Terms in this set (982)
• [ trans. ] raise or haul up : she hoisted her backpack onto her shoulder.
[ intrans. ] he held onto the back of a chair.
• [ trans. ] keep or sustain in a specified position : I held the door open for him figurative : the people are held down by a repressive military regime.
• stay or cause to stay at a certain value or level : [ intrans. ] the savings rate held at 5% | [ trans. ] he is determined to hold down inflation.
• (of a favorable condition or situation) continue without changing : let's hope her luck holds. • be or remain valid or available : I'll have that coffee now, if the offer still holds.
• have or be characterized by : I don't know what the future holds.
• have or adhere to (a belief or opinion) : I feel nothing but pity for someone who holds such chauvinistic views | [with clause ] they hold that all literature is empty of meaning.
• prevent from going ahead or occurring : hold your fire!
1 an act or manner of grasping something; a grip : he caught hold of her arm | he lost his hold and fell.
• maintain (a telephone connection) until the person one has telephoned is free to speak : please hold, and I'll see if he's available | [ intrans. ] will you hold?
hold someone's hand give a person comfort, guidance, or moral support in a difficult situation.
on hold waiting to be connected while making a telephone call. • temporarily not being dealt with or pursued : he put his career on hold.
hold something against allow past actions or circumstances to have a negative influence on one's present attitude toward (someone) : he knew that if he failed her, she would hold it against him forever.
hold someone/something back prevent or restrict the advance, progress, or development of someone or something : Jane struggled to hold back her laughter. • ( hold something back) refuse or be unwilling to make something known : you're not holding anything back from me, are you?
hold someone/something off resist an attacker or challenge : he held off a late challenge by Vose to win by thirteen seconds.
hold on 1 [often in imperative ] wait; stop : hold on a minute, I'll be right back! 2 endure or keep going in difficult circumstances : if only they could hold on a little longer.
hold something out offer a chance or hope : a new drug may hold out hope for patients with lung cancer.
hold together (or hold something together) remain or cause to remain united : if your party holds together, you will probably win.
1 delay or block the movement or progress of someone or something : our return flight was held up for seven hours.
hold one's tongue [often in imperative ] informal remain silent.
hold (or take) someone hostage seize and keep someone as a hostage : they were held hostage by armed rebels | taken hostage at gunpoint.
hold someone/something at (or for) ransom
hold someone/something in contempt consider someone or something to be unworthy of respect or attention : the speed limit is held in contempt by many drivers.
1 having a hole or empty space inside : each fiber has a hollow core. • (of a thing) having a depression in its surface; concave : hollow cheeks.
2 without significance : the result was a hollow victory. • insincere : a hollow promise.
form by making a hole : a tunnel was hollowed out in a mountain range.
special honor or respect shown publicly : they paid homage to the local boy who became president | a masterly work written in homage to Beethoven. See note at honor .
2 ( home in on) move or be aimed toward (a target or destination) with great accuracy : more than 100 missiles were launched, homing in on radar emissions. • focus attention on : a teaching style that homes in on what is of central importance for each student.
a home away from home a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home. home is where the heart is proverb your home will always be the place for which you feel the deepest affection, no matter where you are. home sweet home used as an expression of one's pleasure or relief at being in or returning to one's own home.
a person's or a people's native land : migrants who departed from their Asian homeland.
2 Brit. (of a place or surroundings) simple but cozy and comfortable, as in one's own home : a modern hotel with a homely atmosphere. • unsophisticated and unpretentious : homely pleasures.
made at home, rather than in a store or factory : homemade apple pies | it sounds like the homemade album that it is.
the deliberate and unlawful killing of one person by another; murder : he was charged with homicide | two thirds of homicides in the county were drug-related.
of the same kind; alike : timbermen prefer to deal with homogeneous woods. • consisting of parts all of the same kind : culturally speaking the farmers constitute an extremely homogeneous group.
homophobia |ˈhɒməˈfəʊbɪə| |ˈhəʊmə-|
• (usu. be honed) make sharper or more focused or efficient : their appetites were honed by fresh air and exercise.
• [in sing. ] a person or thing that brings credit : you are an honor to our profession.
2 fulfill (an obligation) or keep (an agreement) : make sure the franchisees honor the terms of the contract.
in honor of as a celebration of or expression of respect for.
1 bringing or worthy of honor : this is the only honorable course | a decent and honorable man. See note at moral .
• (of a person) holding such a title or position : an honorary member of the club.
• figurative a thing designed to catch people's attention : companies are looking for a sales hook.
1 [ trans. ] attach or fasten with a hook or hooks : the truck had a red lamp hooked to its tailgate | she tried to hook up her bra. • [ intrans. ] be or become attached with a hook : a ladder that hooks over the roof ridge.
• (usu. be hooked) informal captivate : I was hooked by John's radical zeal.
off the hook 1 informal no longer in difficulty or trouble : I lied to get him off the hook. 2 (of a telephone receiver) not on its rest, and so preventing incoming calls.
1 informal excitement surrounding an event or situation, esp. when considered to be unnecessary fuss : the hoopla and ceremony of international competition.
the horny part of the foot of an ungulate animal, esp. a horse : there was a clatter of hoofs as a rider came up to them.
• (of a bird or other animal) move by jumping with two or all feet at once : a blackbird was hopping around in the sun. • spring or leap a short distance with one jump : he hopped down from the rock.
• informal make a quick trip : let's hop over to the bar. • make a quick change of position, location, or activity : over the years he hopped from one department to another.
hop in (or out) informal get into (or out of) a car : hop in then and we'll be off.
hope for the best hope for a favorable outcome.
in hopes of with the aim of : I lay on a towel in the park in hopes of getting a tan. in hopes that hoping that : they are screaming in hopes that a police launch will pick us up.
on the horizon just imminent or becoming apparent : trouble could be on the horizon.
2 (often horizons) the limit of a person's mental perception, experience, or interest : she wanted to leave home and broaden her horizons.
extremely unpleasant, horrifying, or terrible : she suffered horrendous injuries.
1 causing horror : a horrid nightmare. • informal very unpleasant or disagreeable : the teachers at school were horrid | a horrid brown color.
causing horror : horrific injuries.
1 an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust : children screamed in horror.
water, spray, or drench with a hose : he was hosing down the driveway.
friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests : two friendly, hospitable brothers run the hotel.
admit or cause (someone) to be admitted to a hospital for treatment : Casey was hospitalized for chest pains.
a large number of people or things : a host of memories rushed into her mind.
• a person, place, or organization that holds and organizes an event to which others are invited : Innsbruck once played host to the Winter Olympics. • an area in which particular living things are found : Australia is host to some of the world's most dangerous animals.
unfriendly; antagonistic : a hostile audience | he wrote a ferociously hostile attack.
• [ predic. ] opposed : people are very hostile to the idea.
hostile behavior; unfriendliness or opposition : their hostility to all outsiders.
4 involving much activity, debate, or intense feeling : the environment has become a very hot issue. • (esp. of news) fresh or recent and therefore of great interest : have I got some hot gossip for you! • currently popular, fashionable, or in demand : they know the hottest dance moves.
hot-tempered adjective easily angered; quick-tempered.
• an environment promoting the growth of something, esp. something unwelcome : the country was a hotbed of revolt and dissension.
in a passionate, excited, or angry way : the rumors were hotly denied | : hotly debated issues.
• a time of day or night : you can't turn him away at this hour.
hour-long (also hourlong) adjective [ attrib. ] lasting for one hour.
1 done or occurring every hour : there is an hourly bus service. • (with numeral or fraction) occurring at intervals measured in hours : diamorphine was prescribed at four-hourly doses | trains run at half-hourly intervals.
2 reckoned hour by hour : to introduce standard fees instead of hourly rates.
• (with numeral or fraction) at intervals measured in hours : temperature should be recorded four-hourly. 2 by the hour : hourly paid workers.
a person or thing that is well known by the public : I'd like to sell gazillions of books and become a household name.
remain in one place in the air : army helicopters hovered overhead. • remain poised in one place, typically with slight but undirected movement : her hand hovered over the console.
• remain at or near a particular level : inflation will hover around the 4 percent mark. • remain in a state that is between two specified states or kinds of things : his expression hovered between cynicism and puzzlement.
how so? how can you show that that is so?
how dare you used to express indignation : how dare you talk to me like that!
I dare say (or daresay) used to indicate that one believes something is probable : I dare say you've heard about her.
2 [ relative adv. ] in whatever way; regardless of how : however you look at it, you can't criticize that. • [with adj. or adv. ] to whatever extent : he was hesitant to take the risk, however small.
make a howling sound : he howled in agony | : the wind howled around the house.
hubris |ˈhjuːbrɪs| noun excessive pride or self-confidence.
crowd together; nestle closely : they huddled together for warmth. • curl one's body into a small space : the watchman remained, huddled under his canvas shelter.
a color or shade : her face lost its golden hue | verdigris is greenish-yellow in hue.
1 make a low, steady continuous sound like that of a bee : the computers hummed. • sing with closed lips : he hummed softly to himself | [ trans. ] she was humming a cheerful tune.
1 having or showing compassion or benevolence : regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals. • inflicting the minimum of pain : humane methods of killing.
1 the human race; human beings collectively : appalling crimes against humanity. • the fact or condition of being human; human nature : a few moments when Soviets and Canadians shared their common humanity.
1 from a human point of view; in a human manner : they can grow both humanly and spiritually. • by human means; within human ability : we did all that was humanly possible.
• (of an action or thought) offered with or affected by such an estimate of one's own importance : my humble apologies. 2 of low social, administrative, or political rank : she came from a humble, unprivileged background. • (of a thing) of modest pretensions or dimensions : he built the business empire from humble beginnings.
1 having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance : he was humble about his stature as one of rock history's most influential guitarists.
make (someone) feel ashamed and foolish by injuring their dignity and self-respect, esp. publicly : you'll humiliate me in front of the whole school! | [as adj. ] ( humiliating) a humiliating election defeat. See note at humble .
• the ability to perceive or express humor or to appreciate a joke : their inimitable brand of humor | she has a great sense of humor. 2 a mood or state of mind : her good humor vanished | the clash hadn't improved his humor.
raise (one's shoulders) and bend the top of one's body forward : he thrust his hands in his pockets, hunching his shoulders | [ intrans. ] he hunched over his glass.
1 a feeling or guess based on intuition rather than known facts : she was acting on a hunch.
hunchback |ˈhʌn(t)ʃbak| noun a back deformed by a sharp forward angle, forming a hump, typically caused by collapse of a vertebra.
• a strong desire or craving : her hunger for knowledge.
throw (an object) with great force : rioters hurled a brick through the windshield of a car. • push or impel (someone) violently : I seized Nathan and hurled him into the lobby | figurative he hurled himself into the job with enthusiasm.
make (someone) be quiet or stop talking : he placed a finger before pursed lips to hush her. • [ intrans. ] be quiet : Hush! Someone will hear you.
(esp. of an official plan or project) highly secret or confidential : a hush-hush research unit.
1 busy movement and activity : the hustle and bustle of the big cities. • energetic effort : he forced a turnover with his hustle, diving after a loose ball.
2 strong; hefty : Patrick looked a husky, strong guy.
• [ trans. ] push roughly; jostle : they were hissed and hustled as they went in. • [ intrans. ] hurry; bustle : he had to retag second base and hustle back to first.
conditions or practices conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. through cleanliness : poor standards of food hygiene | personal hygiene.
conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease, esp. by being clean; sanitary : hygienic conditions. See note at sanitary .
a religious song or poem, typically of praise to God or a god : a Hellenistic hymn to Apollo.
• a song, text, or other composition praising or celebrating someone or something : a most unusual passage like a hymn to the great outdoors.
hyperbole |hʌɪˈpəːbəli| noun exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
1 of, producing, or relating to hypnosis : a hypnotic state. • exerting a compelling, fascinating, or soporific effect : her voice had a hypnotic quality.
produce a state of hypnosis in (someone) : a witness had been hypnotized to enhance his memory. • capture the whole attention of (someone); fascinate : hypnotized by the rain, Eric stared across the street.
hypocrisy |hɪˈpɒkrɪsi| noun ( pl. -sies) the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation : professional astronomers attacked him for popularizing an unconfirmed hypothesis.
put (something) forward as a hypothesis : it was reasonable to hypothesize a viral causality | [with clause ] they hypothesize that the naturally high insulin levels result from a "thrifty gene."
of, based on, or serving as a hypothesis : that option is merely hypothetical at this juncture.
exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement, esp. among a group of people : the mass hysteria that characterizes the week before Christmas.
1 ( hysterics) informal a wildly emotional and exaggerated reaction : the child has been seized with regular fits of hysterics at bedtime. • uncontrollable laughter : this started them both giggling and they fled upstairs in hysterics.
1 deriving from or affected by uncontrolled extreme emotion : hysterical laughter | the band was mobbed by hysterical fans. • informal extremely funny : her attempts to teach them to dance were hysterical.
break the ice do or say something to relieve tension or get conversation going at the start of a party or when people meet for the first time.
on thin ice in a precarious or risky situation : you're skating on thin ice.
covered with or consisting of ice : there were icy patches on the roads. • very cold : an icy wind. • figurative (of a person's tone or manner) very unfriendly; hostile : her voice was icy.
of, relating to, or of the nature of an icon : language is not in general an iconic sign system.
2 treat as an icon : they iconized him as an iron-jawed symbol of American manhood.
iconoclast |ʌɪˈkɒnəklast| noun 1 a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.
2 ( the idea) the aim or purpose : I took a job with the idea of getting some money together.
that's the idea informal used to confirm to someone that they have understood something or they are doing something correctly : "A sort of bodyguard?" "That's the idea."
1 satisfying one's conception of what is perfect; most suitable : the swimming pool is ideal for a quick dip | this is an ideal opportunity to save money.
1 similar in every detail; exactly alike : four girls in identical green outfits | the passage on the second floor was identical to the one below. See note at same .
1 (often be identified) establish or indicate who or what (someone or something) is : the judge ordered that the girl not be identified | the contact would identify himself simply as Cobra. • recognize or distinguish (esp. something considered worthy of attention) : a system that ensures that the student's real needs are identified. 2 ( identify someone/something with) associate (someone) closely with; regard (someone) as having strong links with : he was equivocal about being identified too closely with the peace movement. • equate (someone or something) with : because of my upstate accent, people identified me with a homely farmer's wife. • [ intrans. ] ( identify with) regard oneself as sharing the same characteristics or thinking as someone else : I liked Fromm and identified with him.
1 ( pl. -gies) a system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy : the ideology of republicanism.
of or relating to idiosyncrasy; peculiar or individual : she emerged as one of the great idiosyncratic talents of the Nineties.
a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual : one of his little idiosyncrasies was always preferring to be in the car first. • a distinctive or peculiar feature or characteristic of a place or thing : the idiosyncrasies of the prison system.
1 (esp. of a machine or factory) not active or in use : assembly lines standing idle for lack of spare parts.
• [ attrib. ] (of time) characterized by inaction or absence of significant activity : at no time in the day must there be an idle moment.
admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively : he idolized his mother. See note at revere .
admire, revere, or love greatly or excessively : he idolized his mother. See note at revere .
4 [with modal ] expressing a polite request : if I could trouble you for your names? | if you wouldn't mind giving him a message? 5 expressing an opinion : that's an awfully long walk, if you don't mind my saying so | if you ask me, he's in love.
a condition or supposition : there are so many ifs and buts in the policy.
if anything used to suggest tentatively that something may be the case (often the opposite of something previously implied) : I haven't made much of this—if anything, I've played it down.
if I were you used to accompany a piece of advice : I would go to see him if I were you.
if my memory serves me if I remember correctly.
if need be if necessary.
if worst comes to worst if the most serious or difficult circumstances arise.
if you ask me informal used to emphasize that a statement is one's personal opinion : if you ask me, it's just an excuse for laziness.
if you please 1 used in polite requests : follow me, if you please. 2 used to express indignation at something perceived as unreasonable : she wants me to make fifty cakes in time for the festival, if you please!
catch fire or cause to catch fire : [ intrans. ] furniture can give off lethal fumes when it ignites | [ trans. ] sparks flew out and ignited the dry scrub. • [ trans. ] figurative arouse (an emotion) : the words ignited new fury in him. • [ trans. ] figurative inflame or instigate (a situation) : they were about to ignite the European socialist revolution.
the action of setting something on fire or starting to burn : three minutes after ignition, the flames were still growing.
lack of knowledge or information : he acted in ignorance of basic procedures.
• [ predic. ] lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular : they were ignorant of astronomy.
refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally : he ignored her outraged question. See note at neglect .
(of a person) unwise or imprudent : you would be ill-advised to go on your own. • badly thought out : ill-advised financial ventures.
ill-conceived adjective not carefully planned or considered : ill-conceived schemes.
ill-judged adjective lacking careful consideration; unwise : an ill-judged decision.
not clear enough to be read : his handwriting is totally illegible.
not authorized by the law; not in accordance with accepted standards or rules : an illegitimate exercise of power by the military.
forbidden by law, rules, or custom : illicit drugs | illicit sex.
unable to read or write : his parents were illiterate. • [with submodifier ] ignorant in a particular subject or activity : the extent to which voters are politically illiterate.
lacking sense or clear, sound reasoning : an illogical fear of the supernatural.
light up : a flash of lightning illuminated the house | figurative his face was illuminated by a smile.
be under the illusion that believe mistakenly that : the world is under the illusion that the original painting still hangs in the Winter Palace. be under no illusion (or illusions) be fully aware of the true state of affairs.
a false idea or belief : he had no illusions about the trouble she was in. • a deceptive appearance or impression : the illusion of family togetherness | the tension between illusion and reality.
deceptive; illusory : that illusive haven.
a place of safety or refuge : a haven for wildlife.
based on illusion; not real : she knew the safety of her room was illusory. See note at ostensible .
provide (a book, newspaper, etc.) with pictures : the guide is illustrated with full-color photographs. • explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, pictures, etc. : the results are illustrated in Figure 7. • serve as an example of : a collection of pieces that illustrate Bach's techniques.
well known, respected, and admired for past achievements : his illustrious predecessor | an illustrious career.
visually descriptive or figurative language, esp. in a literary work : Tennyson uses imagery to create a lyrical emotion. • visual images collectively : the impact of computer-generated imagery on contemporary art.
possible to be thought of or believed : the most spectacular views imaginable.
1 existing only in the imagination : Chris had imaginary conversations with her.
having or showing creativity or inventiveness : making imaginative use of computer software | he was imaginative beyond all other architects. See note at creative .
lack of proportion or relation between corresponding things : tension is generated by the imbalance of power | the condition is caused by a hormonal imbalance.
fix (an object) firmly and deeply in a surrounding mass : he had an operation to remove a nail embedded in his chest. • figurative implant (an idea or feeling) within something else so it becomes an ingrained or essential characteristic of it : the Victorian values embedded in Tennyson's poetry.
inspire or permeate with a feeling or quality : he was imbued with a deep Christian piety.
• following a model or example without any attempt at originality : an ill-conceived and imitative addition to the museum.
(esp. of a person or their clothes) perfectly clean, neat, or tidy : an immaculate white suit. • free from flaws or mistakes; perfect : an immaculate safety record.
1 unimportant under the circumstances; irrelevant : so long as the band kept the beat, what they played was immaterial.
too large, extensive, or extreme to measure : immeasurable suffering.
1 occurring or done at once; instant : the authorities took no immediate action | the book's success was immediate. • relating to or existing at the present time : the immediate concern was how to avoid taxes.
extremely large or great, esp. in scale or degree : the cost of restoration has been immense | an immense apartment building.
1 dip or submerge in a liquid : immerse the paper in water for twenty minutes.
2 ( immerse oneself or be immersed) figurative involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest : she immersed herself in her work | she was still immersed in her thoughts.
• deep mental involvement : his total immersion in Marxism.
come to live permanently in a foreign country : the Mennonites immigrated to western Canada in the 1870s.
1 about to happen : they were in imminent danger of being swept away.
not moving; motionless : she sat immobile for a long time. • incapable of moving or being moved : an immobile work force.
prevent (something or someone) from moving or operating as normal : I want you to immobilize their vehicle | fear had immobilized her.
not sensible or restrained; excessive : immoderate drinking.
not conforming to accepted standards of morality : an immoral and unwinnable war.
living forever; never dying or decaying : our mortal bodies are inhabited by immortal souls. • deserving to be remembered forever : the immortal children's classic, "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer."
resistant to a particular infection or toxin owing to the presence of specific antibodies or sensitized white blood cells : they were naturally immune to hepatitis B. • protected or exempt, esp. from an obligation or the effects of something : they are immune from legal action. • [ predic. ] not affected or influenced by something : no one is immune to his immense charm. • [ attrib. ] Biology of or relating to immunity : the body's immune system.
make (a person or animal) immune to infection, typically by inoculation : the vaccine is used to immunize children against measles.
• protection or exemption from something, esp. an obligation or penalty : the rebels were given immunity from prosecution.
• ( immunity to) lack of susceptibility, esp. to something unwelcome or harmful : products must have an adequate level of immunity to interference | exercises designed to build an immunity to fatigue.
weaken or damage (esp. a human faculty or function) : drug use that impairs job performance.
1 pierce or transfix with a sharp instrument : his head was impaled on a pike and exhibited for all to see.
unable to be felt by touch : an impalpable ghost. • not easily comprehended : something so impalpable as personhood.
make (information) known; communicate : teachers had a duty to impart strong morals to their students. • bestow (a quality) : its main use has been to impart a high surface gloss to finished articles.
treating all rivals or disputants equally; fair and just : independent and impartial advice.
impossible to travel along or over : the narrow channels are impassable to oceangoing ships.
a situation in which no progress is possible, esp. because of disagreement; a deadlock : the current political impasse.
2 restlessly eager : they are impatient for change | [with infinitive ] he was impatient to be on his way.
call into question the integrity or validity of (a practice) : there is no basis to Searle's motion to impeach the verdict. • charge (the holder of a public office) with misconduct : the governor served only one year before being impeached and convicted for fiscal fraud.
(of behavior, performance, or appearance) in accordance with the highest standards of propriety; faultless : a man of impeccable character.
delay or prevent (someone or something) by obstructing them; hinder : the sap causes swelling that can impede breathing. See note at hinder .
a hindrance or obstruction in doing something : a serious impediment to scientific progress.
drive, force, or urge (someone) to do something : financial difficulties impelled him to desperate measures | [ trans. ] a lack of equality impelled the oppressed to fight. • drive forward; propel : vital energies impel him in unforeseen directions.
1 impossible to pass through or enter : a dark, impenetrable forest. • (of a club or group) secretive and exclusive : an impenetrable clique. • impervious to new ideas or influences : his career shows just how impenetrable European assumptions were.
1 of vital importance; crucial : immediate action was imperative | [with clause ] it is imperative that standards be maintained.
1 an essential or urgent thing : free movement of labor was an economic imperative. • a factor or influence making something necessary : the change came about through a financial imperative. • a thing felt as an obligation : the moral imperative of aiding Third World development.
impossible to perceive : his head moved in an almost imperceptible nod.
lacking in perception or insight : she dismissed the statement as juvenile or at least imperceptive.
1 of or relating to an empire : Britain's imperial era.
impermanent |ɪmˈpəːmənənt| adjective not permanent.
not allowing fluid to pass through : an impermeable membrane. • not liable to be affected by pain or distress; insusceptible or imperturbable : women who appear impermeable to pain.
1 not influenced by, showing, or involving personal feelings : the impersonal march of progress.
pretend to be (another person) as entertainment or in order to deceive someone : it's a very serious offense to impersonate a police officer. See note at imitate .
not allowing fluid to pass through : an impervious layer of basaltic clay. • [ predic. ] ( impervious to) unable to be affected by : he worked, apparently impervious to the heat.
the force or energy with which a body moves : hit the booster coil before the flywheel loses all its impetus. • the force that makes something happen or happen more quickly : the crisis of the 1860s provided the original impetus for the settlements.
have an effect or impact, esp. a negative one : Nora was determined that the tragedy would impinge as little as possible on Constance's life. • advance over an area belonging to someone or something else; encroach : the site impinges on a greenbelt area.
unable to be placated : he was an implacable enemy of Ted's. • relentless; unstoppable : the implacable advance of the enemy.
insert or fix (tissue or an artificial object) in a person's body, esp. by surgery : electrodes had been implanted in his brain. • ( implant someone/something with) provide someone or something with (something) by such insertion : rats implanted with amphetamine pellets.
(of an argument or statement) not seeming reasonable or probable; failing to convince : this is a blatantly implausible claim.
put (a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect : the regulations implement a 1954 treaty.
2 [with clause ] convey (a meaning or intention) indirectly through what one says, rather than stating it explicitly; imply : by saying that coffee would keep her awake, Mary implicated that she didn't want any.
1 show (someone) to be involved in a crime : police claims implicated him in many more killings.
1 the conclusion that can be drawn from something, although it is not explicitly stated : the implication is that no one person at the bank is responsible. • a likely consequence of something : a victory that had important political implications.
collapse or cause to collapse violently inward : [ intrans. ] the windows on both sides of the room had imploded [ trans. ] : these forces would implode the pellet to a density 100 times higher than that of lead.
beg someone earnestly or desperately to do something : [ trans. ] he implored her to change her mind | [with direct speech ] "Please don't talk that way," Ellen implored. See note at beg .
not having or showing good manners; rude : it would have been impolite to refuse.
1 [ trans. ] force (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place : the decision was theirs and was not imposed on them by others.
1 the action or process of imposing something or of being imposed : the imposition of martial law.
1 unable to take effective action; helpless or powerless : he was seized with an impotent anger.
make (a person or area) poor : they discourage investment and impoverish their people | [as adj. ] ( impoverished) impoverished peasant farmers.
1 (of an object or course of action) not adapted for use or action; not sensible or realistic : impractical high heels | his impractical romanticism. • (of a person) not skilled or interested in practical matters : Paul was impractical and dreamy.
lacking exactness and accuracy of expression or detail : the witness could give only vague and imprecise descriptions.
impregnate |ˈɪmprɛgneɪt| verb [ trans. ] 1 make (a woman or female animal) pregnant.
1 [ trans. ] (usu. be imprinted) impress or stamp (a mark or outline) on a surface or body : tire marks were imprinted in the snow. • make an impression or mark on (something) : clothes imprinted with the logos of sports teams. • figurative fix (an idea) firmly in someone's mind : he would always have this ghastly image imprinted on his mind.
1 a mark made by pressing something on to a softer substance so that its outline is reproduced : he made imprints of the keys in bars of soap. • figurative a lasting impression or effect : years in the colonies had left their imprint.
put or keep in prison or a place like a prison : he was imprisoned for six months for contempt of court.
done without being planned, organized, or rehearsed : [as adj. ] an impromptu press conference | [as adv. ] he spoke impromptu. See note at spontaneous .
create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation : the ability to improvise operatic arias in any given style | [ intrans. ] he was improvising to a backing of guitar chords | [as adj. ] ( improvised) improvised humor.
not in accordance with accepted rules or standards, esp. of morality or honesty : he was accused of improper behavior in his business dealings.
not showing care for the consequences of an action; rash : it would be imprudent to leave her winter coat behind.
a strong urge to do something; an impulse : the impulsion of the singers to govern the pace.
1 acting or done without forethought : they had married as young impulsive teenagers | perhaps he's regretting his impulsive offer. See note at spontaneous .
exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action : the impunity enjoyed by military officers implicated in civilian killings | protesters burned flags on the streets with impunity.
in (or like) a flash very quickly; immediately : she was out of the back door in a flash.
in a nutshell in the fewest possible words : she put the matter in a nutshell.
in a pinch in a critical situation; if absolutely necessary.
in a word briefly.
in accord with according to.
in advance of ahead of in time or space; before : we went on ahead in advance of the main group.
in ( the) aggregate in total; as a whole.
in all likelihood very probably.
in all probability used to convey that something is very likely : he would in all probability make himself known.
in anticipation with the probability or expectation of something happening : they manned the telephones in anticipation of a flood of calls.
in any event (or at all events) whatever happens or may have happened : in any event, there was one promise the trickster did keep.
esp. of goods) in large quantities, usually at a reduced price : buying tomatoes in bulk from a local farmer.
in case of in the event of (a particular situation) : instructions about what to do in case of fire.
in (or out of) circulation available (or unavailable) to the public; in (or not in) general use : there is a huge volume of video material in circulation. •
in company with together with : the U.S. dollar went through a bad patch in 1986, in company with the oil market.
in conjunction together : herbal medicine was used in conjunction with acupuncture and massage.
in control able to direct a situation, person, or activity : I felt calm and in control.
in danger of likely to incur or to suffer from : the animal is in danger of extinction.
in deference to out of respect for; in consideration of.
in due course at the appropriate time : Reynolds will respond in due course to the letter.
in effect in operation; in force : a moratorium in effect since 1985 has been lifted. • used to convey that something is the case in practice even if it is not formally acknowledged to be so : additional payments which are in effect an entrance tax.
in essence |ˈɪ ˈnɛsns| basically and without regard for peripheral details; fundamentally : in detail the class system is complex but in essence it is simple.
in exchange as a thing exchanged : at 8, he was carrying bags of groceries in exchange for a nickel.
in excess of more than; exceeding : a top speed in excess of 20 knots.
in (or out of) fashion popular (or unpopular) and considered (or not considered) to be attractive at the time in question.
in favor of 1 to be replaced by : he stepped down as leader in favor of his rival. 2 to the advantage of : the final score was 25-16 in favor of Washington.
in form (of an athlete or sports team) playing or performing well. off form (of an athlete or sports team) not playing or performing well.
in full with nothing omitted : I shall expect your life story in full. • to the full amount due : their relocation costs would be paid in full. • to the utmost; completely : the textbooks have failed to exploit in full the opportunities offered.
in full swing at the height of activity : by nine-thirty the dance was in full swing.
in honor of as a celebration of or expression of respect for.
in hopes that hoping that : they are screaming in hopes that a police launch will pick us up.
in isolation without relation to other people or things; separately : environmental problems must not be seen in isolation from social ones.
in its entirety as a whole; completely : the poem is too long to quote in its entirety here.
in its totality as a whole : a deeper exploration of life in its totality.
in itself viewed in its essential qualities; considered separately from other things : some would say bringing up a family was a full-time job in itself.
in justice to out of fairness to : I say this in justice to both of you.
in large measure (or part) to a great extent : the success of the conference was due in large part to its organizers.
in ( the) light of drawing knowledge or information from; taking (something) into consideration : the exorbitant prices are explainable in the light of the facts.
in (or out of) line with in (or not in) alignment or accordance with : remuneration is in line with comparable international organizations.
in motion moving : flowing blonde hair that was constantly in motion.
in my book in my opinion : that counts as a lie in my book.
in need of requiring or needing (something) : he was in desperate need of medical care.
in no case under no circumstances.
in no condition to do something certainly not fit or well enough to do something : you're in no condition to tackle the stairs.
in no mood for (or to do) something not wanting to do or experience something : she was in no mood for sightseeing.
in ( less than) no time very quickly or very soon : the video has sold 30,000 copies in no time.
in no way not at all : quasars in no way resemble normal galaxies.
in one ear and out the other heard but disregarded or quickly forgotten : whatever he tells me seems to go in one ear and out the other.
in one's blood ingrained in or fundamental to one's character : racing is in his blood.
in one's face directly at or against one; as one approaches : she slammed the door in my face.
in one's favor to one's advantage : events were moving in his favor.
in one's glory informal in a state of extreme joy or exaltation.
in one's wildest dreams [with negative ] used to emphasize that a situation is beyond the scope of one's imagination : she could never in her wildest dreams have imagined the summer weather in New York.
in opposition in contrast or conflict : they found themselves in opposition to federal policy.
in parallel occurring at the same time and having some connection. • (of electrical components or circuits) connected to common points at each end; not in series.
in particular especially (used to show that a statement applies to one person or thing more than any other) : he socialized with the other young people, one boy in particular.
in (or out of) perspective showing the right (or wrong) relationship between visible objects. • correctly (or incorrectly) regarded in terms of relative importance : these expenses may seem high, but they need to be put into perspective.
in place of instead of.
in principle as a general idea or plan, although the details are not yet established or clear : the government agreed in principle to a peace plan that included a cease-fire. • used to indicate that although something is theoretically possible, it may not actually happen : in principle, the banks are entitled to withdraw these loans when necessary.
in print 1 (of a book) available from the publisher : he was surprised to find it was still in print. 2 in printed or published form : she did not live to see her work in print. out of print (of a book) no longer available from the publisher : the title I want is out of print.
in progress in the course of being done or carried out : a meeting was in progress.
in proportion according to a particular relationship in size, amount, or degree : each region was represented in proportion to its population. • in comparison with; in relation to : the cuckoo's eggs are unusually small in proportion to its size. • in the correct or appropriate relation to the size, shape, or position of other things : her figure was completely in proportion. • correctly or realistically regarded in terms of relative importance or seriousness : the problem has to be kept in proportion.
out of proportion in the wrong relation to the size, shape, or position of other things : the sculpture seemed out of proportion to its surroundings. • greater or more serious than is necessary or appropriate : the award was out of all proportion to the alleged libel. • wrongly or unrealistically regarded in terms of relative importance or seriousness.
in question 1 being considered or discussed : on the day in question, there were several serious emergencies. 2 in doubt : all of the old certainties are in question.
in relation to in the context of; in connection with : there is an ambiguity in the provisions in relation to children's hearings.
in reality in actual fact (used to contrast a false idea of what is true or possible with one that is more accurate) : she had believed she could control these feelings, but in reality that was not so easy.
in retrospect when looking back on a past event or situation; with hindsight : perhaps, in retrospect, I shouldn't have gone.
in (or into) reverse (of a motor vehicle) in reverse gear so as to travel backward : he put the Cadillac into reverse. • in the opposite direction or manner from usual : a similar ride next year will do the route in reverse.
in safe hands protected by someone trustworthy from harm or damage : the future of the cathedral is in safe hands.
in ( good) shape in good physical condition.
in short to sum up; briefly : he was a faithful, orthodox party member; a Stalinist in short.
in short supply scarce.
in (or within) sight of so as to see or be seen from : I climbed the hill and came in sight of the house. • within reach of; close to attaining : he was safe for the moment and in sight of victory.
in silence without speech or other sound : we finished our meal in silence.
to the extent that : he decided that philosophy spoke of personal problems only insofar as they illustrated general ones.
in (or in the) spirit in thought or intention though not physically : he couldn't be here in person, but he is with us in spirit.
in store 1 in a safe place while not being used or displayed : items held in store. 2 coming in the future; about to happen : he did not yet know what lay in store for him.
in truth really; in fact : in truth, she was more than a little unhappy.
in style (or in grand style) in an impressive, grand, or luxurious way.
in succession to inheriting or elected to the place of : he is not first in succession to the presidency.
in succession following one after the other without interruption : she won the race for the second year in succession.
in support of giving assistance to : air operations in support of the land forces. • showing approval of : the paper printed many letters in support of the government. • attempting to promote or obtain : a strike in support of an 8.5% pay raise.
in (or out of) sync working well (or badly) together; in (or out of) agreement : her eyes and her brain seemed to be seriously out of sync.
in tandem alongside each other; together : a tight fiscal policy working in tandem with a tight foreign exchange policy. • one behind another.
in the belief that thinking or believing that : he took the property in the belief that he had consent.
in the blink of an eye (or in a blink) informal very quickly.
in the course of — 1 undergoing the specified process : a new text book was in the course of preparation. 2 during the specified period : he was a friend to many people in the course of his life. • during and as a part of the specified activity : they became friends in the course of their long walks.
in the dark in a state of ignorance about something : we're clearly being kept in the dark about what's happening.
in the event chiefly Brit. as it turns (or turned) out : he was sent on this important and, in the event, quite fruitless mission. in the event of —— if —— happens : this will reduce the chance of serious injury in the event of an accident. in the event that if; should it happen that : in the event that an attack is launched, the defenders will have been significantly weakened by air attacks.
in the extreme to an extreme degree : the reasoning was convoluted in the extreme.
in the face of when confronted with : her resolution in the face of the enemy. • in spite of : reform had been introduced in the face of considerable opposition.
in the flesh in person rather than via a telephone, a movie, the written word, or other means : they decided that they should meet Alexander in the flesh.
in the heat of the moment while temporarily angry, excited, or engrossed, and without stopping for thought.
in the interests (or interest) of something for the benefit of : in the interests of security we are keeping the information confidential.
in the last resort ultimately : in the last resort what really moves us is our personal convictions. [ORIGIN: suggested by French en dernier ressort.]
in (or out of) the loop informal aware (or unaware) of information known to only a privileged few.
in the midst of in the middle of : we were in the midst of a losing streak.
in the making in the process of developing or being made : a campaign that's been two years in the making.
in the minority belonging to or constituting the smaller group or number : those who acknowledge his influence are certainly in the minority.
in the mood for (or to do) something feeling like doing or experiencing something : if you're in the mood for an extra thrill, you can go paragliding.
not subject to concealment or obfuscation; made public : we have never let our dislike for him come into the open.
in the process as an unintended part of a course of action : she would make him pay for this, even if she killed herself in the process.
in this (or that) regard in connection with the point previously mentioned : there was little incentive for them to be active in this regard.
in token of as a sign or symbol of : we bought each other drinks in token of the holiday season.
in (or out of) tune with correct (or incorrect) pitch or intonation. • (of an engine or other machine) properly (or poorly) adjusted. • figurative in (or not in) agreement or harmony : he was out of tune with conventional belief.
in turn in succession; one after the other : four men prayed in turn. • (also in one's/its turn) used to convey that an action, process, or situation is the result or product of a previous one : he would shout until she, in her turn, lost her temper.
in vain without success or a result : they waited in vain for a response.
(of processes or reactions) taking place in a test tube, culture dish, or elsewhere outside a living organism : [as adj. ] in vitro fertilization. The opposite of in vivo .
make inactive or inoperative : household bleach does not inactivate the virus | [as adj. ] ( inactivated) an inactivated polio vaccine.
not resulting from or achieved through deliberate planning : many French leaders cannot accept at all that American dominance is inadvertent.
not alive, esp. not in the manner of animals and humans : inanimate objects like stones. • showing no sign of life; lifeless : he was completely inanimate, and it was difficult to see if he was breathing.
not relevant or appropriate : the details are likely to be inapplicable to other designs.
1 unable to speak distinctly or express oneself clearly : he was inarticulate with abashment and regret. • not clearly expressed or pronounced : inarticulate complaints of inadequate remuneration.
marking the beginning of an institution, activity, or period of office : his inaugural concert as music director.
begin or introduce (a system, policy, or period) : he inaugurated a new policy of trade and exploration.
existing from birth : an inborn defect in the formation of collagen.
1 too great to be calculated or estimated : an archive of incalculable value. 2 not able to be calculated or estimated : the cost is incalculable but colossal.
emitting light as a result of being heated : plumes of incandescent liquid rock.
a series of words said as a magic spell or charm : an incantation to raise the dead.
prevent from functioning in a normal way : he was incapacitated by a heart attack.
imprison : many are incarcerated for property offenses.
(esp. of a deity or spirit) embodied in flesh; in human form : God incarnate | he chose to be incarnate as a man.
embody or represent (a deity or spirit) in human form : the idea that God incarnates himself in man.
1 a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality : Rama was Vishnu's incarnation on earth.
(of a device or attack) designed to cause fires : incendiary grenades. • tending to stir up conflict : incendiary rhetoric | an incendiary slogan. • very exciting : an incendiary live performer.
the establishment or starting point of an institution or activity : she has been on the board since its inception two years ago. See note at origin .
(of something regarded as unpleasant) continuing without pause or interruption : the incessant beat of the music.
• [often with negative ] a very small amount or distance : I had no intention of budging an inch.
move slowly and carefully in a specified direction : the 2,000 mourners inched along narrow country lanes | figurative the stock market inched ahead today.
1 only just : the shot missed her by inches.
inch by inch gradually; bit by bit : inch by inch he crept along the wall.
1 the occurrence, rate, or frequency of a disease, crime, or something else undesirable : an increased incidence of cancer.
accompanying but not a major part of something : for the fieldworker who deals with real problems, paperwork is incidental | incidental expenses. • occurring by chance in connection with something else : the incidental catch of dolphins in the pursuit of tuna.
an incidental detail, expense, event, etc. : an allowance to cover meals, taxis, and other incidentals.
1 [ sentence adverb ] used when a person has something more to say, or is about to add a remark unconnected to the current subject; by the way : incidentally, it was many months before the whole truth was discovered. 2 in an incidental manner; as a chance occurrence : the infection was discovered only incidentally at a postmortem examination.
destroy (something, esp. waste material) by burning : such garbage must be incinerated at the hospital.
incinerator |ɪnˈsɪnəreɪtə| noun an apparatus for burning waste material, esp. industrial waste, at high temperatures until it is reduced to ash.
a surgical cut made in skin or flesh : an abdominal incision.
(of a person or mental process) intelligently analytical and clear-thinking : she was an incisive critic. • (of an account) accurate and sharply focused : the songs offer incisive pictures of American ways.
(of a person) having one's true identity concealed : [as adj. ] in order to observe you have to be incognito | [as adv. ] he is now operating incognito.
1 (of spoken or written language) expressed in an incomprehensible or confusing way; unclear : he screamed some incoherent threat. • (of a person) unable to speak intelligibly : I splutter several more times before becoming incoherent.
incombustible |ˈɪnkəmˈbʌstɪb(ə)l| adjective (esp. of a building material or component) consisting or made of material that does not burn if exposed to fire.
in the process of coming in : incoming passengers | the incoming tide. • (of a message or communication) being received rather than sent : an incoming call. • (of an official or administration) having just been elected or appointed to succeed another : the incoming president.
1 not able to be judged by the same standard as something; having no common standard of measurement : the two types of science are incommensurable.
1 [ predic. ] ( incommensurate with) out of keeping or proportion with : man's influence on the earth's surface seems incommensurate with his scale.
1 without an equal in quality or extent; matchless : the incomparable beauty of Venice. 2 unable to be compared; totally different in nature or extent : censorship still exists, but now it's absolutely incomparable with what it was.
1 the state of lacking something or of having failed to complete something : humans with their profound sense of incompletion.
failure to understand something : they gave him a look of complete incomprehension. not capable of being imagined or grasped mentally; unbelievable : [with clause ] it seemed inconceivable that the president had been unaware of what was going on | they behaved with inconceivable cruelty. not leading to a firm conclusion; not ending doubt or dispute : the medical evidence is inconclusive.
not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something : the duffel coat looked incongruous with the black dress she wore underneath.
not important or significant : they talked about inconsequential things.
thoughtlessly causing hurt or inconvenience to others : it's inconsiderate of her to go away without telling us.
not staying the same throughout; having self-contradictory elements : police interpretation of the law was often inconsistent.
(of a person or their grief) not able to be comforted or alleviated : his widow, Jane, was inconsolable.
not clearly visible or attracting attention; not conspicuous : an inconspicuous red-brick building.
incontestable |ɪnkənˈtɛstəb(ə)l| adjective not able to be disputed.
not able to be denied or disputed : incontrovertible proof.
on the increase becoming greater, more common, or more frequent.
(of a person or their manner) unwilling or unable to believe something : an incredulous gasp.
an increase or addition, esp. one of a series on a fixed scale : the inmates' pay can escalate in five-cent increments to a maximum of 90 cents an hour. • a regular increase in salary on such a scale : he had waived his right to the second increment of $18 million so that it could be distributed among 40 employees.
make (someone) appear guilty of a crime or wrongdoing; strongly imply the guilt of (someone) : he refused to answer questions in order not to incriminate himself | [as adj. ] ( incriminating) incriminating evidence.
• (esp. in a laboratory) keep (eggs, cells, bacteria, embryos, etc.) at a suitable temperature so that they develop : the samples were incubated at 80°C for three minutes.
instill (an attitude, idea, or habit) by persistent instruction : the failures of the churches to inculcate a sense of moral responsibility. • teach (someone) an attitude, idea, or habit by such instruction : they will try to inculcate you with a respect for culture.
1 [ predic. ] ( incumbent on/upon) necessary for (someone) as a duty or responsibility : it is incumbent on all decent people to concentrate on destroying this evil. 2 [ attrib. ] (of an official or regime) currently holding office : the incumbent president had been defeated.
an invasion or attack, esp. a sudden or brief one : incursions into enemy territory.
owing money : heavily indebted countries. • owing gratitude for a service or favor : I am indebted to her for her help in indexing my book.
not conforming with generally accepted standards of behavior or propriety; obscene : the film was grossly indecent.
not able to be lost, annulled, or overturned : an indefeasible right.
lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time : they may face indefinite detention.
1 free from outside control; not depending on another's authority : the study is totally independent of central government | Canada's largest independent investment firm.
3 not connected with another or with each other; separate : we need two independent witnesses to testify | the legislature and the judicature are independent of each other.
too unusual, extreme, or indefinite to be adequately described : most prisoners suffered indescribable hardship.
not able to be destroyed : indestructible plastic containers.
1 point out; show : dotted lines indicate the text's margins. • be a sign or symptom of; strongly imply : sales indicate a growing market for such art | [with clause ] his tone indicated that he didn't hold out much hope.
1 serving as a sign or indication of something : having recurrent dreams is not necessarily indicative of any psychological problem.
formally accuse or charge (someone) with a serious crime : his former manager was indicted for fraud. indait
1 Law a formal charge or accusation of a serious crime : an indictment for conspiracy.
originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native : the indigenous peoples of Siberia | coriander is indigenous to southern Europe.
• figurative too complex or awkward to read or understand easily : a turgid and indigestible book.
feeling or showing anger or annoyance at what is perceived as unfair treatment : he was indignant at being the object of suspicion.
having, showing, or proceeding from too great a readiness to reveal things that should remain secret or private : they have been embarrassed by indiscreet friends.
done at random or without careful judgment : terrorist gunmen engaged in indiscriminate killing.
absolutely necessary : he made himself indispensable to the parish priest. See note at necessary .
teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically : broadcasting was a vehicle for indoctrinating the masses.
1 succeed in persuading or influencing (someone) to do something : the pickets induced many workers to stay away. 2 bring about or give rise to : none of these measures induced a change of policy.
1 characterized by the inference of general laws from particular instances : instinct rather than inductive reasoning marked her approach to life.
allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of : we indulged in some hot fudge sundaes.
• [ trans. ] allow (someone) to enjoy a desired pleasure : I spent time indulging myself with secret feasts.
1 the action or fact of indulging : indulgence in self-pity. • the state or attitude of being indulgent or tolerant : she regarded his affairs with a casual, slightly amused indulgence.
not producing any or the desired effect : an ineffectual campaign.
having or showing no skill; clumsy : the inept handling of the threat.
unfair; unjust : the present taxes are inequitable.
lack of fairness or justice : policies aimed at redressing racial inequity | inequities in school financing.
lacking the ability or strength to move : she lay inert in her bed. • lacking vigor : an inert political system.
1 a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged : the bureaucratic inertia of government.
too bad to be justified or tolerated : Matt's behavior was inexcusable.
impossible to stop or prevent : the seemingly inexorable march of new technology. • (of a person) impossible to persuade by request or entreaty : the doctors were inexorable, and there was nothing to be done.
unable to be explained or accounted for : for some inexplicable reason her mind went completely blank.
impossible to disentangle or separate : the past and the present are inextricable.
the quality of being infallible; the inability to be wrong : his judgment became impaired by faith in his own infallibility.
incapable of making mistakes or being wrong : doctors are not infallible. • never failing; always effective : infallible cures.
well known for some bad quality or deed : an infamous war criminal.
the state or period of early childhood or babyhood : a son who died in infancy. • the early stage in the development or growth of something : opinion polls were in their infancy.
be inspired with an intense but short-lived passion or admiration for : she is infatuated with a handsome police chief.
deduce or conclude (information) from evidence and reasoning rather than from explicit statements : [with clause ] from these facts we can infer that crime has been increasing.
1 the action or state of being unfaithful to a spouse or other sexual partner : her infidelity continued after her marriage | I ought not to have tolerated his infidelities.
1 enter or gain access to (an organization, place, etc.) surreptitiously and gradually, esp. in order to acquire secret information : other areas of the establishment were infiltrated by fascists. • figurative permeate or become a part of (something) in this way : computing has infiltrated most professions now.
extremely small : an infinitesimal pause.
easily set on fire : inflammable and poisonous gases. • figurative likely to provoke strong feelings : the most inflammable issue in U.S. politics today.
SAGE Both inflammable and flammable mean 'easily set on fire.' The opposite is nonflammable.
2 increase (something) by a large or excessive amount : objectives should be clearly set out so as not to duplicate work and inflate costs. • [usu. as adj. ] ( inflated) exaggerate : you have a very inflated opinion of your worth.
cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something : they inflicted serious injuries on three other men. • ( inflict something on) impose something unwelcome on : she is wrong to inflict her beliefs on everyone else.
the action of inflicting something unpleasant or painful on someone or something : the repeated infliction of pain.
a large amount of money, people, or water, that moves or is transferred into a place : some enclosed seas are subject to large inflows of fresh water | the firm experienced two years of cash inflow.
1 an arrival or entry of large numbers of people or things : a massive influx of refugees from front-line areas.
not occurring often; rare : her visits were so infrequent.
actively break the terms of (a law, agreement, etc.) : making an unauthorized copy would infringe copyright. • act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on : his legal rights were being infringed | [ intrans. ] I wouldn't infringe on his privacy.
make (someone) extremely angry and impatient : her silences infuriated him | [as adj. ] ( infuriating) that infuriating half-smile on his face.
1 fill; pervade : her work is infused with an anger born of pain and oppression. • instill (a quality) in someone or something : he did his best to infuse good humor into his voice.
2 the introduction of a new element or quality into something : the infusion of $6.3 million for improvements | an infusion of youthful talent.
(of a person) clever, original, and inventive : he was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget. See note at creative .
• figurative absorb (information) : he spent his days ingesting the contents of the library.
(of a person, animal, or group) live in or occupy (a place or environment) : a bird that inhabits North America | urban centers inhabited by more than 10 million people | [as adj. ] ( inhabited) the loneliest inhabited place on Earth.
breathe in (air, gas, smoke, etc.) : [ trans. ] they were taken to the hospital after inhaling fumes | [ intrans. ] she inhaled deeply on another cigarette.
receive (money, property, or a title) as an heir at the death of the previous holder : she inherited a fortune from her father.
• derive (a quality, characteristic, or predisposition) genetically from one's parents or ancestors : she had inherited the beauty of her grandmother. • receive or be left with (a situation, object, etc.) from a predecessor or former owner : spending commitments inherited from previous administrations.
a thing that is inherited : he came into a comfortable inheritance.
• prevent or prohibit someone from doing something : the earnings rule inhibited some retired people from working.
(of an environment) harsh and difficult to live in : the inhospitable landscape.
1 cause (a process or action) to begin : he proposes to initiate discussions on planning procedures.
• [as plural n. ] ( the initiated) figurative a small group of people who share obscure knowledge : he flies over an airway marker beacon, known as a "fix" to the initiated. • ( initiate someone in/into) introduce someone to a particular activity or skill, esp. a difficult or obscure one : they were initiated into the mysteries of trigonometry.
• place (a spacecraft or other object) into an orbit or trajectory : many meteoroids are injected into hyperbolic orbits. 2 introduce (a new or different element) into something, esp. as a boost or interruption : she tried to inject scorn into her tone.
inmate |ˈɪnmeɪt| noun a person confined to an institution such as a prison or hospital.
inborn; natural : her innate capacity for organization. See note at inherent .
1 (of thoughts or feelings) most private and deeply felt : innermost beliefs and convictions. 2 furthest in; closest to the center : the innermost layer.
not harmful or offensive : it was an innocuous question.
an allusive or oblique remark or hint, typically a suggestive or disparaging one : she's always making sly innuendoes | a constant torrent of innuendo, gossip, lies, and half-truths.
too many to be counted (often used hyperbolically) : innumerable flags of all colors.
innumerate |ɪˈnjuːm(ə)rət| adjective without a basic knowledge of mathematics and arithmetic.
1 Medicine not able to be suitably operated on : inoperable cancer of the pancreas. 2 not able to be operated : the airfield was bombed and made inoperable.
an act of asking for information : the deluge of phone inquiries after a crash | they were following a definite line of inquiry.
curious or inquiring : he was very chatty and inquisitive about everything. • unduly curious about the affairs of others; prying : I didn't want to seem inquisitive.
• extreme foolishness or irrationality : it might be pure insanity to take this loan | the insanities of our time.
(of an appetite or desire) impossible to satisfy : an insatiable hunger for success. inseisyable
1 write or carve (words or symbols) on something, esp. as a formal or permanent record : his name was inscribed on the new silver trophy. • mark (an object) with characters : the memorial is inscribed with ten names | [as adj. ] ( inscribed) an inscribed watch.
words inscribed, as on a monument or in a book : the inscription on her headstone. • the action of inscribing something : the inscription of memorable utterances on durable materials.
1 (of a person) not confident or assured; uncertain and anxious : a top model who is notoriously insecure about her looks | a rather gauche, insecure young man.
inseminate |ɪnˈsɛmɪneɪt| verb [ trans. ] (often be inseminated) introduce semen into (a woman or a female animal) by natural or artificial means.
2 [ predic. ] ( insensible of/to) unaware of; indifferent to : they slept on, insensible to the headlight beams.
showing or feeling no concern for others' feelings : an insensitive remark. • not sensitive to a physical sensation : she was remarkably insensitive to pain.
unable to be separated or treated separately : research and higher education seem inseparable. • (of one or more people) unwilling to be separated; usually seen together : they met 18 months ago and have been inseparable ever since.
with the inner surface turned outward : we made a very quick change, and her dress was put on inside out.
know something inside out know something very thoroughly : managers who know the business inside out.
proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects : sexually transmitted diseases can be insidious and sometimes without symptoms. • treacherous; crafty : tangible proof of an insidious alliance.
not expressing genuine feelings : she flashed him an insincere smile.
1 suggest or hint (something bad or reprehensible) in an indirect and unpleasant way : [with clause ] he was insinuating that she had slept her way to the top. 2 ( insinuate oneself into) maneuver oneself into (a position of favor or office) by subtle manipulation : she seemed to be taking over, insinuating herself into the family. • [ trans. ] slide (oneself or a thing) slowly and smoothly into a position : the bugs insinuate themselves between one's skin and clothes.
lacking flavor : mugs of insipid coffee.
insisting or demanding something; not allowing refusal : Tony's soft, insistent questioning | [with clause ] she was very insistent that I call her.
1 impossible to solve : the problem is not insoluble. 2 (of a substance) incapable of being dissolved : once dry, the paints become insoluble in water.
unable to pay debts owed : the company became insolvent. • relating to insolvency : insolvent liquidation.
insomnia |ɪnˈsɒmnɪə| noun habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep.
look at (someone or something) closely, typically to assess their condition or to discover any shortcomings : they were inspecting my outside paintwork for cracks and flaws. • examine (someone or something) to ensure that they reach an official standard : customs officers came aboard to inspect our documents.
1 an official employed to ensure that official regulations are obeyed, esp. in public services : a prison inspector.
in the first (or second, etc.) instance in the first (or second, etc.) place; at the first (or second, etc.) stage of a proceeding : a tribunal should be formed, in the first instance to document these and other charges.
1 a precise moment of time : come here this instant! | at that instant the sun came out. 2 a very short space of time; a moment : for an instant the moon disappeared.
1 occurring or done in an instant or instantly : her reaction was almost instantaneous. • operating or providing something instantly : modern methods of instantaneous communication.
represent as or by an instance : a study of two groups who seemed to instantiate productive aspects of this.
bring about or initiate (an action or event) : they instigated a reign of terror | instigating legal proceedings.
1 gradually but firmly establish (an idea or attitude, esp. a desirable one) in a person's mind : how do we instill a sense of rightness in today's youth?
1 establish (something, typically a practice or activity) as a convention or norm in an organization or culture : a system that institutionalizes bad behavior.
useful and informative : it is instructive to compare the two projects.
1 a tool or implement, esp. one for delicate or scientific work : a surgical instrument | writing instruments. See note at tool . • a thing used in pursuing an aim or policy; a means : drama as an instrument of learning.
1 serving as an instrument or means in pursuing an aim or policy : the society was instrumental in bringing about legislation. • relating to something's function as an instrument or means to an end : a very instrumental view of education and how it relates to their needs.
defiant of authority; disobedient to orders : an insubordinate attitude.
lacking strength and solidity : the huts are relatively few and insubstantial | insubstantial evidence. • not solid or real; imaginary : the flickering light made her face seem insubstantial.
the condition of being insufficient : insufficiency of adequate housing | there have been demands to redress such insufficiencies.
1 ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one's own experience : a stubbornly insular farming people. • lacking contact with other people : people living restricted and sometimes insular existences.
1 protect (something) by interposing material that prevents the loss of heat or the intrusion of sound : the room was heavily insulated against all outside noise. • prevent the passage of electricity to or from (something) by covering it in nonconducting material : the case is carefully insulated to prevent short circuits. • figurative protect from the unpleasant effects or elements of something : he claims that the service is complacent and insulated from outside pressures.
arrange for compensation in the event of damage to or loss of (property), or injury to or the death of (someone), in exchange for regular advance payments to a company or government agency : the table should be insured for $2,500 | the company had insured itself against a fall of the dollar | [ intrans. ] businesses can insure against exchange rate fluctuations.
• ( insure someone against) figurative secure or protect someone against (a possible contingency) : by appeasing Celia they might insure themselves against further misfortune | [ intrans. ] such changes could insure against further violence and unrest.
2 a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality : seeking closer ties with other oil-supplying nations as insurance against disruption of Middle East supplies | young people are not an insurance against loneliness in old age.
rising in active revolt : alleged links with insurgent groups. See note at uprising . • of or relating to rebels : a series of insurgent attacks.
not damaged or impaired in any way; complete : the church was almost in ruins, but its tower remained intact.
1 an amount of food, air, or another substance taken into the body : your daily intake of calories | his alcohol intake.
1 necessary to make a whole complete; essential or fundamental : games are an integral part of the school's curriculum | systematic training should be integral to library management. • [ attrib. ] included as part of the whole rather than supplied separately : the unit comes complete with integral pump and heater.
1 combine (one thing) with another so that they become a whole : transportation planning should be integrated with energy policy. • combine (two things) so that they become a whole : the problem of integrating the two approaches.
1 (of a condition, quality, feeling, etc.) existing in a high degree; forceful or extreme : the job demands intense concentration | the heat was intense.
of or relating to the intellect : children need intellectual stimulation. • appealing to or requiring use of the intellect : the movie wasn't very intellectual, but it caught the mood of the times.
able to be understood; comprehensible : this would make the system more intelligible to the general public.
1 become or make more intense : [ intrans. ] the dispute began to intensify | [ trans. ] they had intensified their military campaign.
1 a thing intended; an aim or plan : she was full of good intentions | [with infinitive ] the Ukraine and Kazakhstan have both declared their intention to be nuclear-free. • the action or fact of intending : intention is just one of the factors that will be considered.
intervene on behalf of another : I begged him to intercede for Theresa, but he never did a thing.
(of two or more people) exchange (things) with each other : superior and subordinates freely interchange ideas and information. • put each of (two things) in the other's place : the terms are often interchanged. • [ intrans. ] (of a thing) be able to be exchanged with another : diesel units will interchange with the gasoline ones.
a mutual relationship or connection between two or more things : analyses showing intercorrelations between sets of variables.
(of two or more people or things) dependent on each other : the increasingly global nature of human society, with interdependent economies.
1 ( interfere with) prevent (a process or activity) from continuing or being carried out properly : a job would interfere with his studies. • (of a thing) strike against (something) when working; get in the way of : the rotors are widely separated and do not interfere with one another.
2 take part or intervene in an activity without invitation or necessity : she tried not to interfere in her children's lives | [as adj. ] ( interfering) interfering busybodies.
1 the action of interfering or the process of being interfered with : he denied that there had been any interference in the country's internal affairs | an unwarranted interference with personal liberty.
of, relating to, or situated between two or more galaxies : intergalactic gas.
the intervening time : in the interim I'll just keep my fingers crossed.
in or for the intervening period; provisional or temporary : an interim arrangement.
say (something) abruptly, esp. as an aside or interruption : she interjected the odd question here and there | [ intrans. ] Christine felt bound to interject before there was open warfare. See note at insert .
bind intricately together; interweave : the trees interlaced their branches so that only tiny patches of sky were visible. • ( interlace something with) mingle or intersperse something with : buttercups interlacing their gold with the silver of the daisies | discussion interlaced with esoteric mathematics.
1 an intervening period of time : enjoying a lunchtime interlude.
2 something performed during a theater intermission : an orchestral interlude.
mix or mingle together : [ intrans. ] daisies intermingled with huge expanses of gorse and foxgloves | [ trans. ] Riesling grapes were always intermingled with other varieties.
occurring at irregular intervals; not continuous or steady : intermittent rain.
of or relating to relationships or communication between people : you will need good interpersonal skills.
the way in which two or more things have an effect on each other : the interplay between inheritance and learning.
2 understand (an action, mood, or way of behaving) as having a particular meaning or significance : her self-confidence was often interpreted as brashness.
relate or connect to one another : [ intrans. ] each component interrelates with all the others | [ trans. ] shared values and mechanisms that interrelate peoples in all corners of the world.
interrogate |ɪnˈtɛrəgeɪt| verb [ trans. ] ask questions of (someone, esp. a suspect or a prisoner) closely, aggressively, or formally.
having or conveying the force of a question : a hard, interrogative stare.
1 stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process) : the buzzer interrupted his thoughts. • stop (someone speaking) by saying or doing something : "Of course ..." Shepherd began, but his son interrupted him | [with direct speech ] "Hold on," he interrupted.
divide (something) by passing or lying across it : occasionally the water table intersects the earth's surface, forming streams and lakes | the area is intersected only by minor roads. • [ intrans. ] (of two or more things) pass or lie across each other : lines of latitude and longitude intersect at right angles.
scatter among or between other things; place here and there : interspersed between tragic stories are a few songs supplying comic relief. • diversify (a thing or things) with other things at intervals : a patchwork of open fields interspersed with copses of pine.
twist or twine together : [ trans. ] a net made of cotton intertwined with other natural fibers | [ intrans. ] the coils intertwine with one another like strands of spaghetti.
1 an intervening time or space : after his departure, there was an interval of many years without any meetings | the intervals between meals were very short.
1 come between so as to prevent or alter a result or course of events : he acted outside his authority when he intervened in the dispute | [with infinitive ] their forces intervened to halt the attack. • (of an event or circumstance) occur as a delay or obstacle to something being done : Christmas intervened, and the investigation was suspended.
weave or become woven together : [ trans. ] the rugs are made by tightly interweaving the warp and weft strands | [ intrans. ] the branches met and interwove above his head. • [ trans. ] figurative blend closely : Wordsworth's political ideas are often interwoven with his philosophical and religious beliefs.
frighten or overawe (someone), esp. in order to make them do what one wants : he tries to intimidate his rivals [as adj. ] ( intimidating): the intimidating defense lawyer.
unable to be endured : the intolerable pressures of his work.
• figurative excite or exhilarate : the team was intoxicated by the prospect of another victorious season.
hard to control or deal with : intractable economic problems | intractable pain.
existing or taking place within, or administered into, a vein or veins : an intravenous drip.
1 [ trans. ] (often be entrenched) establish (an attitude, habit, or belief) so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely : ageism is entrenched in our society.
very complicated or detailed : an intricate network of canals.
the quality of being intricate : the exquisite intricacy of Indian silverwork. • ( intricacies) details, esp. of an involved or perplexing subject : the intricacies of economic policymaking.
1 [ trans. ] arouse the curiosity or interest of; fascinate : I was intrigued by your question | [as adj. ] ( intriguing) the food is an intriguing combination of German and French.
belonging naturally; essential : access to the arts is intrinsic to a high quality of life. See note at inherent .
examine one's own thoughts or feelings : what they don't do is introspect much about the reasons for their plight.
introvert |ˈɪntrəvəːt| noun a shy, reticent, and typically self-centered person.
1 [ intrans. ] put oneself deliberately into a place or situation where one is unwelcome or uninvited : he had no right to intrude into their lives | she felt awkward at intruding on private grief. • enter with disruptive or adverse effect : politics quickly intrude into the booklet. • [ trans. ] introduce into a situation with disruptive or adverse effect : to intrude political criteria into military decisions risks reducing efficiency.
1 the action of intruding : he was furious about this intrusion into his private life | unacceptable intrusions of privacy. • a thing that intrudes : they oppose the excavations as an intrusion on their heritage.
using or based on what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; instinctive : I had an intuitive conviction that there was something unsound in him.
flood : the islands may be the first to be inundated as sea levels rise. • figurative overwhelm (someone) with things or people to be dealt with : we've been inundated with complaints from listeners.
a person made weak or disabled by illness or injury : [as adj. ] an invalid husband.
extremely useful; indispensable : an invaluable source of information.
never changing : disillusion was the almost invariable result.
never changing : the pattern of cell divisions was found to be invariant.
(of a person) having the ability to create or design new things or to think originally : she is the most inventive painter around. See note at creative .
• a quantity of goods held in stock : in our warehouse you'll find a large inventory of new and used bicycles.
opposite or contrary in position, direction, order, or effect : the well-observed inverse relationship between disability and social contact.
something that is the opposite or reverse of something else : his approach is the inverse of most research on ethnic and racial groups.
put upside down or in the opposite position, order, or arrangement : invert the mousse onto a serving plate. invertebrate |ɪnˈvəːtɪbrət| noun an animal lacking a backbone, such as an arthropod, mollusk, annelid, coelenterate, etc. The invertebrates constitute an artificial division of the animal kingdom, comprising 95 percent of animal species and about 30 different phyla. Compare with vertebrate . give strength or energy to : the shower had invigorated her | [as adj. ] ( invigorating) a brisk, invigorating walk. See note at quicken .
too powerful to be defeated or overcome : an invincible warrior.
• give rise to; evoke : how could she explain how the accident happened without invoking his wrath?
1 done without conscious control : she gave an involuntary shudder.
2 done against someone's will; compulsory : a policy of involuntary repatriation.
directed or proceeding toward the inside; coming in from outside : the inward rush of air | a graceful inward movement of her wrist. • existing within the mind, soul, or spirit, and often not expressed : she felt an inward sense of release.
toward the inside : the door began to swing inward. • into or toward the mind, spirit, or soul : people must look inward to gain insight into their own stress.
feeling or characterized by great anger : a barrage of irate letters.
irksome |ˈəːks(ə)m| adjective irritating; annoying.
• impossible to contradict, weaken, or change : an ironclad guarantee.
(of ideas, facts, or statements) representing findings or points of view that are so different from each other that they cannot be made compatible : these two views of the early medieval economy are irreconcilable.
not able to be recovered, regained, or remedied : his liquid assets had to be written off as irrecoverable.
1 not able to be saved, improved, or corrected : so many irredeemable mistakes have been made.
• not able to be brought to a certain form or condition : the imagery remains irreducible to textual structures.
impossible to deny or disprove : irrefutable evidence.
irreplaceable |ɪrɪˈpleɪsəb(ə)l| adjective impossible to replace if lost or damaged.
too attractive and tempting to be resisted : he found the delicious-looking cakes irresistible. • too powerful or convincing to be resisted : she felt an irresistible urge to object.
not taking (something) into account; regardless of : child benefit is paid irrespective of income levels.
not able to be retrieved or put right : the irretrievable breakdown of their marriage.
not able to be undone or altered : she suffered irreversible damage to her health.
irrigate |ˈɪrɪgeɪt| verb [ trans. ] supply water to (land or crops) to help growth, typically by means of channels.
having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed or made angry : she was tired and irritable.
• figurative a thing that is continually annoying or distracting : in 1966, Vietnam was becoming an irritant to the government.
1 [ trans. ] supply or distribute (something) : licenses were issued indiscriminately to any company.
• formally send out or make known : the minister issued a statement. • put (something) on sale or into general use : Christmas stamps to be issued in November.
take issue with disagree with; challenge : she takes issue with the notion of crime as unique to contemporary society.
it is high time that —— it is past the time when something should have happened or been done : it was high time that she faced the facts.
it is only a matter of time there will not be long to wait : it's only a matter of time before the general is removed.
it isn't over till the fat lady sings used to convey that there is still time for a situation to change. [ORIGIN: by association with the final aria in tragic opera.]
it won't do used to express the speaker's opinion that someone's behavior is unsatisfactory and cannot be allowed to continue : Don't talk like that—I've told you before, it won't do.
it's a long story informal used to indicate that, for now, one does not want to talk about something that is too involved or painful.
it's a small world used to express surprise at meeting an acquaintance or discovering a personal connection in a distant place or an unexpected context.
it's ( all) Greek to me informal I can't understand it at all.
it's ( all) Greek to me informal I can't understand it at all.
• informal a restless or strong desire : [with infinitive ] the itch to write fiction.
an individual article or unit, esp. one that is part of a list, collection, or set : the items on the agenda | an item of clothing.
present as a list of individual items : I have itemized the morning's tasks. • break down (a whole) into its constituent parts : [as adj. ] ( itemized) an itemized bill.
iteration |ɪtəˈreɪʃ(ə)n| noun the repetition of a process or utterance.
itinerary |ʌɪˈtɪn(ə)(rə)ri| |ɪ-| noun ( pl. -aries) a planned route or journey.
a state of privileged seclusion or separation from the facts and practicalities of the real world : the ivory tower of academia.
poke (someone or something) roughly or quickly, esp. with something sharp or pointed : she jabbed him in his ribs | [ intrans. ] he jabbed at the air with his finger.
jack of all trades ( and master of none) a person who can do many different types of work but who is not necessarily very competent at any of them.
jade 1 |dʒeɪd| noun a hard, typically green stone used for ornaments and implements and consisting of the minerals jadeite or nephrite.
a place for the confinement of people accused or convicted of a crime : he spent 15 years in jail | [as adj. ] a jail sentence. • confinement in a jail : she was sentenced to three months' jail.
jailbreak |ˈdʒeɪlbreɪk| noun an escape from jail.
1 [ trans. ] squeeze or pack (someone or something) tightly into a specified space : four of us were jammed in one compartment | people jammed their belongings into cars.
• [ trans. ] crowd onto (a road) so as to block it : the roads were jammed with traffic. • [ trans. ] cause (telephone lines) to be continuously busy with a large number of calls : listeners jammed WBOQ's switchboard with calls. • [ intrans. ] push or crowd into an area or space : 75,000 refugees jammed into a stadium today to denounce the accord.
make or cause to make a ringing metallic sound, typically a discordant one : [ intrans. ] a bell jangled loudly | [ trans. ] Ryan stood on the terrace jangling his keys.
janitor |ˈdʒanɪtə| noun a person employed as a caretaker of a building; a custodian.
javelin |ˈdʒav(ə)lɪn| noun a light spear thrown in a competitive sport or as a weapon.
amazing : jaw-dropping displays of genius.
jaywalk |ˈdʒeɪwɔːk| verb [ intrans. ] cross or walk in the street or road unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic.
jazzy |ˈdʒazi| adjective ( jazzier , jazziest ) of, resembling, or in the style of jazz : a jazzy piano solo.
make rude and mocking remarks, typically in a loud voice : some of the younger men jeered at him | [as adj. ] ( jeering) the jeering crowds. • [ trans. ] shout such remarks at (someone) : councilors were jeered and heckled.
put (someone or something) into a situation in which there is a danger of loss, harm, or failure : a devaluation of the dollar would jeopardize New York's position as a financial center.
1 a quick, sharp, sudden movement : he gave a sudden jerk of his head.
make (something) move with a jerk : she jerked her chin up. • [ intrans. ] move with a jerk : his head jerked around | the van jerked forward. • suddenly rouse or jolt (someone) : the thud jerked her back to reality.
1 characterized by abrupt stops and starts : shallow, jerky, irregular breathing.
gerrymander |ˈdʒɛrɪˈmandə| verb [ trans. ] [often as n. ] ( gerrymandering) manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.
a thing said or done for amusement; a joke : there are jests about administrative gaffes | : it was said in jest.
1 travel by jet aircraft : the newlyweds jetted off for a honeymoon in New York.
throw or drop (something) from an aircraft or ship : six aircraft jettisoned their loads in the sea. • abandon or discard (someone or something that is no longer wanted) : he's ready to jettison communism.
make or cause to make a light metallic ringing sound : [ intrans. ] her bracelets were jingling | [ trans. ] he jingled the coins in his pocket.
bring bad luck to; cast an evil spell on : the play is jinxed.
1 ( jitters) feelings of extreme nervousness : a bout of the jitters.
act nervously : an anxious student who jittered at any provocation.
1 [ intrans. ] run at a steady gentle pace, esp. on a regular basis as a form of physical exercise : he began to jog along the road | [as n. ] ( jogging) try cycling or gentle jogging.
• [ intrans. ] unite to form one entity or group : they joined up with local environmentalists | countries join together to abolish restrictions on trade.
happy and cheerful : he was a jolly man full of jokes. • informal or dated lively and entertaining : we had a very jolly time.
push or shake (someone or something) abruptly and roughly : a surge in the crowd behind him jolted him forward. • figurative give a surprise or shock to (someone) in order to make them act or change : she tried to jolt him out of his depression. • [ intrans. ] move with sudden lurches : the train jolted into motion.
• a surprise or shock, esp. of an unpleasant kind and often manifested physically : that information gave her a severe jolt.
push, elbow, or bump against (someone) roughly, typically in a crowd : passengers arriving and departing, jostling one another | : [ intrans. ] people jostled against us. • [ intrans. ] ( jostle for) struggle or compete forcefully for : a jumble of images jostled for attention.
write (something) quickly : when you've found the answers, jot them down.
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness : tears of joy | the joy of being alive.
full of happiness and joy : scenes of joyous celebration.
jubilant |ˈdʒuːbɪl(ə)nt| adjective feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph.
• a person able or qualified to give an opinion on something : she was a good judge of character.
• [ trans. ] give a verdict on (someone) in court : she was judged innocent of murder.
of or concerning the use of judgment : judgmental errors. • having or displaying an excessively critical point of view : I don't like to sound judgmental, but it was a big mistake.
of, by, or appropriate to a court or judge : a judicial inquiry into the allegations | a judicial system.
having, showing, or done with good judgment or sense : the efficient and judicious use of pesticides.
• the contents of such a container : she gave us a big jug of water.
a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force or institution : a juggernaut of secular and commercial culture.
• cope with by adroitly balancing : she works full time, juggling her career with raising children. • misrepresent (something) so as to deceive or cheat someone : defense chiefs juggled the figures on bomb tests.
(of food) full of juice; succulent : a juicy apple | a juicy steak.
an untidy collection or pile of things : the books were in a chaotic jumble.
mix up in a confused or untidy way : a drawer full of letters jumbled together.
1 [ intrans. ] push oneself off a surface and into the air by using the muscles in one's legs and feet : the cat jumped off his lap | he jumped twenty-five feet to the ground.
• (esp. of prices or figures) rise suddenly and by a large amount : exports jumped by 500 percent during the decade.
2 [ intrans. ] (of a person) move suddenly and quickly in a specified way : Juliet jumped to her feet | they jumped back into the car and drove off.
• pass quickly or abruptly from one idea, subject, or state to another : she jumped backward and forward in her narrative.
• a sudden dramatic rise in amount, price, or value : a 51 percent jump in annual profits. • a large or sudden transition or change : the jump from mass-market to luxury goods.
jump (or climb) on the bandwagon join others in doing or supporting something fashionable or likely to be successful : scientists and doctors alike have jumped on the bandwagon.
jump ship (of a sailor) leave the ship on which one is serving without having obtained permission to do so : he jumped ship in Cape Town | figurative three producers jumped ship two weeks after the show's debut.
jump (or leap) to conclusions (or the conclusion) form an opinion hastily, before one has learned or considered all the facts.
jump at accept (an opportunity or offer) eagerly : he jumped at the chance to start his own company.
1 a point where two or more things are joined : the junction of the two rivers.
a particular point in events or time : it is difficult to say at this juncture whether this upturn can be sustained. • a place where things join : the plane crashed at the juncture of two mountains.
discard or abandon unceremoniously : sort out what could be sold off and junk the rest.
the jury is still out a decision has not yet been reached on a controversial subject : the jury is still out on whether self-regulation by doctors is adequate.
the official power to make legal decisions and judgments : federal courts had no jurisdiction over the case | the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress. • the extent of this power : the claim will be within the jurisdiction of the industrial tribunal. • a system of law courts; a judicature : in some jurisdictions there is a mandatory death sentence for murder. • the territory or sphere of activity over which the legal authority of a court or other institution extends : several different tax jurisdictions.
• (of an opinion or appraisal) well founded; justifiable : these simplistic approaches have been the subject of just criticism.
bring someone to justice arrest someone for a crime and ensure that they are tried in court.
do someone/something justice (or do justice to someone/something) do, treat, or represent with due fairness or appreciation : the brief menu does not do justice to the food.
able to be shown to be right or reasonable; defensible : it is not financially justifiable | their justifiable fears.
of, for, or relating to young people : juvenile crime. See note at youthful . • childish; immature : she's bored with my juvenile conversation.
place or deal with close together for contrasting effect : black-and-white photos of slums were starkly juxtaposed with color images.
kaleidoscope |kəˈlʌɪdəskəʊp| noun a toy consisting of a tube containing mirrors and pieces of colored glass or paper, whose reflections produce changing patterns that are visible through an eyehole when the tube is rotated.
• delay or detain; cause to be late : I won't keep you; I know you've got a busy evening.
• [ intrans. ] (of a perishable commodity) remain in good condition : fresh ginger does not keep well.
keep at (or keep someone at) persist (or force someone to persist) with : it was the best part of a day's work, but I kept at it.
keep away (or keep someone away) stay away (or make someone stay away) : keep away from the edge of the cliff. keep back (or keep someone/something back) remain (or cause someone or something to remain) at a distance : he had kept back from the river when he could.
keep down stay hidden by crouching or lying down : Keep down! There's someone coming.
keep someone/something off prevent someone or something from encroaching on or touching : keep your hands off me.
keep out (or keep someone/something out) remain (or cause someone or something to remain) outside : cover with cheesecloth to keep out flies.
keep something up maintain or preserve something in the existing state; continue a course of action : keep up the good work. • keep something in an efficient or proper state : the new owners could not afford to keep up the grounds. • make something remain at a high level : he was whistling to keep up his spirits.
keep a tight rein on exercise strict control over; allow little freedom to : her only chance of survival was to keep a tight rein on her feelings and words.
keep an eye (or a sharp eye) on keep under careful observation : dealers are keeping an eye on the currency markets.
keep an eye out (or open) look out for something with particular attention : keep an eye out for his car.
keep company with associate with habitually : we don't especially care for the people he's been keeping company with. • have a social or romantic relationship with; date : are you keeping company with anyone special these days?
keep one's chin up informal remain cheerful in difficult circumstances : keep your chin up, we're not lost yet.
keep (or lose) one's cool informal maintain (or fail to maintain) a calm and controlled attitude.
keep one's distance stay far away : keep your distance from birds feeding their young. • maintain one's reserve : you had to say nothing and keep your distance.
keep one's eyes open (or peeled or Brit. skinned) be on the alert; watch carefully or vigilantly for something : visitors should keep their eyes peeled for lions.
cross one's fingers (or keep one's fingers crossed) put one finger across another as a sign of hoping for good luck. • hope that someone or something will be successful.
keep one's hands clean not involve oneself in an immoral act.
keep one's head down remain inconspicuous in difficult or dangerous times.
keep one's mouth shut informal not say anything, esp. not reveal a secret : would he keep his mouth shut under interrogation?
keep one's nose out of refrain from interfering in (someone else's affairs).
keep (or leave) one's options open not commit oneself.
keep one's word do what one has promised.
keep pace with move, develop, or progress at the same speed as : fees have had to be raised a little to keep pace with inflation.
keep someone company accompany or spend time with someone in order to prevent them from feeling lonely or bored. • engage in the same activity as someone else in order to be sociable : I'll have a drink myself, just to keep you company.
keep someone dangling keep someone in an uncertain position.
keep someone posted keep someone informed of the latest developments or news.
keep someone/something at arm's length avoid intimacy or close contact with someone or something.
(of a person or a place) maintained in a neat and clean condition; well cared for : she was looking as thoroughly kempt as ever.
kerosene |ˈkɛrəsiːn| (also chiefly Brit. kerosine) noun a light fuel oil obtained by distilling petroleum, used esp. in jet engines and domestic heaters and lamps and as a cleaning solvent.
1 [ trans. ] strike or propel forcibly with the foot : police kicked down the door | [ trans. ] he kicked the door open. • [ intrans. ] strike out or flail with the foot or feet : she kicked out at him | [ trans. ] he kicked his feet free of a vine.
1 a blow or forceful thrust with the foot : a kick in the head.
• a thrill of pleasurable, often reckless excitement : rich kids turning to crime just for kicks | I get such a kick out of driving a race car.
kick in (esp. of a device or drug) become activated; come into effect.
• figurative provide the initial impetus to : they need to kick-start the economy.
deceive (someone) in a playful or teasing way : you're kidding me! | [ intrans. ] we were just kidding around. • [ trans. ] deceive or fool (someone) : he likes to kid everyone he's the big macho tough guy | they kid themselves that it's still the same.
• neutralize or subdue (an effect or quality) : the sauce would kill the taste of the herbs.
• put an end to or cause the failure or defeat of (something) : the committee voted to kill the project.
2 informal overwhelm (someone) with an emotion : the suspense is killing me. • ( kill oneself) overexert oneself : I killed myself carrying those things home. • used hyperbolically to indicate that someone is extremely angry with another person : my parents will kill me if they catch me out here. • cause pain or anguish to : my feet are killing me.
kill the goose that lays the golden egg destroy a reliable and valuable source of income. [ORIGIN: with allusion to one of Aesop's fables.]
kill two birds with one stone proverb achieve two aims at once.
one's ( own) kind people with whom one has a great deal in common : we stick with our own kind. someone's kind used to express disapproval of a certain type of person : I don't apologize to her kind ever.
nothing of the kind not at all like the thing in question : my son had done nothing of the kind before. • used to express an emphatic denial : "He made you do that?" "He did nothing of the kind."
of its kind within the limitations of its class : this new building was no doubt excellent of its kind.
• arouse or inspire (an emotion or feeling) : a love of art was kindled in me. • [ intrans. ] (of an emotion) be aroused : she hesitated, suspicion kindling within her.
a sharp twist or curve in something that is otherwise straight : a kink in the road. • figurative a flaw or obstacle in a plan, operation, etc. : though the system is making some headway, there are still some kinks to iron out. • a stiffness in the neck, back, etc.; crick : it takes the kinks out of stiff necks.
form or cause to form a sharp twist or curve : [ intrans. ] the river kinks violently in a right angle | [ trans. ] when the spine gets kinked, the muscles react with pain.
• a sharing of characteristics or origins : they felt a kinship with architects.
kiss someone's ass vulgar slang behave obsequiously toward someone.
kiss something good-bye (or kiss good-bye to something) informal accept the certain loss of something : I could kiss my career good-bye.
kleptomania |ˈklɛptə(ʊ)ˈmeɪnɪə| noun a recurrent urge to steal, typically without regard for need or profit.
on bended knee(s) kneeling, esp. in entreaty or worship : did he propose on bended knee?
(of a response) automatic and unthinking : a knee-jerk reaction.
immersed up to the knees : we were knee-deep in snow. • having more than one needs or wants of something : we shall soon be knee-deep in conflicting legal views.
(of a person) be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, typically as a sign of reverence or submission : they knelt down and prayed.
the sound of a bell, esp. when rung solemnly for a death or funeral. • figurative used with reference to an announcement, event, or sound that is regarded as a solemn warning of the end of something : the decision will probably toll the knell for the facility.
knight in shining armor (or knight on a white charger) an idealized or chivalrous man who comes to the rescue of a woman in a difficult situation.
2 [ intrans. ] become united : disparate regions had begun to knit together under the king | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( knit) a closely knit family.
• [ trans. ] cause to unite or combine : he knitted together a squad of players other clubs had disregarded.
• strike or thump together or against something : my knees were knocking and my lips quivering.
2 [ trans. ] collide with (someone or something), giving them a hard blow : he deliberately ran into her, knocking her shoulder | [ intrans. ] he knocked into an elderly man. • [ trans. ] force to move or fall with a deliberate or accidental blow or collision : he'd knocked over a glass of water. • injure or damage by striking : she knocked her knee painfully on the table | figurative you have had a setback that has knocked your self-esteem. • make (a hole or a dent) in something by striking it forcefully : he suggests we knock a hole through the wall into the broom closet.
knock someone dead informal greatly impress someone.
bang (or knock or crack) people's heads together reprimand people severely, esp. in the attempt to make them stop arguing.
whip (or knock or lick) someone/something into shape act forcefully to bring someone or something into a fitter, more efficient, or better organized state : a man who whips a chamber orchestra into shape.
knock (or blow) someone's socks off informal amaze or impress someone.
knock it off informal used to tell someone to stop doing something that one finds annoying or foolish.
a copy or imitation, esp. of an expensive or designer product : [as adj. ] knockoff merchandise.
• informal an extremely attractive or impressive person or thing : he must have been a knockout when he was young.
1 fasten with a knot : the scarves were knotted loosely around their throats.
: I know of one local who shot himself.
• (usu. be known as) regard or perceive as having a specified characteristic : he is also known as an amateur painter.
—— as we know it as is familiar or customary in the present : by the year 2000 management as we know it will not exist.
be in the know be aware of something known only to a few people : he had a tip from a friend in the know: the horse was a sure bet.
be not to know have no way of being aware of : you weren't to know he was about to die.
know better than be wise or polite enough to avoid doing a particular thing : you ought to know better than to ask that.
know different (or otherwise) be aware of information or evidence to the contrary.
know one's way around be familiar with (an area, procedure, or subject).
know what's what informal be experienced and competent in a particular area. know who's who be aware of the identity and status of each person.
you never know informal you can never be certain; it's impossible to predict.
know something backward ( and forward) be entirely familiar with something.
know something inside out know something very thoroughly : managers who know the business inside out.
know something like the back of one's hand be entirely familiar with a place or route.
know what one is talking about be expert or authoritative on a specified subject.
showing or suggesting that one has knowledge or awareness that is secret or known to only a few people : a knowing smile.
kudos |ˈkjuːdɒs| noun praise and honor received for an achievement.
• assign to a category, esp. inaccurately or restrictively : people who were labeled as "mentally handicapped" | [ trans. ] the critics labeled him a loser.
work hard; make great effort : they labored from dawn to dusk in two shifts | it now looks as if the reformers had labored in vain.
• [with adverbial of direction ] move or proceed with trouble or difficulty : they labored up a steep, tortuous track.
(of a form of work) needing a large workforce or a large amount of work in relation to output : the labor-intensive task of tagging each item in the store. (esp. of a task, process, or journey) requiring considerable effort and time : years of laborious training | the work is very slow and laborious. See note at hard . • (esp. of speech or writing style) showing obvious signs of effort and lacking in fluency : his slow, laborious style. 1 fasten or tighten (a shoe or garment) by tying its laces : he put the shoes on and laced them up.
2 [ trans. ] entwine or tangle (things, esp. fingers) together : he laced his fingers together and sat back. 3 (often be laced with) add an ingredient, esp. alcohol, to (a drink or dish) to enhance its flavor or strength : he gave us coffee laced with brandy | figurative his voice was laced with derision.
the state of being without or not having enough of something : the case was dismissed for lack of evidence | there is no lack of entertainment aboard ship | [in sing. ] there is a lack of parking space in the town.
be without or deficient in : the novel lacks imagination | [ intrans. ] she lacks in patience | Sam did not lack for friends.
lacking enthusiasm and determination; carelessly lazy : a lackadaisical defense left the Spurs adrift in the second half.
lacking in vitality, force, or conviction; uninspired or uninspiring : no excuses were made for the team's lackluster performance.
• figurative a series of ascending stages by which someone or something may advance or progress : employees on their way up the career ladder.
heavily loaded or weighed down : a tree laden with apples | [in combination ] the moisture-laden air.
serve (soup, stew, or sauce) with a ladle : she ladled out onion soup figurative : he was ladling out his personal philosophy of life. • transfer (liquid) from one receptacle to another : he ladled the water into an empty bucket.
1 fall behind in movement, progress, or development; not keep pace with another or others : they stopped to wait for one of the children who was lagging behind. See note at loiter .
a person who makes slow progress and falls behind others : there was no time for laggards.
relaxed and easygoing : a shaggy dog with an engaging, laid-back temperament.
a passionate expression of grief or sorrow : his mother's night-long laments for his father | a song full of lament and sorrow.
• an expression of regret or disappointment; a complaint : there were constant laments about the conditions of employment.
mourn (a person's loss or death) : he was lamenting the death of his infant daughter. See note at mourn .
• [ reporting verb ] express regret or disappointment over something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair : [ trans. ] she lamented the lack of shops in the town | [with direct speech ] Thomas Jefferson later lamented, "Heaven remained silent."
1 (of circumstances or conditions) deplorably bad or unsatisfactory : the facilities provided were lamentable, not merely basic but squalid. • (of an event, action, or attitude) unfortunate; regrettable : her open prejudice showed lamentable immaturity.
• [ intrans. ] ( lam into) attack : they surged up and down in their riot gear, lamming into anyone in their path.
• pierce with or as if with a lance : the teenager had been lanced by a wooden splinter [ intrans. ] figurative : his eyes lanced right through her. • [ intrans. ] move suddenly and quickly : pain lanced through her.
1 [ trans. ] put ashore : the lifeboat landed the survivors safely ashore. • [ intrans. ] go ashore; disembark : the marines landed at a small fishing jetty.
• informal succeed in obtaining or achieving (something desirable), esp. in the face of strong competition : she landed the starring role in a new film.
• [ trans. ] bring (an aircraft or spacecraft) to the ground or the surface of water, esp. in a controlled way : the copilot landed the plane. • reach the ground after falling or jumping : he leaped over the fence and landed nimbly on his feet. • [with adverbial of place ] (of an object) come to rest after falling or being thrown : the plate landed in her lap.
landlord |ˈlan(d)lɔːd| noun a person, esp. a man, who rents land, a building, or an apartment to a tenant.
• figurative the distinctive features of a particular situation or intellectual activity : the event transformed the political landscape.
2 an overwhelming majority of votes for one party in an election : winning the election by a landslide | [as adj. ] a landslide victory.
1 (of a person, manner, or gesture) displaying or having a disinclination for physical exertion or effort; slow and relaxed : they turned with languid movements from back to front so as to tan evenly. • (of an occasion or period of time) pleasantly lazy and peaceful : the terrace was perfect for languid days in the Italian sun. 2 weak or faint from illness or fatigue : she was pale, languid, and weak, as if she had delivered a child.
1 (of a person or other living thing) lose or lack vitality; grow weak or feeble : plants may appear to be languishing simply because they are dormant. • fail to make progress or be successful : many Japanese works still languish unrecognized in Europe.
lanky |ˈlaŋki| adjective ( lankier , lankiest ) (of a person) ungracefully thin and tall.
• a section of a journey or other undertaking : we caught a cab for the last lap of our journey.
1 overtake (a competitor in a race) to become one or more laps ahead : she lapped all of her rivals in the 3,000 meters. • [ intrans. ] (of a competitor or vehicle in a race) complete a lap, esp. in a specified time : he lapped two tenths of a second faster than anyone else.
1 a temporary failure of concentration, memory, or judgment : a lapse of concentration in the second set cost her the match.
2 an interval or passage of time : there was a considerable lapse of time between the two events.
1 (of a right, privilege, or agreement) become invalid because it is not used, claimed, or renewed; expire : my membership to the gym has lapsed. • (of a state or activity) fail to be maintained; come to an end : if your diet has lapsed it's time you revived it.
theft of personal property. See also grand larceny , petty larceny .
1 strike (someone) with a whip or stick : they lashed him repeatedly about the head.
1 a sharp blow or stroke with a whip or rope, typically given as a form of punishment : he was sentenced to fifty lashes for his crime | figurative she felt the lash of my tongue.
lash out 1 hit or kick out at someone or something : sticks with which to lash out and strike the prisoner. • figurative attack verbally : he used his thank-you speech to lash out at critics. 2 Brit. spend money extravagantly : let's lash out on a taxi.lash out 1 hit or kick out at someone or something : sticks with which to lash out and strike the prisoner. • figurative attack verbally : he used his thank-you speech to lash out at critics. 2 Brit. spend money extravagantly : let's lash out on a taxi.
• ( the last) the least likely or suitable : addicts are often the last people to face up to their problems | the last thing she needed was a husband.
4 single; individual : Holly was ceremoniously savoring every last crumb of her chocolate doughnut.
• ( the last) the end or last moment, esp. death : she did love me to the last.
last but not least last in order of mention or occurrence but just as important.
the last (or final) straw a further difficulty or annoyance, typically minor in itself but coming on top of a whole series of difficulties, that makes a situation unbearable : his affair was the last straw. [ORIGIN: from the proverb the last straw breaks the (laden) camel's back.]
• (of a person) manage to continue in a job or course of action : how long does he think he'll last as manager?
the latest possible time before an event : the visit was canceled at the last minute | [as adj. ] a last-minute change of plans.
1 a final or definitive pronouncement on or decision about a subject : he's always determined to have the last word.
attach oneself to (someone) as a constant and usually unwelcome companion : a knack for latching onto people with greater initiative and enterprise. •
of late recently : she'd been drinking too much of late.
at the latest no later than the time specified : all new cars will be required to meet this standard by 1997 at the latest.
a person who arrives late : latecomers were not admitted before the intermission | figurative he was a latecomer to modernism.
(of a quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed : discovering her latent talent for diplomacy.
of, at, toward, or from the side or sides : the plant takes up water through its lateral roots.
2 scope for freedom of action or thought : journalists have considerable latitude in criticizing public figures. See note at range .
(of an action, idea, or goal) deserving praise and commendation : laudable though the aim might be, the results have been criticized.
• a source of fun or amusement : she decided to play along with him for a laugh | he knew his performance was good for a laugh.
laugh in someone's face show open contempt for someone by laughing rudely at them in their presence : figurative vandals and muggers who laugh in the face of the law.
no laughing matter something serious that should not be joked about : heavy snoring is no laughing matter.
laughingstock noun [in sing. ] a person subjected to general mockery or ridicule.
• set (a newly built ship or boat) afloat for the first time, typically as part of an official ceremony : King Gustav II Adolph of Sweden launched a huge new warship.
• [with adverbial of direction ] ( launch oneself) (of a person) make a sudden energetic movement : I launched myself out of bed.
2 start or set in motion (an activity or enterprise) : she was launching a campaign against ugly architecture.
launch into begin (something) energetically and enthusiastically : he launched into a two-hour sales pitch.
wash, or wash and iron, (clothes or linens) : he wasn't used to laundering his own bed linens | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( laundered) freshly laundered sheets.
a person who is honored with an award for outstanding creative or intellectual achievement : a Nobel laureate.
lavatory |ˈlavət(ə)ri| noun ( pl. -ries) a room or compartment with a toilet and washbasin; a bathroom.
sumptuously rich, elaborate, or luxurious : a lavish banquet. • (of a person) very generous or extravagant : he was lavish with his hospitality.
a license is required by law | [as adj. ] law enforcement.
there's no law against it informal used in spoken English to assert that one is doing nothing wrong, esp. in response to an actual or implied criticism : I can laugh, can't I? There's no law against it.
obedient to the laws of society : a law-abiding citizen.
2 informal a regularly occurring or apparently inevitable phenomenon observable in human society : it's a law of nature—however much space you have, you fill it.
conforming to, permitted by, or recognized by law or rules : it is an offense to carry a weapon in public without lawful authority.
not governed by or obedient to laws; characterized by a lack of civic order : it was a lawless, anarchic city.
lawmaker |ˈlɔːmeɪkə| noun a legislator.
a claim or dispute brought to a court of law for adjudication : his lawyer filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles city.
1 not sufficiently strict or severe : lax security arrangements at the airport | he'd been a bit lax about discipline in school lately. See note at lenient . • careless : why do software developers do little more than parrot their equally lax competitors?
2 [ trans. ] put down and set in position for use : it is advisable to have your carpet laid by a professional | figurative the groundwork for change had been laid.
• (often be laid with) cover (a surface) with objects or a substance : the floor was laid with tiles.
lay something bare bring something out of concealment; expose something : the sad tale of failure was laid bare.
lay a charge make an accusation : we could lay a charge of gross negligence.
lay claim to something assert that one has a right to something : four men laid claim to the leadership. • assert that one possesses a skill or quality : she has never laid claim to medical knowledge.
lay (or set or clap) eyes on informal see : Harry has not laid eyes on Alice for twenty years.
lay hands on 1 find and take possession of : they huddled, trying to keep warm under anything they could lay hands on.
lay (or put) one's hands on find and acquire : I would read every book I could lay my hands on.
lay someone open to expose someone to the risk of (something) : his position could lay him open to accusations of favoritism.
lay someone/something to rest bury a body in a grave. • soothe and dispel fear, anxiety, grief, or a similar unpleasant emotion : suspicion will be laid to rest by fact rather than hearsay.
lay something down 1 put something that one has been holding on the ground or another surface : she finished her eclair and laid down her fork. • give up the use or enjoyment of something : they renounced violence and laid down their arms. • sacrifice one's life in a noble cause : he laid down his life for his country. 2 formulate and enforce or insist on a rule or principle : stringent criteria have been laid down. 3 set something in position for use on the ground or a surface : the floors were constructed by laying down precast concrete blocks. • establish something in or on the ground : the ancient grid of streets was laid down by Roman planners. • begin to construct a ship or railroad. • (usu. be laid down) build up a deposit of a substance : these cells lay down new bone tissue. 4 store wine in a cellar. 5 pay or wager money. 6 informal record a piece of music : he was invited to the studio to lay down some backing vocals.
1 (of a person or animal) be in or assume a horizontal or resting position on a supporting surface : the man lay face downward on the grass | I had to lie down for two hours because I was groggy | Lily lay back on the pillows and watched him.
• (of a thing) rest flat on a surface : a book lay open on the table.
• (of something abstract) reside or be found : the solution lies in a return to "traditional family values." 3 (of a place) be situated in a specified position or direction : the small town of Swampscott lies about ten miles north of Boston.
• (of a scene) extend from the observer's viewpoint in a specified direction : stand here, and all of Amsterdam lies before you.
lie ahead be going to happen; be in store : I'm excited by what lies ahead.
lay a finger on someone touch someone, esp. with the intention of harming them.
1 a sheet, quantity, or thickness of material, typically one of several, covering a surface or body : bears depend on a layer of blubber to keep them warm in the water | figurative a larger missile would provide a layer of defense at higher altitudes.
• show (someone or something) the way to a destination by going in front of or beside them : she stood up and led her friend to the door. • be a reason or motive for (someone) : nothing that I have read about the case leads me to the conclusion that anything untoward happened | a fascination for art led him to start a collection of paintings.
• [ intrans. ] ( lead to) culminate in (a particular event) : closing the plant will lead to the loss of 300 jobs. • [ intrans. ] ( lead on to) form a stage in a process that leads probably or inevitably to (a particular end) : his work on digestion led on to study of proteins and fats.
• organize and direct : the conference included sessions led by people with personal knowledge of the area. • set (a process) in motion : they are waiting for an expansion of world trade to lead a recovery.
• have the first place in (a competition); be ahead of (competitors) : the veteran jockey was leading the field.
1 the initiative in an action; an example for others to follow : The U.S. is now taking the environmental lead. • a clue to be followed in the resolution of a problem : detectives investigating the murder are chasing new leads.
2 ( the lead) a position of advantage in a contest; first place : they were beaten 5-3 after twice being in the lead.
3 the chief part in a play or film : she had the lead in a new film | [as adj. ] the lead role. • the person playing the chief part : he still looked like a romantic lead.
lead someone astray cause someone to act or think foolishly or wrongly.
lead up to immediately precede : the weeks leading up to the elections. • result in : fashioning a policy appropriate to the situation entails understanding the forces that led up to it.
an event, point, or sequence that leads up to something else : the lead-up to the elections.
• the forefront or vanguard, esp. of technological development : [as adj. ] leading-edge research.
2 ( leaf through) turn over (the pages of a book or the papers in a pile), reading them quickly or casually : he leafed through the stack of notes.
3 a class or category of quality or excellence : the two men were not in the same league | Jack's in a league of his own.
• figurative (of secret information) become known : the news leaked out.
a hole in a container or covering through which contents, esp. liquid or gas, may accidentally pass : I checked all of the pipes for leaks. • the action of leaking in such a way : the leak of fluid may occur | a gas leak.
the accidental admission or escape of a fluid or gas through a hole or crack : we're saving water by reducing leakage | there have been no leakages of radioactive material.
having a leak or leaks : a leaky roof.
lean on 1 rely on or derive support from : they have learned to lean on each other for support. 2 put pressure on (someone) to act in a certain way : a determination not to allow the majority to lean on the minority. lean to/towards incline or be partial to (a view or position) : I now lean toward sabotage as the cause of the crash.
• (of an industry or company) efficient and with no waste : he made leaner government a campaign theme.
• move quickly and suddenly : Polly leapt to her feet.
• make a sudden rush to do something; act eagerly and suddenly : it was time for me to leap into action. • ( leap at) accept (an opportunity) eagerly : they leapt at the opportunity to combine fun with fund-raising. • (of a price or figure) increase dramatically : sales leaped 40 percent during the Christmas season.
• a dramatic increase in price, amount, etc. : a leap of 75 percent in two years.
leap year noun a year, occurring once every four years, that has 366 days including February 29 as an intercalary day.
• [ trans. ] pass over (a stage or obstacle) : attempts to leapfrog the barriers of class.
• showing, requiring, or characterized by learning; scholarly : an article in a learned journal.
grant (property) on lease; let : she leased the site to a local company. • take (property) on lease; rent : land was leased from the city.
smallest in amount, extent, or significance : [as adj. ] who has the least money? | he never had the least idea what to do about it | [as pron. ] how others see me is the least of my worries | it's the least I can do.
at the least (or very least) 1 (used after amounts) not less than; at the minimum : stay ten days at the least. 2 taking the most pessimistic or unfavorable view : a program that is, at the very least, excellent PR for the hospital.
not in the least not in the smallest degree; not at all : he was not in the least taken aback. not least in particular; notably : there is a great deal at stake, not least in relation to the environment.
to say the least used as an understatement (implying the reality is more extreme, usually worse) : his performance was disappointing to say the least.
2 used to emphasize how small an amount is : [as adj. ] I have little doubt of their identity | there was very little time to be lost | [as pron. ] he ate and drank very little | the ruble is worth so little these days.
2 (used for emphasis) only to a small extent; not much or often : he was little known in this country | he had slept little these past weeks. • hardly or not at all : little did he know what wheels he was putting into motion.
little by little by degrees; gradually : little by little the money dried up.
quite a little a fairly large amount of : some spoke quite a little English. • a considerable : it turned out to be quite a little bonanza.
• [ trans. ] ( leave something to) entrust a decision, choice, or action to (someone else, esp. someone considered better qualified) : the choice of which link to take is generally left up to the reader.
• cause to remain as a trace or record : dark fruit that would leave purple stains on the table napkins | figurative they leave the impression that they can be bullied.
3 [ trans. ] cause (someone or something) to be in a particular state or position : he'll leave you in no doubt about what he thinks | I'll leave the door open | the children were left with feelings of loss.
leave it at that abstain from further comment or action : if you are not sure of the answers, say so, and leave it at that. leave much (or a lot) to be desired be highly unsatisfactory.
leave someone/something out fail to include : it seemed unkind to leave Daisy out; so she was invited, too | [as adj. ] ( left out) Janet was feeling rather left out.
leave (or make) its (or one's or a) mark have a lasting or significant effect : she left her mark on the world of foreign policy.
leave no stone unturned try every possible course of action in order to achieve something.
leave the door open ensure that there is still an opportunity for something : he is leaving the door open for future change.
• [ trans. ] talk seriously or reprovingly to (someone) : don't lecture me!
1 a book or other collection of financial accounts of a particular type : the total balance of the purchases ledger.
2 a person who extorts profit from or sponges on others : they are leeches feeding off the hardworking majority.
look or gaze in an unpleasant, malicious, or lascivious way : bystanders were leering at the nude painting | [as adj. ] ( leering) every leering eye in the room was on her.
1 ( the left) the left-hand part, side, or direction : a turn to the left | ( one's left) the general sat to his left. • (in soccer or a similar sport) the left-hand half of the field when facing the opponents' goal : a free kick from the left.
left wing noun ( the left wing) 1 the liberal, socialist, or radical section of a political party or system. [ORIGIN: with reference to the National Assembly in France (1789-91), where the nobles sat to the president's right and the commons to the left.]
remaining; surplus : yesterday's leftover bread.
make (something that was previously illegal) permissible by law : a measure legalizing gambling in Deadwood.
1 (of a woman) having attractively long legs : a leggy redhead.
(of handwriting or print) clear enough to read : the original typescript is scarcely legible.
2 ( a legion/legions of) a vast host, multitude, or number of people or things : legions of photographers and TV cameras.
make or enact laws : he didn't want to name anyone to the Court who would legislate from the bench. • [ trans. ] cover, affect, or create by making or enacting laws : Congress must legislate strong new laws.
having the power to make laws : the country's supreme legislative body. • of or relating to laws or the making of them : legislative proposals. Often contrasted with executive . • of or relating to a legislature : legislative elections.
legislature |ˈlɛdʒɪslətʃə| noun the legislative body of a country or state.
conforming to the law or to rules : his claims to legitimate authority. See note at genuine . • able to be defended with logic or justification : a legitimate excuse for being late.
make legitimate; justify or make lawful : the regime was not legitimated by popular support.
lend an ear (or one's ears) listen sympathetically or attentively : the Samaritans lend their ears to those in crisis.
: it can reach over two feet in length |
5 a degree or extreme to which a course of action is taken : they go to great lengths to avoid the press.
at length 1 in detail; fully : these aspects have been discussed at length. 2 after a long time : at length she laid down the pencil.
make or become longer : [ trans. ] she lengthened her stride to catch up | [ intrans. ] in the spring when the days are lengthening | [as adj. ] ( lengthening) the lengthening shadows.
(esp. in reference to time) of considerable or unusual length, esp. so as to be tedious : lengthy delays | a lengthy book.
1 (of punishment or a person in authority) permissive, merciful, or tolerant : judges were far too lenient with petty criminals.
lesion |ˈliːʒ(ə)n| noun chiefly Medicine a region in an organ or tissue that has suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess, tumor, etc.
in less than no time informal very quickly or soon.
make or become less; diminish : [ trans. ] the years have lessened the gap in age between us | [ intrans. ] the warmth of the afternoon lessened.
not so great or important as the other or the rest : he was convicted of a lesser assault charge | they nest mostly in Alaska and to a lesser extent in Siberia.
teach someone a lesson punish or hurt someone as a deterrent : they were teaching me a lesson for daring to complain.
let alone used to indicate that something is far less likely, possible, or suitable than something else already mentioned : he was incapable of leading a bowling team, let alone a country.
let someone/something be stop disturbing or interfering with : let him be—he knows what he wants.
let someone/something go 1 allow someone or something to escape or go free : they let the hostages go. • dismiss an employee. 2 (also let go or let go of) relinquish one's grip on someone or something : Adam let go of the reins | figurative you must let the past go.
let it go (or pass) choose not to react to an action or remark : the decision worried us, but we let it go.
let someone/something loose release someone or something : let the dog loose for a minute. • allow someone freedom of action in a particular place or situation : people are only let loose on the system once they have received sufficient training. • suddenly utter a sound or remark : he let loose a stream of abuse.
let (or blow) off steam informal (of a person) get rid of pent-up energy or strong emotion.
let's face it (or let's be honest) informal used to convey that one must be realistic about an unwelcome fact or situation : let's be honest, your taste in men is famously bad.
1 lower something slowly or in stages : they let down a basket on a chain
let oneself in for informal involve oneself in (something likely to be difficult or unpleasant) : I didn't know what I was letting myself in for.
let someone off 1 punish someone lightly or not at all for a misdemeanor or offense : he was let off with a warning. 2 excuse someone from a task or obligation : he let me off work for the day.
let someone out release someone from obligation or suspicion : they've started looking for motives—that lets me out. let something out 1 utter a sound or cry : he let out a sigh of happiness. 2 make a garment looser or larger, typically by adjusting a seam. 3 reveal a piece of information : [with clause ] she let out that he'd given her a ride home.
nformal (of something undesirable) become less intense or severe : the rain's letting up—it'll be clear soon.
let bygones be bygones forget past offenses or causes of conflict and be reconciled.
let me tell you used to emphasize a statement : let me tell you, I was very scared!
a lack of energy and enthusiasm : periods of weakness and lethargy | [in sing. ] she might have sunk into a lethargy.
• at the same height as someone or something else : his eyes were level with hers. • having the same relative position; not in front of or behind : the car braked suddenly, then backed rapidly until it was level with me.
• unchanged; not having risen or fallen : earnings were level at 57 cents a share.
2 calm and steady : "Adrian," she said in her most level voice.
1 [ trans. ] give a flat and even surface to : contractors started leveling the ground for the new power station.
• (of a path, road, or incline) cease to slope upward or downward : the track leveled out, and there below us was the bay. • cease to fall or rise in number, amount, or quantity : inflation has leveled out at an acceptable rate.
• direct (a criticism or accusation) : accusations of corruption had been leveled against him.
a level playing field a situation in which everyone has a fair and equal chance of succeeding.
lift or move with a lever : she levered the lid off the pot with a screwdriver.
1 (often be levied) impose (a tax, fee, or fine) : a new tax could be levied on industry to pay for cleaning up contaminated land.
• [ intrans. ] ( levy on/upon) seize (property) to satisfy a legal judgment : there were no goods to levy upon.
1 an act of levying a tax, fee, or fine : union members were hit with a 2 percent levy on all pay.
rise and hover in the air, esp. by means of supernatural or magical power : he seems to levitate about three inches off the ground.
of or relating to the words or vocabulary of a language : lexical analysis.
1 responsible by law; legally answerable : the supplier of goods or services can become liable for breach of contract in a variety of ways. See note at responsible .
establish a working relationship, typically in order to cooperate on a matter of mutual concern : she will liaise with teachers across the country.
1 communication or cooperation that facilitates a close working relationship between people or organizations : the head porter works in close liaison with the reception office. • a person who acts as a link to assist communication or cooperation between groups of people : he's our liaison with a number of interested parties.
libel |ˈlʌɪb(ə)l| noun 1 Law a published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation. Compare with slander .
• the action or crime of publishing such a statement : a councilor who sued two national newspapers for libel | [as adj. ] a libel action.
1 Law defame (someone) by publishing a libel : she alleged the magazine had libeled her.
containing or constituting a libel : a libelous newspaper story. • release (someone) from a state or situation that limits freedom of thought or behavior : the use of computers can liberate students from the constraints of disabilities | [as adj. ] ( liberating) the arts can have a liberating effect on people. • free (a country, city, or people) from enemy occupation : twelve months earlier Paris had been liberated.
• formal or official permission to do something : logging is permitted under license from the Forest Service.
grant a license to (someone or something) to permit the use of something or to allow an activity to take place : brokers must be licensed to sell health-related insurance | [ trans. ] he ought not to have been licensed to fly a plane | [as adj. ] ( licensing) a licensing authority.
• authorize the use, performance, or release of (something) : the drug is already licensed for human use | he was required to delete certain scenes before the film could be licensed for showing.
1 an act of licking something with the tongue : Sammy gave his fingers a long lick.
keep a (or the) lid on informal keep (an emotion or process) from going out of control : she was no longer able to keep the lid on her simmering anger. • keep secret : she keeps a very tight lid on her own private life. put a (or the) lid on informal put a stop to or be the culmination of : it's time to put the lid on all the talk.
I tell a lie (or that's a lie) informal an expression used to correct oneself immediately when one realizes that one has made an incorrect remark : I never used to dream—I tell a lie, I did dream when I was little.
instead : the company issued additional shares to shareholders in lieu of a cash dividend.
bring (or come) to life regain or cause to regain consciousness or return as if from death : all this was of great interest to her, as if she were coming to life after a long sleep. • (with reference to a fictional character or inanimate object) cause or seem to be alive or real : he brings the character of MacDonald to life with power and precision | all the puppets came to life again. • make or become active, lively, or interesting : soon, with the return of the peasants and fishermen, the village comes to life again | you can bring any room to life with these coordinating cushions.
for dear (or one's) life as if or in order to escape death : I clung to the tree for dear life | Sue struggled free and ran for her life.
a matter of life and death a matter of vital importance.
that's life an expression of one's acceptance of a situation, however difficult : we'll miss each other, but still, that's life.
this is the life an expression of contentment with one's present circumstances : Ice cubes clinked in crystal glasses. "This is the life," she said.
of the same size as the person or thing represented : a life-size statue of a discus-thrower.
• move (one's eyes or face) to face upward and look at someone or something : he lifted his eyes from the paper for an instant. • increase the volume or pitch of (one's voice) : Willie sang boldly, lifting up his voice.
• [ intrans. ] (of a cloud, fog, etc.) move upward or away : the factory smoke hung low, never lifted | the gray weather lifted on the following Wednesday.
• figurative enable (someone or something) to escape from a particular state of mind or situation, esp. an unpleasant one : two billion barrels of oil that could lift this nation out of chronic poverty.
3 raise (a person's spirits or confidence); encourage or cheer : we heard inspiring talks that lifted our spirits. • [ intrans. ] (of a person's mood) become happier : suddenly his heart lifted, and he could have wept with relief.
4 a feeling of encouragement or increased cheerfulness : winning this game has given everyone on the team a lift.
lift a finger (or hand) [usu. with negative ] make the slightest effort to do something, esp. to help someone : he never once lifted a finger to get Jimmy released from prison.
1 provide with light or lighting; illuminate : the room was lighted by a number of small lamps | lightning suddenly lit up the house.
• ( light something up) ignite a cigarette, cigar, or pipe and begin to smoke it : she lit up a cigarette and puffed on it serenely | [ intrans. ] workers who light up in prohibited areas face dismissal.
bring (or come) to light make (or become) widely known or evident : an investigation to bring to light examples of extravagant expenditure.
shed (or throw or cast) light on help to explain (something) by providing further information about it.
light up (or light something up) (with reference to a person's face or eyes) suddenly become or cause to be animated with liveliness or joy : his eyes lit up and he smiled | a smile of delight lit up her face.
1 of little weight; easy to lift : they are very light and portable | you're as light as a feather.
1 of little weight; easy to lift : they are very light and portable | you're as light as a feather.
2 relatively low in density, amount, or intensity : passenger traffic was light | light summer breezes | trading was light for most of the day.
3 gentle or delicate : she planted a light kiss on his cheek | my breathing was steady and light.
4 (of entertainment) requiring little mental effort; not profound or serious : pop is thought of as light entertainment | some light reading.
light at the end of the tunnel a long-awaited indication that a period of hardship or adversity is nearing an end.
make or become lighter in weight, pressure, or severity : [ trans. ] efforts to lighten the burden of regulation | [ intrans. ] the strain had lightened. • make or become more cheerful or less serious : [ trans. ] she attempted a joke to lighten the atmosphere | [ intrans. ] Robbie felt her spirits lighten a little.
dizzy and slightly faint : I was lightheaded from fear.
likable |ˈlʌɪkəb(ə)l| (also likeable) adjective (esp. of a person) pleasant, friendly, and easy to like.
• ( the like) a thing or things of the same kind (often used to express surprise or for emphasis) : did you ever hear the like? | a church interior the like of which he had never seen before.
the likes of informal used of someone or something regarded as a type : she didn't want to associate with the likes of me.
like it or not informal used to indicate that someone has no choice in a matter : you're celebrating with us, like it or not.
not like the look (or sound) of find worrying or alarming : I don't like the look of that head injury.
having similar tastes or opinions : a small group of like-minded friends.
point out the resemblance of someone or something to : they likened the reigning emperor to a god.
1 in the same way; also : the dream of young people is to grow old, and it is likewise the dream of their parents to relive youth. • used to introduce a point similar or related to one just made : you will forget the bad things that have happened in the past. Likewise, I will forget what you have done to me.
a feeling of regard or fondness : Mrs. Parsons had a liking for gin and tonic | she'd taken an instant liking to Arnie's new girlfriend.
to one's liking to one's taste; pleasing : his coffee was just to his liking.
out on a limb in or into a dangerous or uncompromising position, where one is not joined or supported by anyone else; vulnerable : she's prepared to go out on a limb and do something different.
1 a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass : the limits of presidential power | the 10-minute limit on speeches | there was no limit to his imagination.
• the furthest extent of one's physical or mental endurance : Mary Ann tried everyone's patience to the limit | other horses were reaching their limit.
• (also legal limit) the maximum concentration of alcohol in the blood that the law allows in the driver of a motor vehicle : the risk of drinkers inadvertently going over the limit.
set or serve as a limit to : try to limit the amount you drink | class sizes are limited to a maximum of 10 | [as adj. ] ( limiting) a limiting factor.
off limits out of bounds : they declared the site off limits | figurative there was no topic that was off limits for discussion.
1 (often limitations) a limiting rule or circumstance; a restriction : severe limitations on water use. • a condition of limited ability; a defect or failing : she knew her limitations better than she knew her worth.
walk with difficulty, typically because of a damaged or stiff leg or foot : he limped off during Saturday's game.
a tendency to limp; a gait impeded by injury or stiffness : he walked with a limp.
lacking internal strength or structure; not stiff or firm : she let her whole body go limp | the flags hung limp and still.
5 an area or branch of activity : the stresses unique to their line of work.
• ( lines) a manner of doing or thinking about something : you can't run a business on these lines | the superintendent was thinking along the same lines.
all ( the way) down (or along) the line at every point or stage : the mistakes were caused by lack of care all down the line. along (or down) the line at a further, later, or unspecified point : I knew that somewhere down the line there would be an inquest.
come into line conform : Britain has come into line with other Western democracies in giving the vote to its citizens living abroad.
in (or out of) line with in (or not in) alignment or accordance with : remuneration is in line with comparable international organizations.
on the line 1 at serious risk : their careers were on the line. 2 (of a picture in an exhibition) hung with its center about level with the spectator's eye. out of line informal behaving in a way that breaks the rules or is considered disreputable or inappropriate : he had never stepped out of line with her before.
stay in a place longer than necessary, typically because of a reluctance to leave : she lingered in the yard, enjoying the warm sunshine | she let her eyes linger on him suggestively. • ( linger over) spend a long time over (something) : she lingered over her meal. • be slow to disappear or die : the tradition seems to linger on | we are thankful that she didn't linger on and suffer.
make, form, or suggest a connection with or between : [ trans. ] rumors that linked his name with Judith | foreign and domestic policy are linked | [ intrans. ] she was linked up with an artistic group. • connect or join physically : [ trans. ] a network of routes linking towns and villages | the cows are linked up to milking machines | [ intrans. ] three different groups, each linking with the other.
the biggest or greatest part : William was appointed editor, which meant that he did the lion's share of the work.
give a lot of public attention and approval to (someone); treat as a celebrity : modern athletes are lionized.
bite one's lip repress an emotion; stifle laughter or a retort : she bit her lip to stop the rush of bitter words.
pay lip service to express approval of or support for (something) without taking any significant action.
my (or his, etc.) lips are sealed used to convey that one will not discuss or reveal something.
• convert (assets) into cash : a plan to liquidate $10,000,000 worth of property over seven years.
liquidity |lɪˈkwɪdɪti| noun Finance the availability of liquid assets to a market or company.
lisp |lɪsp| noun a speech defect in which s is pronounced like th in thick and z is pronounced like th in this.
litigate |ˈlɪtɪgeɪt| verb [ intrans. ] go to law; be a party to a lawsuit.
litigious |lɪˈtɪdʒəs| adjective concerned with lawsuits or litigation.
• (usu. be littered) leave (rubbish or a number of objects) lying untidily in a place : there was broken glass littered about. • (usu. be littered with) figurative fill (a text, history, etc.) with examples of something unpleasant : news pages have been littered with doom and gloom about company collapses.
little (or nothing) short of almost (or equal to); little (or nothing) less than : he regarded the cost of living as little short of scandalous.
• (of an environment or climate) fit to live in : one of the most livable cities in the world.
• supply oneself with the means of subsistence : they live by hunting and fishing. • survive in someone's mind; be remembered : only the name lived on.
live one's own life follow one's own plans and principles independent of others.
you (or we) live and learn used, esp. in spoken English, to acknowledge that a fact is new to one.
live off (or on) depend on (someone or something) as a source of income or support : if you think you're going to live off me for the rest of your life, you're mistaken.
live up to fulfill (expectations). • fulfill (an undertaking) : the president lived up to his promise to set America swiftly on a new path.
2 accept or tolerate (something unpleasant) : our marriage was a failure—you have to learn to live with that fact.
active and outgoing : she joined a lively team of reporters. • (of a place or atmosphere) full of activity and excitement : Barcelona's many lively bars. • intellectually stimulating or perceptive : a lively discussion | her lively mind.
1 informal furiously angry : he was livid at being left out.
lo and behold |ˈloʊ ən bəˈhoʊld| used to present a new scene, situation, or turn of events, often with the suggestion that though surprising, could in fact have been predicted : you took me out and, lo and behold, I got home to find my house had been ransacked.
2 a weight or source of pressure borne by someone or something : the increased load on the heart caused by a raised arterial pressure | the arch has hollow spandrels to lighten the load on the foundations.
• a burden of responsibility, worry, or grief : consumers will find it difficult to service their heavy load of debt. 3 ( a load of) informal a lot of (often used to express one's disapproval or dislike of something) : she was talking a load of garbage. • ( a load/loads) informal plenty : she spends loads of money on clothes | there's loads to see here, even when it rains.
1 put a load or large amount of something on or in (a vehicle, ship, container, etc.) : they load up their dugout canoes. • (often be loaded) place (a load or large quantity of something) on or in a vehicle, ship, container, etc. : stolen property from a burglary was loaded into a taxi.
take a (or the) load off one's feet sit or lie down.
take a load off someone's mind bring someone relief from anxiety.
take a load off someone's mind bring someone relief from anxiety.
a thing that is borrowed, esp. a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest : borrowers can take out a loan for $84,000.
borrow (a sum of money or item of property) : the word processor was loaned to us by the theater | he knew Rob would not loan him money.
on loan (of a thing) being borrowed : the painting is at present on loan to the gallery. • (of a worker or sports player) released to another organization or team, typically for an agreed fixed period.
feel intense dislike or disgust for : she loathed him on sight | [as n. ] ( loathing) the thought filled him with loathing. See note at despise .
causing hatred or disgust; repulsive : this loathsome little swine.
throw or hit (a ball or missile) in a high arc : he lobbed the ball over their heads.
seek to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue : it is recommending that booksellers lobby their representatives | [ intrans. ] a group lobbying for better rail services.
a place where something happens or is set, or that has particular events associated with it : her summers were spent in a variety of exotic locales.
• enclose or shut in by locking or fastening a door, lid, etc. : the prisoners are locked up overnight | Phil locked away the takings every night.
2 make or become rigidly fixed or immovable : [ trans. ] he locked his hands behind her neck | [ intrans. ] their gaze locked for several long moments.
lock someone out of exclude someone from : those now locked out of the job market.
1 [ trans. ] present (a complaint, appeal, claim, etc.) formally to the proper authorities : he has 28 days in which to lodge an appeal.
2 make or become firmly fixed or embedded in a particular place : [ trans. ] they had to remove a bullet lodged near his spine | [ intrans. ] figurative the image had lodged in her mind.
kick, hit, or throw (a ball or missile) high up : he lofted the ball over the infield.
1 of imposing height : the elegant square was shaded by lofty palms. • of a noble or exalted nature : an extraordinary mixture of harsh reality and lofty ideals. • proud, aloof, or self-important : lofty intellectual disdain.
• a regular or systematic record of incidents or observations : keep a detailed log of your activities.
1 enter (an incident or fact) in the log of a ship or aircraft or in another systematic record : the incident has to be logged | the red book where we log our calls.
• the quality of being justifiable by reason : there's no logic in telling her not to hit people when that's what you're doing.
stand or wait around idly or without apparent purpose : she saw Mary loitering near the cloakrooms. • travel indolently and with frequent pauses : they loitered along in the sunshine, stopping at the least excuse.
having no companions; solitary or single : I approached a lone drinker across the bar | we sheltered under a lone tree.
a person looking for a lover or friend by advertising in a newspaper : a lonely hearts column.
solitary or lonely : she felt lonesome and out of things. • remote and unfrequented : a lonesome, unfriendly place.
5 (of odds or a chance) reflecting or representing a low level of probability : winning against long odds | you're taking a long chance.
be long take a long time to happen or arrive : it won't be long before you're hooked | sit down, tea won't be long.
have a strong wish or desire : she longed for a little more excitement | [with infinitive ] we are longing to see the new baby.
long face noun an unhappy or disappointed expression.
long live ——! said to express loyalty or support for a specified person or thing : long live the Queen!
a yearning desire : Miranda felt a wistful longing for the old days | [with infinitive ] a longing to be free | his tale of love and longing.
having existed or continued for a long time : a long-standing tradition.
• (of a building or room) have a view or outlook in a specified direction : the principal rooms look out over Nahant Bay.
• ( look through) ignore (someone) by pretending not to see them : he glanced up once but looked right through me.
• ( look through) peruse (a book or other written material) : we looked through all the books, and this was still the one we liked best. • ( look round/around) move around (a place or building) in order to view whatever it might contain that is of interest : he spent the morning and afternoon looking around Cambridge.
• ( look like) informal show a likelihood of : it doesn't look like you'll be moving to Brooklyn.
look one's age appear to be as old as one really is.
look for trouble informal behave in a way that is likely to provoke an argument or fight : youths take a cocktail of drink and drugs before going out to look for trouble.
look someone in the eye (or face) look directly at someone without showing embarrassment, fear, or shame.
look the other way deliberately ignore wrongdoing by others : they do look the other way at corrupt practices here.
look after take care of : women who stay at home to look after children. look back 1 think of the past : don't waste time looking back on things that have caused you distress. 2 [with negative ] suffer a setback or interrupted progress : she launched her own company in 1981 and has never looked back.
look out [usu. in imperative ] be vigilant and take notice : "Look out!" warned Billie, seeing a movement from the room beyond | look out for the early warning signals.
look up to have a great deal of respect for (someone) : he needed a model, someone to look up to.
look as if you have seen a ghost look very pale and shocked.
look on the bright side be optimistic or cheerful in spite of difficulties.
look who's talking another way of saying you shouldn't talk .
• a person stationed to keep watch for danger or trouble : they acted as lookouts at the post office.
be on the lookout (or keep a lookout) for be alert to (danger or trouble) : he told them to be on the lookout for dangerous gas. • keep searching for (something that is wanted) : we kept a sharp lookout for animals.
appear as a shadowy form, esp. one that is large or threatening : vehicles loomed out of the darkness. • (of an event regarded as ominous or threatening) seem about to happen : there is a crisis looming | higher mortgage rates loomed large last night.
form (something) into a loop or loops; encircle : she looped her arms around his neck.
in (or out of) the loop informal aware (or unaware) of information known to only a privileged few.
1 an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules : they exploited tax loopholes.
1 not firmly or tightly fixed in place : a loose tooth | the truck's trailer came loose.
• (of a person or animal) free from confinement; not bound or tethered : the bull was loose with cattle in the field | the tethered horses broke loose.
• careless and indiscreet in what is said : there is too much loose talk about the situation.
steal goods from (a place), typically during a war or riot : police confronted the rioters who were looting shops.
• ( be lost) be destroyed or killed, esp. through accident or as a result of military action : a fishing disaster in which 19 local men were lost.
• ( lose it) informal lose control of one's temper or emotions : in the end I completely lost it—I was screaming at them.
• informal cause (someone) to be unable to follow an argument or explanation : sorry, Tim, you've lost me there.
have nothing to lose be in a situation that is so bad that even if an action or undertaking is unsuccessful, it cannot make it any worse. lose face come to be less highly respected : he was trying to work out how he could go back home without losing face.
lose one's grip become unable to understand or control one's situation : an elderly person who seems to be losing his grip.
lose one's head lose self-control; panic.
lose patience (or lose one's patience) become unable to keep one's temper : even Lawrence finally lost patience with him.
lose sight of be no longer able to see. • fail to consider, be aware of, or remember : we should not lose sight of the fact that the issues involved are moral ones.
lose touch 1 cease to correspond or be in communication : I lost touch with him when he joined the air force. 2 cease to be aware or informed : we cannot lose touch with political reality.
• [in sing. ] a person or thing that is badly missed when lost : he will be a great loss to many people.
3 one of a set of objects such as straws, stones, or pieces of paper that are randomly selected as part of a decision-making process : they drew lots to determine the order in which they asked questions. • the making of a decision by such random selection : officers were elected rather than selected by lot. • [in sing. ] the choice resulting from such a process : eventually the lot fell on the king's daughter.
1 informal very poor or bad; disgusting : the service is usually lousy | lousy weather.
• [ predic. ] ( lousy with) informal teeming with (something regarded as bad or undesirable) : the town is lousy with tourists.
• an intense enthusiasm or liking for something : the great American love affair with the automobile.
• (of a substance or food) containing smaller quantities than usual of a specified ingredient : vegetables are low in calories | [in combination ] low-fat spreads. • (of a supply) small or reduced in quantity : food and ammunition were running low.
3 ranking below other people or things in importance or class : jobs with low status | training will be given low priority.
a low point, level or figure : his popularity ratings are at an all-time low. • a particularly bad or difficult moment : the highs and lows of an actor's life.
adverb 1 in or into a low position or state : she pressed on, bent low to protect her face.
the lowest of the low the people regarded as the most immoral or socially inferior of all.
a position of avoiding or not attracting much attention or publicity : he's not the sort of politician to keep a low profile.
• make or become less in amount, extent, or value : [ trans. ] traffic speeds must be lowered | [ intrans. ] temperatures lowered.
small letters as opposed to capital letters (uppercase) : the name may be typed in lowercase | [as adj. ] lowercase letters.
lower court noun Law a court whose decisions may be overruled by another court on appeal.
lower (or let down) one's guard relax one's defensive posture, leaving oneself vulnerable to attack : if you lower your guard or take a step backward, I will throw in the towel. • reduce one's level of vigilance or caution : she was not ready to let down her guard and confide in him.
lowest common multiple (abbr.: LCM) noun Mathematics the lowest quantity that is a multiple of two or more given quantities (e.g., 12 is the lowest common multiple of 2, 3, and 4).
low in status or importance; humble : she was too good for her lowly position.
• figurative make (a process) run smoothly : the availability of credit lubricated the channels of trade. • figurative make someone convivial, esp. with alcohol : men lubricated with alcohol speak their true feelings.
1 expressed clearly; easy to understand : a lucid account | write in a clear and lucid style. See note at sensible .
tough luck informal used to express a lack of sympathy : tough luck if they complain.
be in (or out of) luck be fortunate (or unfortunate).
try one's luck do something that involves risk or luck, hoping to succeed : he thought he'd try his luck at farming in Canada.
producing a great deal of profit : a lucrative career as a stand-up comedian.
so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous : it's ludicrous that I have been fined | every night he wore a ludicrous outfit. See note at absurd .
calm or send to sleep, typically with soothing sounds or movements : the rhythm of the boat lulled her to sleep. • cause (someone) to feel deceptively secure or confident : the rarity of earthquakes there has lulled people into a false sense of security.
1 a person who inspires or influences others, esp. one prominent in a particular sphere : one of the luminaries of child psychiatry.
luminescence |ˈluːmɪˈnɛs(ə)ns| noun the emission of light by a substance that has not been heated, as in fluorescence and phosphorescence.
full of or shedding light; bright or shining, esp. in the dark : the luminous dial on his watch | a luminous glow. See note at bright . • (of a person's complexion or eyes) glowing with health, vigor, or a particular emotion : her eyes were luminous with joy.
a compact mass of a substance, esp. one without a definite or regular shape : there was a lump of ice floating in the milk. • a swelling under the skin, esp. one caused by injury or disease : he was unhurt apart from a huge lump on his head.
roughly or clumsily formed or shaped : those large and lumpish hands could produce exquisitely fine work.
the state of being a lunatic; insanity (not in technical use) : it has been suggested that originality demands a degree of lunacy. • extreme folly or eccentricity : such an economic policy would be sheer lunacy.
• an extremely foolish or eccentric person : this lunatic just accelerated out of the side of the road.
an abrupt uncontrolled movement, esp. an unsteady tilt or roll : the boat gave a violent lurch, and he missed his footing.
make an abrupt, unsteady, uncontrolled movement or series of movements; stagger : the car lurched forward | Stuart lurched to his feet | figurative he was lurching from one crisis to the next.
tempt (a person or an animal) to do something or to go somewhere, esp. by offering some form of reward : the child was lured into a car but managed to escape. See note at tempt .
• (of an unpleasant quality) be present in a latent or barely discernible state, although still presenting a threat : fear lurks beneath the surface | [as adj. ] ( lurking) he lives with a lurking fear of exposure as a fraud.
(of vegetation) growing luxuriantly : lush greenery and cultivated fields. See note at profuse . • opulent and luxurious : a hall of gleaming marble, as lush as a Byzantine church.
very strong sexual desire : he knew that his lust for her had returned. • [in sing. ] a passionate desire for something : a lust for power.
1 a gentle sheen or soft glow, esp. that of a partly reflective surface : the luster of the Milky Way | she couldn't eat, and her hair lost its luster. See note at polish . • figurative glory or distinction : a celebrity player to add luster to the lineup.
having luster; shining : large, lustrous eyes. See note at bright .
healthy and strong; full of vigor : the other farms had lusty young sons to work the land | lusty singing.
extremely comfortable, elegant, or enjoyable, esp. in a way that involves great expense : the bedrooms have luxurious marble bathrooms | many of the leadership led relatively luxurious lives.
1 (of literature, art, or music) expressing the writer's emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way : the poet's combination of lyrical and descriptive power.
disturbing and horrifying because of involvement with or depiction of death and injury : a macabre series of murders. make (someone) extremely irritated or annoyed : the audacity of the convicts maddened the governor. • [often as adj. ] ( maddened) drive (someone) insane : a maddened crowd. • figurative a scene or state of confused and violent movement or upheaval : the train station was a maelstrom of crowds | a maelstrom of violence and recrimination.
• a great or distinguished figure in any sphere : a movie maestro.
the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces : do you believe in magic? | suddenly, as if by magic, the doors start to open.
1 having or showing great authority : a magisterial pronouncement. • domineering; dictatorial : he dropped his somewhat magisterial style of questioning.
2 very attractive or alluring : his magnetic personality.
• figurative a person or thing that has a powerful attraction : the beautiful stretch of white sand is a magnet for sun worshipers.
1 the great size or extent of something : they may feel discouraged at the magnitude of the task before them. • great importance : events of tragic magnitude. 2 size : electorates of less than average magnitude. • a numerical quantity or value : the magnitudes of all the economic variables could be determined.
wound or injure (someone) so that part of the body is permanently damaged : 100,000 soldiers were killed or maimed.
• keep (something) at the same level or rate : agricultural prices will have to be maintained.
3 [ reporting verb ] state something strongly to be the case; assert : [ trans. ] he has always maintained his innocence | [with clause ] he had persistently maintained that he would not stand against his old friend | [with direct speech ] "It was not an ideology at all," she maintained.
having or showing impressive beauty or dignity : watching majestic eagles soar along the Mississippi.
1 the greater number : in the majority of cases all will go smoothly | [as adj. ] it was a majority decision.
be in the majority belong to or constitute the larger group or number : publishing houses where women are in the majority.
• communicate or express (an idea, request, or requirement) : I tend to make heavy demands on people | [with two objs. ] make him an offer he can't refuse.
• ( make it) succeed in something; become successful : he waited confidently for his band to make it. • achieve a place in : these dogs seldom make the news | they made it to the semifinals. • achieve the rank of : he wasn't going to make captain.
make someone's day make an otherwise ordinary or dull day pleasingly memorable for someone.
make do manage with the limited or inadequate means available : Dad would have to make do with an old car.
make way 1 allow room for someone or something else : the land is due to be bulldozed to make way for a parking garage
make something of give or ascribe a specified amount of attention or importance to : oddly, he makes little of America's low investment rates. • understand or derive advantage from : they stared at the stone but could make nothing of it. • [with negative or in questions ] conclude to be the meaning or character of : he wasn't sure what to make of Russell.
2 ( make up) (of parts) compose or constitute (a whole) : women make up 56 percent of the student body | the team is made up of three women and two men.
make up to informal attempt to win the favor of (someone) by being pleasant : you can't go on about morals when you're making up to Adam like that.
make a (or no) difference have a significant effect (or no effect) on a person or situation : the law will make no difference to my business.
make a fuss become angry and complain.
make a move take action : each army was waiting for the other side to make a move. • Brit. set off; leave somewhere : I think I'd better be making a move.
make a name for oneself become well known : by the time he was thirty-five, he had made a name for himself as a contractor.
enter somewhere in a conspicuous or impressive way : she slowly counted to ten before making her entrance.
imitating something real; pretend : he was firing a make-believe gun at the spy planes.
make certain [with clause ] take action to ensure that something happens or is the case : I made certain that our paths would never cross again. • establish whether something is definitely correct or true : he probably knew her, but it didn't do any harm to make certain.
make ( both) ends meet earn enough money to live without getting into debt.
make haste dated hurry; hasten : I make haste to seal this.
make no mistake ( about it) informal do not be deceived into thinking otherwise.
make one's point put across a proposition clearly and convincingly.
make oneself useful do something that is of some value or benefit to someone : make yourself useful—get Jenny a drink.
make room move aside or move something aside to allow someone to enter or pass or to clear space for something : the secretary entered with the coffee tray and made room for it on the desk.
make someone's eyes pop ( out) informal cause great astonishment to someone.・make someone's flesh creep (or crawl) see make someone's skin crawl at skin .make someone's hair curl informal shock or horrify someone.make someone's hair stand on end alarm or horrify someone.make someone's skin (or flesh) crawl (or creep) cause someone to feel fear, horror, or disgust : a person dying in a fire—doesn't it make your skin crawl?
make the best of derive what limited advantage one can from (something unsatisfactory or unwelcome) : you'll just have to make the best of the situation. • use (resources) as well as possible : he tried to make the best of his talents.
make the most of use to the best advantage : he was eager to make the most of his visit. • represent at its best : how to make the most of your features.
serving as a temporary substitute; sufficient for the time being : arranging a row of chairs to form a makeshift bed.
a disease or ailment : an incurable malady | figurative the nation's maladies.
a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify : a society afflicted by a deep cultural malaise | a general air of malaise.
malefactor |ˈmalɪˈfaktə| noun formal a person who commits a crime or some other wrong.
(of a piece of equipment or machinery) fail to function normally or satisfactorily : the unit is clearly malfunctioning.
the intention or desire to do evil; ill will : I bear no malice toward anybody.
characterized by malice; intending or intended to do harm : malicious destruction of property.
evil in nature or effect; malevolent : she had a strong and malign influence.
malignant |məˈlɪgnənt| adjective 1 (of a disease) very virulent or infectious.
malnourished |malˈnʌrɪʃt| adjective suffering from malnutrition.
malnutrition |malnjʊˈtrɪʃ(ə)n| noun lack of proper nutrition, caused by not having enough to eat, not eating enough of the right things, or being unable to use the food that one does eat.
improper, illegal, or negligent professional activity or treatment, esp. by a medical practitioner, lawyer, or public official : victims of medical malpractice | investigations into malpractices and abuses of power.
as —— as the next man as —— as the average person : I'm as ambitious as the next man.
man of action
of the size of a human being : man-sized plants.
2 [ intrans. ] succeed in surviving or in attaining one's aims, esp. against heavy odds; cope : Catherine managed on five hours' sleep a night. • [ trans. ] succeed in doing, achieving, or producing (something, esp. something difficult) : she managed a brave but unconvincing smile | [with infinitive ] Beth finally managed to hail a cab | ironic one fund managed to lose money.
• [ trans. ] succeed in dealing with or withstanding (something) : there was more stress and anxiety than he could manage.
able to be managed, controlled, or accomplished without great difficulty : it leaves hair feeling soft and manageable | the situation was manageable, if a little nerve-racking.
relating to management or managers, esp. of a company or similar organization : I have a managerial role | managerial skills.
1 an official order or commission to do something : a mandate to seek the release of political prisoners.
1 give (someone) authority to act in a certain way : other colleges have mandated coed fraternities. • require (something) to be done; make mandatory : the government began mandating better car safety.
required by law or rules; compulsory : wearing helmets was made mandatory for cyclists. • of or conveying a command : he did not want the guidelines to be mandatory.
1 a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care : spectacular jumps and other daring maneuvers. • a carefully planned scheme or action, esp. one involving deception : shady financial maneuvers. • the fact or process of taking such action : the economic policy provided no room for maneuver. 2 ( maneuvers) a large-scale military exercise of troops, warships, and other forces : the Russian vessel was on maneuvers.
1 perform or cause to perform a movement or series of moves requiring skill and care : [ intrans. ] the truck was unable to maneuver comfortably in the narrow street | [ trans. ] I'm maneuvering a loaded tray around the floor. 2 [ trans. ] carefully guide or manipulate (someone or something) in order to achieve an end : they were maneuvering him into a betrayal of his countryman.
resolute or brave, esp. in the face of adversity : a manful attempt to smile. See note at male .
severely mutilate, disfigure, or damage by cutting, tearing, or crushing : the car was mangled almost beyond recognition | figurative he was mangling Bach on the piano.
• an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession : he had a mania for automobiles.
a person exhibiting extreme symptoms of wild behavior, esp. when violent and dangerous : a homicidal maniac. • [with adj. ] an obsessive enthusiast : a gambling maniac.
clear or obvious to the eye or mind : the system's manifest failings.
display or show (a quality or feeling) by one's acts or appearance; demonstrate : Ray manifested signs of severe depression. • (often be manifested in) be evidence of; prove : bad industrial relations are often manifested in disputes and strikes.
record in such a manifest : every passenger is manifested at the point of departure.
an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something, esp. a theory or an abstract idea : the first obvious manifestations of global warming. See note at sign .
many and various : the implications of this decision were manifold. • having many different forms or elements : the appeal of the crusade was manifold.
1 characterized by unscrupulous control of a situation or person : she was sly, selfish, and manipulative. 2 of or relating to manipulation of an object or part of the body : a manipulative skill.
having or denoting those good qualities traditionally associated with men, such as courage and strength : looking manly and capable in his tennis whites. See note at male .
1 [in combination ] behaving in a specified way : pleasant-mannered.
1 a way in which a thing is done or happens : taking notes in an unobtrusive manner. • a style in literature or art : a dramatic poem in the manner of Goethe.
all manner of many different kinds of : they accuse me of all manner of evil things.
in a manner of speaking in some sense; so to speak.
• figurative a covering of a specified sort : the houses were covered with a thick mantle of snow.
1 [ trans. ] poetic/literary clothe in or as if in a mantle; cloak or envelop : heavy mists mantled the forested slopes. • archaic (of blood) suffuse (the face) : a warm pink mounted to the girl's cheeks and mantled her brow.
• [with adj. ] a specified branch of industry : the porcelain manufacture for which France became justly renowned.
2 invent or fabricate (evidence or a story) : the tabloid industry that manufactures epochal discoveries out of thin air.
many a —— a large number of : many a good man has been destroyed by booze.
represent (an area) on a map; make a map of : inaccessible parts will be mapped from the air. • record in detail the spatial distribution of (something) : the project to map the human genome.
wipe something off the map obliterate something totally.
impair the appearance of; disfigure : no wrinkles marred her face. • impair the quality of; spoil : violence marred a number of New Year celebrations.
roam in search of things to steal or people to attack : marauding gangs of looters.
walk in a military manner with a regular measured tread : three companies of soldiers marched around the field. • walk or proceed quickly and with determination : without a word she marched from the room. • [ trans. ] force (someone) to walk somewhere quickly : she gripped Rachel's arm and marched her out through the doors. • walk along public roads in an organized procession to protest about something : antigovernment protesters marched today through major cities | they planned to march on Baton Rouge.
• an amount of something included so as to be sure of success or safety : there was no margin for error. • the lower limit of possibility, success, etc. : the lighting is considerably brighter than before but is still at the margins of acceptability.
treat (a person, group, or concept) as insignificant or peripheral : attempting to marginalize those who disagree | [as adj. ] ( marginalized) members of marginalized cultural groups.
• of secondary or minor importance; not central : it seems likely to make only a marginal difference | a marginal criminal element.
of or relating to marriage or the relations between husband and wife : marital fidelity.
connected with the sea, esp. in relation to seafaring commercial or military activity : a maritime museum | maritime law. • living or found in or near the sea : dolphins and other maritime mammals.
• a spot, area, or feature on a person's or animal's body by which they may be identified or recognized : he was five feet nine, with no distinguishing marks.
1 make (a visible impression or stain) on : he fingered the photograph gently, careful not to mark it.
• write (a word or figure) on an object : she marked the date down on a card. • ( mark something off) put a line by or through something written or printed on paper to indicate that it has passed or been dealt with : he marked off their names in a ledger.
• (usu. be marked) characterize as having a particular quality or feature : the reaction to these developments has been marked by a note of hysteria.
leave (or make) its (or one's or a) mark have a lasting or significant effect : she left her mark on the world of foreign policy.
near (or close) to the mark almost accurate : to say he was their legal adviser would be nearer the mark. off (or wide of) the mark incorrect or inaccurate : his solutions are completely off the mark.
on your marks used to instruct competitors in a race to prepare themselves in the correct starting position : on your marks, get set, go!
1 (of a retailer) add a certain amount to the cost of goods to cover overhead and profit : they mark up the price of imported wines by 66 percent.
able or fit to be sold or marketed : the fish are perfectly marketable. • in demand : marketable skills.
• the arena of competitive or commercial dealings; the world of trade : the changing demands of the global marketplace.
leave (someone) trapped and isolated in an inaccessible place, esp. an island : a novel about schoolboys marooned on a desert island.
• figurative a combination or mixture of two or more elements : a marriage of jazz, pop, blues, and gospel.
2 cause to meet or fit together; combine : the two halves are trimmed and married up | the show marries poetry with art. • [ intrans. ] meet or blend with something : most Chardonnays don't marry well with salmon.
a person who is killed because of their religious or other beliefs : the first Christian martyr.
kill (someone) because of their beliefs : she was martyred for her faith. • cause great pain or distress to : there was no need to martyr themselves again.
be filled with wonder or astonishment : she marveled at Jeffrey's composure | [with direct speech ] "Isn't this an evening," marveled John.
a wonderful or astonishing person or thing : the marvels of technology | Charlie, you're a marvel!
causing great wonder; extraordinary : marvelous technological toys. • extremely good or pleasing; splendid : you have done a marvelous job | it's marvelous to see you.
having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men, esp. strength and aggressiveness : he is outstandingly handsome and robust, very masculine. • of or relating to men; male : a masculine voice.
a uniform mass made by crushing a substance into a soft pulp, sometimes with the addition of liquid : pound the garlic to a mash.
1 reduce (a food or other substance) to a uniform mass by crushing it : mash the beans to a paste | [as adj. ] ( mashed) mashed bananas. • crush or smash (something) to a pulp : he almost had his head mashed by a slamming door.
3 figurative a disguise or pretense : she let her mask of moderate respectability slip.
• disguise or hide (a sensation or quality) : brandy did not completely mask the bitter taste.
a false show or pretense : his masquerade ended when he was arrested.
pretend to be someone one is not : a journalist masquerading as a man in distress. • be disguised or passed off as something else : the idle gossip that masquerades as news in some local papers.
1 a coherent, typically large body of matter with no definite shape : a mass of curly hair | from here the trees were a dark mass. • a large number of people or objects crowded together : a mass of cyclists. • a large amount of material : a mass of conflicting evidence. • ( masses) informal a large quantity or amount of something : we get masses of homework.
2 ( the mass of) the majority of : the great mass of the population had little interest in the project. • ( the masses) the ordinary people.
relating to, done by, or affecting large numbers of people or things : the movie has mass appeal | a mass exodus of refugees.
produce large quantities of (a standardized article) by an automated mechanical process : [as adj. ] ( mass-produced) cheap mass-produced goods.
an indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of people : the attack was described as a cold-blooded massacre | she says he is an accomplice to massacre.
master stroke noun an outstandingly skillful and opportune act; a very clever move.
1 powerful and able to control others : behind the lace and ruffles was a masterful woman. 2 performed or performing very skillfully : a masterful assessment of the difficulties.
performed or performing in a very skillful and accomplished way : his masterly account of rural France.
a person with an outstanding intellect : an eminent musical mastermind. • someone who plans and directs an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise : the mastermind behind the project.
plan and direct (an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise) : he was accused of masterminding a gold-smuggling racket.
2 a person or thing able to contend with another as an equal in quality or strength : they were no match for the trained mercenaries.
3 a person or thing that resembles or corresponds to another : the child's identical twin would be a perfect match for organ donation.
1 correspond or cause to correspond in some essential respect; make or be harmonious : [ trans. ] we bought green and blue curtains to match the bedspread | she matched her steps to his | [ intrans. ] the jacket and pants do not match | [as adj. ] ( matching) a set of matching coffee cups. • team (someone or something) with someone or something else appropriate or harmonious : they matched suitably qualified applicants with institutions that had vacancies | she was trying to match the draperies to the couch.
match up to be as good as or equal to : she matches up to the challenges of the job.
1 [ intrans. ] (of animals or birds) come together for breeding; copulate : successful males may mate with many females | [as n. ] ( mating) ovulation occurs only if mating has taken place.
2 become actual fact; happen : the assumed savings may not materialize.
of or relating to a mother, esp. during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth : maternal age | maternal care. • [ attrib. ] related through the mother's side of the family : my maternal grandfather. • denoting feelings associated with or typical of a mother; motherly : maternal instincts.
of or appropriate to a father : he reasserted his paternal authority. • showing a kindness and care associated with a father; fatherly : my elders in the newsroom kept a paternal eye on me. • [ attrib. ] related through the father : his father and paternal grandfather were porcelain painters.
of or appropriate to a father : he reasserted his paternal authority. • showing a kindness and care associated with a father; fatherly : my elders in the newsroom kept a paternal eye on me. • [ attrib. ] related through the father : his father and paternal grandfather were porcelain painters.
for that matter used to indicate that a subject or category, though mentioned second, is as relevant or important as the first : I am not sure what value it adds to determining public, or for that matter private, policy.
it is only a matter of time there will not be long to wait : it's only a matter of time before the general is removed. a matter of 1 no more than (a specified period of time) : they were shown the door in a matter of minutes. 2 a thing that involves or depends on : it's a matter of working out how to get something done.
to make matters worse with the result that a bad situation is made worse. what matter? Brit., dated why should that worry us? : what matter if he was a Protestant or not?
something that belongs to the sphere of fact as distinct from opinion or conjecture : it's a matter of fact that they had a relationship.
unemotional and practical : he was characteristically calm and matter-of-fact. • concerned only with factual content rather than style or expression : the text is written in a breezy matter-of-fact manner.
as a matter of fact in reality (used esp. to correct a falsehood or misunderstanding) : as a matter of fact, I was talking to him this afternoon.
1 (of a person or animal) become physically mature : children mature at different ages | she matured into a woman. • develop fully : the trees take at least thirty years to mature. • (of a person) reach an advanced stage of mental or emotional development : men mature as they grow older. • (with reference to certain foodstuffs or drinks) become or cause to become ready for consumption : [ intrans. ] leave the cheese to mature | [ trans. ] the Scotch is matured for a minimum of three years.
a maximum amount or setting : the sound is distorted to the max.
a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct : the maxim that actions speak louder than words. See note at saying .
of or constituting a maximum; the highest or greatest possible : the maximal speed.
maximin |ˈmaksɪmɪn| noun Mathematics the largest of a series of minima. Compare with minimax .
1 expressing possibility : that may be true | he may well win.
3 expressing a wish or hope : may she rest in peace.
be that as it may despite that; nevertheless.
might as well 1 used to make an unenthusiastic suggestion : I might as well begin. 2 used to indicate that a situation is the same as if the hypothetical thing stated were true : for readers seeking illumination, this book might as well have been written in Serbo-Croatian.
• a complex network of paths or passages : they were trapped in a menacing maze of corridors. • a confusing mass of information : a maze of petty regulations.
(of something provided or available) lacking in quantity or quality : they were forced to supplement their meager earnings.
mean to say [usu. in questions ] really admit or intend to say : do you mean to say you've uncovered something new? mean well have good intentions, but not always the ability to carry them out.
2 unkind, spiteful, or unfair : it was very mean of me | she is always mean to my little brother.
(of a river or road) follow a winding course : a river that meandered gently through a meadow | [as adj. ] ( meandering) a meandering lane. • (of a person) wander at random : kids meandered in and out. • [ intrans. ] (of a speaker or text) proceed aimlessly or with little purpose : a stylish offbeat thriller which occasionally meanders.
a winding curve or bend of a river or road : the river flows in sweeping meanders.
meanwhile : in the meantime, I'll make some inquiries of my own | South Korea, meantime, is stepping up imports of feed grains.
in the intervening period of time : Julie has meanwhile found herself another dancing partner. • at the same time : steam for another five minutes; meanwhile, make a white sauce.
able to be measured : objectives should be measurable and achievable. • large enough to be measured; noticeable; definite : a small but measurable improvement in behavior.
1 ascertain the size, amount, or degree of (something) by using an instrument or device marked in standard units or by comparing it with an object of known size : the amount of water collected is measured in pints | they will measure up the room and install the cabinets.
• ( measure someone/something against) judge someone or something by comparison with (a certain standard) : she did not need to measure herself against some ideal.
3 a certain quantity or degree of something : the states retain a large measure of independence.
beyond measure to a very great extent : it irritates him beyond measure.
measuring tape noun another term for tape measure .
2 (of a person or action) not having or showing thought or spontaneity; automatic : she stopped the mechanical brushing of her hair.
1 a person who repairs and maintains machinery : a car mechanic.
2 the machinery or working parts of something : he looks at the mechanics of a car before the bodywork.
interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one's concern : I don't want him meddling in our affairs | [as n. ] ( meddling) bureaucratic meddling. • ( meddle with) touch or handle (something) without permission : you have no right to come in here and meddle with my things.
fond of meddling; interfering : a gaggle of meddlesome politicians. See note at impertinent .
1 [ intrans. ] intervene between people in a dispute in order to bring about an agreement or reconciliation : Wilson attempted to mediate between the powers to end the war. See note at insert .
• [ trans. ] bring about (an agreement or solution) by intervening in a dispute : efforts to mediate a peaceful resolution of the conflict.
administer medicine or a drug to (someone) : both infants were heavily medicated to alleviate their seizures.
a substance used for medical treatment, esp. a medicine or drug : he'd been taking medication for depression | certain medications can cause dizziness. • treatment using drugs : chronic gastrointestinal symptoms which may require prolonged medication.
of only moderate quality; not very good : a mediocre actor.
the quality or state of being mediocre : heroes rising above the mediocrity that surrounds them.
• ( meditate on/upon) think deeply or carefully about (something) : he went off to meditate on the new idea.
of, involving, or absorbed in meditation or considered thought : meditative techniques.
1 an agency or means of doing something : using the latest technology as a medium for job creation | their primitive valuables acted as a medium of exchange.
2 the intervening substance through which impressions are conveyed to the senses or a force acts on objects at a distance : radio communication needs no physical medium between the two stations | the medium between the cylinders is a vacuum.
transport (someone) to the hospital in this way : the helicopter pilot who medevacked me the day I got shot.
quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive : I used to call her Miss Mouse because she was so meek and mild | the meek compliance of our politicians.
• touch; join : Harry's lips met hers | [ intrans. ] the curtains failed to meet in the middle | figurative our eyes met across the table. • encounter or be faced with (a particular fate, situation, attitude, or reaction) : he met his death in 1946 | [ intrans. ] we met with a slight setback.
• ( meet something with) have (a particular reaction) to : the announcement was met with widespread protests. • [ intrans. ] ( meet with) receive (a particular reaction) : I'm sorry if it doesn't meet with your approval. 2 fulfill or satisfy (a need, requirement, or condition) : this policy is doing nothing to meet the needs of women. • deal with or respond to (a problem or challenge) satisfactorily : they failed to meet the noon deadline. • pay (a financial claim or obligation) : all your household expenses will still have to be met.
meet someone's eye (or eyes or gaze) look directly at someone : for a moment, he refused to meet her eyes.
meet someone halfway compromise; concede some points in order to gain others : I'm willing to compromise and meet him halfway.
blend; combine : [ trans. ] Australia's winemakers have melded modern science with traditional art | [ intrans. ] the nylon bristles shrivel and meld together.
a confused fight, skirmish, or scuffle : several people were hurt in the melee. • a confused mass of people : the melee of people that was always thronging the streets.
1 (esp. of sound, taste, and color) pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness : she was hypnotized by the mellow tone of his voice | slow cooking gives the dish a sweet, mellow flavor.
• (of wine) well-matured and smooth : delicious, mellow, ripe, fruity wines. 2 (of a person's character) softened or matured by age or experience : a more mellow personality. See note at mature .
make or become mellow : [ trans. ] getting older does mellow the hard edges around the anger | [ intrans. ] fuller-flavored whiskeys mellow with wood maturation informal I need to mellow out, I need to calm down.
• characteristic of melodrama, esp. in being exaggerated, sensationalized, or overemotional : he flung the door open with a melodramatic flourish.
1 become liquefied by heat : place under the broiler until the cheese has melted | the icebergs were melting away.
• [ trans. ] make (someone) more tender or loving : Richard gave her a smile that melted her heart. 3 [ intrans. ] leave or disappear unobtrusively : the compromise was accepted and the opposition melted away | the figure melted into thin air. • (of a feeling or state) disappear : their original determination to exact vengeance melted away.
1 to or at a distance from a particular place, person, or thing : she landed badly, and crawled away | they walked away from the church in silence | Bernice pushed him away | we'll be away for four nights | there's a river not far away. • at a specified distance : when he was ten or twelve feet away, he stopped | a loud explosion a short distance away | we have had patients from as far away as Toronto. • at a specified future distance in time : the wedding is only weeks away. • toward a lower level; downward : in front of them the land fell away to the river. • conceptually to one side, so as no longer to be the focus of attention : the museum has shifted its emphasis away from research toward exhibitions. 2 into an appropriate place for storage or safekeeping : he put away the lawn furniture | Philip locked away all the cash every night. • toward or into nonexistence : the sound of hoofbeats died away | Marie felt her distress ebbing away. 3 constantly, persistently, or continuously : there was little Edgar crooning away | have your camera ready and click away when you spot something.
• figurative a disastrous event, esp. a rapid fall in share prices : the 1987 stock market meltdown.
melting point noun the temperature at which a given solid will melt./boiling point • figurative a place where different peoples, styles, theories, etc., are mixed together : a melting pot of disparate rhythms and cultures. an object kept as a reminder or souvenir of a person or event : you can purchase a memento of your visit.
1 a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources : in 1924 she published a short memoir of her husband.
objects kept or collected because of their historical interest, esp. those associated with memorable people or events : World Series memorabilia.
worth remembering or easily remembered, esp. because of being special or unusual : this victory was one of the most memorable of his career.
a note or record made for future use : the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on economic cooperation. • a written message, esp. in business or diplomacy : he told them of his decision in a memorandum.
• the length of time over which people continue to remember a person or event : the worst slump in recent memory.
a person or thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger : a new initiative aimed at beating the menace of drugs | the snakes are a menace to farm animals. • a threatening quality, tone, or atmosphere : he spoke the words with a hint of menace.
repair (something that is broken or damaged) : workmen were mending faulty cabling | a patch was used to mend the garment. • [ intrans. ] return to health; heal : foot injuries can take months to mend. • improve (an unpleasant situation, esp. a disagreement) : quarrels could be mended by talking.
(of work) not requiring much skill and lacking prestige : menial factory jobs.
menstrual |ˈmɛnstrʊəl| adjective of or relating to the menses or menstruation : menstrual blood.
menstruate |ˈmɛnstrʊeɪt| verb [ intrans. ] (of a woman) discharge blood and other material from the lining of the uterus as part of the menstrual cycle.
1 of or relating to the mind : mental faculties | mental phenomena. • carried out by or taking place in the mind : a quick mental calculation | I started my mental journey. 2 of, relating to, or suffering from disorders or illnesses of the mind : a mental hospital. • [ predic. ] informal insane; crazy : every time I'm five minutes late, they go mental.
1 often derogatory the characteristic attitude of mind or way of thinking of a person or group : the yuppie mentality of the eighties.
a reference to someone or something : their eyes light up at a mention of Sartre | she made no mention of her disastrous trip to Paris. • a formal acknowledgment of something outstanding or noteworthy : he received a special mention and a prize of $100 | two other points are worthy of mention. See also honorable mention .
not to mention used to introduce an additional fact or point that reinforces the point being made : I'm amazed you find the time, not to mention the energy, to do any work at all.
of or relating to trade or commerce; commercial : the shift of wealth to the mercantile classes.
goods to be bought and sold : stores that offered an astonishing range of merchandise.
promote the sale of (goods), esp. by their presentation in retail outlets : a new breakfast food can easily be merchandised. • advertise or publicize (an idea or person) : they are merchandising "niceness" to children.
• a retail trader; a store owner : the credit cards are accepted by 10 million merchants worldwide. • (esp. in historical contexts) a person involved in trade or commerce : prosperous merchants and clothiers had established a middle class.
showing or exercising mercy : it was the will of a merciful God that all should be saved. See note at lenient . • (of an event) coming as a mercy; bringing someone relief from something unpleasant : her death was a merciful release.
1 (of a person) subject to sudden or unpredictable changes of mood or mind : his mercurial temperament.
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm : the boy was screaming and begging for mercy | the mercies of God.
at the mercy of completely in the power or under the control of : consumers were at the mercy of every rogue in the marketplace.
have mercy on (or upon) show compassion or forgiveness to : may the Lord have mercy on her soul. leave someone/something to the mercy of expose someone or something to a situation of probable danger or harm : the forest is left to the mercy of the loggers.
mercy killing noun the killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease, typically by the administration of large doses of painkilling drugs. See also euthanasia .
• [ intrans. ] blend or fade gradually into something else so as to become indistinguishable from it : he crouched low and endeavored to merge into the darkness of the forest.
• ( merits) chiefly Law the intrinsic rights and wrongs of a case, outside of any other considerations : a plaintiff who has a good arguable case on the merits.
deserve or be worthy of (something, esp. reward, punishment, or attention) : the results have been encouraging enough to merit further investigation.
cheerful and lively : the narrow streets were dense with merry throngs of students | a merry grin.
• in a brisk and lively way : a fire burned merrily in the hearth. 2 without consideration of possible problems or future implications : no candidate can denounce high public spending while merrily buying local votes with the taxpayers' money.
1 material made of a network of wire or thread : mesh for fishing nets | finer wire meshes are used for smaller particles. • the spacing of the strands of such material : if the mesh is too big, small rabbits can squeeze through.
• [in sing. ] figurative used with reference to a complex or constricting situation : the raveled mesh of events and her own emotions.
• figurative be in or bring into harmony : [ intrans. ] her memory of events doesn't mesh with the world around her.
mess around/about with interfere with : we don't want outsiders messing around with our schools.
mess up informal mishandle a situation : he singled out the health care fiasco as an example of how the government has messed up. mess someone up informal cause someone emotional or psychological problems : I was unhappy and really messed up. • inflict violence or injury on someone : the wreck messed him up so much that he can't walk. mess something up informal cause something to be spoiled by inept handling : an error like that could easily mess up an entire day's work. mess with informal meddle or interfere with so as to spoil or cause trouble : stop messing with things you don't understand.
get the message informal infer an implication from a remark or action. send a message make a significant statement, either implicitly or by one's actions : the elections sent a message to political quarters that the party was riding a wave of popularity.
• generating or involving mess or untidiness : stripping wallpaper can be a messy job. 2 (of a situation) confused and difficult to deal with : a messy divorce.
metalware noun utensils or other articles made of metal.
meteorite |ˈmiːtɪərʌɪt| noun a meteor that survives its passage through the earth's atmosphere such that part of it strikes the ground. More than 90 percent of meteorites are of rock, while the remainder consist wholly or partly of iron and nickel.
it seems to me : life has been rather hard on her, methinks | [with clause ] methought you knew all about it.
done according to a systematic or established form of procedure : a methodical approach to the evaluation of computer systems.
a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity : a methodology for investigating the concept of focal points | courses in research methodology and practice.
showing great attention to detail; very careful and precise : he had always been so meticulous about his appearance.
1 of, relating to, or denoting a metropolis, often inclusive of its surrounding areas : the Boston metropolitan area. 2 of, relating to, or denoting the parent state of a colony or dependency : metropolitan Spain.
a person's ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way : the team showed their true mettle in the second half.
Jackson 6 Jackson, Michael (1958- ) U.S. singer, the top-selling pop artist of the 1980s. His hit albums include Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1992), and Blood on the Dance Floor (1997).
the central period of a person's life, generally considered as the years from about 45 to 55 : a woman in midlife | [as adj. ] your midlife financial review.
very small : a midget submarine.
the exact middle point : the midpoint of the line segment. • a point somewhere in the middle : he would have been at the midpoint in his career.
in the midst of in the middle of : we were in the midst of a losing streak.
with all one's might using all one's power or strength.
• (of an action) performed with or requiring great strength : a mighty heave | figurative a mighty blow against racism.
migraine |ˈmiːgreɪn| |ˈmʌɪ-| (also migraine headache) noun a recurrent throbbing headache that typically affects one side of the head and is often accompanied by nausea and disturbed vision.
(of an animal, typically a bird or fish) move from one region or habitat to another, esp. regularly according to the seasons : as autumn arrives, the birds migrate south. • (of a person) move from one area or country to settle in another, esp. in search of work : rural populations have migrated to urban areas.
gentle and not easily provoked : she was implacable, despite her mild exterior. • (of a rule or punishment) of only moderate severity : he received a mild sentence. • not keenly felt or seriously intended : she looked at him in mild surprise.
be miles away informal be lost in thought and consequently unaware of what is happening around one. go the extra mile be especially assiduous in one's attempt to achieve something.
• figurative an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development : the speech is being hailed as a milestone in race relations.
a person's social environment: : he grew up in a military milieu.
combative and aggressive in support of a political or social cause, and typically favoring extreme, violent, or confrontational methods : an uprising by militant Islamic fundamentalists.
militia |mɪˈlɪʃə| noun a military force that is raised from the civil population to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
• a domestic device for grinding a solid substance to powder or pulp : a coffee mill. • a building fitted with machinery for a manufacturing process : a steel mill | [as adj. ] a mill town.
1 [ trans. ] grind or crush (something) in a mill : hard wheats are easily milled into white flour | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( milled) freshly milled black pepper.
• an action or set of actions intended to convey the idea of another action or an idea or feeling : he performed a brief mime of someone fencing.
• convey an impression of (an idea or feeling) by gesture and movement, without using words; mimic (an action or set of actions) in this way : he stands up and mimes throwing a spear.
imitate (someone or their actions or words), typically in order to entertain or ridicule : she mimicked Eileen's voice. See note at imitate .
the action or art of imitating someone or something, typically in order to entertain or ridicule : the word was spoken with gently teasing mimicry | a playful mimicry of the techniques of realist writers. See note at caricature .
1 [often as adj. ] ( minced) cut up or grind (food, esp. meat) into very small pieces, typically in a machine with revolving blades : minced beef.
not mince words (or one's words) speak candidly and directly, esp. when criticizing someone or something : a gruff surgeon who does not mince words.
• a person's memory : the company's name slips my mind.
• a person identified with their intellectual faculties : he was one of the greatest minds of his time. 3 a person's attention : I expect my employees to keep their minds on the job. • the will or determination to achieve something : anyone can lose weight if they set their mind to it.
• have an objection to : what does that mean, if you don't mind my asking? | [with clause ] do you mind if I have a cigarette?
be of two minds be unable to decide between alternatives.
come (or spring) to mind (of a thought or idea) occur to someone.
on someone's mind preoccupying someone, esp. in a disquieting way : new parents have many worries on their minds.
put (or set) one's mind to direct all one's attention to (achieving something) : she'd have made an excellent dancer, if she'd have put her mind to it.
overwhelmingly impressive : for a kid, Chicago was really mind-blowing.
overwhelming; startling : a chip that processes data at mind-boggling speed.
so extreme or intense as to prevent normal thought : the jury sat through hours of mind-numbing testimony.
conscious or aware of something : we can be more mindful of the energy we use to heat our homes.
(of a person) acting without concern for the consequences : a generation of mindless vandals.
the established set of attitudes held by someone : the region seems stuck in a medieval mind-set.
mix or cause to mix together : [ intrans. ] the sound of voices mingled with a scraping of chairs | [ trans. ] an expression that mingled compassion and bewilderment. • [ intrans. ] move freely around a place or at a social function, associating with others : over aperitifs, there was a chance to mingle with friends old and new.
1 of a minimum amount, quantity, or degree; negligible : a minimal amount of information | production costs are minimal.
2 of or relating to a government minister or ministers : ministerial officials.
in the minority belonging to or constituting the smaller group or number : those who acknowledge his influence are certainly in the minority.
• [usu. as adj., with submodifier ] ( minted) produce for the first time : an example of newly minted technology.
in mint condition (of an object) new or as if new.
1 extremely small; tiny : a minuscule fragment of DNA. • informal so small as to be negligible or insufficient : he believed the risk of infection was minuscule.
by the minute (esp. of the progress of a change) very rapidly : matters grew worse by the minute.
• an instant or a point of time : she had been laughing one minute and crying the next.
the minute (or the minute that) as soon as : let me know the minute he returns. not for a minute not at all : don't think for a minute that our pricing has affected our quality standards. this minute (or this very minute) informal at once; immediately : pull yourself together this minute.
extremely small : a minute fraction of an inch. See note at small . • so small as to verge on insignificance : he will have no more than a minute chance of exercising significant influence.
• highly improbable and extraordinary and bringing very welcome consequences : I felt amazed and grateful for our miraculous escape.
• something that appears real or possible but is not in fact so : the notion that the public is pro-business is a mirage.
cause to become stuck in mud : sometimes a heavy truck gets mired down.
• ( mire someone/something in) figurative involve someone or something in (difficulties) : the economy is mired in its longest recession since World War II.
dark and gloomy, esp. due to thick mist : the sky was murky and a thin drizzle was falling. • (of liquid) dark and dirty; not clear : the murky silt of a muddy pond. • not fully explained or understood, esp. with concealed dishonesty or immorality : the murky world of espionage.
(of a reflective surface) show a reflection of : the clear water mirrored the sky. • figurative correspond to : gradations of educational attainment that mirror differences in social background.
• figurative something regarded as accurately representing something else : the stage is supposed to be the mirror of life.
• a person or thing that closely resembles another : the city was the mirror image of Algiers.
having an incorrect position or alignment : misaligned headlights.
• (of a machine) fail to function correctly : her regularly serviced car was misbehaving.
• assess (a situation) wrongly : the government has seriously miscalculated the effect of privatization | [ intrans. ] you miscalculated if you imagined I'd fallen for your little scheme.
(of items or people gathered or considered together) of various types or from different sources : he picked up the miscellaneous papers. • (of a collection or group) composed of members or elements of different kinds : a miscellaneous collection of well-known ne'er-do-wells.
playful misbehavior or troublemaking, esp. in children : she'll make sure Danny doesn't get into mischief. • playfulness that is intended to tease, mock, or create trouble : her eyes twinkled with irrepressible mischief. • harm or trouble caused by someone or something : she was bent on making mischief.
(of a person, animal, or their behavior) causing or showing a fondness for causing trouble in a playful way : two mischievous kittens had decorated the bed with shredded newspaper.
a view or opinion that is incorrect because it is based on faulty thinking or understanding : public misconceptions about AIDS remain high.
1 unacceptable or improper behavior, esp. by an employee or professional person : she was found guilty of professional misconduct by a disciplinary tribunal.
• (usu. be misconceived) judge or plan badly, typically on the basis of faulty understanding : criticism of the trade surplus in Washington is misconceived | [as adj. ] ( misconceived) misconceived notions about gypsies.
• (usu. be misconceived) judge or plan badly, typically on the basis of faulty understanding : criticism of the trade surplus in Washington is misconceived | [as adj. ] ( misconceived) misconceived notions about gypsies.
make someone's life a misery (or make life a misery for someone) cause someone severe distress by continued unpleasantness or harassment. put someone/something out of their misery end the suffering of a person or animal in pain by killing them. • informal release someone from suspense or anxiety by telling them something they are anxious to know.
• (of an internal combustion engine) undergo failure of the fuel to ignite correctly or at all : the car would misfire occasionally from the cold. • (esp. of a plan) fail to produce the intended result : the killer didn't know that his plan had misfired.
bad luck : the project was dogged by misfortune. • an unfortunate condition or event : never laugh at other people's misfortunes.
mislead : a long survey that can only baffle and misguide the general reader.
1 manage or deal with (something) wrongly or ineffectively : the officer had mishandled the situation. 2 manipulate roughly or carelessly : the equipment could be dangerous if mishandled.
an unlucky accident : although there were a few minor mishaps, none of the pancakes stuck to the ceiling | : the event passed without mishap.
form a wrong opinion or conclusion about : we misjudged the size of the surf.
cause (someone) to have a wrong idea or impression about someone or something : the government misled the public about the road's environmental impact.
a failure to correspond or match; a discrepancy : a huge mismatch between supply and demand.
a wrong or inaccurate name or designation : "king crab" is a misnomer—these creatures are not crustaceans at all. • a wrong or inaccurate use of a name or term : to call this "neighborhood policing" would be a misnomer.
quote (a person or a piece of written or spoken text) inaccurately : the foreign secretary had misquoted Qian.
• judge or interpret (a situation or a person's manner or behavior) incorrectly : had she been completely misreading his intentions?
give a false or misleading account of the nature of : you are misrepresenting the views of the government.
• pass by without touching; chance not to hit : a piece of shrapnel missed him by inches.
• fail to see or have a meeting with (someone) : "Potter's been here this morning?" "You've just missed him."
• not be able to experience or fail to take advantage of (an opportunity or chance) : don't miss the chance to visit the breathtaking Dolomites | [ intrans. ] he failed to recover from a leg injury and missed out on a trip to Barcelona.
miss the boat (or bus) informal be too slow to take advantage of an opportunity : the company missed the boat with its first attempt at a personal computer line five years ago.
a thing that is needed in order to complete a series, provide continuity, or gain complete knowledge : she is the missing link between the European ballad tradition and Anglo-American white soul.
a clumsy or badly judged step : for a mountain goat, one misstep could be fatal.
used as an affectionate or disparaging form of address to a young girl : "Don't tell lies, missy," he said sternly.
choose a bad or inappropriate moment to do or say (something) : he lost $800 million by mistimimg his withdrawal from the market.
be suspicious of; have no confidence in : she had no cause to mistrust him.
lacking in trust; suspicious : he wondered if he had been unduly mistrustful of her.
• indistinct or dim in outline : a misty out-of-focus silhouette | figurative a few misty memories.
use (something) in the wrong way or for the wrong purpose : he was found guilty of misusing public funds.
make less severe, serious, or painful : he wanted to mitigate misery in the world. See note at alleviate . • lessen the gravity of (an offense or mistake) : [as adj. ] ( mitigating) he would have faced a prison sentence but for mitigating circumstances.
the action of reducing the severity, seriousness, or painfulness of something : the emphasis is on the identification and mitigation of pollution.
• juxtapose or put together to form a whole whose constituent parts are still distinct : he continues to mix an offhand sense of humor with a sharp insight. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) associate with others socially : the people he mixed with were nothing to do with show business.
mix something up spoil the order or arrangement of a collection of things : disconnect all the cables, mix them up, then try to reconnect them. mix someone/something up • confuse someone or something with another person or thing : I'd got her mixed up with her sister.
mnemonic |nɪˈmɒnɪk| noun a device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something.
a large crowd of people, esp. one that is disorderly and intent on causing trouble or violence : a mob of protesters.
• crowd into (a building or place) : an unruly crowd mobbed the White House during an inaugural reception.
1 (of a country or its government) prepare and organize (troops) for active service : the government mobilized regular forces, reservists, and militia | [ intrans. ] Russia is in no position to mobilize any time soon. • organize and encourage (people) to act in a concerted way in order to bring about a particular political objective : he used the press to mobilize support for his party. • bring (resources) into use in order to achieve a particular goal : at sea we will mobilize any amount of resources to undertake a rescue.
• the ability to move between different levels in society or employment : industrialization would open up increasing chances of social mobility.
not authentic or real, but without the intention to deceive : a mock-Georgian red brick house | Jim threw up his hands in mock horror.
• [in sing. ] an absurd misrepresentation or imitation of something : after a mockery of a trial in London, he was executed.
• a particular form of sensory perception: : the visual and auditory modalities.
average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree : we walked at a moderate pace. • (of a person, party, or policy); not radical or excessively right- or left-wing : a moderate reform program.
1 make or become less extreme, intense, rigorous, or violent : [ trans. ] I shall not moderate my criticism | [as adj. ] ( moderating) his moderating influence in the army was now needed more than ever | [ intrans. ] the weather has moderated considerably. 2 [ trans. ] (in academic and ecclesiastical contexts) preside over (a deliberative body) or at (a debate) : a panel moderated by a Harvard University law professor.
a particular way or method of doing something, esp. one that is characteristic or well-established : the volunteers were instructed to buy specific systems using our usual modus operandi—anonymously and with cash.
a small quantity of a particular thing, esp. something considered desirable or valuable : his statement had more than a modicum of truth.
the action of modifying something : the parts supplied should fit with little or no modification. • a change made : there will be a number of modifications to the engines.
employing or involving a module or modules as the basis of design or construction : modular housing units.
exert a modifying or controlling influence on : the state attempts to modulate private business's cash flow. • vary the strength, tone, or pitch of (one's voice) : we all modulate our voice by hearing it.
slightly wet; damp or humid : the air was moist and heavy.
form (an object with a particular shape) out of easily manipulated material : a Connecticut inventor molded a catamaran out of polystyrene foam. • give a shape to (a malleable substance) : take the marzipan and mold it into a cone shape. • influence the formation or development of : the professionals who were helping to mold US policy. • shape (clothing) to fit a particular part of the body : [as adj. ] ( molded) a shoe with molded insole. • [often as adj. ] ( molded) shape (a column, ceiling, or other part of a building) to a particular design, esp. a decorative molding : a corridor with a molded cornice.
pester or harass (someone), typically in an aggressive or persistent manner : the crowd was shouting abuse and molesting the two police officers. See note at attack .
• an appropriate time for doing something; an opportunity : I was waiting for the right moment.
in a moment 1 very soon : I'll be back in a moment. 2 instantly : the fugitive was captured in a moment.
the moment —— as soon as —— : the heavens opened the moment we left the house.
of the moment currently popular, famous, or important : the buzzword of the moment.
lasting for a very short time; brief : a momentary lapse of concentration.
(of a decision, event, or change) of great importance or significance, esp. in its bearing on the future : a period of momentous changes in East-West relations.
2 the impetus gained by a moving object : the vehicle gained momentum as the road dipped. • the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events : the investigation gathered momentum in the spring.
of or relating to money or currency : documents with little or no monetary value. See note at financial .
money talks proverb wealth gives power and influence to those who possess it.
put money (or put one's money) on 1 place a bet on. 2 used to express one's confidence in the truth or success of something : she won't have him back—I'd put money on it.
( the love of) money is the root of all evil proverb greed gives rise to selfish or wicked actions.
observe and check the progress or quality of (something) over a period of time; keep under systematic review : equipment was installed to monitor air quality. • maintain regular surveillance over : it was easy for the enemy to monitor his movements.
giving or serving as a warning : the monitory wail of an air-raid siren.
monogamy |məˈnɒgəmi| noun the practice or state of being married to one person at a time.
monomania |mɒnə(ʊ)ˈmeɪnɪə| noun exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with one thing.
dull, tedious, and repetitious; lacking in variety and interest : the statistics that he quotes with monotonous regularity. • (of a sound or utterance) lacking in variation in tone or pitch : soon we heard a low, monotonous wailing of many voices.
having the ugly or frightening appearance of a monster : monstrous, bug-eyed fish. • (of a person or an action) inhumanly or outrageously evil or wrong : he wasn't lovable, he was monstrous and violent | it is a monstrous waste of money.
of a month's duration : a month-long fishing trip.
• figurative an outstanding, enduring, and memorable example of something : recordings that are a monument to the art of playing the piano.
great in importance, extent, or size : it's been a monumental effort. • (of a work of art) great in ambition and scope : the ballet came across as one of MacMillan's most monumental works. • of or serving as a monument : additional details are found in monumental inscriptions.
in the mood for (or to do) something feeling like doing or experiencing something : if you're in the mood for an extra thrill, you can go paragliding. in no mood for (or to do) something not wanting to do or experience something : she was in no mood for sightseeing.
(of a person) given to unpredictable changes of mood, esp. sudden bouts of gloominess or sullenness : she met his moody adolescent brother.
have a second job in addition to one's regular employment : many instructors moonlight as professional consultants.
• [ trans. ] wipe (something) away from a surface : a barmaid rushed forward to mop up the spilled beer.
the confidence, enthusiasm, and discipline of a person or group at a particular time : their morale was high.
1 characterized by or appealing to an abnormal and unhealthy interest in disturbing and unpleasant subjects, esp. death and disease : he had long held a morbid fascination with the horrors of contemporary warfare.
more or less speaking imprecisely; to a certain extent : they are more or less a waste of time. • approximately : more or less symmetrical.
no more 1 nothing further : there was no more to be said about it. 2 no further : you must have some soup, but no more wine. 3 ( be no more) exist no longer. 4 never again : mention his name no more to me. 5 neither : I had no complaints and no more did Tom.
the essential or characteristic customs and conventions of a community : an offense against social mores.
• (of a thing) in terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor : the moribund commercial property market.
change or cause to change smoothly from one image to another by small gradual steps using computer animation techniques : 3-D objects can be morphed into other objects | you see her face morphing into the creature's face.
1 (of a living human being, often in contrast to a divine being) subject to death : all men are mortal.
2 [ attrib. ] causing or liable to cause death; fatal : a mortal disease | figurative the scandal appeared to have struck a mortal blow to the government. • (of a battle) fought to the death : from the outbuildings came the screams of men in mortal combat.
1 the state of being subject to death : the work is increasingly haunted by thoughts of mortality. 2 death, esp. on a large scale : the causes of mortality among infants and young children. • (also mortality rate) the number of deaths in a given area or period, or from a particular cause : postoperative mortality was 90 percent for some operations.
1 (often be mortified) cause (someone) to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or humiliated : [ trans. ] she was mortified to see her wrinkles in the mirror | [as adj. ] ( mortifying) she refused to accept this mortifying disgrace. 2 subdue (the body or its needs and desires) by self-denial or discipline : return to heaven by mortifying the flesh.
• a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole : an incompetently constructed mosaic of competing interests.
• combine (distinct or disparate elements) to form a picture or pattern : the digital data were combined, or mosaicked, to delineate counties.
at ( the) most not more than : the walk took four minutes at the most.
for the most part in most cases; usually : the older members, for the most part, shun him.
of, resembling, or characteristic of a mother, esp. in being caring, protective, and kind : she held both her arms wide in a gesture of motherly love. • a gesture : she made a motion with her free hand. 1 direct or command (someone) with a movement of the hand or head : he motioned Dennis to a plush chair | [ trans. ] he motioned the young officer to sit down | [ intrans. ] he motioned for a time out. 2 make a proposal in a deliberative or legislative body : [with clause ] she recognized the majority leader, who motioned that the body adjourn.
in motion moving : flowing blonde hair that was constantly in motion. set something in motion start something moving or working. • start or trigger a process or series of events : plunging oil prices set in motion an economic collapse.
not in harmony or keeping with the surroundings or other aspects of something : the duffel coat looked incongruous with the black dress she wore underneath.
1 [usu. in sing. ] an incongruous mixture : a motley of interacting interest groups.
form (an object with a particular shape) out of easily manipulated material : a Connecticut inventor molded a catamaran out of polystyrene foam. • give a shape to (a malleable substance) : take the marzipan and mold it into a cone shape. • influence the formation or development of : the professionals who were helping to mold US policy.
3 [ intrans. ] grow larger or more numerous : the costs mount up when you buy a home. • (of a feeling) become stronger or more intense : his anxiety mounted as messages were left unanswered.
feel or show deep sorrow or regret for (someone or their death), typically by following conventions such as the wearing of black clothes : Isabel mourned her husband | [ intrans. ] she had to mourn for her friends who died in the accident. • feel regret or sadness about (the loss or disappearance of something) : publishers mourned declining sales of hardback fiction.
feeling or expressing sadness, regret, or grief : the third boy stared fixedly at me with mournful, basset-hound eyes. • suggestive of or inducing sadness, regret, or unhappiness : his voice on one track, mournful piano on another.
a mouth to feed a person, typically a child, who has to be looked after and fed : how can they afford another mouth to feed? be all mouth informal tend to talk boastfully without any intention of acting on one's words. keep one's mouth shut informal not say anything, esp. not reveal a secret : would he keep his mouth shut under interrogation? open one's mouth informal say something : sorry, I'll never open my mouth about you again. watch one's mouth informal be careful about what one says.
1 a quantity of food or drink that fills or can be put into the mouth : he took a mouthful of beer | savor the flavor of each mouthful. 2 a long or complicated word or phrase that is difficult to say : "Galinsoga" was too much of a mouthful for most nonbotanists.
2 change or cause to change from one state, opinion, sphere, or activity to another : [ intrans. ] the school moved over to the new course in 1987 | [ trans. ] she deftly moved the conversation to safer territory.
• [ intrans. ] take action : hard-liners may yet move against him, but their success might be limited. • [ trans. ] (usu. be moved) provoke a strong feeling, esp. of sorrow or sympathy, in : he was moved to tears by a get-well message from the president.
3 [ intrans. ] make progress; develop in a particular manner or direction : aircraft design had moved forward a long way | legislators are anxious to get things moving as soon as possible.
• [ intrans. ] informal depart; start off : let's move—it's time we started shopping. • [in imperative ] ( move it) informal used to urge or command someone to hurry up : come on—move it!
a change of place or position : she made a sudden move toward me | his eyes followed her every move.
• an action that initiates or advances a process or plan : my next move is to talk to Matthew.
get moving [often in imperative ] informal make a prompt start (on a journey or an undertaking) : you're here to work, so get moving.
make a move take action : each army was waiting for the other side to make a move. • Brit. set off; leave somewhere : I think I'd better be making a move.
on the move in the process of moving from one place or job to another : it's difficult to contact her because she's always on the move. • making progress : the economy appeared to be on the move.
not move a muscle be completely motionless.
move on (or move someone on) go or cause to leave somewhere, esp. because one is causing an obstruction : the Mounties briskly ordered them to move on. • ( move on) progress : ballet has moved on, leaving Russia behind.
move over (or aside) adjust one's position to make room for someone else : Jo motioned to the girls on the couch to move over. • relinquish a job or leading position, typically because of being superseded by someone or something more competent or important : it's time for the film establishment to move aside and make way for a new generation.
move up adjust one's position, either to be nearer or make room for someone else : there'd be room for me if you'd just move up a bit.
cut down (an area of grass) with a machine : Roger mowed the lawn | [as adj. ] ( mown) the smell of newly mown grass.
• [as pron. ] [with negative ] used to refer disparagingly to someone or something as being a poor specimen : I'm not much of a gardener.
as much the same : I am sure she would do as much for me.
make much of give or ascribe a significant amount of attention or importance to : the island can make much of its history as a trading post between Europe and the Arab world. ( as) much as even though : much as I had enjoyed my adventure, it was good to be back.
so much the better (or worse) that is even better (or worse) : we want to hear what you have to say, but if you can make it short, so much the better.
this much the fact about to be stated : I know this much, you would defy the world to get what you wanted. too much an intolerable, impossible, or exhausting situation or experience : the effort proved too much for her.
much (or still) less used to introduce something as being even less likely or suitable than something else already mentioned : what woman would consider a date with him, much less a marriage?
bring into a disordered or confusing state : they were muddling up the cards. • confuse (a person or their thoughts) : I do not wish to muddle him by making him read more books.
muddle through cope more or less satisfactorily despite lack of expertise, planning, or equipment : we don't have an ultimate ambition; we just muddle through. muddle something up confuse two or more things with each other : at the time, archaeology was commonly muddled up with paleontology.
• (of a sound, esp. in music) not clearly defined : an awful muddy sound that renders his vocal incoherent. • confused, vague, or illogical : some sentences are so muddy that their meaning can only be guessed.
cause to become covered in or full of mud : the linoleum floor was muddied | [as adj. ] ( muddied) cold, muddied feet.
wrap or cover for warmth : on a chair by the far wall, muffled in an absurd overcoat. • cover or wrap up (a source of sound) to reduce its loudness : [as adj. ] ( muffled) the soft beat of a muffled drum. • make (a sound) quieter or less distinct : his voice was muffled.
1 [ trans. ] (often be mugged) attack and rob (someone) in a public place : he was mugged by three men who stole his bike | [as n. ] ( mugging) a brutal mugging.
think about (a fact, proposal, or request) deeply and at length : she began to mull over the various possibilities.
agreed upon or participated in by three or more parties, esp. the governments of different countries : multilateral negotiations | multilateral nuclear disarmament.
relating to or consisting of several or many layers : a multilayer circuit board.
• numerous and often varied : words with multiple meanings.
1 a number that can be divided by another number without a remainder : 15, 20, or any other multiple of five.
consisting of many elements in a complex relationship : multiplex ties of work and friendship.
subject to or of the nature of multiplication : coronary risk factors are multiplicative.
having several purposes or functions : a seven-acre multipurpose civic center.
a large number : a multitude of medical conditions are due to being overweight.
1 [ reporting verb ] say something indistinctly and quietly, making it difficult for others to hear : [ trans. ] he mumbled something she didn't catch | [with direct speech ] "Sorry," she mumbled.
(esp. in ancient Egypt) preserve (a body) by embalming it and wrapping it in cloth : the mummified bodies entombed in the pyramids of Egypt. See also mummy 1 .
eat (something) with a continuous and often audible action of the jaws : he munched a chicken wing | [ intrans. ] popcorn to munch on while watching the movie.
1 lacking interest or excitement; dull : seeking a way out of his mundane, humdrum existence.
of or relating to a city or town or its governing body : national and municipal elections | municipal offices.
capable of or intending to murder; dangerously violent : a brutal and murderous despot | her estranged husband was seized with murderous jealousy. • (of an action, event, or plan) involving murder or extreme violence : murderous acts of terrorism. • informal extremely arduous or unpleasant : the team had a murderous schedule of four games in ten days.
a soft, indistinct sound made by a person or group of people speaking quietly or at a distance : his voice was little more than a murmur. • a softly spoken or almost inaudible utterance : she accepted his offer with a quiet murmur of thanks. • the quiet or subdued expression of a particular feeling by a group of people : there was a murmur of approval from the crowd.
say something in a low, soft, or indistinct voice : [ trans. ] Nina murmured an excuse and hurried away | [with direct speech ] "How interesting," he murmured quietly. • [ intrans. ] make a low continuous sound : the wind was murmuring through the trees.
Murphy's Law a supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
• informal coerce by violence or by economic or political pressure : he was eventually muscled out of business.
flex one's muscles give a show of strength or power.
muscle in/into informal force one's way into (something), typically in order to gain an advantage : muscling his way into meetings and important conferences | he was determined to muscle in on the union's affairs.
of or affecting the muscles : energy is needed for muscular activity | muscular tension. • having well-developed muscles : her legs were strong and muscular.
be absorbed in thought : he was musing on the problems he faced. • [with direct speech ] say to oneself in a thoughtful manner : "I think I've seen him somewhere before," mused Rachel.
soft and pulpy : cook until the fruit is mushy | mushy vegetables.
music to one's ears something that is pleasant or gratifying to hear or discover : the commission's report was music to the ears of the administration.
essential or highly desirable : the must-have blouse of the season.
• [ intrans. ] (of troops) come together in this way : the cavalrymen mustered beside the other regiments. • [ intrans. ] (of a group of people) gather together : reporters mustered outside her house.
collect or assemble (a number or amount) : he could fail to muster a majority. • summon up (a particular feeling, attitude, or response) : he replied with as much dignity as he could muster.
resulting from or showing the effect of mutation : a mutant gene.
change or cause to change in form or nature : [ intrans. ] technology continues to mutate at an alarming rate | [ trans. ] the quick-dry solution really worked, even if it did mutate the skin on her fingers to reptilian scales. • Biology (with reference to a cell, DNA molecule, etc.) undergo or cause to undergo change in a gene or genes : [ intrans. ] the virus is able to mutate into new forms that are immune to the vaccine | [ trans. ] certain nucleotides were mutated.
1 the action or process of mutating : the mutation of ethnic politics into nationalist politics | his first novel went through several mutations.
1 refraining from speech or temporarily speechless : Irene, the talkative one, was now mute. • not expressed in speech : she gazed at him in mute appeal. • characterized by an absence of sound; quiet : the great church was mute and dark.
1 (often be muted) deaden, muffle, or soften the sound of : her footsteps were muted by the thick carpet.
say something in a low or barely audible voice, esp. in dissatisfaction or irritation : [ trans. ] he muttered something under his breath | [with direct speech ] "I knew she was a troublemaker," Rebecca muttered | [ intrans. ] she muttered in annoyance as the keys slid from her fingers. • [ intrans. ] speak privately or unofficially about someone or something; spread rumors : when he disappeared, people began to mutter.
a barely audible utterance, esp. a dissatisfied or irritated one : a little mutter of disgust.
my (or his, etc.) lips are sealed used to convey that one will not discuss or reveal something.
my heart bleeds ( for you) used ironically to express the speaker's belief that the person spoken about does not deserve the sympathetic response sought : "I flew out here feeling tired and overworked." "My heart bleeds for you!" she replied.
my pleasure used as a polite reply to thanks : "Oh, thank you!" "My pleasure."
• lack of imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight : historians have been censured for their myopia in treating modern science as a western phenomenon.
1 a countless or extremely great number : networks connecting a myriad of computers.
countless or extremely great in number : the myriad lights of the city. • having countless or very many elements or aspects : the myriad political scene.
1 of or relating to mystics or religious mysticism : the mystical experience. • spiritually allegorical or symbolic; transcending human understanding : the mystical body of Christ. • of or relating to ancient religious mysteries or other occult or esoteric rites : the mystical practices of the Pythagoreans. • of hidden or esoteric meaning : a geometric figure of mystical significance. 2 inspiring a sense of spiritual mystery, awe, and fascination : the mystical forces of nature. • concerned with the soul or the spirit, rather than with material things : the beliefs of a more mystical age.
utterly bewilder or perplex (someone) : maladies that have mystified and alarmed researchers for over a decade | [as adj. ] ( mystifying) a mystifying phenomenon.
• make obscure or mysterious : lawyers who mystify the legal system so that laymen find it unintelligible.
a fascinating aura of mystery, awe, and power surrounding someone or something : the West is lately rethinking its cowboy mystique | the tiger has a mystique that man has always respected and revered. • an air of secrecy surrounding a particular activity or subject that makes it impressive or baffling to those without specialized knowledge : eliminating the mystique normally associated with computers.
occurring in or characteristic of myths or folk tales : one of Denmark's greatest mythical heroes. • idealized, esp. with reference to the past : a mythical age of contentment and social order. • fictitious : a mythical customer whose name appears in brochures.
1 a collection of myths, esp. one belonging to a particular religious or cultural tradition : Ganesa was the god of wisdom and success in Hindu mythology | a book discussing Jewish and Christian mythologies. • a set of stories or beliefs about a particular person, institution, or situation, esp. when exaggerated or fictitious : in popular mythology, truckers are kings of the road.
the lowest point in the fortunes of a person or organization : they had reached the nadir of their sufferings. • Astronomy the point on the celestial sphere directly below an observer. The opposite of zenith .
annoy or irritate (a person) with persistent fault-finding or continuous urging : she constantly nags her daughter about getting married | [with infinitive ] she nagged him to do the housework | [ intrans. ] he's always nagging at her for staying out late. • [often as adj. ] ( nagging) be persistently painful, troublesome, or worrying to : there was a nagging pain in his chest | [ intrans. ] something nagged at the back of his mind.
1 [ trans. ] fasten to a surface or to something else with a nail or nails : nail the edge framing to the wall | the teacher was nailing up the lists.
a nail in the coffin an action or event regarded as likely to have a detrimental or destructive effect on a situation, enterprise, or person : this was going to put the final nail in the coffin of his career.
• (of a tree, plant, or animal) without leaves, hairs, scales, shell, etc. : the twisted trunks and naked branches of the trees. • figurative exposed to harm; unprotected or vulnerable : John looked naked and defenseless without his glasses. • [ attrib. ] (of something such as feelings or behavior) undisguised; blatant : naked, unprovoked aggression | the naked truth.
• [in sing. ] a reputation, esp. a good one : he set up a school that gained a name for excellence.
• specify (an amount, time, or place) as something desired, suggested, or decided on : he showed them the picture and named a price.
in the name of bearing or using the name of a specified person or organization : a driver's license in the name of William Sanders. • for the sake of : he withdrew his candidacy in the name of party unity. • by the authority of : crimes committed in the name of religion. • ( in the name of Christ/God/Allah/heaven, etc.) used for emphasis : what in the name of God do you think you're doing?
make a name for oneself become well known : by the time he was thirty-five, he had made a name for himself as a contractor.
to name ( but) a few giving only these as examples, even though more could be cited : the ingredients used are drawn from nature—avocado, lemongrass, and chamomile to name a few.
under the name —— using a name that is not one's real name, esp. for professional purposes : that mad doctor who, under the name Céline, produced some of the greatest fiction in Western literature. • (of a product, company, or organization) sold, doing business as, or known by a particular name : a synthetic version is sold in the US under the name of Actigall.
you name it informal whatever you can think of (used to express the extent or variety of something) : easy-to-assemble kits of trains, cars, trucks, ships ... you name it.
name someone/something after (also for) call someone or something by the same name as : Nathaniel was named after his maternal grandfather | Ricksburg, Idaho, named for one Thomas Ricks.
name the day arrange a date for a specific occasion, esp. a wedding.
• deliberately not identified; anonymous : the director of a voluntary organization which shall remain nameless.
a person or thing that has the same name as another : Hugh Capet paved the way for his son and namesake to be crowned king of France.
• figurative a person or institution regarded as interfering and overprotective : [as adj. ] a precarious path between freedom and the nanny state.
catch someone napping informal (of a person, action, or event) find someone off guard and unprepared to respond : he caught the runner napping off second base and tagged him out.
give a spoken or written account of : the voyages, festivities, and intrigues are narrated with unflagging gusto | the tough-but-sensitive former bouncer narrates much of the story.
a spoken or written account of connected events; a story : the hero of his modest narrative.
2 limited in extent, amount, or scope; restricted : his ability to get good results within narrow constraints of money and manpower. • (of a person's attitude or beliefs) limited in range and lacking willingness or ability to appreciate alternative views : companies fail through their narrow view of what contributes to profit. • precise or strict in meaning : some of the narrower definitions of democracy.
1 become or make less wide : [ intrans. ] the road narrowed and crossed an old bridge | [ trans. ] the embankment was built to narrow the river.
• [ trans. ] (of a person) cause (one's eyes) to do this : she narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. 2 become or make more limited or restricted in extent or scope : [ intrans. ] their trade surplus narrowed to $70 million in January | [ trans. ] New England had narrowed Denver's lead from 13 points to 4.
narrow something down reduce the number of possibilities or options of something : the company has narrowed down the candidates for the job to two.
narrow-minded adjective not willing to listen to or tolerate other people's views; prejudiced.
1 by only a small margin; barely : he narrowly defeated Anderson to win a 12th term in office.
1 of, for, or relating to the nose : the nasal passages | a nasal spray.
(esp. of a process or organization) just coming into existence and beginning to display signs of future potential : the nascent space industry.
1 highly unpleasant, esp. to the senses; physically nauseating : plastic bags burn with a nasty, acrid smell. • (of the weather) unpleasantly cold or wet : a cold, nasty day. • repugnant to the mind; morally bad : her stories are very nasty, full of murder and violence.
2 (of a person or animal) behaving in an unpleasant or spiteful way : Harry was a nasty, foul-mouthed old devil | when she confronted him, he turned nasty.
(of a skill, quality, or ability) coming instinctively to a person; innate : writing appears to demand muscular movements that are not natural to children.
against nature unnatural or immoral. someone's better nature the good side of a person's character; their capacity for tolerance, generosity, or sympathy : Charlotte planned to appeal to his better nature.
2 [in sing. ] the basic or inherent features of something, esp. when seen as characteristic of it : helping them to realize the nature of their problems | there are a lot of other documents of that nature. • the innate or essential qualities or character of a person or animal : it's not in her nature to listen to advice | I'm not violent by nature. See also human nature .
• loathing; revulsion : intended to induce a feeling of nostalgia, it only induces in me a feeling of nausea.
make (someone) feel sick; affect with nausea : the thought of food nauseated her | [as adj. ] ( nauseating) the stench became nauseating. • fill (someone) with revulsion; disgust : I was nauseated by the vicious comment.
1 affected with nausea; inclined to vomit : a rancid, cloying odor that made him nauseous. 2 causing nausea; offensive to the taste or smell : the smell was nauseous. • disgusting, repellent, or offensive : this nauseous account of a court case.
of or concerning sailors or navigation; maritime : nautical charts.
of, in, or relating to a navy or navies : a naval officer | naval operations.
1 [ intrans. ] plan and direct the route or course of a ship, aircraft, or other form of transportation, esp. by using instruments or maps : they navigated by the stars. • [ intrans., with adverbial of direction ] travel on a desired course after planning a route : he taught them how to navigate across the oceans.
• guide (a vessel or vehicle) over a specified route or terrain : she navigated the car safely through the traffic. • make one's way with difficulty over (a route or terrain) : the drivers skillfully navigated a twisting and muddy course.
say no to; deny or oppose : I'm not going to naysay anything he does.
near-death experience noun an unusual experience taking place on the brink of death and recounted by a person after recovery, typically an out-of-body experience or a vision of a tunnel of light.
• something narrowly avoided; a lucky escape : she had a near miss when her horse was nearly sucked into a dike.
nearsighted adjective unable to see things clearly unless they are relatively close to the eyes, owing to the focusing of rays of light by the eye at a point in front of the retina; myopic.
in the form of a cloud or haze; hazy : a giant nebulous glow. • (of a concept or idea) unclear, vague, or ill-defined : nebulous concepts like quality of life.
a necessary evil something that is undesirable but must be accepted.
make (something) necessary as a result or consequence : the severe arthritis eventually necessitated a total hip replacement. • [ trans. ] force or compel (someone) to do something : the late arrival had necessitated her getting out of bed.
1 the fact of being required or indispensable : the necessity of providing parental guidance should be apparent | the necessity for law and order.
necessity is the mother of invention proverb when the need for something becomes imperative, you are forced to find ways of getting or achieving it.
• figurative a person's neck regarded as bearing a burden of responsibility or guilt for something : he'll be stuck with a loan around his neck.
neck and neck even in a race, competition, or comparison : we have six contestants who are neck and neck.
if need be if necessary. in need requiring help : children in need. in need of requiring or needing (something) : he was in desperate need of medical care.
a needle in a haystack something that is almost impossible to find because it is hidden among so many other things.
needless to say of course.
(of a person) lacking the necessities of life; very poor : needy and elderly people. • (of circumstances) characterized by poverty : those from needy backgrounds.
(typically of an action or activity) wicked or criminal : the nefarious activities of the organized-crime syndicates.
1 nullify; make ineffective : alcohol negates the effects of the drug. See note at void .
1 the contradiction or denial of something : there should be confirmation—or negation—of the findings.
• [in combination ] (of a person or their blood) not having a specified substance or condition : HIV-negative.
fail to care for properly : the old churchyard has been sadly neglected | [as adj. ] ( neglected) some severely neglected children. • not pay proper attention to; disregard : you neglect our advice at your peril.
• failure to do something : he was reported for neglect of duty.
failure to take proper care in doing something : some of these accidents are due to negligence.
failing to take proper care in doing something : directors have been negligent in the performance of their duties.
so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant : sound could at last be recorded with incredible ease and at negligible cost.
open to discussion or modification : the price was not negotiable.
discussion aimed at reaching an agreement : a worldwide ban is currently under negotiation | negotiations between unions and employers.
(of a horse) make such a sound; utter a neigh. • (of a person) make a similar sound : they neighed dutifully at jokes they did not understand.
(of a place or thing) be situated next to or very near (another) : the square neighbors the old quarter of the town | [as adj. ] ( neighboring) a couple at a neighboring table.
not the one nor the other of two people or things; not either : [as adj. ] neither side of the brain is dominant over the other | [as pron. ] neither of us believes it.
: I am neither a liberal nor a conservative.
the inescapable or implacable agent of someone's or something's downfall : the balance beam was the team's nemesis, as two gymnasts fell from the apparatus. • a downfall caused by such an agent : one risks nemesis by uttering such words.
3 (often one's nerve) a person's steadiness, courage, and sense of purpose when facing a demanding situation : the army's commanders were beginning to lose their nerve | I got up the nerve to ask Miss Kinnian to have dinner with me. See note at courage .
• informal impudence or audacity : he had the nerve to insult my cooking | she's got nerve wearing that short skirt with those legs.
get on someone's nerves informal irritate or annoy someone.
touch (or hit or strike) a nerve (or a raw nerve) provoke a reaction by referring to a sensitive topic : there are signs that some comments strike a raw nerve.
causing stress or anxiety : his driving test was a nerve-racking ordeal.
2 relating to or affecting the nerves : a nervous disorder.
nervous breakdown noun a period of mental illness resulting from severe depression, stress, or anxiety.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a bird or other animal) use or build a nest : the owls often nest in barns | [as adj. ] ( nesting) do not disturb nesting birds. 2 [ trans. ] (often be nested) fit (an object or objects) inside a larger one : the town is nested inside a large crater on the flanks of a volcano.
settle or lie comfortably within or against something : the baby deer nestled in her arms | [ trans. ] she nestled her head against his shoulder. • (of a place) lie or be situated in a half-hidden or obscured position : picturesque villages nestle in the wooded hills | ( be nestled) the hotel is nestled between two headlands.
3 figurative a system or procedure for catching or entrapping someone; a trap : the search was delayed, allowing the murderers to escape the net. • a system or procedure for selecting or recruiting someone : he spread his net far and wide in his search for success.
acquire or obtain (a sum of money) as clear profit : they sold their 20% stake, netting a huge profit in the process. • [with two objs. ] return (profit or income) for (someone) : the land netted its owner a turnover of $800,000.
of or relating to a nerve or the nervous system : patterns of neural activity.
2 having no strongly marked or positive characteristics or features : the tone was neutral, devoid of sentiment | a fairly neutral background will make any small splash of color stand out.
render (something) ineffective or harmless by applying an opposite force or effect : impatience at his frailty began to neutralize her fear.
never cease to (in hyperbolic use) do something very frequently : her exploits never cease to amaze me.
never-ending adjective (esp. of something unpleasant) having or seeming to have no end. See note at eternal .
• [ predic. ] ( new to) unfamiliar or strange to (someone) : a way of living that was new to me. • [ predic. ] ( new to/at) (of a person) inexperienced at or unaccustomed to doing (something) : I'm quite new to gardening.
(of a child or animal) recently or just born : newborn babies | : figurative a newborn star.
noteworthy as news; topical : you had to cover a lot of ground to find anything newsworthy.
next in line immediately below the present holder of a position in order of succession : he is next in line to the throne. next to 1 in or into a position immediately to one side of; beside : we sat next to each other. 2 following in order or importance : next to buying a whole new wardrobe, nothing lifts the spirits quite like a new hairdo! 3 almost : Charles knew next to nothing about farming. 4 in comparison with : next to her I felt like a fraud.
take small bites out of : [ trans. ] he sat nibbling a cookie | : [ intrans. ] she nibbled at her food./• gently bite at (a part of the body), esp. amorously or nervously : [ trans. ] Tamar nibbled her bottom lip | : [ intrans. ] he nibbled at her earlobe. • figurative gradually erode or eat away : [ intrans. ] inflation was nibbling away at spending power.
3 Brit., informal steal : he'd had his car nicked by joyriders. • arrest or apprehend (someone) : I got nicked for burglary.
of little importance; petty : the only games this weekend are nickel-and-dime stuff.
particularly good, skillful, or effective : nifty footwork. • fashionable; stylish : a nifty black shirt.
night and day all the time; constantly : she studied night and day.
1 happening or done every night : his prime-time, nightly TV talk show.
quick and light in movement or action; agile : with a deft motion of her nimble fingers. • (of the mind) quick to comprehend : she is well-read and intellectually nimble.
nine times out of ten on nearly every occasion; almost always.
• a state of perfect happiness; an ideal or idyllic place : Hollywood's dearest dream of small-town nirvana.
the most important aspects or practical details of a subject or situation : let's get down to the nitty-gritty of finding a job | [as adj. ] the nitty-gritty details.
not take no for an answer persist in spite of refusals.
no (or little) better than just (or almost) the same as; merely : government officials who were often no better than bandits.
no-brainer noun informal something that requires or involves little or no mental effort.
no chance informal there is no possibility of that : I asked if we could leave early and she said, "No chance."
no fewer than used to emphasize a surprisingly large number : there are no fewer than seventy different brand names.
no kidding used to emphasize the truth of a statement : no kidding, she's gone.
no laughing matter something serious that should not be joked about : heavy snoring is no laughing matter.
no offense informal do not be offended.
no pain, no gain suffering is necessary in order to achieve something. [ORIGIN: originally used as a slogan in fitness classes.]
no strings attached informal used to show that an offer or opportunity carries no special conditions or restrictions.
no sweat informal used to convey that one perceives no difficulty or problem with something : "We haven't any decaf, I'm afraid." "No sweat." no time a very short interval or period : the renovations were done in no time. 1 belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status; aristocratic : the Duchess of Kent and other noble ladies. 2 having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals : the promotion of human rights was a noble aspiration.
done, occurring, or active at night : most owls are nocturnal.
1 [ intrans. ] lower and raise one's head slightly and briefly, esp. in greeting, assent, or understanding, or to give someone a signal : he nodded to Monica to unlock the door | [ trans. ] she nodded her head in agreement. • [ trans. ] signify or express (greeting, assent, or understanding) in this way : he nodded his consent.
• [ intrans. ] draw or direct attention to someone or something by moving one's head : he nodded toward the corner of the room.
give someone/something the nod 1 select or approve someone or something : they banned one book but gave the other the nod. 2 give someone a signal.
1 (of a role or status) existing in name only : Thailand retained nominal independence under Japanese military occupation.
2 (of a price or amount of money) very small; far below the real value or cost : some firms charge only a nominal fee for the service.
1 propose or formally enter as a candidate for election or for an honor or award : the film was nominated for several Oscars. • appoint to a job or position : the company nominated her as a delegate to the convention.
the action of nominating or state of being nominated : women's groups opposed the nomination of the judge | the film received five nominations.
non sequitur |nɒn ˈsɛkwɪtə| noun a conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.
(of a person or manner) feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm : she gave a nonchalant shrug.
noncombatant noun a person who is not engaged in fighting during a war, esp. a civilian, chaplain, or medical practitioner.
none other than used to emphasize the surprising identity of a person or thing : her first customer was none other than Henry du Pont.
want (or will have)none of (esp. with reference to behavior) refuse to accept (something) : Danny offered to wait below, but Peter would have none of it.
every nook and cranny every part or aspect of something : the party reached into every nook and cranny of people's lives.
1 used before the second or further of two or more alternatives (the first being introduced by a negative such as "neither" or "not") to indicate that they are each untrue or each do not happen : they were neither cheap nor convenient | the sheets were never washed, nor the towels, nor his shirts.
1 ( the norm) something that is usual, typical, or standard : this system has been the norm in Germany for decades. • (usu. norms) a standard or pattern, esp. of social behavior, that is typical or expected of a group : the norms of good behavior in the civil service.
1 the usual, average, or typical state or condition : her temperature was above normal | the service will be back to normal next week.
establishing, relating to, or deriving from a standard or norm, esp. of behavior : negative sanctions to enforce normative behavior.
a bitter wind blew from the north | Mount Kenya is to the north of Nairobi.
up north informal to or in the north of a country : he's taken a teaching job up north.
traveling or leading toward the north : they slowly drove back along the shoulder of the northbound lane | northbound traffic.
northward |ˈnɔːθwəd| adjective in a northerly direction.
2 [ intrans. ] investigate or pry into something : I was anxious to get inside and nose around her house | she's always nosing into my business.
keep one's nose out of refrain from interfering in (someone else's affairs).
• figurative a sudden dramatic deterioration : the player's fortunes took a nosedive.
(of a person or their behavior) showing too much curiosity about other people's affairs : he had to whisper to avoid being overheard by their nosy neighbors.
2 used as a short substitute for a negative clause : maybe I'll regret it, but I hope not | "Don't you keep in touch?" "I'm afraid not." | they wouldn't know if I was telling the truth or not.
not that it is not to be inferred that : I'll never be allowed back—not that I'd want to go back.
not quite not completely or entirely : my hair's not quite dry | she hasn't quite got the hang of it yet.
not least in particular; notably : there is a great deal at stake, not least in relation to the environment.
not all that —— not very —— : it was not all that long ago.
not (or not so) bad informal fairly good : she discovered he wasn't so bad after all.
not be an option not be feasible : traveling by road is not an option here.
not for a minute not at all : don't think for a minute that our pricing has affected our quality standards.
not for nothing for a very good reason : not for nothing have I got a brother-in-law who cooks professionally.
not in the least not in the smallest degree; not at all : he was not in the least taken aback.
not know where (or which way) to look feel great embarrassment and not know how to react.
not likely! informal certainly not; I refuse : "Are you going home?" "Not likely!"
not nearly nothing like; far from : you're not nearly as clever as you think you are.
not sleep (or get) a wink (or not get a wink of sleep) not sleep at all.
not so much —— as —— not —— but rather —— : the novel was not so much unfinished as unfinishable.
not to say used to introduce a stronger alternative or addition to something already said : it is easy to become sensitive, not to say paranoid.
worthy of attention or notice; remarkable : the gardens are notable for their collection of magnolias and camellias | the results, with one notable exception, have been superb.
1 a series or system of written symbols used to represent numbers, amounts, or elements in something such as music or mathematics : algebraic notation.
5 [in sing. ] a particular quality or tone that reflects or expresses a mood or attitude : there was a note of scorn in her voice | the decade could have ended on an optimistic note.
1 notice or pay particular attention to (something) : noting his mother's unusual gaiety | [with clause ] please note that you will not receive a reminder that final payment is due. • remark upon (something), typically in order to draw someone's attention to it : we noted earlier the difficulties inherent in this strategy.
hit (or strike) the right (or wrong) note say or do something in exactly the right (or wrong) way. of note 1 worth paying attention to : many of his comments are worthy of note. 2 important; distinguished : Roman historians of note include Livy, Tacitus, and Sallust.
interesting, significant, or unusual : [with clause ] it is noteworthy that no one at the bank has accepted responsibility for the failure.
not at all : she cares nothing for others | he looks nothing like the others.
nothing but only : nothing but the best will do.
nothing (or nothing else) for it Brit. no alternative : there was nothing for it but to follow.
nothing less than used to emphasize how extreme something is : it was nothing less than sexual harassment.
1 attention; observation : their silence did not escape my notice | it has come to our notice that you have been missing school. 2 notification or warning of something, esp. to allow preparations to be made : interest rates are subject to fluctuation without notice.
become aware of : he noticed the youths behaving suspiciously | [with clause ] I noticed that she was looking tired | [ intrans. ] they were too drunk to notice. • (usu. be noticed) treat (someone) with some degree of attention or recognition : it was only last year that the singer really began to be noticed.
at short (or a moment's) notice with little warning or time for preparation : tours may be canceled at short notice.
take no notice pay no attention to someone or something.
easily seen or noticed; clear or apparent : a noticeable increase in staff motivation. • noteworthy : a noticeable new phenomenon.
inform (someone) of something, typically in a formal or official manner : you will be notified of our decision as soon as possible | [ trans. ] they were notified that John had been taken prisoner. • chiefly Brit. give notice of or report (something) formally or officially : if he does not notify the occurrences, he may be guilty of nondisclosure.
1 a conception of or belief about something : children have different notions about the roles of their parents. See note at idea .
famous or well known, typically for some bad quality or deed : Los Angeles is notorious for its smog | he was a notorious drinker and womanizer.
1 provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition : I was doing everything I could to nourish and protect the baby | figurative spiritual resources that nourished her in her darkest hours.
2 keep (a feeling or belief) in one's mind, typically for a long time : he has long nourished an ambition to bring the show to Broadway.
the substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition : tubers from which plants obtain nourishment. • food : they often go days with little or no nourishment.
nouveau riche |ˈnuːvəʊ ˈriːʃ| |nuvo ʀiʃ| noun [treated as pl. ] (usu. the nouveau riche) people who have recently acquired wealth, typically those perceived as ostentatious or lacking in good taste.
new or unusual in an interesting way : he hit on a novel idea to solve his financial problems.
1 the quality of being new, original, or unusual : the novelty of being a married woman wore off. • a new or unfamiliar thing or experience : in 1914 air travel was still a novelty.
a person new to or inexperienced in a field or situation : he was a complete novice in foreign affairs.
3 used in or as a request, instruction, or question, typically to give a slight emphasis to one's words : now, if you'll excuse me? | we can hardly send her back, now can we? | run along now.
as a consequence of the fact : they spent a lot of time together now that he had retired | now that you mention it, I haven't seen her around for ages.
now or never used to convey urgency : it was now or never —I had to move fast.
now then 1 used to get someone's attention or to invite a response : now then, who's for a coffee? 2 used as an expression of mild remonstrance or warning : now then, Emily, I think Sarah has suffered enough.
nowhere near not nearly : he's nowhere near as popular as he used to be.
get (or go) nowhere make no progress : I'm getting nowhere—maybe I should give up | the project was going nowhere fast. get someone nowhere be of no use or benefit to someone : being angry would get her nowhere.
give nuances to : the effect of the music is nuanced by the social situation of listeners.
(of a country or region) not having or allowing any nuclear weapons, materials, or power : a nuclear-free zone.
prod (someone) gently, typically with one's elbow, in order to draw their attention to something : people were nudging each other and pointing at me. • touch or push (something) gently or gradually : the canoe nudged a bank of reeds. • figurative coax or gently encourage (someone) to do something : we have to nudge the politicians in the right direction.
a light touch or push : he gave her shoulder a nudge | figurative she appreciated the nudge to her memory.
a person, thing, or circumstance causing inconvenience or annoyance : an unreasonable landlord could become a nuisance | I hope you're not going to make a nuisance of yourself.
1 [ predic. ] having no legal or binding force; invalid : the establishment of a new interim government was declared null and void.
make legally null and void; invalidate : judges were unwilling to nullify government decisions. See note at void . • make of no use or value; cancel out : insulin can block the release of the hormone and thereby nullify the effects of training.
deprived of the power of sensation : my feet were numb with cold | figurative the tragic events left us shocked and numb.
2 (often be numbered) mark with a number or assign a number to, typically to indicate position in a series : each document was numbered consecutively. • count : strategies like ours can be numbered on the fingers of one hand.
someone's/something's days are numbered someone or something will not survive or remain in a position of power or advantage for much longer : my days as director were numbered.
any number of any particular whole quantity of : the game can involve any number of players. • a large and unlimited quantity or amount of : the results can be read any number of ways.
of, relating to, or expressed as a number or numbers : the lists are in numerical order.
1 give medical and other attention to (a sick person) : she nursed the girl through a dangerous illness.
• try to cure or alleviate (an injury, injured part, or illness) by treating it carefully and protectively : he has been nursing a cold | figurative he nursed his hurt pride.
care for and encourage the growth or development of : figurative my father nurtured my love of art. • cherish (a hope, belief, or ambition) : for a long time she had nurtured the dream of buying a shop.
nuts and bolts informal the basic practical details : the nuts and bolts of public policy.
the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth : a guide to good nutrition. • food; nourishment : a feeding tube gives her nutrition and water.
1 a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one's future action or behavior : they took an oath of allegiance to the king.
complying or willing to comply with orders or requests; submissive to another's will : she was totally obedient to him.
compliance with someone's wishes or orders or acknowledgment of their authority : unquestioning obedience to the commander in chief.
obese |ə(ʊ)ˈbiːs| adjective grossly fat or overweight.
• carry out (a command or instruction) : the officer was convicted for refusing to obey orders | [ intrans. ] when the order was repeated, he refused to obey.
render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible : the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins.
a notice of a death, esp. in a newspaper, typically including a brief biography of the deceased person : the obituary of a friend | [as adj. ] an obituary notice.
2 a person or thing to which a specified action or feeling is directed : disease became the object of investigation. • a goal or purpose : the institute was opened with the object of promoting scientific study.
say something to express one's disapproval of or disagreement with something : [ intrans. ] residents object to the volume of traffic | [with clause ] the boy's father objected that the police had arrested him unlawfully.
no object not influencing or restricting choices or decisions : a tycoon for whom money is no object.
an expression or feeling of disapproval or opposition; a reason for disagreeing : they have raised no objections to the latest plans. • the action of challenging or disagreeing with something : his view is open to objection.
1 (of a person or their judgment) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts : historians try to be objective and impartial. Contrasted with subjective .
1 a thing aimed at or sought; a goal : the system has achieved its objective.
• the condition of being morally or legally bound to do something : they are under no obligation to stick to the scheme.
required by a legal, moral, or other rule; compulsory : use of seat belts in cars is now obligatory. • so customary or routine as to be expected of everyone or on every occasion : after the obligatory preamble on the weather he got down to business.
make (someone) legally or morally bound to an action or course of action : doctors are obliged by law to keep patients alive while there is a chance of recovery. See note at compel .
• ( be obliged) be indebted or grateful : if you can give me a few minutes of your time I'll be much obliged.
destroy utterly; wipe out : figurative the memory was so painful that he obliterated it from his mind.
1 the state of being unaware or unconscious of what is happening : they drank themselves into oblivion.
obnoxious |əbˈnɒkʃəs| adjective extremely unpleasant.
(of the portrayal or description of sexual matters) offensive or disgusting by accepted standards of morality and decency : obscene jokes | obscene literature. • offensive to moral principles; repugnant : using animals' skins for fur coats is obscene.
the state or quality of being obscene; obscene behavior, language, or images : the book was banned for obscenity.
not discovered or known about; uncertain : his origins and parentage are obscure. • not clearly expressed or easily understood : obscure references to Proust. • not important or well known : an obscure religious sect.
• make unclear and difficult to understand : the debate has become obscured by conflicting ideological perspectives.
the state of being unknown, inconspicuous, or unimportant : he is too good a player to slide into obscurity.
1 the action or process of observing something or someone carefully or in order to gain information : she was brought into the hospital for observation | detailed observations were carried out on the students' behavior. • the ability to notice things, esp. significant details : his powers of observation.
• [ intrans. ] (of a person) be preoccupied in this way : her husband, who is obsessing about the wrong she has done him.
• an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind : he was in the grip of an obsession he was powerless to resist.
becoming obsolete : the custom is now obsolescent.
1 no longer produced or used; out of date : the disposal of old and obsolete machinery | the phrase was obsolete after 1625. See note at old .
a thing that blocks one's way or prevents or hinders progress : the major obstacle to achieving that goal is money.
• (of an unwelcome phenomenon or situation) very difficult to change or overcome : the obstinate problem of unemployment.
• prevent or hinder (movement or someone or something in motion) : they had to alter the course of the stream and obstruct the natural flow of the water.
1 causing a blockage or obstruction : all tubing should be cleared of obstructive algae and detritus.
become noticeable in an unwelcome or intrusive way : a sound from the reception hall obtruded into his thoughts. • [ trans. ] impose or force (something) on someone in such a way : I felt unable to obtrude my private sorrow upon anyone.
noticeable or prominent in an unwelcome or intrusive way : high-powered satellites can reach smaller and less obtrusive antennas. See note at impertinent .
on occasion (or chiefly Brit. occasions) occasionally; from time to time : on occasion, the state was asked to intervene.
1 a particular time or instance of an event : on one occasion I stayed up until two in the morning. • a special or noteworthy event, ceremony, or celebration : she was presented with a gold watch to mark the occasion. • a suitable or opportune time for doing something : elections are an occasion for registering protest votes.
occurring, appearing, or done infrequently and irregularly : the occasional car went by but no taxis. • (of furniture) made or adapted for use on a particular occasion or for irregular use : an occasional table.
the action or fact of occupying a place : the house is finally ready for occupancy.
of or relating to a job or profession : hepatitis B may be an occupational disease for some health-care workers.
2 (often be occupied with/in) fill or preoccupy (the mind or thoughts) : her mind was occupied with alarming questions. • keep (someone) busy and active : Sarah occupied herself taking the coffee cups over to the sink | [as adj. ] ( occupied) tasks that kept her occupied for the remainder of the afternoon.
• ( occur to) (of a thought or idea) come into the mind of (someone) : [with clause ] it occurred to him that he hadn't eaten.
an incident or event : vandalism used to be a rare occurrence. • the fact or frequency of something happening : the occurrence of cancer increases with age.
• (of things numbered consecutively) represented or indicated by such a number : he has come to us every odd year since 1981.
oddball |ˈɒdbɔːl| informal noun a strange or eccentric person.
a strange or peculiar person, thing, or trait : she was regarded as a bit of an oddity. • the quality of being strange or peculiar : realizing the oddity of the remark, he retracted it.
the ratio between the amounts staked by the parties to a bet, based on the expected probability either way : the bookies are offering odds of 8-1 | it is possible for the race to be won at very long odds. • (usu. the odds) the chances or likelihood of something happening or being the case : the odds are that he is no longer alive | the odds against this ever happening are high. • (usu. the odds) superiority in strength, power, or resources; advantage : she clung to the lead against all the odds | the odds were overwhelmingly in favor of the banks rather than the customer.
at odds in conflict or at variance : his behavior is at odds with the interests of the company.
a long and eventful or adventurous journey figurative : his odyssey from military man to politician.
2 expressing the relationship between a scale or measure and a value : an increase of 5 percent | a height of 10 feet.
• with a verb expressing a mental state : they must be persuaded of the severity of the problem | I don't know of anything that would be suitable.
of all denoting the least likely or expected example : Jordan, of all people, committed a flagrant foul.
of a lifetime (of a chance or experience) such as does not occur more than once in a person's life : because of Frankie she had rejected the opportunity of a lifetime.
of few words taciturn : he's a man of few words.
of its kind within the limitations of its class : this new building was no doubt excellent of its kind.
of its own accord without outside intervention : the rash may go away of its own accord.
of late recently : she'd been drinking too much of late.
of ( a) like mind (of a person) sharing the same opinions or tastes.
of the moment currently popular, famous, or important : the buzzword of the moment.
1 away from the place in question; to or at a distance : the man ran off | she dashed off to her room | we must be off now. • away from the main route : turning off for Ripon. 2 so as to be removed or separated : he whipped off his coat | a section of the runway had been cordoned off. • absent; away from work : take a day off | he is off on sick leave. 3 starting a journey or race; leaving : the gunmen made off on foot | they're off! 4 so as to bring to an end or be discontinued : the Christmas party rounded off a hugely successful year | she broke off her reading to look at her husband. • canceled : tell them the wedding's off. • Brit., informal (of a menu item) temporarily unavailable : strawberries are off. 5 (of an electrical appliance or power supply) not functioning or so as to cease to function : switch the TV off | the electricity was off for four days. 6 chiefly Brit. having access to or possession of material goods or wealth to the extent specified : we'd been rather badly off for books | how are you off for money?
1 moving away and often down from : he rolled off the bed | the coat slipped off his arms | trying to get us off the stage. 2 situated or leading in a direction away from (a main route or intersection) : single wires leading off the main lines | a backstreet off Olympic Boulevard. • out at sea from (a place on the coast) : anchoring off Blue Bay | six miles off Dunkirk. 3 so as to be removed or separated from : threatening to tear it off its hinges | they are knocking $2,000 off the price | figurative it's a huge burden off my shoulders. • absent from : I took a couple of days off work. • informal abstaining from : he managed to stay off alcohol.
• not in accordance with what is appropriate or correct in the circumstances : [as adv. ] some of the cinematic effects are distractingly off-key.
off one's feet so as to be no longer standing : she was blown off her feet by the shock wave from the explosion.
off (or wide of) the mark incorrect or inaccurate : his solutions are completely off the mark.
off the point irrelevant.
off the track departing from the right course of thinking or behavior.
off the wall informal 1 eccentric or unconventional. 2 (of a person) angry : the president was off the wall about the article. 3 (of an accusation) without basis or foundation.
2 informal unconventional; unusual : she's a little offbeat but she's a wonderful actress.
1 [ trans. ] (often be offended) cause to feel upset, annoyed, or resentful : viewers said they had been offended by bad language.
be on the offensive act or be ready to act aggressively. go on (or take) the offensive take the initiative by beginning to attack or act aggressively : security forces took the offensive ten days ago.
1 |əˈfɛnsɪv| causing someone to feel deeply hurt, upset, or angry : the allegations made are deeply offensive to us | offensive language.
• [ trans. ] provide (something) : the highway offers easy access to the public beaches. • [ trans. ] present (something, esp. an opportunity) for consideration and possible exploitation : a good understanding of what a particular career can offer.
present or proffer (something) for (someone) to accept or reject as so desired : may I offer you a drink? • [ reporting verb ] express readiness or the intention to do something for or on behalf of someone : [with infinitive ] he offered to fix the gate | [with direct speech ] "Can I help you, dear?" a kindly voice offered.
unload (a cargo) : men were offloading bags of salt.
• relieve oneself of (a problem or worry) by talking to someone else : it would be nice to have been able to offload your worries onto someone.
1 [ trans. ] (often be offset) counteract (something) by having an opposing force or effect : the deficit has been more than offset by capital inflows.
2 made, situated, or conducting business abroad, esp. in order to take advantage of lower costs or less stringent regulation : [as adj. ] deposits in offshore accounts. • of, relating to, or derived from a foreign country : [as adj. ] offshore politics.
more often than not usually : food is scarce and more often than not they go hungry.
lubricate or coat (something) with oil : a lightly oiled baking tray.
oil and water figurative used to refer to two elements, factors, or people that do not agree or blend together.
1 containing oil : oily fish such as mackerel and sardines. • covered or soaked with oil : an oily rag. • resembling oil in appearance or behavior : the oily swell of the river.
the old days a period in the past, often seen as significantly different from the present, esp. noticeably better or worse : it was easier in the old days | we are less confident than in the good old days | the bad old days of incoherence and irresponsibility.
in or according to styles or types no longer current or common; not modern : an old-fashioned kitchen range.
used, usually approvingly, to refer to someone or something that is old-fashioned or traditional : amenities that my parents, being of the old school, still take for granted.
of or relating to the sense of smell : the olfactory organs.
a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution : the ruling oligarchy of military men around the president.
an event regarded as a portent of good or evil : the ghost's appearance was an ill omen | a rise in imports might be an omen of recovery. See note at sign .
giving the impression that something bad or unpleasant is going to happen; threatening; inauspicious : there were ominous dark clouds gathering overhead.
someone or something that has been left out or excluded : there are glaring omissions in the report.
leave out or exclude (someone or something), either intentionally or forgetfully : a significant detail was omitted from your story.
all; of all things : omniscient | omnifarious. • in all ways or places : omnicompetent | omnipresent.
carnivore, herbivore, omnivore
2 forming a distinctive or marked part of (the surface of something) : a scratch on her arm | a smile on her face.
• being broadcast by (a radio or television channel) : a new TV series on Channel 4.
2 indicating continuation of a movement or action : she burbled on | he drove on | and so on.
3 (of an entertainment or other event) taking place or being presented : what's on at the festival | there's a good film on this afternoon.
on and off intermittently : it rained on and off most of the afternoon. on and on continually; at tedious length : he went on and on about his grandad's trombone.
on —— terms in a specified relation or on a specified footing : we are all on friendly terms.
on a first-name basis having a friendly and informal relationship : an amateur ecologist who is on a first-name basis with most reptiles.
on a par with equal in importance or quality to; on an equal level with : this home cooking is on a par with the best in the world.
on a string under one's control or influence : I've got the world on a string.
on (also in) behalf of (or on someone's behalf) 1 in the interests of a person, group, or principle : votes cast by labor unions on behalf of their members. 2 as a representative of : he had to attend the funeral on Mama's behalf.
on bended knee (or knees) kneeling, esp. when pleading or showing great respect.
on or in a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle. • informal onto a team or group as a member : the need to bring on board a young manager.
on (or off) camera while being filmed or televised (or not being filmed or televised) : on camera, she was error-prone and nervous.
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