Pocket Oxford English Dictionary

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Content: Pocket Oxford English Dictionary tenth edition Edited by Catherine Soanes with Sara Hawker and Julia Elliott 1 Copyright © Oxford University Press www.oup.co.uk
iv Preface This new edition of the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary is a revised, updated, and redesigned edition of the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary (9th edition). It provides up-to-date and accessible information on the core vocabulary of today's English in a single pocket-sized volume. It focuses on clear explanations of meaning and help with aspects of words which often cause difficulties, especially spelling, pronunciation, grammar, and usage. It will be particularly useful for secondary-school students, and in the UK is ideal for students working for GCSE and Standard Grade level examinations. Part of the range based on the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (11th edition), the Pocket Oxford English Dictionary is based on the evidence of how the language is actually used today, drawing on the analysis of hundreds of millions of words of real English contained in the Oxford English corpus. Information in the dictionary is presented in a clear and concise way; definitions focus on the central meanings of words and are easier to understand than ever before, avoiding the use of difficult and technical terms. The new design and an open layout, with each new section of an entry (phrases, derivatives, usage notes, spelling notes, and etymologies) on a new line, ensures that finding individual sections and entries is easy to do. In addition to giving clear information on the core language of current English, this new edition of the dictionary provides more help than ever before with tricky questions of grammar and usage (for example, on the difference between pore and pour and whether you should say between you and me or between you and I). The dictionary also includes a new feature: extra notes on words that people often find difficult to spell, such as weird, skilful, and exaggerate. Usage and spelling notes are based on evidence of real mistakes or problems that people have in their use of the language. Copyright © Oxford University Press www.oup.co.uk
v
Preface
Pronunciations are given using a simple respelling system, making them very easy to understand: for the new edition, there is extra help with pronunciations of less straightforward or unfamiliar words, such as anomalous, subtle, and unequivocal. Etymologies (word origins) are written in a nontechnical style to highlight the main words from which English words originate, with language names written out in full.
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vi Guide to the use of the dictionary
1. STRUCTURE OF ENTRIES The Pocket Oxford English Dictionary is designed to be as easy to use as possible. Here is an explanation of the main types of information that you will find in the dictionary.
Headword
bathe /bayth/ ·v. (bathes, bathing, bathed) 1 wash by immersing the body in water. 2 Brit. take a swim. 3 soak or wipe gently with liquid to clean or soothe. · n. Brit. a swim. ­ derivatives bather n. ­ origin Old English.
verb forms (inflections) Regional label (showing where word is used)
Sense number
apogee /ap-uh-jee/ ·n. 1 the highest point: his creative activity reached its apogee in 1910. 2 the point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is furthest from the earth. ­ origin from Greek apogaion diasteЇma, `distance away from earth'.
· Introduces new part of speech or word class
Part of speech or word class Example of use (taken from real evidence)
buck1 ·n. 1 the male of some animals, e.g. deer and rabbits. 2 a vertical jump performed by a horse. 3 old use a fashionable young man. · v. 1 (of a horse) perform a buck. 2 go against: the shares bucked the market trend. 3 (buck up or buck someone up) informal become or make someone more cheerful. ­ origin Old English.
Usage label (showing how word is used) Typical pattern (in bold)
Homonym number (shows different word with the same spelling)
buck2 ·n. N. Amer. & Austral./NZ informal a dollar.
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vii
Guide to the use of the Dictionary
Derivatives (in alphabetical order)
centralize (or centralise) · v. (centralizes, centralizing, centralized) bring under the control of a central authority. ­ derivatives centralism n. centralist n. & adj. centralization n.
him ·pron. (third person sing.) used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to a male person or animal previously mentioned. ­ origin Old English.
Alternative spelling of headword Grammatical information (in round brackets)
Cross reference to another word in the dictionary (in bold small capitals) Phrases and expressions
die2 ·n. 1 sing. of dice. 2 (pl. dies) a device for cutting or moulding metal or for stamping a design on to coins or medals. ­ phrases the die is cast an event has happened that cannot be changed. ­ origin Old French de.
Plural form
Spelling note
broccoli /brok-kuh-li/ ·n. a vegetable with heads of small green or purplish flower buds. ­ origin Italian. t Spell broccoli with a double c and one l.
Pronunciation (for selected words) Usage note
defuse /dee-fyooz/ ·v. (defuses, defusing, defused) 1 make a situation less tense or dangerous. 2 remove the fuse from an explosive device in order to prevent it from exploding. USAGE: Do not confuse defuse and diffuse. Defuse means `make a situation less tense or dangerous', while diffuse means `spread over a wide area' (technologies diffuse rapidly).
Word origin (etymology)
grizzly ·n. (also grizzly bear) (pl. grizzlies) a large variety of American brown bear often having white-tipped fur. ­ origin from grizzled. USAGE: On the confusion of grizzly and grisly, see the note at grisly.
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binding | birch
80
reaping machine that binds grain into
biohazard ·n. a risk to human health or
sheaves. 3 a person who binds books.
the environment arising from biological
­ derivatives bindery n. (pl. binderies).
research.
b binding ·n. 1 a strong covering holding biological ·adj. 1 relating to biology or
the pages of a book together. 2 fabric in
living organisms. 2 (of a parent or child)
a strip, used for binding the edges of
related by blood. 3 (of warfare) using
material. · adj. (of an agreement) putting harmful microorganisms. 4 (of a
someone under a legal obligation.
detergent) containing enzymes.
bindweed ·n. a plant that twines itself round things.
­ derivatives biologically adv. biological clock ·n. a natural
binge informal ·n. a short period of uncontrolled eating or drinking. · v. (binges, bingeing, binged) do someV thing, especially eat, uncontrollably.
mechanism that controls certain regularly recurring physical processes in an animal or plant. biology ·n. the scientific study of living
­ derivatives binger n.
organisms.
bingo ·n. a game in which players mark off randomly called numbers on cards,
­ derivatives biologist n. bionic ·adj. relating to the use of
the winner being the first to mark off all electronically powered artificial body
their numbers. · exclam. a call by someone who wins a game of bingo.
parts. biopsy /by-op-si/ ·n. (pl. biopsies) an
binnacle ·n. a casing to hold a ship's compass. ­ origin Spanish bitбcula, bitбcora or Portuguese bitacola. binocular /bi-nok-yuu-ler/ ·adj. for or using both eyes. · n. (binoculars) an instrument with a separate lens for each eye, used for viewing distant objects.
examination of tissue taken from the body, to discover the presence or cause of a disease. ­ origin from Greek bios `life' + opsis `sight'. biorhythm ·n. a recurring cycle in the functioning of an animal or plant. biosphere ·n. the parts of the earth that
­ origin from Latin bini `two together' +
are inhabited by living things.
oculus `eye'.
biosynthesis ·n. the production of
binomial /by-noh-mi-uhl/ ·n. Math. an algebraic expression consisting of two
complex molecules within living organisms or cells.
terms linked by a plus or minus sign.
­ derivatives biosynthetic adj.
­ origin from Latin bi- `having two' +
biotechnology ·n. the use of microV
Greek nomos `part'.
organisms in industry and mediV
bio- ·comb. form 1 relating to life or living beings: biosynthesis. 2 biological; relating
cine for the production of antibiotics, hormones, etc.
to biology: biohazard.
bioterrorism ·n. the use of harmful
­ origin Greek bios `human life'.
biological or biochemical substances as
biochemistry ·n. the branch of science concerned with the chemical processes which occur within living organisms.
weapons of terrorism. ­ derivatives bioterrorist n. biotin /by-uh-tin/ ·n. a vitamin of the B
­ derivatives biochemical adj.
complex, found in egg yolk, liver, and
biochemist n.
yeast.
biodegradable ·adj. capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. ­ derivatives biodegradability n.
­ origin from Greek bios `life'. bioweapon ·n. a harmful organism or biological substance used as a weapon of war.
biodegrade v.
bipartisan ·adj. involving the
biodiversity ·n. the variety of plant and animal life in the world or in a
cooperation of two Political parties. bipartite ·adj. 1 involving two separate
habitat.
parties. 2 tech. consisting of two parts.
bioengineering ·n. 1 genetic engineering. 2 the use of artificial tissues or organs in the body. 3 the use of organisms or biological processes in industry.
biped /by-ped/ ·n. an animal that walks on two feet. ­ derivatives bipedal /by-pee-d'l/ adj. ­ origin from Latin bi- `having two' + pes `foot'.
biography ·n. (pl. biographies) an account of a person's life written by
biplane ·n. an early type of aircraft with two pairs of wings, one above the other.
someone else.
bipolar ·adj. (especially of an electronic
­ derivatives biographer n.
device) having two poles.
biographical adj.
birch ·n. 1 a slender tree with thin,
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boss-eyed | bounce
96
­ origin Portuguese, `new tendency'.
up! informal said as a toast before drinkV
boss-eyed ·adj. Brit. informal cross-eyed.
ing. get to the bottom of find an
b bossy ·adj. (bossier, bossiest) informal fond of giving orders; domineering.
explanation for. ­ derivatives bottomless adj.
­ derivatives bossily adv. bossiness n.
bottommost adj.
bosun /boh-s'n/ (also bo'sun) ·n. var. of boatswain.
­ origin Old English. bottom drawer ·n. Brit. dated household
botanical ·adj. relating to botany. ­ derivatives botanic adj. botanically adv. botanical garden (also botanic garden) · n. a place where plants are grown for scientific study and display to the public. botany /bot-uh-ni/ ·n. the scientific study of plants. ­ derivatives botanist n. ­ origin Greek botaneЇ `plant'.
linen stored by a woman in preparation for her marriage. bottom line ·n. informal 1 the final total of an account or balance sheet. 2 the basic and most important factor. botulism /bot-yuu-li-z'm/ ·n. food poisoning caused by a bacterium that grows on preserved foods that have not been properly sterilized. ­ origin German Botulismus `sausage poisoning'.
botch informal ·v. do badly or carelessly. · n. a badly performed action or task.
bouclй /boo-klay/ ·n. yarn with a looped or curled strand.
both ·det., predet. & pron. two people or
­ origin French, `buckled, curled'.
things, regarded together. · adv. applying equally to each of two alternatives.
boudoir /boo-dwar/ ·n. a woman's bedroom or small private room.
­ origin Old Norse.
­ origin French, `sulking-place'.
bother ·v. (bothers, bothering,
bouffant /boo-fon/ ·adj. (of hair) styled
bothered) 1 take the trouble: the driver
so as to stand out from the head in a
didn't bother to ask why. 2 worry, disturb,
rounded shape.
or upset. 3 (bother with/about) be
­ origin French, `swelling'.
concerned about or interested in. · n. 1 trouble and fuss. 2 (a bother) a cause of trouble or fuss. · exclam. Brit. used to express irritation. ­ origin Anglo-Irish.
bougainvillea /boo-guhn-vil-li-uh/ (also bougainvillaea) · n. a tropical climbing plant with brightly coloured modified leaves (bracts) surrounding the flowers.
bothersome ·adj. annoying;
­ origin named after the French explorer
troublesome.
L. A. de Bougainville.
Botswanan /bot-swah-nuhn/ ·n. a
bough ·n. a main branch of a tree.
person from Botswana, a country of
­ origin Old English, `bough, shoulder'.
Southern Africa. · adj. relating to
bought past and past part. of buy.
Botswana.
bottle ·n. 1 a container with a narrow neck, used for storing liquids. 2 Brit. informal courage or confidence. · v. (bottles, bottling, bottled) 1 put liquid in bottles. 2 (bottle something up) control and hide your feelings.
USAGE: Do not confuse bought and brought. Bought is the past tense and past participle of buy (she bought a magazine), whereas brought is the past tense and past participle of bring (the article brought a massive response).
­ phrases hit the bottle informal start to drink alcohol heavily.
bouillon /boo-yon/ ·n. thin soup or stock.
­ origin Latin butticula `small cask'.
­ origin French.
bottle bank ·n. Brit. a place where used glass bottles may be left for recycling.
boulder ·n. a large rock. ­ origin Scandinavian.
bottle green ·adj. dark green.
boule /bool/ (also boules /bool/) ·n. a
bottleneck ·n. a narrow section of road French game similar to bowls, played
where traffic flow is restricted.
with metal balls.
bottom ·n. 1 the lowest or furthest point or part. 2 the lowest position in a
­ origin French, `bowl'. boulevard /boo-luh-vard/ ·n. a wide
competition or ranking: life at the bottom street, typically one lined with trees.
of society. 3 esp. Brit. a person's buttocks.
­ origin French, `rampart'.
4 (also bottoms) the lower half of a two- bounce ·v. (bounces, bouncing,
piece garment. · adj. in the lowest or
bounced) 1 move quickly up or away
furthest position. · v. (bottom out) (of a
from a surface after hitting it. 2 move
situation) reach the lowest point before
or jump up and down repeatedly.
stabilizing or improving.
3 (bounce back) recover well after a
­ phrases at bottom basically. bottoms
setback. 4 informal (of a cheque) be
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283
edging | effective
edging ·n. something forming an edge education ·n. 1 the process of teaching
or border.
or learning. 2 the theory and practice of
edgy ·adj. (edgier, edgiest) tense, nervous, or irritable.
teaching. 3 information about or trainV ing in a particular subject.
­ derivatives edgily adv. edginess n.
­ derivatives educational adj.
edible ·adj. fit to be eaten. ·pl. n. (edibles) items of food.
educationalist n. educationally adv. educationist n.
­ origin Latin edibilis.
Edwardian /ed-wor-di-uhn/
edict /ee-dikt/ ·n. an official order or proclamation.
· adj. relating to the reign of King Edward VII (1901­10).
­ origin Latin edictum.
-ee ·suffix forming nouns: 1 referring to
e
edifice /ed-i-fiss/ ·n. formal a large and
the person affected by the action of a
impressive building.
verb: employee. 2 referring to a person
­ origin Latin aedificium.
described as or concerned with:
edify /ed-i-fy/ ·v. (edifies, edifying, edified) teach someone something that is educational or morally improving.
absentee. ­ origin Old French -й. EEC ·abbrev. European Economic
­ derivatives edification n.
Community.
­ origin Latin aedificare `build'.
eel ·n. a snake-like fish with a very long
edit ·v. (edits, editing, edited) 1 prepare
thin body and small fins.
written material for publication by
­ origin Old English.
correcting, shortening, or improving it. 2 prepare material for a recording, film, or broadcast. 3 be editor of a newspaper or magazine. · n. a change made as a result of editing. ­ derivatives editable adj. ­ origin from editor. edition ·n. 1 a particular form of a published written work. 2 the total number of copies of a book, newspaper, etc. issued at one time. 3 a particular instance of a regular television or radio programme. ­ origin Latin. editor ·n. 1 a person who is in charge of a newspaper or magazine. 2 a person who prepares or selects written or recorded material for publication or broadcasting. ­ derivatives editorship n. ­ origin Latin. editorial ·adj. relating to the selection or preparation of material for publicaV tion. · n. a newspaper article giving an opinion on a topical issue. ­ derivatives editorialist n. editorially adv. editorialize (or editorialise) · v. (editorializes, editorializing, editorialized) (of a newspaper or editor) express opinions rather than just report news. educate /ed-yuu-kayt/ ·v. (educates, educating, educated) 1 give intellectual or moral instruction to someone. 2 give
e'er /air/ ·adv. literary = ever. eerie /eer-i/ ·adj. (eerier, eeriest) strange and frightening. ­ derivatives eerily adv. eeriness n. ­ origin prob. from Old English, `cowardly'. efface /i-fayss/ ·v. (effaces, effacing, effaced) 1 cause something to disappear. 2 (efface yourself ) make yourself appear unimportant. 3 erase a mark from a surface. ­ derivatives effacement n. ­ origin French effacer. effect ·n. 1 a change which is a result of an action or other cause. 2 the state of being or becoming operative: the ban took effect in 2004. 3 the extent to which something succeeds: Wind Power can be used to great effect. 4 (effects) personal belongings. 5 (effects) the lighting, sound, or scenery used in a play or film. 6 Physics a physical phenomenon, named after its discoverer: the Doppler effect. · v. bring about a result. ­ phrases in effect in practice, even if not formally acknowledged. ­ origin Latin effectus. USAGE: Do not confuse affect and effect. Affect is a verb meaning `make a difference to' (the changes will affect everyone). Effect is used both as a noun meaning `a result' (the substance has a painkilling effect) and as a verb meaning `bring about a result' (she effected a cost-cutting exercise).
someone information about a particular effective ·adj. 1 producing an intended
subject. 3 (as adj. educated) showing or
result. 2 (of a law or policy) operative.
having had a good education.
3 existing in fact, though not formally
­ derivatives educative adj. educator n.
acknowledged as such: he is in effective
­ origin Latin educare `lead out'.
control of the military.
educated guess ·n. a guess based on ­ derivatives effectively adv.
knowledge and experience.
effectiveness n.
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humanoid | hundredweight
442
characteristics and feelings shared by all humor ·n. US = humour.
people.
humorist ·n. a writer or speaker who is
humanoid /hyoo-muh-noyd/
known for being amusing.
·adj. having an appearance or character humorous ·adj. 1 causing amusement.
like that of a human. · n. a humanoid
2 showing a sense of humour.
being.
­ derivatives humorously adv.
human rights ·pl. n. basic rights to which every person is entitled, such as freedom.
t humorous and humorist drop the u before the r of humour.
humble ·adj. (humbler, humblest)
humour (US humor) ·n. 1 the quality of
1 having or showing a modest or low
being amusing. 2 a state of mind: her
opinion of your own importance. 2 of
good humour vanished. 3 (also cardinal
low rank. 3 not large or special: humble
humour) each of four fluids of the body,
brick bungalows. · v. (humbles, humbling, formerly believed to determine a
humbled) make someone seem less
person's physical and mental qualities.
dignified or important.
· v. agree with the wishes of someone so
­ phrases eat humble pie make a humble as to keep them happy.
h
apology. [origin from former umbles meaning `offal'.]
­ phrases out of humour in a bad mood. ­ derivatives humourless adj.
­ derivatives humbly adv.
­ origin Latin humor `moisture'.
­ origin Latin humilis `low, lowly'.
hump ·n. 1 a rounded raised mass of
humbug ·n. 1 false or misleading talk or behaviour. 2 a person who is not sincere or honest. 3 Brit. a boiled peppermint sweet. humdinger /hum-ding-er/ ·n. informal an outstanding person or thing. humdrum ·adj. lacking excitement or variety; dull. ­ origin prob. from hum. humerus /hyoo-muh-ruhss/ ·n. (pl. humeri /hyoo-muh-ry/) the bone of the upper arm, between the shoulder and the elbow. ­ derivatives humeral adj. ­ origin Latin, `shoulder'. humid /hyoo-mid/ ·adj. (of the air or weather) damp and warm. ­ origin Latin humidus. humidify ·v. (humidifies, humidifying, humidified) increase the level of moisV ture in air. ­ derivatives humidification n. humidifier n. humidity ·n. 1 the state of being humid. 2 the amount of moisture in the air. humiliate ·v. (humiliates, humiliating,
earth or land. 2 a rounded part projecting from the back of a camel or other animal or as an abnormality on a person's back. · v. 1 informal, esp. Brit. carry a heavy object with difficulty. 2 (as adj. humped) having a hump. ­ phrases get the hump Brit. informal become annoyed or sulky. ­ derivatives humpy adj. ­ origin prob. from German humpe. humpback ·n. = hunchback. ­ derivatives humpbacked adj. humpback bridge ·n. Brit. a small road bridge that slopes steeply on both sides. humus /hyoo-muhss/ ·n. a substance found in soil, formed from dead or dying leaves and other plant material. ­ origin Latin, `soil'. Hun ·n. 1 a member of a people from Asia who invaded Europe in the 4th­5th centuries. 2 informal, derog. a German (especially during the First and Second World Wars). ­ origin Greek Hounnoi. hunch ·v. raise the shoulders and bend the top of the body forward. · n. a belief that something is true, based on a
humiliated) make someone feel
feeling rather than evidence.
ashamed or stupid in front of another. ­ derivatives humiliation n. ­ origin Latin humiliare `make humble'. humility ·n. the quality of being humble.
hunchback ·n. offens. a person with a hump on their back. hundred ·cardinal number 1 ten more than ninety; 100. (Roman numeral: c or C.) 2 (hundreds) informal a large number.
hummingbird ·n. a small, chiefly
­ phrases a (or one) hundred per cent
tropical American bird able to hover by
completely.
beating its wings very fast.
­ derivatives hundredfold adj. & adv.
hummock ·n. a small hill or mound. hummus /huu-muhss/ (also houmous) · n. a thick Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas purйed with olive oil
hundredth ordinal number. ­ origin Old English. hundreds and thousands ·pl. n. Brit. tiny coloured sugar strands used for
and garlic.
decorating cakes and desserts.
­ origin Arabic.
hundredweight ·n. (pl.
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