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!

melt (mĕlt)
Share:
v. melt·ed, melt·ing, melts
v.intr.
1. To be changed from a solid to a liquid state especially by the application of heat.
2. To dissolve: Sugar melts in water.
3. To disappear or vanish gradually as if by dissolving: The crowd melted away after the rally.
4. To pass or merge imperceptibly into something else: Sea melted into sky along the horizon.
5. To become softened in feeling: Our hearts melted at the child's tears.
6. Obsolete To be overcome or crushed, as by grief, dismay, or fear.
v.tr.
1. To change (a solid) to a liquid state especially by the application of heat.
2. To dissolve: The tide melted our sand castle away.
3. To cause to disappear gradually; disperse.
4. To cause (units) to blend: "Here individuals of all races are melted into a new race of men" (Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur).
5. To soften (someone's feelings); make gentle or tender.
n.
1. A melted solid; a fused mass.
2. The state of being melted.
3.
a. The act or operation of melting.
b. The quantity melted at a single operation or in one period.
4. A usually open sandwich topped with melted cheese: a tuna melt.
Phrasal Verb:
melt down
1. To undergo a meltdown. Used of a nuclear reactor.
2. To undergo a failure or collapse.
3. To become very angry or upset.

[Middle English melten, from Old English meltan; see mel-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

melta·bili·ty n.
melta·ble adj.
melter n.
melting·ly adv.
melty adj.

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.