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

bang 1 (băng)
Share:
n.
1. A sudden loud noise, as of an explosion.
2. A sudden loud blow or bump.
3. Informal A sudden burst of action: The campaign started off with a bang.
4. Slang A sense of excitement; a thrill: We got a bang out of watching the old movies.
v. banged, bang·ing, bangs
v. tr.
1. To strike heavily and often repeatedly; bump.
2. To close suddenly and loudly; slam.
3. To handle noisily or violently: banged the pots in the kitchen.
4. Informal To turn in (a specific direction or along a course), especially suddenly: bang a left onto Boylston Street.
5. Vulgar Slang To have sexual intercourse with.
v. intr.
1. To make a sudden loud, explosive noise.
2. To crash noisily against or into something: My elbow banged against the door.
adv.
1. Exactly; precisely: The arrow hit bang on the target.
2. Suddenly; abruptly: cut the conversation bang off.
interj.
Used to indicate the sound of an explosion or collision.
Phrasal Verbs:
bang away
1. To speak or ask questions in a rapid, aggressive manner: reporters banging away at the official during the press conference.
2. To work diligently and often at length: banged away at the project until it was finished.
bang up
To damage extensively: banged up the car.
Idiom:
bang for the (or one's)buck
Value returned for investment or effort.

[Probably from Old Norse bang, a hammering.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bang 2 (băng)
Share:
n.
often bangs A fringe of hair that hangs over the forehead, cut in any of various styles.
tr.v. banged, bang·ing, bangs
To cut (hair) to form bangs.

[From BANG1, abruptly, as in the phrase cut bang off, to cut off abruptly.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
bang 3 (băng)
Share:
n.
Variant of bhang.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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.