use-icon

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.

guide to the dictionary

use-icon

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

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

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

100-words-icon

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

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

dum·my (dŭmē)
Share:
n. pl. dum·mies
1. An imitation of a real or original object, intended to be used as a practical substitute.
2.
a. A mannequin used in displaying clothes.
b. A figure of a person or an animal manipulated by a ventriloquist.
c. A stuffed or pasteboard figure used as a target.
d. Football A heavy stuffed cylindrical bag used for blocking and tackling practice.
3. A stupid person; a dolt.
4. A silent or taciturn person.
5.
a. Law A person or entity that is the named party to a transaction but that acts on behalf of another concealed person or entity. Also called nominee, straw person.
b. A person or an agency secretly in the service of another.
6. Printing
a. One of a set of model pages with text and illustrations pasted into place to direct the printer. Also called dummy page.
b. A set of bound blank pages used as a model to show the size and general appearance of a book being published.
7. Games
a. The partner in bridge who exposes their hand to be played by the declarer.
b. The hand thus exposed.
8. Computers A character or other piece of information entered into a computer only to meet prescribed conditions, such as word length, and having no effect on operations.
adj.
1. Simulating or replacing something but lacking its function: a dummy pocket; a dummy medication in a study.
2. Serving as a front or cover for another: a dummy corporation.
3. Games Played with a dummy.
4. Computers Entered or provided only to meet prescribed conditions: a dummy variable.
tr.v. dum·mied, dum·my·ing, dum·mies
Printing
To make a model of (a publication or page).
Phrasal Verb:
dummy upSlang
To keep silent; give no information.

[From DUMB.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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.

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.