting-holes for domesticated
dovetail n. & v. --n. 1 a joint formed by a mortise with a tenon shaped
like a dove's spread tail or a reversed wedge. 2 such a tenon.
--v. 1 tr. join together by means of a dovetail. 2 tr. & intr.
(often foll. by into, with) fit readily together; combine neatly
dowager n. 1 a widow with a title or property derived from her late
husband (Queen dowager; dowager duchess). 2 colloq. a dignified
elderly woman. [OF douag(i)ere f. douage (as DOWER)]
dowdy adj. & n. --adj. (dowdier, dowdiest) 1 (of clothes)
unattractively dull; unfashionable. 2 (of a person, esp. a
woman) dressed in dowdy clothes. --n. (pl. -ies) a dowdy
woman. ЬЬdowdily adv. dowdiness n. [ME dowd slut, of unkn.
dowel n. & v. --n. a headless peg of wood, metal, or plastic for
holding together components of a structure. --v.tr. (dowelled,
dowelling; US doweled, doweling) fasten with a dowel or dowels.
[ME f. MLG dovel: cf. THOLE(1)]
dowelling n. (US doweling) round rods for cutting into dowels.
dower n. & v. --n. 1 a widow's share for life of her husband's
estate. 2 archaic a dowry. 3 a natural gift or talent.
--v.tr. 1 archaic give a dowry to. 2 (foll. by with) endow
with talent etc. Ьdower house Brit. a smaller house near a big
one, forming part of a widow's dower. ЬЬdowerless adj. [ME f.
OF douaire f. med.L dotarium f. L dos dotis]
n. (also Dow-Jones average) a figure based on the average price
of selected stocks, indicating the relative price of shares on
the New York Stock Exchange. [C. H. Dow d. 1902 & E. D. Jones
d. 1920, Amer. economists]
down(1) adv., prep., adj., v., & n. --adv. (superl. downmost) 1 into
or towards a lower place, esp. to the ground (fall down; knelt
down). 2 in a lower place or position (blinds were down). 3 to
or in a place regarded as lower, esp.: a southwards. b Brit.
away from a major city or a university. 4 a in or into a low or
weaker position or condition (hit a man when he's down; many
down with colds). b Brit. in a position of lagging or loss (our
team was three goals down; њ5 down on the transaction). c (of a
computer system) out of action or unavailable for use (esp.
temporarily). 5 from an earlier to a later time (customs handed
down; down to 1600). 6 to a finer or thinner consistency or a
smaller amount or size (grind down; water down; boil down). 7
cheaper; lower in price or value (bread is down; shares are
down). 8 into a more settled state (calm down). 9 in writing;
in or into recorded or listed form (copy it down; I got it down
on tape; you are down to speak next). 10 (of part of a larger
whole) paid, dealt with (њ5 down, њ20 to pay; three down, six to
go). 11 Naut. a with the current or wind. b (of a ship's
helm) with the rudder to windward. 12 inclusively of the lower
limit in a series (read down to the third paragraph). 13 (as
int.) lie down, put (something) down, etc. 14 (of a crossword
clue or answer) read vertically (cannot do five down). 15
downstairs, esp. after rising (is not down yet). 16 swallowed
(could not get the pill down). 17 Amer. Football (of the ball)
out of play. --prep. 1 downwards along, through, or into. 2
from top to bottom of. 3 along (walk down the road; cut down
the middle). 4 at or in a lower part of (situated down the
river). --adj. (superl. downmost) 1 directed downwards. 2
Brit. of travel away from a capital or centre (the down train;
the down platform). --v.tr. colloq. 1 knock or bring down. 2
swallow (a drink). --n. 1 an act of putting down (esp. an
opponent in wrestling, or the ball in American football). 2 a
reverse of fortune (ups and downs). 3 colloq. a period of
depression. 4 the play of the first piece in dominoes. Ьbe (or
have a) down on colloq. disapprove of; show animosity towards.
be down to 1 be attributable to. 2 be the responsibility of. 3
have used up everything except (down to their last tin of
rations). down and out 1 penniless, destitute. 2 Boxing unable
to resume the fight. down-and-out n. a destitute person. down
at heel 1 (of a shoe) with the heel worn down. 2 (of a person)
wearing such shoes; shabby, slovenly. down draught a downward
draught, esp. one down a chimney into a room. down grade 1 a
descending slope of a road or railway. 2 a deterioration (see
also DOWNGRADE). down in the mouth colloq. looking unhappy.
down-market adj. & adv. colloq. towards or relating to the
cheaper or less affluent sector of the market. down on one's
luck colloq. 1 temporarily unfortunate. 2 dispirited by
misfortune. down payment a partial payment made at the time of
purchase. down stage Theatr. at or to the front of the stage.
down-stroke a stroke made or written downwards. down time time
during which a machine, esp. a computer, is out of action or
unavailable for use. down-to-earth practical, realistic. down
to the ground colloq. completely. down tools colloq. cease
work, esp. to go on strike. down town 1 into a town from a
higher or outlying part. 2 US to or in the business part of a
city (see also DOWNTOWN). down under colloq. in the antipodes,
esp. Australia. down wind in the direction in which the wind is
blowing (see also DOWNWIND). down with int. expressing strong
disapproval or rejection of a specified person or thing. [OE
dun(e) f. adune ADOWN]
down(2) n. 1 a the first covering of young birds. b a bird's
under-plumage, used in cushions etc. c a layer of fine soft
feathers. 2 fine soft hair esp. on the face. 3 short soft
hairs on some leaves, fruit, seeds, etc. 4 a fluffy substance,
e.g. thistledown. [ME f. ON dЈnn]
down(3) n. 1 an area of open rolling land. 2 (in pl.; usu. prec. by
the) a undulating chalk and limestone uplands esp. in S.
England, with few trees and used mainly for pasture. b (Downs)
a part of the sea (opposite the North Downs) off E. Kent.
ЬЬdowny adj. [OE dun perh. f. OCelt.]
downbeat n. & adj. --n. Mus. an accented beat, usu. the first of the
bar. --adj. 1 pessimistic, gloomy. 2 relaxed.
downcast adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of eyes) looking downwards. 2 (of a
person) dejected. --n. a shaft dug in a mine for extra
downcomer n. a pipe for downward transport of water or gas.
downer n. sl. 1 a depressant or tranquillizing drug, esp. a
barbiturate. 2 a depressing person or experience; a failure. 3
downfall n. 1 a a fall from prosperity or power. b the cause of this.
2 a sudden heavy fall of rain etc.
downfold n. Geol. a syncline.
downgrade v. & n. --v.tr. 1 make lower in rank or status. 2 speak
disparagingly of. --n. US a downward grade. Ьon the downgrade
US in decline.
adj. dejected; in low spirits. ЬЬdownheartedly adv.
downhill adv., adj., & n. --adv. in a descending direction, esp.
towards the bottom of an incline. --adj. 1 sloping down,
descending. 2 declining; deteriorating. --n. 1 Skiing a
downhill race. 2 a downward slope. 3 a decline. Ьgo downhill
colloq. decline, deteriorate (in health, state of repair, moral
downland n. = DOWN(3).
download v.tr. Computing transfer (data) from one storage device or
system to another (esp. smaller remote one).
downmost adj. & adv. the furthest down.
downpipe n. Brit. a pipe to carry rainwater from a roof to a drain or
to ground level.
downplay v.tr. play down; minimize the importance of.
downturn n. a decline, esp. in economic or business activity.
downward adv. & adj. --adv. (also downwards) towards what is lower,
inferior, less important, or later. --adj. moving, extending,
pointing, or leading downward. ЬЬdownwardly adv.
downwarp n. Geol. a broad surface depression; a syncline.
downwind adj. & adv. in the direction in which the wind is blowing.
downy adj. (downier, downiest) 1 a of, like, or covered with down. b
soft and fluffy. 2 Brit. sl. aware, knowing. ЬЬdownily adv.
dowry n. (pl. -ies) 1 property or money brought by a bride to her
husband. 2 a talent, a natural gift. [ME f. AF dowarie, OF
dowse(1) v.intr. search for underground water or minerals by holding a
Y-shaped stick or rod which dips abruptly when over the right
spot. Ьdowsing-rod such a stick or rod. ЬЬdowser n. [17th c.:
dowse(2) var. of DOUSE.
doxology n. (pl. -ies) a liturgical formula of praise to God.
ЬЬdoxological adj. [med.L doxologia f. Gk doxologia f. doxa
glory + -LOGY]
doxy n. (pl. -ies) literary 1 a lover or mistress. 2 a prostitute.
[16th-c. cant: orig. unkn.]
doyen n. (fem. doyenne) the senior member of a body of colleagues,
esp. the senior ambassador at a court. [F (as DEAN(1))]
doyley var. of DOILY.
doz. abbr. dozen.
doze v. & n. --v.intr. sleep lightly; be half asleep. --n. a short
light sleep. Ьdoze off fall lightly asleep. ЬЬdozer n. [17th
c.: cf. Da. dнse make drowsy]
dozen n. 1 (prec. by a or a number) (pl. dozen) twelve, regarded
collectively (a dozen eggs; two dozen packets; ordered three
dozen). 2 a set or group of twelve (packed in dozens). 3
colloq. about twelve, a fairly large indefinite number. 4 (in
pl.; usu. foll. by of) colloq. very many (made dozens of
mistakes). 5 (the dozens) a Black American game or ritualized
exchange of verbal insults. Ьby the dozen in large quantities.
talk nineteen to the dozen Brit. talk incessantly. ЬЬdozenth
adj. & n. [ME f. OF dozeine, ult. f. L duodecim twelve]
dozer n. colloq. = BULLDOZER. [abbr.]
dozy adj. (dozier, doziest) 1 drowsy; tending to doze. 2 Brit.
colloq. stupid or lazy. ЬЬdozily adv. doziness n.
drab(1) adj. & n. --adj. (drabber, drabbest) 1 dull, uninteresting. 2
of a dull brownish colour. --n. 1 drab colour. 2 monotony.
ЬЬdrably adv. drabness n. [prob. f. obs. drap cloth f. OF f.
LL drappus, perh. of Celt. orig.]
drab(2) see DRIBS AND DRABS.
drab(3) n. 1 a slut; a slattern. 2 a prostitute. [perh. rel. to LG
drabbe mire, Du. drab dregs]
drabble v.intr. & tr. become or make dirty and wet with water or mud.
[ME f. LG drabbelen paddle in water or mire: cf. DRAB(3)]
drachm n. Brit. a weight or measure formerly used by apothecaries,
equivalent to 60 grains or one eighth of an ounce, or (in full
fluid drachm) 60 minims, one eighth of a fluid ounce. [ME
dragme f. OF dragme or LL dragma f. L drachma f. Gk drakhme
Attic weight and coin]
drachma n. (pl. drachmas or drachmae) 1 the chief monetary unit of
Greece. 2 a silver coin of ancient Greece. [L f. Gk drakhme]
drack adj. Austral. sl. 1 (esp. of a woman) unattractive. 2
dismal, dull. [20th c.: orig. unkn.]
dracone n. a large flexible container for liquids, towed on the surface
of the sea. [L draco -onis (as DRAGON)]
Draconian adj. (also Draconic) very harsh or severe (esp. of laws and
their application). [Drakon, 7th-c. BC Athenian legislator]
draft n. & v. --n. 1 a a preliminary written version of a speech,
document, etc. b a rough preliminary outline of a scheme. c a
sketch of work to be carried out. 2 a a written order for
payment of money by a bank. b the drawing of money by means of
this. 3 (foll. by on) a demand made on a person's confidence,
friendship, etc. 4 a a party detached from a larger group for a
special duty or purpose. b the selection of this. 5 US
compulsory military service. 6 a reinforcement. 7 US =
DRAUGHT. --v.tr. 1 prepare a draft of (a document, scheme,
etc.). 2 select for a special duty or purpose. 3 US conscript
for military service. ЬЬdraftee n. drafter n. [phonetic
spelling of DRAUGHT]
draftsman n. (pl. -men) 1 a person who drafts documents. 2 =
DRAUGHTSMAN 1. [phonetic spelling of DRAUGHTSMAN]
drafty US var. of DRAUGHTY.
drag v. & n. --v. (dragged, dragging) 1 tr. pull along with effort
or difficulty. 2 a tr. allow (one's feet, tail, etc.) to trail
along the ground. b intr. trail along the ground. c intr. (of
time etc.) go or pass heavily or slowly or tediously. 3 a intr.
(usu. foll. by for) use a grapnel or drag (to find a drowned
person or lost object). b tr. search the bottom of (a river
etc.) with grapnels, nets, or drags. 4 tr. (often foll. by to)
colloq. take (a person to a place etc., esp. against his or her
will). 5 intr. (foll. by on, at) draw on (a cigarette etc.). 6
intr. (often foll. by on) continue at tedious length. --n. 1 a
an obstruction to progress. b Aeron. the longitudinal retarding
force exerted by air. c slow motion; impeded progress. d an
iron shoe for retarding a horse-drawn vehicle downhill. 2
colloq. a boring or dreary person, duty, performance, etc. 3 a
a strong-smelling lure drawn before hounds as a substitute for a
fox. b a hunt using this. 4 an apparatus for dredging or
recovering drowned persons etc. from under water. 5 = drag-net.
6 sl. a draw on a cigarette etc. 7 sl. a women's clothes worn
by men. b a party at which these are worn. c clothes in
general. 8 an act of dragging. 9 a sl. a motor car. b (in
full drag race) an acceleration race between cars usu. for a
quarter of a mile. 10 US sl. influence, pull. 11 US sl. a
street or road (the main drag). 12 hist. a private vehicle like
a stagecoach, drawn by four horses. Ьdrag anchor (of a ship)
move from a moored position when the anchor fails to hold.
drag-anchor n. = sea anchor. drag one's feet (or heels) be
deliberately slow or reluctant to act. drag-hound a hound used
to hunt with a drag. drag in introduce (a subject)
irrelevantly. drag-line an excavator with a bucket pulled in by
a wire rope. drag-net 1 a net drawn through a river or across
ground to trap fish or game. 2 a systematic hunt for criminals
etc. drag out protract. drag queen sl. a male homosexual
transvestite. drag up colloq. 1 deliberately mention (an
unwelcome subject). 2 rear (a child) roughly and without proper
training. [ME f. OE dragan or ON draga DRAW]
drag‚e n. 1 a sugar-coated almond etc. 2 a small silver ball for
decorating a cake. 3 a chocolate-coated sweet. [F: see
draggle v. 1 tr. make dirty or wet or limp by trailing. 2 intr. hang
trailing. 3 intr. lag; straggle in the rear. Ьdraggle-tailed
(of a woman) with untidily trailing skirts. [DRAG + -LE(4)]
dragoman n. (pl. dragomans or dragomen) an interpreter or guide, esp.
in countries speaking Arabic, Turkish, or Persian. [F f. It.
dragomano f. med.Gk dragomanos f. Arab. tarjuman f. tarjama
interpret, f. Aram. targem f. Assyr. targumѓnu interpreter]
dragon n. 1 a mythical monster like a reptile, usu. with wings and
claws and able to breathe out fire. 2 a fierce person, esp. a
woman. 3 (in full flying dragon) a lizard, Draco volans, with a
long tail and membranous winglike structures. Also called flying
lizard. Ьdragon's blood a red gum that exudes from the fruit of
some palms and the dragon-tree. dragon's teeth Mil. colloq.
obstacles resembling teeth pointed upwards, used esp. against
tanks. dragon-tree a tree, Dracaena draco, native to the Canary
Isles. [ME f. OF f. L draco -onis f. Gk drakon serpent]
dragonet n. any marine spiny fish of the family Callionymidae, the males
of which are brightly coloured. [ME f. F, dimin. of DRAGON]
n. (pl. same or -fishes) any marine deep-water fish of the
family Stomiatidae, having a long slender body and a barbel on
the chin with luminous tissue, serving to attract prey.
dragonfly n. (pl. -ies) any of various insects of the order Odonata,
having a long slender body and two pairs of large transparent
wings usu. spread while resting.
n. & v. --n. a persecution by use of troops, esp. (in pl.) of
French Protestants under Louis XIV by quartering dragoons on
them. --v.tr. subject to a dragonnade. [F f. dragon: see
dragoon n. & v. --n. 1 a cavalryman (orig. a mounted infantryman armed
with a carbine). 2 a rough fierce fellow. 3 a variety of
pigeon. --v.tr. 1 (foll. by into) coerce into doing something,
esp. by use of strong force. 2 persecute, esp. with troops.
[orig. = carbine (thought of as breathing fire) f. F dragon
dragster n. a car built or modified to take part in drag races.
drail n. a fish-hook and line weighted with lead for dragging below
the surface of the water. [app. var. of TRAIL]
drain v. & n. --v. 1 tr. draw off liquid from, esp.: a make (land
etc.) dry by providing an outflow for moisture. b (of a river)
carry off the superfluous water of (a district). c remove
purulent matter from (an abscess). 2 tr. (foll. by off, away)
draw off (liquid) esp. by a pipe. 3 intr. (foll. by away, off,
through) flow or trickle away. 4 intr. (of a wet cloth, a
vessel, etc.) become dry as liquid flows away (put it there to
drain). 5 tr. (often foll. by of) exhaust or deprive (a person
or thing) of strength, resources, property, etc. 6 tr. a drink
(liquid) to the dregs. b empty (a vessel) by drinking the
contents. --n. 1 a a channel, conduit, or pipe carrying off
liquid, esp. an artificial conduit for water or sewage. b a
tube for drawing off the discharge from an abscess etc. 2 a
constant outflow, withdrawal, or expenditure (a great drain on
my resources). Ьdown the drain colloq. lost, wasted. laugh
like a drain laugh copiously; guffaw. [OE dre(a)hnian f. Gmc]
drainage n. 1 the process or means of draining (the land has poor
drainage). 2 a system of drains, artificial or natural. 3 what
is drained off, esp. sewage.
n. US = DRAINING-BOARD.
drainer n. 1 a device for draining; anything on which things are put to
drain, e.g. a draining-board. 2 a person who drains.
n. a sloping usu. grooved surface beside a sink, on which
washed dishes etc. are left to drain.
drainpipe n. 1 a pipe for carrying off water, sewage, etc., from a
building. 2 (attrib.) (of trousers etc.) very narrow. 3 (in
pl.) very narrow trousers.
drake n. a male duck. [ME prob. f. Gmc]
Dralon n. propr. 1 a synthetic acrylic fibre used in textiles. 2 a
fabric made from this. [after NYLON]
dram n. 1 a small drink of spirits. 2 = DRACHM. [ME f. OF drame or
med.L drama, dragma: cf. DRACHM]
drama n. 1 a play for acting on stage or for broadcasting. 2 (often
prec. by the) the art of writing and presenting plays. 3 an
exciting or emotional event, set of circumstances, etc. 4
dramatic quality (the drama of the situation). [LL f. Gk drama
-atos f. drao do]
dramatic adj. 1 of drama or the study of drama. 2 (of an event,
circumstance, etc.) sudden and exciting or unexpected. 3
vividly striking. 4 (of a gesture etc.) theatrical, overdone,
absurd. Ьdramatic irony = tragic irony. ЬЬdramatically adv.
[LL dramaticus f. Gk dramatikos (as DRAMA)]
dramatics n.pl. (often treated as sing.) 1 the production and performance
of plays. 2 exaggerated or showy behaviour.
n.pl. (often treated as sing.) 1 the characters in a play. 2 a
list of these. [L, = persons of the drama]
dramatist n. a writer of dramas.
dramatize v. (also -ise) 1 a tr. adapt (a novel etc.) to form a stage
play. b intr. admit of such adaptation. 2 tr. make a drama or
dramatic scene of. 3 tr. (also absol.) express or react to in a
dramatic way. ЬЬdramatization n.
n. 1 a specialist in theatrical production. 2 a dramatist. [F
f. Gk dramatourgos (as DRAMA, -ergos worker)]
n. 1 the art of theatrical production; the theory of dramatics.
2 the application of this. ЬЬdramaturgic adj. dramaturgical
Drambuie n. propr. a Scotch whisky liqueur. [Gael. dram buidheach
drank past of DRINK.
drape v. & n. --v.tr. 1 hang, cover loosely, or adorn with cloth
etc. 2 arrange (clothes or hangings) carefully in folds. --n.
1 (often in pl.) a curtain or drapery. 2 a piece of drapery. 3
the way in which a garment or fabric hangs. [ME f. OF draper f.
drap f. LL drappus cloth]
draper n. Brit. a retailer of textile fabrics. [ME f. AF, OF drapier
drapery n. (pl. -ies) 1 clothing or hangings arranged in folds. 2
(often in pl.) a curtain or hanging. 3 Brit. cloth; textile
fabrics. 4 Brit. the trade of a draper. 5 the arrangement of
clothing in sculpture or painting. [ME f. OF draperie f. drap
drastic adj. having a strong or far-reaching effect; severe.
ЬЬdrastically adv. [Gk drastikos f. drao do]
drat v. & int. colloq. --v.tr. (dratted, dratting (usu. as an
exclam.)) curse, confound (drat the thing!). --int. expressing
anger or annoyance. ЬЬdratted adj. [for 'od (= God) rot]
draught n. & v. (US draft) --n. 1 a current of air in a confined space
(e.g. a room or chimney). 2 pulling, traction. 3 Naut. the
depth of water needed to float a ship. 4 the drawing of liquor
from a cask etc. 5 a a single act of drinking. b the amount
drunk in this. c a dose of liquid medicine. 6 (in pl.; usu.
treated as sing.) Brit. a game for two played with 12 pieces
each on a draughtboard. 7 a the drawing in of a fishing-net. b
the fish taken at one drawing. 8 = DRAFT. --v.tr. = DRAFT.
Ьdraught beer beer drawn from a cask, not bottled.
draught-horse a horse used for pulling heavy loads, esp. a cart
or plough. feel the draught colloq. suffer from adverse (usu.
financial) conditions. [ME draht, perh. f. ON drahtr, dr ttr f.
Gmc, rel. to DRAW]
n. a chequered board, identical to a chessboard, used in
n. (pl. -men) 1 a person who makes drawings, plans, or
sketches. 2 a piece in the game of draughts. 3 = DRAFTSMAN.
ЬЬdraughtsmanship n. [draught's + MAN]
draughty adj. (US drafty) (-ier, -iest) (of a room etc.) letting in
sharp currents of air. ЬЬdraughtily adv. draughtiness n.
Dravidian n. & adj. --n. 1 a member of a dark-skinned aboriginal people
of S. India and Sri Lanka (including the Tamils and Kanarese).
2 any of the group of languages spoken by this people. --adj.
of or relating to this people or group of languages. [Skr.
Dravida, a province of S. India]
draw v. & n. --v. (past drew; past part. drawn) 1 tr. pull or
cause to move towards or after one. 2 tr. pull (a thing) up,
over, or across. 3 tr. pull (curtains etc.) open or shut. 4
tr. take (a person) aside, esp. to talk to. 5 tr. attract;
bring to oneself or to something; take in (drew a deep breath; I
felt drawn to her; drew my attention to the matter; draw him
into conversation; the match drew large crowds). 6 intr. (foll.
by at, on) suck smoke from (a cigarette, pipe, etc.). 7 tr.
(also absol.) take out; remove (e.g. a tooth, a gun from a
holster, etc.). 8 tr. obtain or take from a source (draw a
salary; draw inspiration; drew њ100 from my account). 9 tr.
trace (a line, mark, furrow, or figure). 10 a tr. produce (a
picture) by tracing lines and marks. b tr. represent (a thing)
by this means. c absol. make a drawing. 11 tr. (also absol.)
finish (a contest or game) with neither side winning. 12 intr.
make one's or its way, proceed, move, come (drew near the
bridge; draw to a close; the second horse drew level; drew ahead
of the field; the time draws near). 13 tr. infer, deduce (a
conclusion). 14 tr. a elicit, evoke. b bring about, entail
(draw criticism; draw ruin upon oneself). c induce (a person)
to reveal facts, feelings, or talent (refused to be drawn). d
(foll. by to + infin.) induce (a person) to do something. e
Cards cause to be played (drew all the trumps). 15 tr. haul up
(water) from a well. 16 tr. bring out (liquid from a vessel or
blood from a wound). 17 tr. extract a liquid essence from. 18
intr. (of a chimney or pipe) promote or allow a draught. 19
intr. (of tea) infuse. 20 a tr. obtain by lot (drew the
winner). b absol. draw lots. 21 intr. (foll. by on) make a
demand on a person, a person's skill, memory, imagination, etc.
22 tr. write out (a bill, cheque, or draft) (drew a cheque on
the bank). 23 tr. frame (a document) in due form, compose. 24
tr. formulate or perceive (a comparison or distinction). 25 tr.
(of a ship) require (a specified depth of water) to float in.
26 tr. disembowel (hang, draw, and quarter; draw the fowl before
cooking it). 27 tr. Hunting search (cover) for game. 28 tr.
drag (a badger or fox) from a hole. 29 tr. a protract,
stretch, elongate (long-drawn agony). b make (wire) by pulling
a piece of metal through successively smaller holes. 30 tr. a
Golf drive (the ball) to the left (or, of a left-handed player,
the right) esp. purposely. b Bowls cause (a bowl) to travel in
a curve to the desired point. 31 intr. (of a sail) swell
tightly in the wind. --n. 1 an act of drawing. 2 a a person
or thing that draws custom, attention, etc. b the power to
attract attention. 3 the drawing of lots, esp. a raffle. 4 a
drawn game. 5 a suck on a cigarette etc. 6 the act of removing
a gun from its holster in order to shoot (quick on the draw). 7
strain, pull. 8 US the movable part of a drawbridge. Ьdraw
back withdraw from an undertaking. draw a bead on see BEAD.
draw bit = draw rein. draw a blank see BLANK. draw bridle =
draw rein. draw a person's fire attract hostility, criticism,
etc., away from a more important target. draw in 1 a (of
successive days) become shorter because of the changing seasons.
b (of a day) approach its end. c (of successive evenings or
nights) start earlier because of the changing seasons. 2
persuade to join, entice. 3 (of a train etc.) arrive at a
station. draw in one's horns become less assertive or
ambitious; draw back. draw the line at set a limit (of
tolerance etc.) at. draw lots see LOT. draw off withdraw
(troops). draw on 1 approach, come near. 2 lead to, bring
about. 3 allure. 4 put (gloves, boots, etc.) on. draw out 1
prolong. 2 elicit. 3 induce to talk. 4 (of successive days)
become longer because of the changing seasons. 5 (of a train
etc.) leave a station etc. 6 write out in proper form. 7 lead
out, detach, or array (troops). draw rein see REIN. draw-sheet
a sheet that can be taken from under a patient without remaking
the bed. draw-string a string that can be pulled to tighten the
mouth of a bag, the waist of a garment, etc. draw stumps
Cricket take the stumps out of the ground at the close of play.
draw one's sword against attack. draw up 1 compose or draft (a
document etc.). 2 bring or come into regular order. 3 come to
a halt. 4 make (oneself) stiffly erect. 5 (foll. by with, to)
gain on or overtake. draw-well a deep well with a rope and a
bucket. quick on the draw quick to act or react. [OE dragan f.
drawback n. 1 a thing that impairs satisfaction; a disadvantage. 2
(foll. by from) a deduction. 3 an amount of excise or import
duty paid back or remitted on goods exported. Ьdrawback lock a
lock with a spring bolt that can be drawn back by an inside
n. a bridge, esp. over water, hinged at one end so that it may
be raised to prevent passage or to allow ships etc. to pass.
drawee n. the person on whom a draft or bill is drawn.
drawer n. 1 a person or thing that draws, esp. a person who draws a
cheque etc. 2 a boxlike storage compartment without a lid,
sliding in and out of a frame, table, etc. (chest of drawers).
3 (in pl.) an undergarment worn next to the body below the
waist. ЬЬdrawerful n. (pl. -fuls).
drawing n. 1 a the art of representing by line. b delineation without
colour or with a single colour. c the art of representing with
pencils, pens, crayons, etc., rather than paint. 2 a picture
produced in this way. Ьdrawing-board a board for spreading
drawing-paper on. drawing-paper stout paper for drawing
pictures etc. on. drawing-pin Brit. a flat-headed pin for
fastening paper etc. (orig. drawing-paper) to a surface. out of
drawing incorrectly depicted.
n. 1 a room for comfortable sitting or entertaining in a
private house. 2 (attrib.) restrained; observing social
proprieties (drawing-room conversation). 3 US a private
compartment in a train. 4 hist. a levee, a formal reception
esp. at court. [earlier withdrawing-room, because orig. used
for women to withdraw to after dinner]
drawl v. & n. --v. 1 intr. speak with drawn-out vowel sounds. 2 tr.
utter in this way. --n. a drawling utterance or way of
speaking. ЬЬdrawler n. [16th c.: prob. orig. cant, f. LG, Du.
dralen delay, linger]
drawn past part. of DRAW. --adj. 1 looking strained from fear,
anxiety, or pain. 2 (of butter) melted. 3 (of a position in
chess etc.) that will result in a draw if both players make the
best moves available. Ьdrawn-work (or drawn-thread-work)
ornamental work on linen etc., done by drawing out threads, usu.
with additional needlework.
dray(1) n. 1 a low cart without sides for heavy loads, esp.
beer-barrels. 2 Austral. & NZ a two-wheeled cart. Ьdray-horse
a large, powerful horse. [ME f. OE dr‘ge drag-net, dragan DRAW]
dray(2) var. of DREY.
drayman n. (pl. -men) a brewer's driver.
dread v., n., & adj. --v.tr. 1 (foll. by that, or to + infin.) fear
greatly. 2 shrink from; look forward to with great
apprehension. 3 be in great fear of. --n. 1 great fear,
apprehension, awe. 2 an object of fear or awe. --adj. 1
dreaded. 2 archaic awe-inspiring, revered. [OE adr‘dan,
dreadful adj. 1 terrible; inspiring fear or awe. 2 colloq. troublesome,
disagreeable; very bad. ЬЬdreadfully adv. dreadfulness n.
n.pl. 1 a Rastafarian hairstyle in which the hair is twisted
into tight braids or ringlets hanging down on all sides. 2 hair
dressed in this way.
n. 1 (usu. Dreadnought) hist. a type of battleship greatly
superior in armament to all its predecessors (from the name of
the first, launched in 1906). 2 archaic a fearless person. 3
archaic a a thick coat for stormy weather. b the cloth used for
dream n. & v. --n. 1 a a series of pictures or events in the mind of
a sleeping person. b the act or time of seeing this. c (in
full waking dream) a similar experience of one awake. 2 a
day-dream or fantasy. 3 an ideal, aspiration, or ambition, esp.
of a nation. 4 a beautiful or ideal person or thing. 5 a state
of mind without proper perception of reality (goes about in a
dream). --v. (past and past part. dreamt or dreamed) 1 intr.
experience a dream. 2 tr. imagine in or as if in a dream. 3
(usu. with neg.) a intr. (foll. by of) contemplate the
possibility of, have any conception or intention of (would not
dream of upsetting them). b tr. (often foll. by that + clause)
think of as a possibility (never dreamt that he would come). 4
tr. (foll. by away) spend (time) unprofitably. 5 intr. be
inactive or unpractical. 6 intr. fall into a reverie.
Ьdream-time Austral. the alcheringa. dream up imagine, invent.
like a dream colloq. easily, effortlessly. ЬЬdreamful adj.
dreamless adj. dreamlike adj. [ME f. OE dream joy, music]
dreamboat n. colloq. 1 a very attractive or ideal person, esp. of the
opposite sex. 2 a very desirable or ideal thing.
dreamer n. 1 a person who dreams. 2 a romantic or unpractical person.
dreamland n. an ideal or imaginary land.
dreamy adj. (dreamier, dreamiest) 1 given to day-dreaming; fanciful;
unpractical. 2 dreamlike; vague; misty. 3 colloq. delightful;
marvellous. 4 poet. full of dreams. ЬЬdreamily adv.
drear adj. poet. = DREARY. [abbr.]
dreary adj. (drearier, dreariest) dismal, dull, gloomy. ЬЬdrearily
adv. dreariness n. [OE dreorig f. dreor gore: rel. to dreosan
to drop f. Gmc]
dredge(1) v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a (often foll. by up) bring up (lost or
hidden material) as if with a dredge (don't dredge all that up
again). b (often foll. by away, up, out) bring up or clear (mud
etc.) from a river, harbour, etc. with a dredge. 2 tr. clean (a
harbour, river, etc.) with a dredge. 3 intr. use a dredge.
--n. an apparatus used to scoop up oysters, specimens, etc., or
to clear mud etc., from a river or sea bed. [15th-c. Sc. dreg,
perh. rel. to MDu. dregghe]
dredge(2) v.tr. 1 sprinkle with flour, sugar, etc. 2 (often foll. by
over) sprinkle (flour, sugar, etc.) on. [obs. dredge sweetmeat
f. OF dragie, dragee, perh. f. L tragemata f. Gk tragemata
n. 1 a machine used for dredging rivers etc.; a dredge. 2 a
boat containing this.
n. a container with a perforated lid used for sprinkling flour,
dree v.tr. (drees, dreed, dreeing) Sc. or archaic endure. Ьdree
one's weird submit to one's destiny. [OE dreogan f. Gmc]
dreg n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a a sediment; grounds, lees, etc. b a
worthless part; refuse (the dregs of humanity). 2 a small
remnant (not a dreg). Ьdrain (or drink) to the dregs consume
leaving nothing (drained life to the dregs). ЬЬdreggy adj.
colloq. [ME prob. f. ON dreggjar]
drench v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a wet thoroughly (was drenched by the rain).
b saturate; soak (in liquid). 2 force (an animal) to take
medicine. 3 archaic cause to drink. --n. 1 a soaking; a
downpour. 2 medicine administered to an animal. 3 archaic a
medicinal or poisonous draught. [OE drencan, drenc f. Gmc: rel.
n. (also Dresden porcelain) 1 delicate and elaborate chinaware
orig. made at Dresden in Germany, now made at nearby Meissen. 2
(attrib.) delicately pretty.
dress v. & n. --v. 1 a tr. clothe; array (dressed in rags; dressed
her quickly). b intr. wear clothes of a specified kind or in a
specified way (dresses well). 2 intr. a put on clothes. b put
on formal or evening clothes, esp. for dinner. 3 tr. decorate
or adorn. 4 tr. Med. a treat (a wound) with ointment etc. b
apply a dressing to (a wound). 5 tr. trim, comb, brush, or
smooth (the hair). 6 tr. a clean and prepare (poultry, a crab,
etc.) for cooking or eating. b add a dressing to (a salad
etc.). 7 tr. apply manure etc. to a field, garden, etc. 8 tr.
finish the surface of (fabric, building-stone, etc.). 9 tr.
groom (a horse). 10 tr. curry (leather etc.). 11 Mil. a tr.
correct the alignment of (troops etc.). b intr. (of troops)
come into alignment. 12 tr. make (an artificial fly) for use in
fishing. --n. 1 a one-piece woman's garment consisting of a
bodice and skirt. 2 clothing, esp. a whole outfit etc. (fussy
about his dress; wore the dress of a highlander). 3 formal or
ceremonial costume (evening dress; morning dress). 4 an
external covering; the outward form (birds in their winter
dress). Ьdress circle the first gallery in a theatre, in which
evening dress was formerly required. dress coat a man's
swallow-tailed evening coat. dress down colloq. reprimand or
scold. dress length a piece of material sufficient to make a
dress. dress out attire conspicuously. dress parade 1 Mil. a
military parade in full dress uniform. 2 a display of clothes
worn by models. dress rehearsal the final rehearsal of a play
etc., wearing costume. dress-shield (or -preserver) a piece of
waterproof material fastened in the armpit of a dress to protect
it from sweat. dress-shirt a man's usu. starched white shirt
worn with evening dress. dress up 1 dress (oneself or another)
elaborately for a special occasion. 2 dress in fancy dress. 3
disguise (unwelcome facts) by embellishment. [ME f. OF dresser
ult. f. L directus DIRECT]
dressage n. the training of a horse in obedience and deportment, esp.
for competition. [F f. dresser to train]
n. 1 a kitchen sideboard with shelves above for displaying
plates etc. 2 US a dressing-table or chest of drawers. [ME f.
OF dresseur f. dresser prepare: cf. med.L directorium]
n. 1 a person who assists actors to dress, takes care of their
costumes, etc. 2 Med. a surgeon's assistant in operations. 3 a
person who dresses elegantly or in a specified way (a snappy
dressing n. 1 in senses of DRESS v. 2 a an accompaniment to salads,
usu. a mixture of oil with other ingredients; a sauce or
seasoning (French dressing). b US stuffing. 3 a a bandage for
a wound. b ointment etc. used to dress a wound. 4 size or
stiffening used to finish fabrics. 5 compost etc. spread over
land (a top dressing of peat). Ьdressing-case a case containing
toiletries etc. dressing-down colloq. a scolding; a severe
reprimand. dressing-gown a loose usu. belted robe worn over
nightwear or while resting. dressing-room 1 a room for changing
the clothes etc. in a theatre, sports-ground, etc. 2 a small
room attached to a bedroom, containing clothes.
dressing-station esp. Mil. a place for giving emergency
treatment to wounded people. dressing-table a table with a
mirror, drawers, etc., used while applying make-up etc.
n. a woman who makes clothes professionally. ЬЬdressmaking n.
dressy adj. (dressier, dressiest) 1 a fond of smart clothes. b
overdressed. c (of clothes) stylish or elaborate. 2
over-elaborate (the design is rather dressy). ЬЬdressiness n.
drew past of DRAW.
drey n. (also dray) a squirrel's nest. [17th c.: orig. unkn.]
dribble v. & n. --v. 1 intr. allow saliva to flow from the mouth. 2
intr. & tr. flow or allow to flow in drops or a trickling
stream. 3 tr. (also absol.) esp. Football & Hockey move (the
ball) forward with slight touches of the feet, the stick, etc.
--n. 1 the act or an instance of dribbling. 2 a small
trickling stream. ЬЬdribbler n. dribbly adj. [frequent. of
obs. drib, var. of DRIP]
driblet n. 1 a a small quantity. b a petty sum. 2 a thin stream; a
dribble. [drib (see DRIBBLE) + -LET]
dribs and drabs
n.pl. colloq. small scattered amounts (did the work in dribs
and drabs). [as DRIBBLE + drab redupl.]
dried past and past part. of DRY.
drier(1) compar. of DRY.
drier(2) n. (also dryer) 1 a machine for drying the hair, laundry, etc.
2 a substance mixed with oil-paint or ink to promote drying.
driest superl. of DRY.
drift n. & v. --n. 1 a slow movement or variation. b such movement
caused by a slow current. 2 the intention, meaning, scope, etc.
of what is said etc. (didn't understand his drift). 3 a large
mass of snow, sand, etc., accumulated by the wind. 4 esp.
derog. a state of inaction. 5 a Naut. a ship's deviation from
its course, due to currents. b Aeron. an aircraft's deviation
due to side winds. c a projectile's deviation due to its
rotation. d a controlled slide of a racing car etc. 6 Mining a
horizontal passage following a mineral vein. 7 a large mass of
esp. flowering plants (a drift of bluebells). 8 Geol. a
material deposited by the wind, a current of water, etc. b
(Drift) Pleistocene ice detritus, e.g. boulder clay. 9 the
movement of cattle, esp. a gathering on an appointed day to
determine ownership etc. 10 a tool for enlarging or shaping a
hole in metal. 11 S.Afr. a ford. --v. 1 intr. be carried by
or as if by a current of air or water. 2 intr. move or progress
passively, casually, or aimlessly (drifted into teaching). 3 a
tr. & intr. pile or be piled by the wind into drifts. b tr.
cover (a field, a road, etc.) with drifts. 4 tr. form or
enlarge (a hole) with a drift. 5 tr. (of a current) carry.
Ьdrift-ice ice driven or deposited by water. drift-net a large
net for herrings etc., allowed to drift with the tide.
ЬЬdriftage n. [ME f. ON & MDu., MHG trift movement of cattle:
rel. to DRIVE]
drifter n. 1 an aimless or rootless person. 2 a boat used for
driftwood n. wood etc. driven or deposited by water or wind.
drill(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a pointed, esp. revolving, steel tool or
machine used for boring cylindrical holes, sinking wells, etc.
2 a esp. Mil. instruction or training in military exercises. b
rigorous discipline or methodical instruction, esp. when
learning or performing tasks. c routine procedure to be
followed in an emergency (fire-drill). d a routine or exercise
(drills in irregular verb patterns). 3 colloq. a recognized
procedure (I expect you know the drill). 4 any of various
molluscs, esp. Urosalpinx cinera, that bore into the shells of
young oysters. --v. 1 tr. (also absol.) a (of a person or a
tool) make a hole with a drill through or into (wood, metal,
etc.). b make (a hole) with a drill. 2 tr. & intr. esp. Mil.
subject to or undergo discipline by drill. 3 tr. impart
(knowledge etc.) by a strict method. 4 tr. sl. shoot with a
gun (drilled him full of holes). ЬЬdriller n. [earlier as
verb, f. MDu. drillen bore, of unkn. orig.]
drill(2) n. & v. --n. 1 a machine used for making furrows, sowing, and
covering seed. 2 a small furrow for sowing seed in. 3 a ridge
with such furrows on top. 4 a row of plants so sown. --v.tr.
1 sow (seed) with a drill. 2 plant (the ground) in drills.
[perh. f. obs. drill rill (17th c., of unkn. orig.)]
drill(3) n. a W. African baboon, Papio leucophaeus, related to the
mandrill. [prob. a native name: cf. MANDRILL]
drill(4) n. a coarse twilled cotton or linen fabric. [earlier drilling
f. G Drillich f. L trilix -licis f. tri- three + licium thread]
drily adv. (also dryly) 1 (said) in a dry manner; humorously. 2 in a
dry way or condition.
drink v. & n. --v. (past drank; past part. drunk) 1 a tr. swallow
(a liquid). b tr. swallow the liquid contents of (a vessel). c
intr. swallow liquid, take draughts (drank from the stream). 2
intr. take alcohol, esp. to excess (I have heard that he
drinks). 3 tr. (of a plant, porous material, etc.) absorb
(moisture). 4 refl. bring (oneself etc.) to a specified
condition by drinking (drank himself into a stupor). 5 tr.
(usu. foll. by away) spend (wages etc.) on drink (drank away the
money). 6 tr. wish (a person's good health, luck, etc.) by
drinking (drank his health). --n. 1 a a liquid for drinking
(milk is a sustaining drink). b a draught or specified amount
of this (had a drink of milk). 2 a alcoholic liquor (got the
drink in for Christmas). b a portion, glass, etc. of this (have
a drink). c excessive indulgence in alcohol (drink is his
vice). 3 (as the drink) colloq. the sea. Ьdrink deep take a
large draught or draughts. drink-driver a person who drives a
vehicle with an excess of alcohol in the blood. drink-driving
the act or an instance of this. drink in listen to closely or
eagerly (drank in his every word). drinking-song a song sung
while drinking, usu. concerning drink. drinking-up time Brit.
a short period legally allowed for finishing drinks bought
before closing time in a public house. drinking-water water
pure enough for drinking. drink off drink the whole (contents)
of at once. drink to toast; wish success to. drink a person
under the table remain sober longer than one's drinking
companion. drink up drink the whole of; empty. in drink drunk.
strong drink alcohol, esp. spirits. ЬЬdrinkable adj. drinker
n. [OE drincan (v.), drinc(a) (n.) f. Gmc]
drip v. & n. --v. (dripped, dripping) 1 intr. & tr. fall or let
fall in drops. 2 intr. (often foll. by with) be so wet as to
shed drops (dripped with blood). --n. 1 a the act or an
instance of dripping (the steady drip of rain). b a drop of
liquid (a drip of paint). c a sound of dripping. 2 colloq. a
stupid, dull, or ineffective person. 3 (Med. drip-feed) the
drip-by-drip intravenous administration of a solution of salt,
sugar, etc. 4 Archit. a projection, esp. from a window-sill,
keeping the rain off the walls. Ьdrip-dry v. (-dries, -dried)
1 intr. (of fabric etc.) dry crease-free when hung up to drip.
2 tr. leave (a garment etc.) hanging up to dry. --adj. able to
be drip-dried. drip-mat a small mat under a glass.
drip-moulding (or -stone) Archit. a stone etc. projection that
deflects rain etc. from walls. dripping wet very wet. [MDa.
drippe f. Gmc (cf. DROP)]
dripping n. 1 fat melted from roasted meat and used for cooking or as a
spread. 2 (in pl.) water, grease, etc., dripping from anything.
drippy adj. (drippier, drippiest) 1 tending to drip. 2 sl. (of a
person) ineffectual; sloppily sentimental. ЬЬdrippily adv.
drive v. & n. --v. (past drove; past part. driven) 1 tr. (usu.
foll. by away, back, in, out, to, etc.) urge in some direction,
esp. forcibly (drove back the wolves). 2 tr. a (usu. foll. by
to + infin., or to + verbal noun) compel or constrain forcibly
(was driven to complain; drove her to stealing). b (often foll.
by to) force into a specified state (drove him mad; driven to
despair). c (often refl.) urge to overwork (drives himself too
hard). 3 a tr. (also absol.) operate and direct the course of
(a vehicle, a locomotive, etc.) (drove a sports car; drives
well). b tr. & intr. convey or be conveyed in a vehicle (drove
them to the station; drove to the station in a bus) (cf. RIDE).
c tr. (also absol.) be licensed or competent to drive (a
vehicle) (does he drive?). d tr. (also absol.) urge and direct
the course of (an animal drawing a vehicle or plough). 4 tr.
(of wind, water, etc.) carry along, propel, send, or cause to go
in some direction (pure as the driven snow). 5 tr. a (often
foll. by into) force (a stake, nail, etc.) into place by blows
(drove the nail home). b Mining bore (a tunnel, horizontal
cavity, etc.). 6 tr. effect or conclude forcibly (drove a hard
bargain; drove his point home). 7 tr. (of steam or other power)
set or keep (machinery) going. 8 intr. (usu. foll. by at) work
hard; dash, rush, or hasten. 9 tr. Cricket & Tennis hit (the
ball) hard from a freely swung bat or racket. 10 tr. (often
absol.) Golf strike (a ball) with a driver from the tee. 11 tr.
chase or frighten (game, wild beasts, an enemy in warfare, etc.)
from a large area to a smaller, to kill or capture; corner. 12
tr. Brit. hold a drift in (a forest etc.) (see DRIFT n. 9).
--n. 1 an act of driving in a motor vehicle; a journey or
excursion in such a vehicle (went for a pleasant drive; lives an
hour's drive from us). 2 a the capacity for achievement;
motivation and energy (lacks the drive needed to succeed). b
Psychol. an inner urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need
(unconscious emotional drives). 3 a a usu. landscaped street or
road. b a usu. private road through a garden or park to a
house. 4 Cricket, Golf, & Tennis a driving stroke of the bat
etc. 5 an organized effort to achieve a usu. charitable purpose
(a famine-relief drive). 6 a the transmission of power to
machinery, the wheels of a motor vehicle, etc. (belt drive;
front-wheel drive). b the position of a steering-wheel in a
motor vehicle (left-hand drive). c Computing = disk drive (see
DISC). 7 Brit. an organized competition, for many players, of
whist, bingo, etc. 8 an act of driving game or an enemy. 9
Austral. & NZ a line of partly cut trees on a hillside felled
when the top one topples on the others. Ьdrive at seek, intend,
or mean (what is he driving at?). drive-in attrib.adj. (of a
bank, cinema, etc.) able to be used while sitting in one's car.
--n. such a bank, cinema, etc. drive-on (of a ship) on to which
motor vehicles may be driven. drive out take the place of;
oust; exorcize, cast out (evil spirits etc.). driving-licence a
licence permitting a person to drive a motor vehicle. driving
rain an excessive windblown downpour. driving-range Golf an
area for practising drives. driving test an official test of a
motorist's competence which must be passed to obtain a driving
licence. driving-wheel 1 the large wheel of a locomotive. 2 a
wheel communicating motive power in machinery. let drive aim a
blow or missile. ЬЬdrivable adj. [OE drifan f. Gmc]
drivel n. & v. --n. silly nonsense; twaddle. --v. (drivelled,
drivelling; US driveled, driveling) 1 intr. run at the mouth or
nose; dribble. 2 intr. talk childishly or idiotically. 3 tr.
(foll. by away) fritter; squander away. ЬЬdriveller n. (US
driveler). [OE dreflian (v.)]
driven past part. of DRIVE.
driver n. 1 (often in comb.) a person who drives a vehicle
(bus-driver; engine-driver). 2 Golf a club with a flat face and
wooden head, used for driving from the tee. 3 Electr. a device
or part of a circuit providing power for output. 4 Mech. a
wheel etc. receiving power directly and transmitting motion to
other parts. Ьin the driver's seat in charge. ЬЬdriverless
driveway n. = DRIVE n. 3b.
drizzle n. & v. --n. very fine rain. --v.intr. (esp. of rain) fall in
very fine drops (it's drizzling again). ЬЬdrizzly adj. [prob.
f. ME drese, OE dreosan fall]
drogue n. 1 Naut. a a buoy at the end of a harpoon line. b a sea
anchor. 2 Aeron. a truncated cone of fabric used as a brake, a
target for gunnery, a wind-sock, etc. [18th c.: orig. unkn.]
droit n. Law a right or due. [ME f. OF f. L directum (n.) f.
droit de seigneur
n. hist. the alleged right of a feudal lord to have sexual
intercourse with a vassal's bride on her wedding night. [F, =
droll adj. & n. --adj. 1 quaintly amusing. 2 strange; odd;
surprising. --n. archaic 1 a jester; an entertainer. 2 a
quaintly amusing person. ЬЬdrollery n. (pl. -ies). drolly
adv. drollness n. [F dr“le, perh. f. MDu. drolle little man]
drome n. colloq. archaic aerodrome. [abbr.]
-drome comb. form forming nouns denoting: 1 a place for running,
racing, or other forms of movement (aerodrome; hippodrome). 2 a
thing that runs or proceeds in a certain way (palindrome;
syndrome). [Gk dromos course, running]
dromedary n. (pl. -ies) a one-humped camel, Camelus dromedarius, bred
for riding and racing. Also called Arabian camel. [ME f. OF
dromedaire or LL dromedarius ult. f. Gk dromas -ados runner]
dromond n. hist. a large medieval ship used for war or commerce. [ME
f. OF dromon(t) f. LL dromo -onis f. late Gk dromon light
drone n. & v. --n. 1 a non-working male of the honey-bee, whose sole
function is to mate with fertile females. 2 an idler. 3 a deep
humming sound. 4 a monotonous speech or speaker. 5 a a pipe,
esp. of a bagpipe, sounding a continuous note of fixed low
pitch. b the note emitted by this. 6 a remote-controlled
pilotless aircraft or missile. --v. 1 intr. make a deep
humming sound. 2 intr. & tr. speak or utter monotonously. 3 a
intr. be idle. b tr. (often foll. by away) idle away (one's
time etc.). [OE dran, dr‘n prob. f. WG]
drongo n. (pl. -os or -oes) 1 any black bird of the family
Dicruridae, native to India, Africa, and Australia, having a
long forked tail. 2 Austral. & NZ sl. derog. a simpleton.
droob n. Austral. sl. a hopeless-looking ineffectual person.
[perh. f. DROOP]
drool v. & n. --v.intr. 1 drivel; slobber. 2 (often foll. by over)
show much pleasure or infatuation. --n. slobbering; drivelling.
[contr. of drivel]
droop v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. hang or allow to hang down;
languish, decline, or sag, esp. from weariness. 2 intr. a (of
the eyes) look downwards. b poet. (of the sun) sink. 3 intr.
lose heart; be dejected; flag. --n. 1 a drooping attitude. 2
a loss of spirit or enthusiasm. Ьdroop-snoot colloq. --adj.
(of an aircraft) having an adjustable nose or leading-edge flap.
--n. such an aircraft. [ME f. ON drЈpa hang the head f. Gmc:
drop n. & v. --n. 1 a a small round or pear-shaped portion of
liquid that hangs or falls or adheres to a surface (drops of
dew; tears fell in large drops). b a very small amount of usu.
drinkable liquid (just a drop left in the glass). c a glass
etc. of alcoholic liquor (take a drop with us). 2 a an abrupt
fall or slope. b the amount of this (a drop of fifteen feet).
c an act of falling or dropping (had a nasty drop). d a
reduction in prices, temperature, etc. e a deterioration or
worsening (a drop in status). 3 something resembling a drop,
esp.: a a pendant or earring. b a crystal ornament on a
chandelier etc. c (often in comb.) a sweet or lozenge
(pear-drop; cough drop). 4 something that drops or is dropped,
esp.: a Theatr. a painted curtain or scenery let down on to the
stage. b a platform or trapdoor on a gallows, the opening of
which causes the victim to fall. 5 Med. a the smallest
separable quantity of a liquid. b (in pl.) liquid medicine to
be measured in drops (eye drops). 6 a minute quantity (not a
drop of pity). 7 sl. a a hiding-place for stolen or illicit
goods. b a secret place where documents etc. may be left or
passed on in espionage. 8 sl. a bribe. 9 US a box for letters
etc. --v. (dropped, dropping) 1 intr. & tr. fall or let fall
in drops (tears dropped on to the book; dropped the soup down
his shirt). 2 intr. & tr. fall or allow to fall; relinquish;
let go (dropped the box; the egg dropped from my hand). 3 a
intr. & tr. sink or cause to sink or fall to the ground from
exhaustion, a blow, a wound, etc. b intr. die. 4 a intr. & tr.
cease or cause to cease; lapse or let lapse; abandon (the
connection dropped; dropped the friendship; drop everything and
come at once). b tr. colloq. cease to associate with. 5 tr.
set down (a passenger etc.) (drop me at the station). 6 tr. &
intr. utter or be uttered casually (dropped a hint; the remark
dropped into the conversation). 7 tr. send casually (drop me a
postcard). 8 a intr. & tr. fall or allow to fall in direction,
amount, condition, degree, pitch, etc. (his voice dropped; the
wind dropped; we dropped the price by њ20; the road dropped
southwards). b intr. (of a person) jump down lightly; let
oneself fall. c tr. remove (clothes, esp. trousers) rapidly,
allowing them to fall to the ground. 9 tr. colloq. lose
(money, esp. in gambling). 10 tr. omit (a letter, esp. aitch, a
syllable etc.) in speech. 11 tr. (as dropped adj.) in a lower
position than usual (dropped handlebars; dropped waist). 12 tr.
give birth to (esp. a lamb, a kitten, etc.). 13 a intr. (of a
card) be played in the same trick as a higher card. b tr. play
or cause (a card) to be played in this way. 14 tr. Sport lose
(a game, a point, a contest, a match, etc.). 15 tr. Aeron.
deliver (supplies etc.) by parachute. 16 tr. Football a send
(a ball) by a drop-kick. b score (a goal) by a drop-kick. 17
tr. colloq. dismiss or omit (was dropped from the team). Ьat
the drop of a hat given the slightest excuse. drop anchor
anchor ship. drop asleep fall gently asleep. drop away
decrease or depart gradually. drop back (or behind or to the
rear) fall back; get left behind. drop back into return to (a
habit etc.). drop a brick colloq. make an indiscreet or
embarrassing remark. drop-curtain (or -scene) Theatr. a
painted curtain or scenery (cf. sense 4 of n.). drop a curtsy
make a curtsy. drop dead! sl. an exclamation of intense
scorn. drop down descend a hill etc. drop-forging a method of
forcing white-hot metal through an open-ended die by a heavy
weight. drop-hammer a heavy weight raised mechanically and
allowed to drop, as used in drop-forging and pile-driving.
drop-head Brit. the adjustable fabric roof of a car. drop in
(or by) colloq. call casually as a visitor. drop-in centre a
meeting-place where people may call casually for advice,
conversation, etc. a drop in the ocean (or a bucket) a very
small amount, esp. compared with what is needed or expected.
drop into colloq. 1 call casually at (a place). 2 fall into (a
habit etc.). drop it! sl. stop that! drop-kick Football a
kick made by dropping the ball and kicking it on the bounce.
drop-leaf (of a table etc.) having a hinged flap. drop off 1
decline gradually. 2 colloq. fall asleep. 3 = sense 5 of v.
drop on reprimand or punish. drop out colloq. cease to
participate, esp. in a race, a course of study, or in
conventional society. drop-out n. 1 colloq. a person who has
dropped out. 2 the restarting of a game by a drop-kick. drop
scone Brit. a small thick pancake made by dropping batter into
a frying pan etc. drop-shot (in lawn tennis) a shot dropping
abruptly over the net. drop a stitch let a stitch fall off the
end of a knitting-needle. drop-test Engin. n. a test done by
dropping under standard conditions. --v.tr. carry out a
drop-test on. drop to sl. become aware of. fit (or ready) to
drop extremely tired. have the drop on colloq. have the
advantage over. have had a drop too much colloq. be slightly
drunk. ЬЬdroplet n. [OE dropa, drop(p)ian ult. f. Gmc: cf.
dropper n. 1 a device for administering liquid, esp. medicine, in
drops. 2 Austral., NZ, & S.Afr. a light vertical stave in a
droppings n.pl. 1 the dung of animals or birds. 2 something that falls
or has fallen in drops, e.g. wax from candles.
dropsy n. (pl. -ies) 1 = OEDEMA. 2 sl. a tip or bribe. ЬЬdropsical
adj. (in sense 1). [ME f. idrop(e)sie f. OF idropesie ult. f.
L hydropisis f. Gk hudrops dropsy (as HYDRO-)]
dropwort n. a plant, Filipendula vulgaris, with tuberous root fibres.
droshky n. (pl. -ies) a Russian low four-wheeled open carriage.
[Russ. drozhki dimin. of drogi wagon f. droga shaft]
n. any fruit fly of the genus Drosophila, used extensively in
genetic research. [mod.L f. Gk drosos dew, moisture + philos
dross n. 1 rubbish, refuse. 2 a the scum separated from metals in
melting. b foreign matter mixed with anything; impurities.
ЬЬdrossy adj. [OE dros: cf. MLG drosem, OHG truosana]
drought n. 1 the continuous absence of rain; dry weather. 2 the
prolonged lack of something. 3 archaic a lack of moisture;
thirst; dryness. ЬЬdroughty adj. [OE drugath f. dryge DRY]
drouth n. Sc., Ir., US, & poet. var. of DROUGHT.
drove(1) past of DRIVE.
drove(2) n. 1 a a large number (of people etc.) moving together; a
crowd; a multitude; a shoal. b (in pl.) colloq. a great number
(people arrived in droves). 2 a herd or flock being driven or
moving together. Ьdrove-road an ancient cattle track. [OE draf
f. drifan DRIVE]
drover n. a person who drives herds to market; a cattle-dealer.
ЬЬdrove v.tr. droving n.
drown v. 1 tr. & intr. kill or be killed by submersion in liquid. 2
tr. submerge; flood; drench (drowned the fields in six feet of
water). 3 tr. (often foll. by in) deaden (grief etc.) with
drink (drowned his sorrows in drink). 4 tr. (often foll. by
out) make (a sound) inaudible by means of a louder sound.
Ьdrowned valley a valley partly or wholly submerged by a change
in land-levels. drown out drive out by flood. like a drowned
rat colloq. extremely wet and bedraggled. [ME (orig. north.)
drun(e), droun(e), perh. f. OE drunian (unrecorded), rel. to
drowse v. & n. --v. 1 intr. be dull and sleepy or half asleep. 2 tr.
a (often foll. by away) pass (the time) in drowsing. b make
drowsy. 3 intr. archaic be sluggish. --n. a condition of
sleepiness. [back-form. f. DROWSY]
drowsy adj. (drowsier, drowsiest) 1 half asleep; dozing. 2 soporific;
lulling. 3 sluggish. ЬЬdrowsily adv. drowsiness n. [prob.
rel. to OE drusian be languid or slow, dreosan fall: cf.
drub v.tr. (drubbed, drubbing) 1 thump; belabour. 2 beat in a
fight. 3 (usu. foll. by into, out of) beat (an idea, attitude,
etc.) into or out of a person. ЬЬdrubbing n. [ult. f. Arab.
drudge n. & v. --n. a servile worker, esp. at menial tasks; a hack.
--v.intr. (often foll. by at) work slavishly (at menial, hard,
or dull work). ЬЬdrudgery n. [15th c.: perh. rel. to DRAG]
drug n. & v. --n. 1 a medicinal substance. 2 a narcotic,
hallucinogen, or stimulant, esp. one causing addiction. --v.
(drugged, drugging) 1 tr. add a drug to (food or drink). 2 tr.
a administer a drug to. b stupefy with a drug. 3 intr. take
drugs as an addict. Ьdrug addict a person who is addicted to a
narcotic drug. drug on the market a commodity that is plentiful
but no longer in demand. drug peddler (colloq. pusher) a
person who sells esp. addictive drugs illegally. drug squad a
division of a police force investigating crimes involving
illegal drugs. [ME drogges, drouges f. OF drogue, of unkn.
drugget n. 1 a coarse woven fabric used as a floor or table covering.
2 such a covering. [F droguet, of unkn. orig.]
druggist n. esp. US a pharmacist. [F droguiste (as DRUG)]
druggy n. & adj. colloq. --n. (also druggie) (pl. -ies) a drug
addict. --adj. of or associated with narcotic drugs.
drugstore n. US a chemist's shop also selling light refreshments and
Druid n. (fem. Druidess) 1 an ancient Celtic priest, magician, or
soothsayer of Gaul, Britain, or Ireland. 2 a member of a Welsh
etc. Druidic order, esp. the Gorsedd. ЬЬDruidism n. Druidic
adj. Druidical adj. [F druide or L pl. druidae, -des, Gk
druidai f. Gaulish druides]
drum(1) n. & v. --n. 1 a a percussion instrument or toy made of a
hollow cylinder or hemisphere covered at one or both ends with
stretched skin or parchment and sounded by striking (bass drum;
kettledrum). b (often in pl.) a drummer or a percussion section
(the drums are playing too loud). c a sound made by or
resembling that of a drum. 2 something resembling a drum in
shape, esp.: a a cylindrical container or receptacle for oil,
dried fruit, etc. b a cylinder or barrel in machinery on which
something is wound etc. c Archit. the solid part of a
Corinthian or composite capital. d Archit. a stone block
forming a section of a shaft. e Austral. & NZ swag, a bundle.
3 Zool. & Anat. the membrane of the middle ear; the eardrum. 4
sl. a a house. b a nightclub. c a brothel. 5 (in full
drum-fish) any marine fish of the family Sciaenidae, having a
swim-bladder that produces a drumming sound. 6 hist. an evening
or afternoon tea party. 7 Austral. sl. a piece of reliable
information, esp. a racing tip. --v. (drummed, drumming) 1
intr. & tr. play on a drum. 2 tr. & intr. beat, tap, or thump
(knuckles, feet, etc.) continuously (on something) (drummed on
the table; drummed his feet; drumming at the window). 3 intr.
(of a bird or an insect) make a loud, hollow noise with
quivering wings. 4 tr. Austral. sl. provide with reliable
information. Ьdrum brake a brake in which shoes on a vehicle
press against the drum on a wheel. drum into drive (a lesson)
into (a person) by persistence. drum machine an electronic
device that imitates the sound of percussion instruments. drum
major 1 the leader of a marching band. 2 archaic an NCO
commanding the drummers of a regiment. drum majorette esp. US
a member of a female baton-twirling parading group. drum out
Mil. cashier (a soldier) by the beat of a drum; dismiss with
ignominy. drum up summon, gather, or call up (needs to drum up
more support). [obs. drombslade, drombyllsclad, f. LG
trommelslag drum-beat f. trommel drum + slag beat]
drum(2) n. (also drumlin) Geol. a long oval mound of boulder clay
moulded by glacial action. ЬЬdrumlinoid n. [Gael. & Ir. druim
ridge: -lin perh. for -LING(1)]
drumfire n. 1 Mil. heavy continuous rapid artillery fire, usu. heralding
an infantry attack. 2 a barrage of criticism etc.
drumhead n. 1 the skin or membrane of a drum. 2 an eardrum. 3 the
circular top of a capstan. 4 (attrib.) improvised (drumhead
drumlin var. of DRUM(2).
drummer n. 1 a person who plays a drum or drums. 2 esp. US colloq. a
commercial traveller. 3 sl. a thief.
drumstick n. 1 a stick used for beating a drum. 2 the lower joint of the
leg of a cooked chicken, turkey, etc.
drunk adj. & n. --adj. 1 rendered incapable by alcohol (blind drunk;
dead drunk; drunk as a lord). 2 (often foll. by with) overcome
or elated with joy, success, power, etc. --n. 1 a habitually
drunk person. 2 sl. a drinking-bout; a period of drunkenness.
[past part. of DRINK]
drunkard n. a person who is drunk, esp. habitually.
drunken adj. (usu. attrib.) 1 = DRUNK. 2 caused by or exhibiting
drunkenness (a drunken brawl). 3 fond of drinking; often drunk.
ЬЬdrunkenly adv. drunkenness n.
drupe n. any fleshy or pulpy fruit enclosing a stone containing one
or a few seeds, e.g. an olive, plum, or peach. ЬЬdrupaceous
adj. [L drupa f. Gk druppa olive]
drupel n. (also drupelet) a small drupe usu. in an aggregate fruit,
e.g. a blackberry or raspberry.
Druse n. (often attrib.) a member of a political or religious sect
linked with Islam and living near Mt. Lebanon (Druse militia).
[F f. Arab. duruz (pl.), prob. f. their founder al-Darazi (11th
druse n. 1 a crust of crystals lining a rock-cavity. 2 a cavity
lined with this. [F f. G, = weathered ore]
dry adj., v., & n. --adj. (drier; driest) 1 free from moisture,
not wet, esp.: a with any moisture having evaporated, drained,
or been wiped away (the clothes are not dry yet). b (of the
eyes) free from tears. c (of a climate etc.) with insufficient
rainfall; not rainy (a dry spell). d (of a river, well, etc.)
dried up; not yielding water. e (of a liquid) having
disappeared by evaporation etc. f not connected with or for use
without moisture (dry shampoo). g (of a shave) with an electric
razor. 2 (of wine etc.) not sweet (dry sherry). 3 a meagre,
plain, or bare (dry facts). b uninteresting; dull (dry as
dust). 4 (of a sense of humour, a joke, etc.) subtle, ironic,
and quietly expressed; not obvious. 5 (of a country, of
legislation, etc.) prohibiting the sale of alcoholic drink. 6
(of toast, bread, etc.) without butter, margarine, etc. 7 (of
provisions, groceries, etc.) solid, not liquid (dry goods). 8
impassive, unsympathetic; hard; cold. 9 (of a cow etc.) not
yielding milk. 10 colloq. thirsty or thirst-making (feel dry;
this is dry work). 11 Polit. colloq. of or being a political
'dry'. --v. (dries, dried) 1 tr. & intr. make or become dry by
wiping, evaporation, draining, etc. 2 tr. (usu. as dried adj.)
preserve (food etc.) by removing the moisture (dried egg; dried
fruit; dried flowers). 3 intr. (often foll. by up) Theatr.
colloq. forget one's lines. 4 tr. & intr. (often foll. by off)
cease or cause (a cow etc.) to cease yielding milk. --n. (pl.
dries) 1 the process or an instance of drying. 2 sl. a
politician, esp. a Conservative, who advocates individual
responsibility, free trade, and economic stringency, and opposes
high government spending. 3 a (prec. by the) esp. Austral.
colloq. the dry season. b Austral. a desert area, waterless
country. 4 a dry ginger ale. b dry wine, sherry, etc. Ьdry
battery Electr. an electric battery consisting of dry cells.
dry cell Electr. a cell in which the electrolyte is absorbed in
a solid and cannot be spilled. dry-clean clean (clothes etc.)
with organic solvents without using water. dry-cleaner a firm
that specializes in dry-cleaning. dry cough a cough not
producing phlegm. dry-cure cure (meat etc.) without pickling in
liquid. dry dock an enclosure for the building or repairing of
ships, from which water can be pumped out. dry-fly adj. (of
fishing) with an artificial fly floating on the surface.
--v.intr. (-flies, -flied) fish by such a method. dry ice
solid carbon dioxide. dry land land as opposed to the sea, a
river, etc. dry measure a measure of capacity for dry goods.
dry milk US dried milk. dry-nurse a nurse for young children,
not required to breast-feed. dry out 1 become fully dry. 2 (of
a drug addict, alcoholic, etc.) undergo treatment to cure
addiction. dry-plate Photog. a photographic plate with
sensitized film hard and dry for convenience of keeping,
developing at leisure, etc. dry-point 1 a needle for engraving
on a bare copper plate without acid. 2 an engraving produced
with this. dry rot 1 a decayed state of wood when not
ventilated, caused by certain fungi. 2 these fungi. dry run
colloq. a rehearsal. dry-salt = dry-cure. dry-salter a dealer
in dyes, gums, drugs, oils, pickles, tinned meats, etc.
dry-shod without wetting the shoes. dry up 1 make utterly dry.
2 dry dishes. 3 (of moisture) disappear utterly. 4 (of a well
etc.) cease to yield water. 5 colloq. (esp. in imper.) cease
talking. go dry enact legislation for the prohibition of
alcohol. ЬЬdryish adj. dryness n. [OE dryge, drygan, rel. to
MLG dr”ge, MDu. droghe, f. Gmc]
dryad n. Mythol. a nymph inhabiting a tree; a wood nymph. [ME f. OF
dryade f. L f. Gk druas -ados f. drus tree]
dryer var. of DRIER(2).
dryly var. of DRILY.
drystone adj. (of a wall etc.) built without mortar.
dual adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 of two; twofold. 2 divided in two;
double (dual ownership). 3 Gram. (in some languages) denoting
two persons or things (additional to singular and plural). --n.
(also dual number) Gram. a dual form of a noun, verb, etc.
--v.tr. (dualled, dualling) Brit. convert (a road) into a dual
carriageway. Ьdual carriageway Brit. a road with a dividing
strip between the traffic in opposite directions. dual control
(of a vehicle or an aircraft) having two sets of controls, one
of which is used by the instructor. dual in-line package
Computing see DIP. dual-purpose (of a vehicle) usable for
passengers or goods. ЬЬduality n. dualize v.tr. (also -ise).
dually adv. [L dualis f. duo two]
dualism n. 1 being twofold; duality. 2 Philos. the theory that in any
domain of reality there are two independent underlying
principles, e.g. mind and matter, form and content (cf.
IDEALISM, MATERIALISM). 3 Theol. a the theory that the forces
of good and evil are equally balanced in the universe. b the
theory of the dual (human and divine) personality of Christ.
ЬЬdualist n. dualistic adj. dualistically adv.
dub(1) v.tr. (dubbed, dubbing) 1 make (a person) a knight by touching
his shoulders with a sword. 2 give (a person) a name, nickname,
or title (dubbed him a crank). 3 Brit. dress (an artificial
fishing-fly). 4 smear (leather) with grease. [OE f. AF duber,
aduber, OF adober equip with armour, repair, of unkn. orig.]
dub(2) v.tr. (dubbed, dubbing) 1 provide (a film etc.) with an
alternative soundtrack, esp. in a different language. 2 add
(sound effects or music) to a film or a broadcast. 3 combine
(soundtracks) into one. 4 transfer or make a copy of (a
soundtrack). [abbr. of DOUBLE]
dub(3) n. esp. US sl. an inexperienced or unskilful person. [perh.
f. DUB(1) in sense 'beat flat']
dub(4) v.intr. (dubbed, dubbing) sl. (foll. by in, up) pay up;
contribute money. [19th c.: orig. uncert.]
dubbin n. & v. --n. (also dubbing) prepared grease for softening and
waterproofing leather. --v.tr. (dubbined, dubbining) apply
dubbin to (boots etc.). [see DUB(1) 4]
dubbing n. an alternative soundtrack to a film etc.
dubiety n. (pl. -ies) literary 1 a feeling of doubt. 2 a doubtful
matter. [LL dubietas f. dubium doubt]
dubious adj. 1 hesitating or doubting (dubious about going). 2 of
questionable value or truth (a dubious claim). 3 unreliable;
suspicious (dubious company). 4 of doubtful result (a dubious
undertaking). ЬЬdubiously adv. dubiousness n. [L dubiosus f.
n. literary doubt, hesitation. [ME f. OF dubitation or L
dubitatio f. dubitare DOUBT]
adj. literary of, expressing, or inclined to doubt or
hesitation. ЬЬdubitatively adv. [F dubitatif -ive or LL
dubitativus (as DUBITATION)]
Dublin Bay prawn
n. 1 the Norway lobster. 2 (in pl.) scampi. [Dublin in
Dubonnet n. propr. 1 a sweet French aperitif. 2 a glass of this.
[name of a family of French wine-merchants]
ducal adj. of, like, or bearing the title of a duke. [F f. duc
ducat n. 1 hist. a gold coin, formerly current in most European
countries. 2 a a coin. b (in pl.) money. [ME f. It. ducato
or med.L ducatus DUCHY]
Duce n. a leader, esp. (Il Duce) the title assumed by Mussolini (d.
1945). [It., = leader]
duchess n. (as a title usu. Duchess) 1 a duke's wife or widow. 2 a
woman holding the rank of duke in her own right. [ME f. OF
duchesse f. med.L ducissa (as DUKE)]
duchesse n. 1 a soft heavy kind of satin. 2 a dressing-table with a
pivoting mirror. Ьduchesse lace a kind of Brussels pillow-lace.
duchesse potatoes mashed potatoes mixed with egg, baked or
fried, and served as small cakes. duchesse set a cover or a set
of covers for a dressing-table. [F, = DUCHESS]
duchy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the territory of a duke or duchess; a dukedom.
2 (often as the Duchy) the royal dukedom of Cornwall or
Lancaster, each with certain estates, revenues, and jurisdiction
of its own. [ME f. OF duch‚(e) f. med.L ducatus f. L dux ducis
duck(1) n. (pl. same or ducks) 1 a any of various swimming-birds of the
family Anatidae, esp. the domesticated form of the mallard or
wild duck. b the female of this (opp. DRAKE). c the flesh of
a duck as food. 2 Cricket (in full duck's-egg) the score of a
batsman dismissed for nought. 3 (also ducks) Brit. colloq.
(esp. as a form of address) dear, darling. Ьduck-hawk 1 Brit. a
marsh-harrier. 2 US a peregrine. ducks and drakes a game of
making a flat stone skim along the surface of water. duck's
arse sl. a haircut with the hair on the back of the head shaped
like a duck's tail. duck soup US sl. an easy task. like a
duck to water adapting very readily. like water off a duck's
back colloq. (of remonstrances etc.) producing no effect. play
ducks and drakes with colloq. squander. [OE duce, duce: rel.
duck(2) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. & tr. plunge, dive, or dip under water
and emerge (ducked him in the pond). 2 intr. & tr. bend (the
head or the body) quickly to avoid a blow or being seen, or as a
bow or curtsy; bob (ducked out of sight; ducked his head under
the beam). 3 tr. & intr. colloq. avoid or dodge; withdraw
(from) (ducked out of the engagement; ducked the meeting). 4
intr. Bridge lose a trick deliberately by playing a low card.
--n. 1 a quick dip or swim. 2 a quick lowering of the head
etc. Ьducking-stool hist. a chair fastened to the end of a
pole, which could be plunged into a pond, used formerly for
ducking scolds etc. ЬЬducker n. [OE ducan (unrecorded) f. Gmc]
duck(3) n. 1 a strong untwilled linen or cotton fabric used for small
sails and the outer clothing of sailors. 2 (in pl.) trousers
made of this (white ducks). [MDu. doek, of unkn. orig.]
duck(4) n. colloq. an amphibious landing-craft. [DUKW, its official
duckbill n. (also duck-billed platypus) = PLATYPUS.
duckboard n. (usu. in pl.) a path of wooden slats placed over muddy
ground or in a trench.
duckling n. 1 a young duck. 2 its flesh as food.
duckweed n. any of various aquatic plants, esp. of the genus Lemna,
growing on the surface of still water.
ducky n. & adj. Brit. colloq. --n. (pl. -ies) darling, dear.
--adj. sweet, pretty; splendid.
duct n. & v. --n. 1 a channel or tube for conveying fluid, cable,
etc. 2 a a tube in the body conveying secretions such as tears
etc. b Bot. a tube formed by cells that have lost their
intervening end walls, holding air, water, etc. --v.tr. convey
through a duct. [L ductus leading, aqueduct f. ducere duct-
ductile adj. 1 (of a metal) capable of being drawn into wire; pliable,
not brittle. 2 (of a substance) easily moulded. 3 (of a
person) docile, gullible. ЬЬductility n. [ME f. OF ductile or
L ductilis f. ducere duct- lead]
ducting n. 1 a system of ducts. 2 material in the form of a duct or
ductless adj. lacking or not using a duct or ducts. Ьductless gland a
gland secreting directly into the bloodstream: also called
dud n. & adj. sl. --n. 1 a futile or ineffectual person or thing
(a dud at the job). 2 a counterfeit article. 3 a shell etc.
that fails to explode. 4 (in pl.) clothes. --adj. 1 useless,
worthless, unsatisfactory or futile. 2 counterfeit. [ME: orig.
dude n. US sl. 1 a fastidious aesthetic person, usu. male; a dandy.
2 a holiday-maker on a ranch in the western US, esp. when unused
to ranch life. 3 a fellow; a guy. Ьdude ranch a cattle ranch
converted to a holiday centre for tourists etc. ЬЬdudish adj.
[19th c.: prob. f. G dial. dude fool]
dudgeon n. a feeling of offence; resentment. Ьin high dudgeon very
angry or angrily. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
due adj., n., & adv. --adj. 1 (predic.) owing or payable as a debt
or an obligation (our thanks are due to him; њ500 was due on the
15th). 2 (often foll. by to) merited; appropriate; fitting (his
due reward; received the applause due to a hero). 3 rightful;
proper; adequate (after due consideration). 4 (predic.; foll.
by to) to be ascribed to (a cause, an agent, etc.) (the
discovery was due to Newton). 5 (predic.) intended to arrive at
a certain time (a train is due at 7.30). 6 (foll. by to +
infin.) under an obligation or agreement to do something (due to
speak tonight). --n. 1 a person's right; what is owed to a
person (a fair hearing is my due). 2 (in pl.) a what one owes
(pays his dues). b a legally demandable toll or fee (harbour
dues; university dues). --adv. (of a point of the compass)
exactly, directly (went due east; a due north wind). Ьdue to
disp. because of, owing to (was late due to an accident) (cf.
sense 4 of adj.). fall (or become) due (of a bill etc.) be
immediately payable. in due course 1 at about the appropriate
time. 2 in the natural order. [ME f. OF deЃ ult. f. L debitus
past part. of debere owe]
duel n. & v. --n. 1 hist. a contest with deadly weapons between two
people, in the presence of two seconds, to settle a point of
honour. 2 any contest between two people, parties, causes,
animals, etc. (a duel of wits). --v.intr. (duelled, duelling;
US dueled, dueling) fight a duel or duels. ЬЬdueller n. (US
dueler). duellist n. (US duelist). [It. duello or L duellum
(archaic form of bellum war), in med.L = single combat]
duende n. 1 an evil spirit. 2 inspiration. [Sp.]
duenna n. an older woman acting as a governess and companion in charge
of girls, esp. in a Spanish family; a chaperon. [Sp. due¤a f.
L domina mistress]
duet n. 1 Mus. a a performance by two voices, instrumentalists,
etc. b a composition for two performers. 2 a dialogue.
ЬЬduettist n. [G Duett or It. duetto dimin. of duo duet f. L
duff(1) n. a boiled pudding. [N.Engl. form of DOUGH]
duff(3) v.tr. sl. 1 Brit. Golf mishit (a shot, a ball); bungle. 2
Austral. steal and alter brands on (cattle). Ьduff up sl.
beat; thrash. [perh. back-form. f. DUFFER]
duffer n. sl. 1 an inefficient, useless, or stupid person. 2
Austral. a person who duffs cattle. 3 Austral. an unproductive
mine. [perh. f. Sc. doofart stupid person f. douf spiritless]
duffle n. (also duffel) 1 a coarse woollen cloth with a thick nap. 2
US a sportsman's or camper's equipment. Ьduffle bag a
cylindrical canvas bag closed by a draw-string and carried over
the shoulder. duffle-coat a hooded overcoat of duffle, usu.
fastened with toggles. [Duffel in Belgium]
dug(1) past and past part. of DIG.
dug(2) n. 1 the udder, breast, teat, or nipple of a female animal. 2
derog. the breast of a woman. [16th c.: orig. unkn.]
dugong n. (pl. same or dugongs) a marine mammal, Dugong dugon, of
Asian seas and coasts. Also called sea cow. [ult. f. Malay
dugout n. 1 a a roofed shelter esp. for troops in trenches. b an
underground air-raid or nuclear shelter. 2 a canoe made from a
hollowed tree-trunk. 3 sl. a retired officer etc. recalled to
duiker n. 1 (also duyker) any African antelope of the genus
Cephalophus, usu. having a crest of long hair between its horns.
2 S.Afr. the long-tailed cormorant, Phalacrocorax africanus.
[Du. duiker diver: in sense 1, from plunging through bushes
duke n. (as a title usu. Duke) 1 a a person holding the highest
hereditary title of the nobility. b a sovereign prince ruling a
duchy or small State. 2 (usu. in pl.) sl. the hand; the fist
(put up your dukes!). 3 Bot. a kind of cherry, neither very
sweet nor very sour. Ьroyal duke a duke who is also a royal
prince. [ME f. OF duc f. L dux ducis leader]
dukedom n. 1 a territory ruled by a duke. 2 the rank of duke.
dulcet adj. (esp. of sound) sweet and soothing. [ME, earlier doucet
f. OF dimin. of doux f. L dulcis sweet]
dulcify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) literary 1 make gentle. 2 sweeten.
ЬЬdulcification n. [L dulcificare f. dulcis sweet]
dulcimer n. a musical instrument with strings of graduated length
stretched over a sounding-board or box, played by being struck
with hammers. [OF doulcemer, said to repr. L dulce sweet, melos
dulcitone n. Mus. a keyboard instrument with steel tuning-forks which
are struck by hammers. [L dulcis sweet + TONE]
dulia n. RC Ch. the reverence accorded to saints and angels. [med.L
f. Gk douleia servitude f. doulos slave]
dull adj. & v. --adj. 1 slow to understand; stupid. 2 tedious;
boring. 3 (of the weather) overcast; gloomy. 4 a (esp. of a
knife edge etc.) blunt. b (of colour, light, sound, or taste)
not bright, vivid, or keen. 5 (of a pain etc.) usu. prolonged
and indistinct; not acute (a dull ache). 6 a (of a person, an
animal, trade, etc.) sluggish, slow-moving, or stagnant. b (of
a person) listless; depressed (he's a dull fellow