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HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

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THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

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The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.

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See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

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100 Words
100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know

Middle school presents students with new challenges as they make the leap from childhood to adolescence and prepare to step into a broader world. The subjects at school are more demanding, teachers have higher expectations, and homework multiplies.

One thing parents can do to help their kids negotiate this often-daunting transition is to equip them with a well-rounded and robust vocabulary. Knowing more sophisticated words—what they mean, how to spell and pronounce them—makes reading easier and writing more expressive.

This book focuses on words that students are sure to encounter in the middle school grades. Each word has a dictionary definition and a pronunciation and appears in at least one quotation. Authors quoted include young-adult favorites such as J. K. Rowling, Lois Lowry, Jerry Spinelli, and Gary Soto. Students will discover why these authors have chosen these words, and will see what a difference the right word can make.

If students are attentive and persistent in their reading, soon they will be writing with gusto and zeal!


Here is a complete list of the words in 100 Words Every Middle Schooler Should Know:

adversary
aplomb
apprehensive
aptitude
attentive
banish
barricade
bluff
brackish
brandish
circumference
commotion
concoction
conspicuous
contortion
counter
cunning
debris
defiance
deft
destination
diminish
disdain
dismal
dispel
eavesdrop
egregious
ember
emerge
engross
exasperation
exhilarate
falter
foresight
fragrance
furtive
grueling
gusto
habitation
hasten
headway
ignite
illuminate
impending
imperious
jabber
jargon
jostle
jut
kindle
knoll
luminous
malleable
materialize
meander
meticulous
misgivings
momentum
monotonous
multitude
muster
narrate
obscure
ominous
outlandish
persistent
pertinent
potential
precipice
pristine
pristine
quell
recluse
recuperate
replenish
repugnant
restitution
sabotage
scarcity
scurry
serenity
sociable
somber
specimen
stamina
subside
swagger
swarm
tactic
terse
translucent
uncanny
unsightly
versatile
vigilant
vulnerable
waft
waver
weather
zeal


Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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