use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

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. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge 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

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

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

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

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

scroll-icon

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.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

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

Find out more!

palm 1 (päm)
Share:
n.
1.
a. The inner surface of the hand that extends from the wrist to the base of the fingers.
b. The similar part of the forefoot of a quadruped.
2. A unit of length equal to either the width or the length of the hand.
3. The part of a glove or mitten that covers the palm of the hand.
4. Nautical A metal shield worn by sailmakers over the palm of the hand and used to force a needle through heavy canvas.
5. Nautical The blade of an oar or paddle.
6. The flattened part of the antlers of certain animals, such as the moose.
tr.v. palmed, palm·ing, palms
1.
a. To hold in the palm of the hand.
b. To touch or stroke with the palm of the hand.
2. To conceal in the palm of the hand, as in cheating at dice or cards or in a sleight-of-hand trick.
3. To pick up furtively.
4. Basketball To commit a violation by letting (the ball) rest momentarily in the palm of the hand while dribbling.
Phrasal Verb:
palm off
To dispose of or pass off by deception.
Idiom:
an itchy palm
A strong desire for money, especially bribes.

[Middle English paume, from Old French, from Latin palma, palm tree, palm of the hand; see pelə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

palmful n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
palm 2 (päm)
Share:
n.
1. Any of numerous chiefly tropical evergreen trees, shrubs, or woody vines of the family Arecaceae (or Palmae), characteristically having an unbranched trunk with a crown of large pinnate or palmate leaves having conspicuous parallel venation.
2. A leaf of a palm tree, regarded as an emblem of victory, success, or joy.
3. A small metallic representation of a palm leaf added to a military decoration that has been awarded more than one time.

[Middle English, from Old English and from Old French palme, both from Latin palma, palm of the hand, palm tree (from the shape of the tree's fronds); see pelə-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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.