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

all right
Share:
adj.
1.
a. In proper or satisfactory condition: checked to see if the tires were all right.
b. Acceptable; allowable: Delaying the repair is all right by me.
c. all-right (ôlrīt) Informal Satisfactory; good: an all-right fellow; an all-right movie.
2. Correct: Your answers are all right.
3. Average; mediocre: The performance was just all right, not remarkable.
4. Not in danger or difficulty; safe or uninjured: The passengers were shaken up but are all right.
5. In good physical or mental condition; healthy or untroubled: I am feeling all right again.
adv.
1. In a satisfactory way; adequately: I held up all right under pressure.
2. Very well; yes. Used as a reply to a question or to introduce a declaration: All right, I'll go.
3. Without a doubt: It's cold, all right.
interj.
Used to express great satisfaction, approval, or happiness.

Usage Note: Despite the frequent use of the form alright the single word spelling is still widely viewed as nonstandard. In our 2009 survey, more than two-thirds of the Usage Panel rejected alright in examples like Don't worry. Everything will be alright, whereas over 90 percent accepted all right in the same examples. This resistance may seem peculiar, since similar fusions incorporating all, such as already and altogether, have never raised any objections. The difference may lie in the fact that already and altogether became single words back in the Middle Ages, whereas alright has only been around for a little more than a century and was called out by language critics as a misspelling. Readers may view the use of alright, especially in formal writing, as an error or a willful breaking of convention.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.