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!

lee (lē)
Share:
n.
1. Nautical The side away from the direction from which the wind blows.
2. An area sheltered from the wind: in the lee of the boulder.
3. Cover; shelter.
adj.
1. Nautical Of or relating to the side sheltered from the wind: the lee gunwale.
2. Located in or facing the path of an oncoming glacier. Used of a geologic formation.

[Middle English le, from Old English hlēo, shelter, protection; see kelə-1 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.
 
Lee, Gypsy Rose Originally Rose Louise Hovick. 1911-1970.
Share:
American burlesque entertainer whose memoir Gypsy (1957) was the basis for a popular musical of the same name.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Tsung-Dao Born 1926.
Share:
Chinese-born American physicist who shared a 1957 Nobel Prize for theorizing that the principle of parity conservation did not hold in weak interactions between elementary particles.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Charles 1731-1782.
Share:
British-born American Revolutionary general whose performance at the Battle of Monmouth (1778), when he ordered a retreat instead of attacking, brought about his court-martial and dismissal.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee (lē), Ann Known as "Mother Ann." 1736-1784.
Share:
British religious leader and founder (1776) of the Shakers in America.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Shelton Jackson Known as "Spike." Born 1957.
Share:
American director, screenwriter, and actor whose films, including Do the Right Thing (1989) and Malcolm X (1992), explore race relations in America.
(click for a larger image)
Spike Lee
photographed in 2008

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Robert Edward 1807-1870.
Share:
American Confederate general in the Civil War. He won victories at Bull Run (1862), Fredericksburg (1862), and Chancellorsville (1863) before surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox (1865).
(click for a larger image)
Robert E. Lee
c. 1864 photograph by Julian Vannerson (1827-1875?)

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Richard Henry 1732-1794.
Share:
American Revolutionary leader who proposed the resolution calling for the independence of the American colonies from England (1776).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, (Nelle) Harper 1926-2016.
Share:
American writer. Her novel To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), dealing with racial injustice in the South, won a Pulitzer Prize.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Lee, Henry Known as "Light Horse Harry." 1756-1818.
Share:
American Revolutionary politician and soldier. He served in the Virginia legislature (1785-1788 and 1789-1791) and as governor of Virginia (1792-1795).

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.