1. A small mass of soft material, often folded or rolled, used for padding, stuffing, or packing.
2. A compressed ball, roll, or lump, as of tobacco or chewing gum.
a. A plug, as of cloth or paper, used to retain a powder charge in a muzzleloading gun or cannon.
b. A disk, as of felt or paper, used to keep the powder and shot in place in a shotgun cartridge.
4. Informal A large amount: a wad of troubles.
a. A sizable roll of paper money.
b. A considerable amount of money.
6. Vulgar Slang An ejaculation of semen.
tr.v. wad·ded, wad·ding, wads
1. To compress into a wad: wad a candy wrapper.
2. To pad, pack, line, or plug with wadding: wad a keyhole.
a. To hold (shot or powder) in place with a wad.
b. To insert a wad into (a firearm).
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:
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.