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!

hack 1 (hăk)
Share:
v. hacked, hack·ing, hacks
v.tr.
1. To cut or chop with repeated and irregular blows: hacked down the saplings.
2. To make or shape by hitting or chopping with a sharp implement: hacked a trail through the forest.
3. To break up the surface of (soil).
4.
a. To alter (a computer program): hacked her text editor to read HTML.
b. To gain access to (a computer file or network) illegally or without authorization: hacked the firm's personnel database.
5. Slang To cut or mutilate as if by hacking: hacked millions off the budget.
6. Slang To cope with successfully; manage: couldn't hack a second job.
v.intr.
1. To chop or cut something by hacking.
2.
a. To write or refine computer programs skillfully.
b. To use one's skill in computer programming to gain illegal or unauthorized access to a file or network: hacked into the company's intranet.
3. To cough roughly or harshly.
n.
1. A rough, irregular cut made by hacking.
2. A tool, such as a hoe, used for hacking.
3. A blow made by hacking.
4. An attempt to hit a baseball; a swing of the bat.
5.
a. An instance of gaining unauthorized access to a computer file or network.
b. A program that makes use of existing often proprietary software, adding new features to it.
c. A clever modification or improvement.
6. A rough, dry cough.

[Middle English hakken, from Old English -haccian; see keg- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. V., intr., sense 2, back-formation from HACKER1.]

hacka·ble adj.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
hack 2 (hăk)
Share:
n.
1. A horse used for riding or driving; a hackney.
2. A worn-out horse for hire; a jade.
3.
a. One who undertakes unpleasant or distasteful tasks for money or reward; a hireling.
b. A writer hired to produce routine or commercial writing.
4. A carriage or hackney for hire.
5. Informal
a. A taxicab.
b. See hackie.
v. hacked, hack·ing, hacks
v.tr.
1. To let out (a horse) for hire.
2. To make banal or hackneyed with indiscriminate use.
v.intr.
1. To drive a taxicab for a living.
2. To work for hire as a writer.
3. To ride on horseback at an ordinary pace.
adj.
1. By, characteristic of, or designating routine or commercial writing: hack prose.
2. Hackneyed; banal.
Phrasal Verb:
hack out Informal
To produce (written material, for example), especially hastily or routinely: hacked out a weekly column.

[Short for HACKNEY.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 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.