Definition of word in English:


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

    ‘I don't like the word “unofficial”’
    • ‘so many words for so few ideas’
    term, name, expression, designation, locution
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A single distinct conceptual unit of language, comprising inflected and variant forms.
    2. 1.2usually wordsSomething spoken or written; a remark or statement.
      ‘his grandfather's words had been meant kindly’
      • ‘a word of warning’
      remark, comment, statement, utterance, observation, pronouncement, declaration
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    3. 1.3a wordwith negative Even the smallest amount of something spoken or written.
      • ‘don't believe a word of it’
    4. 1.4wordsAngry talk.
      • ‘her father would have had words with her about that’
      quarrel, argue, disagree, row, squabble, bicker, fight, wrangle, dispute, feud, have a row, cross swords, lock horns, clash, be at each other's throats
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    5. 1.5Speech as distinct from action.
      • ‘he conforms in word and deed to the values of a society that he rejects’
  • 2A command, password, or signal.

    • ‘someone gave me the word to start playing’
    instruction, order, command
    command, order, decree, edict, mandate
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    1. 2.1Communication; news.
      ‘I was afraid to leave Edinburgh in case there was word from the War Office’
      • ‘the prince sent word to the king asking him to send reinforcements’
      news, information, communication, intelligence, notice
      rumour, hearsay, talk, gossip
      View synonyms
  • 3one's wordOne's account of the truth, especially when it differs from that of another person.

    • ‘in court it would have been his word against mine’
    1. 3.1A promise or assurance.
      • ‘everything will be taken care of—you have my word’
      promise, word of honour, assurance, guarantee, undertaking
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  • 4wordsThe text or spoken part of a play, opera, or other performed piece; a script.

    • ‘he had to learn his words’
    script, text
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  • 5A basic unit of data in a computer, typically 16 or 32 bits long.




transitive verb

[with object]
  • Choose and use particular words in order to say or write (something)

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





  • Used to express agreement.

    • ‘“That Jay is one dangerous character.” “Word.”’





    a word to the wise
    • A hint or brief explanation, that being all that is required.

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

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

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

      ‘She gave me no reason for what she asked me to do, but I promised and I won't break my word.’
      • ‘If journalists break their word when convenient, virtually no one in government will take the risk of revealing official wrongdoing.’
      • ‘Whatever has come before, we now have only two options: to keep our word, or to break our word.’
      • ‘‘I cannot break my word,’ she said, ‘to stay out of jail.’’
      • ‘I was furious with the school for causing me to break my word to my son that he could call me and I would be there for him.’
      • ‘We can't have politicians who break their word.’
      • ‘Surely you know I'd never break my word to you, Tabby.’
      • ‘I looked at him, not about to break my word to Matt and say anything about our musings on the boat.’
      • ‘Despite the fact that he's in love with Ginger, Fred feels he can't break his word to Margaret.’
      • ‘Nonetheless, Marius promised an honest reply and he wasn't the type to break his word.’
    have a word
    • Speak briefly to someone.

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

      • ‘back in those days the referee would have a quiet word in your ear and warn you not to do it again’
    in a word
    • Briefly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      ‘he felt a vague disappointment that he couldn't put into words’
      • ‘People with Huntington's often have difficulty putting thoughts into words and slur their speech.’
      • ‘In the brutalized area one kilometer to the south, a weeping community leader put that sadness into words of disbelief.’
      • ‘Authors put their thoughts into words for the whole community to see and critique.’
      • ‘Though Pam had no doubt that her mom loved her, she didn't remember ever hearing her put it into words, let alone express it with an unsolicited hug or kiss.’
      • ‘It was quite weird, but the minute I put pen to paper and started putting things into words, things suddenly seemed a lot easier.’
      • ‘I like to think that I am still creative, that I can still form coherent thoughts and put them into words.’
      • ‘Those are the facts, but they don't convey the emotions of this achievement, and I won't even try to put them into words.’
      • ‘Mr Todd's wife, Marie, said: ‘I can't put my gratitude into words.’
      • ‘At one of our board meetings, when we were struggling to put our mission into words, Jerry skipped lunch and went off by himself.’
      • ‘Sometimes you just can't put your agony into words.’
    put words into someone's mouth
    • 1Falsely or inaccurately report what someone has said.

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

      • ‘he spread the word about the charity's work’
    take someone at their word
    • Interpret a person's words literally or exactly, especially by believing them or doing as they suggest.

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

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

      ‘You can only mumble ‘You took the words out of my mouth… ‘quietly while the boss praises them.’’
      • ‘‘You took the words out of my mouth,’ Milton smiled.’
      • ‘Mr Carter's speech took the words out of my mouth.’
      • ‘Natasha, that's exactly what I was about to say, you took the words out of my mouth.’
      • ‘‘Yes,’ Efad replied, taking the words out of Justin 's mouth.’
      • ‘Maybe my headline above takes the words out of the President's mouth these days.’
    the Word
    • 1The Bible, or a part of it.

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

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

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

      • ‘going around by the road was too tedious for words’
      • ‘I don't believe these people have the air of 1962 about them, they are extremely modern hipsters, too cool for words.’
      • ‘Why waste the time on the sort of gathering you've told me is too tedious for words?’
      • ‘First of all a fearless, infallible hero pitted against a bunch of hoodlums and brutal, power-crazy politicians is too stereotypical for words.’
      • ‘The similarities are just too spooky for words.’
      • ‘The whole thing is just too ludicrous for words.’
      • ‘Perhaps the government should encourage the banks to get their systems in place: this service sounds too outrageous for words.’
      • ‘The piglets were, of course, too cute for words.’
      • ‘It seems too dreadful for words to be indoors studying.’
      • ‘It's too painful for words, and I hang on to a great deal of hope that there may yet come a day when we will see it return.’
      • ‘I swear, weekends are getting too chaotic for words.’
    waste words
    • 1Talk in vain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phrasal Verbs

    word up
    • as imperative Used to express agreement or affirmation or as a greeting.


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