990 terms

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• the taking away of something unwanted : the removal of the brain tumor. • the abolition of something : the removal of all legal barriers to the free movement of goods.
take away (something unwanted or unnecessary) from the position it occupies : she sat down to remove her makeup. • take (something) from a place in order to take it to another location : customs officials also removed documents from the premises. • eliminate or get rid of (someone or something) : iron is sometimes found in water as ferric hydroxide, which can be removed by filtration. • take off (clothing) : he sat down on the ground and quickly removed his shoes and socks. • abolish : the return to real prices as subsidies are removed. • dismiss from a job or office : a judge was removed from office in 1988 for a number of lapses from proper judicial standards.
pay (someone) for services rendered or work done : they should be remunerated fairly for their work.
rendezvous |ˈrɒndɪvuː| |-deɪvuː| noun ( pl. same |-vuːz|) a meeting at an agreed time and place, typically between two people.
1 a performance or interpretation, esp. of a dramatic role or piece of music : a wonderful rendition of "Nessun Dorma." • a visual representation or reproduction : a pen-and-ink rendition of Mars with his sword drawn.
go back on a promise, undertaking, or contract : the administration had reneged on its election promises.
resume (an activity) after an interruption : the parents renewed their campaign to save the school. • reestablish (a relationship) : he had renewed an acquaintance with McCarthy.
the action of extending the period of validity of a license, subscription, or contract : the contracts came up for renewal | a renewal of his passport. • an instance of resuming an activity or state after an interruption : a renewal of hostilities.
1 provide (a service) : money serves as a reward for services rendered. • give (help) : Mrs. Evans would render assistance to those she thought were in real need.
2 [ trans. ] cause to be or become; make : the rains rendered his escape impossible. 3 represent or depict artistically : the eyes and the cheeks are exceptionally well rendered. • translate : the phrase was rendered into English.
formally declare one's abandonment of (a claim, right, or possession) : Isabella offered to renounce her son's claim to the French crown. • refuse to recognize or abide by any longer : these agreements were renounced after the fall of the czarist regime. • declare that one will no longer engage in or support : they renounced the armed struggle. • reject and stop using or consuming : he renounced drugs and alcohol completely.
restore (something old, esp. a building) to a good state of repair : the old school has been tastefully renovated as a private house.
restore (something old, esp. a building) to a good state of repair : the old school has been tastefully renovated as a private house.
known or talked about by many people; famous : a restaurant renowned for its Peking duck.
pay someone for the use of (something, typically property, land, or a car) : they rented a house together in Spain | [as adj. ] ( rented) a rented apartment. • (of an owner) let someone use (something) in return for payment : he purchased a large tract of land and rented out most of it to local farmers. • [ intrans. ] be let or hired out at a specified rate : skis or snowboards rent for $60-80 for six days.
denoting availability for hire of a specified thing : rent-a-car | rent-a-tent.
• the action of renting something : the office was on weekly rental.
the formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action : entry into the priesthood requires renunciation of marriage | a renunciation of violence.
change the focus or direction of : the will is dislodged from false values and reoriented toward God. • ( reorient oneself) find one's position again in relation to one's surroundings : slowly they advanced, stopping every so often and then reorienting themselves.
package again or differently : excess stock may be given to charities or repackaged.
fix or mend (a thing suffering from damage or a fault) : faulty electrical appliances should be repaired by an electrician. • make good (such damage) by fixing or repairing it : an operation to repair damage to his neck.
the action of fixing or mending something : the truck was beyond repair | the abandoned house they bought needs repairs. • a result of such fixing or mending : a coat of French polish was brushed over the repair. • the relative physical condition of an object : the existing hospital is in a bad state of repair.
pay back (a loan, debt, or sum of money) : the loans were to be repaid over a 20-year period. • pay back money borrowed from (someone) : most of his fortune had been spent repaying creditors.
revoke or annul (a law or congressional act) : the legislation was repealed five months later.
2 [ trans. ] do (something) again, either once or a number of times : earlier experiments were to be repeated on a far larger scale | [as adj. ] ( repeated) there were repeated attempts to negotiate.
an action, event, or other thing that occurs or is done again : the final will be a repeat of last year.
1 drive or force (an attack or attacker) back or away : government units sought to repel the rebels. • [ trans. ] (of a magnetic pole or electric field) force (something similarly magnetized or charged) away from itself : electrically charged objects attract or repel one another | [ intrans. ] like poles repel and unlike poles attract. • (of a substance) resist mixing with or be impervious to (another substance) : boots with good-quality leather uppers to repel moisture.
1 [often in combination ] able to repel a particular thing; impervious to a particular substance : water-repellent nylon. 2 causing disgust or distaste : the idea was slightly repellent to her.
feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one's wrongdoing or sin : the priest urged his listeners to repent | he repented of his action. • [ trans. ] view or think of (an action or omission) with deep regret or remorse : Marian came to repent her hasty judgment.
1 (usu. repercussions) an unintended consequence occurring some time after an event or action, esp. an unwelcome one : the move would have grave repercussions for the entire region.
• the whole body of items that are regularly performed : the mainstream concert repertoire.
the action of repeating something that has already been said or written : her comments are worthy of repetition | a repetition of his reply to the delegation. • [often with negative ] the recurrence of an action or event : there was to be no repetition of the interwar years | I didn't want a repetition of the scene in my office that morning.
express (an idea or question) in an alternative way, esp. with the purpose of changing the detail or perspective of the original idea or question : rephrase the statement so that it is clear.
1 take the place of : Ian's smile was replaced by a frown. • provide or find a substitute for (something that is broken, old, or inoperative) : the light bulb needs replacing. • fill the role of (someone or something) with a substitute : the government dismissed 3,000 of its customs inspectors, replacing them with new recruits.
the action or process of replacing someone or something : the replacement of religion by poetry | a hip replacement.
1 play back (a recording on tape, video, or film) : he could stop the tape and replay it whenever he wished.
fill (something) up again : he replenished Justin's glass with mineral water. • restore (a stock or supply of something) to the former level or condition : all creatures need sleep to replenish their energies.
filled or well-supplied with something : sensational popular fiction, replete with adultery and sudden death. • very full of or sated by food : I went out into the sun-drenched streets again, replete and relaxed.
an exact copy or model of something, esp. one on a smaller scale : a replica of the Empire State Building.
make an exact copy of; reproduce : it might be impractical to replicate eastern culture in the west.
• a copy : a twentieth-century building would be cheaper than a replication of what was there before.
• the action of answering someone or something : I am writing in reply to your letter of June 1.
• [ intrans. ] cover an event or subject as a journalist or a reporter : the press reported on Republican sex scandals | [with clause ] the Egyptian news agency reported that a coup attempt had taken place | [ trans. ] the paper reported a secret program by the country to build nuclear warheads. • ( be reported) used to indicate that something has been stated, although one cannot confirm its accuracy : [with infinitive ] these hoaxers are reported to be hacking into airline frequencies to impersonate air traffic controllers | [as adj. ] ( reported) a reported $50,000 in debt.
according to what some say (used to express the speaker's belief that the information given is not necessarily true) : he was in El Salvador, reportedly on his way to Texas.
place in a different position; adjust or alter the position of : try repositioning the thermostat in another room.
1 be entitled or appointed to act or speak for (someone), esp. in an official capacity : for purposes of litigation, an infant can and must be represented by an adult. • (of a competitor) participate in a sports event or other competition on behalf of (one's club, town, region, or country) : Owens represented the U.S.
• be an elected member of a legislature for (a particular constituency, party, or group) : she became the first woman to represent her district. • (usu. be represented) act as a substitute for (someone), esp. on an official or ceremonial occasion : the president was represented by the secretary of state.
2 constitute; amount to : this figure represents eleven percent of the company's total sales.
• [ trans. or infinitive ] describe or depict (someone or something) as being of a certain nature; portray in a particular way : the young were consistently represented as being in need of protection.
1 the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented : asylum-seekers should be guaranteed good legal advice and representation. 2 the description or portrayal of someone or something in a particular way or as being of a certain nature : the representation of women in newspapers. • the depiction of someone or something in a picture or other work of art : Picasso is striving for some absolute representation of reality.
3 ( representations) formal statements made to a higher authority, esp. so as to communicate an opinion or register a protest : certain church groups are making strong representations to our government.
1 typical of a class, group, or body of opinion : these courses are representative of those taken by most Harvard undergraduates.
3 serving as a portrayal or symbol of something : the show should be more representative of how women really are.
subdue (someone or something) by force : the uprisings were repressed. • restrain or prevent (the expression of a feeling) : Isabel couldn't repress a sharp cry of fear. • suppress (a thought, feeling, or desire) in oneself so that it becomes or remains unconscious : the thought that he had killed his brother was so terrible that he repressed it.
(esp. of a social or political system) inhibiting or restraining the freedom of a person or group of people : a repressive regime.
rebuke (someone), esp. officially : officials were dismissed or reprimanded for poor work. See note at rebuke .
produce again : a concert performance cannot reproduce all the subtleties of a recording.
the action or process of making a copy of something : the cost of color reproduction in publication is high.
1 extremely distasteful; unacceptable : the thought of going back into the fog was repugnant to him. See note at offensive .
1 intense disgust : our growing repugnance at the bleeding carcasses.
1 arousing intense distaste or disgust : a repulsive smell.
1 a feeling of intense distaste or disgust : people talk about the case with a mixture of fascination and repulsion.
the opinion generally held of someone or something; the state of being generally regarded in a particular way : pollution could bring the authority's name into bad repute.
be generally said or believed to do something or to have particular characteristics : he was reputed to have a fabulous house. • [usu. as adj. ] ( reputed) be generally said or believed to exist or be of a particular type, despite not being so : this area gave the lie to the reputed flatness of the country. • [usu. as adj. ] ( reputed) be widely known and well thought of : intensive training with reputed coaches.
the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something : his reputation was tarnished by allegations that he had taken bribes. • a widespread belief that someone or something has a particular habit or characteristic : his knowledge of his subject earned him a reputation as an expert.
an act of asking politely or formally for something : a request for information | the club's excursion was postponed at the request of some of the members.
politely or formally ask for : he received the information he had requested | [with clause ] the chairman requested that the reports be considered.
• ( require something of) regard an action, ability, or quality as due from (someone) by virtue of their position : the care and diligence required of him as a trustee.
• [ trans. ] (of someone in authority) instruct or expect (someone) to do something : you will be required to attend for cross-examination.
made necessary by particular circumstances or regulations : the application will not be processed until the requisite fee is paid. See note at necessary .
a thing that is necessary for the achievement of a specified end : she believed privacy to be a requisite for a peaceful life.
change the time of (a planned event) : the concert has been rescheduled for September.
revoke, cancel, or repeal (a law, order, or agreement) : the government eventually rescinded the directive.
an act of saving or being saved from danger or distress : he came to our rescue with a loan of $100.
save (someone) from a dangerous or distressing situation : firemen were called out to rescue a man trapped in the river.
investigate systematically : the biographer spent 25 years researching Stalin's life | [ intrans. ] the team has been researching into flora and fauna. • discover facts by investigation for use in (a book, program, etc.) : I was in New York researching my novel | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( researched) this is a well-researched and readable account.
the state of resembling or being alike : they bear some resemblance to Italian figurines. See note at likeness . • a way in which two or more things are alike : the physical resemblances between humans and apes.
have qualities or features, esp. those of appearance, in common with (someone or something); look or seem like : some people resemble their dogs | they seemed to resemble each other closely.
feel bitterness or indignation at (a circumstance, action, or person) : she resented the fact that I had children.
feeling or expressing bitterness or indignation at having been treated unfairly : he was angry and resentful of their intrusion.
bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly : his resentment at being demoted | some people harbor resentments going back many years.
1 the action of reserving something : the reservation of positions for non-Americans. • an arrangement whereby something, esp. a seat or room, is booked or reserved for a particular person : do you have a reservation?
2 a qualification to an expression of agreement or approval; a doubt : some generals voiced reservations about making air strikes.
3 a lack of warmth or openness in manner or expression : she smiled and some of her natural reserve melted. • qualification or doubt attached to some statement or claim : she trusted him without reserve.
• retain or hold (an entitlement to something), esp. by formal or legal stipulation : [ trans. ] the editor reserves the right to edit letters. • refrain from delivering (a judgment or decision) immediately or without due consideration or evidence : I'll reserve my views on his ability until he's played again.
1 slow to reveal emotion or opinions : he is a reserved, almost taciturn man. 2 kept specially for a particular purpose or person : a reserved seat.
• a supply or source of something : tapping into a universal reservoir of information.
reorganize or change the positions of (government appointees, members of a team, etc.) : the president was forced to reshuffle his cabinet. • put in a new order; rearrange : genetic constituents are constantly reshuffled into individual organisms.
an act of reorganizing or rearranging something : he was brought into the government in the last reshuffle.
have one's permanent home in a particular place : people who work in the city actually reside in neighboring towns. • be situated : the paintings now reside on the walls of a restaurant. • (of power or a right) belong by right to a person or body : legislative powers reside with the federal assembly. • (of a quality) be present or inherent in something : the meaning of an utterance does not wholly reside in the semantic meaning.
1 the fact of living in a place : a government ruling confirmed the returning refugees' right to residency.
designed for people to live in : private residential and nursing homes. • providing accommodations in addition to other services : a residential college. • occupied by private houses : quieter traffic in residential areas. • concerning or relating to residence : land has been diverted from residential use.
remaining after the greater part or quantity has gone : the withdrawal of residual occupying forces. • (of a quantity) left after other things have been subtracted : residual income after tax and mortgage payments.
1 [ intrans. ] voluntarily leave a job or other position : he resigned from the government in protest at the policy. • [ trans. ] give up (an office, power, privilege, etc.) : four deputies resigned their seats.
2 ( be resigned) accept that something undesirable cannot be avoided : he seems resigned to a shortened career | she resigned herself to a lengthy session.
1 an act of retiring or giving up a position : he announced his resignation. • a document conveying someone's intention of retiring : I'm thinking of handing in my resignation.
• (of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions : the fish are resilient to most infections.
withstand the action or effect of : antibodies help us to resist infection. • try to prevent by action or argument : we will continue to resist changes to the treaty. • succeed in ignoring the attraction of (something wrong or unwise) : she resisted his advances | I couldn't resist buying the blouse. • [ intrans. ] struggle against someone or something : without giving her time to resist, he dragged her off her feet.
1 the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument : she put up no resistance to being led away. • armed or violent opposition : government forces were unable to crush guerrilla-style resistance.
offering resistance to something or someone : some of the old churches are resistant to change | [in combination ] a water-resistant adhesive.
admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering : she was resolute and unswerving.
1 a firm decision to do or not to do something : she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more | a New Year's resolution.
2 the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter : the peaceful resolution of all disputes | a successful resolution to the problem.
1 [ trans. ] settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter) : the firm aims to resolve problems within 30 days. • [ trans. ] Medicine cause (a symptom or condition) to disperse, subside, or heal : endoscopic biliary drainage can rapidly resolve jaundice. • [ intrans. ] (of a symptom or condition) disperse, subside, or heal : symptoms resolved after a median of four weeks.
2 [ intrans. ] decide firmly on a course of action : [with infinitive ] she resolved to call Dana as soon as she got home. • [with clause ] (of a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting) make a decision by a formal vote : the committee resolved that teachers should make their recommendations without knowledge of test scores | [with infinitive ] the conference resolved to support an alliance.
the quality in a sound of being deep, full, and reverberating : the resonance of his voice. • figurative the ability to evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions : the concepts lose their emotional resonance.
(of sound) deep, clear, and continuing to sound or ring : a full-throated and resonant guffaw.
• figurative having the ability to evoke or suggest enduring images, memories, or emotions : the prints are resonant with traditions of Russian folk art and story.
produce or be filled with a deep, full, reverberating sound : the sound of the siren resonated across the harbor. • figurative evoke or suggest images, memories, and emotions : the words resonate with so many different meanings. • (of an idea or action) meet with someone's agreement : the judge's ruling resonated among many of the women.
1 a place that is a popular destination for vacations or recreation, or which is frequented for a particular purpose : a seaside resort | a health resort.
2 the action of turning to and adopting a strategy or course of action, esp. a disagreeable or undesirable one, so as to resolve a difficult situation : Germany and Italy tried to resolve their economic and social failures by resort to fascism.
1 turn to and adopt (a strategy or course of action, esp. a disagreeable or undesirable one) so as to resolve a difficult situation : the duke was prepared to resort to force if negotiation failed.
as a first (or last or final) resort before anything else is attempted (or when all else has failed). in the last resort ultimately : in the last resort what really moves us is our personal convictions. [ORIGIN: suggested by French en dernier ressort.]
1 a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements : the director had a lot of respect for Douglas as an actor.
2 a particular aspect, point, or detail : the government's record in this respect is a mixed one.
• due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others : respect for human rights.
with respect to as regards; with reference to : the two groups were similar with respect to age, sex, and diagnoses.
with (or with all due) respect used as a polite formula preceding, and intended to mitigate the effect of, an expression of disagreement or criticism : with all due respect, Father, I think you've got to be more broad-minded these days.
• agree to recognize and abide by (a legal requirement) : he urged all foreign nationals to respect the laws of their country of residence.
1 regarded by society to be good, proper, or correct : they thought the stage no life for a respectable lady. • (of a person's appearance, clothes, or behavior) decent or presentable : a perfectly respectable pair of pajamas!
feeling or showing deference and respect : they sit in respectful silence.
belonging or relating separately to each of two or more people or things : they chatted about their respective childhoods.
separately or individually and in the order already mentioned (used when enumerating two or more items or facts that refer back to a previous statement) : they received sentences of one year and eight months, respectively.
respiratory |rɪˈspɪrət(ə)ri| |ˈrɛsp(ə)rət(ə)ri| |rɪˈspʌɪ-| adjective of, relating to, or affecting respiration or the organs of respiration : respiratory disease.
breathe : he lay back, respiring deeply | [ trans. ] a country where fresh air seems impossible to respire.
a short period of rest or relief from something difficult or unpleasant : the refugee encampments will provide some respite from the suffering | [in sing. ] a brief respite from a dire food shortage.
say something in reply : [ intrans. ] she could not get Robert to respond to her words | [with clause ] he responded that it would not be feasible | [with direct speech ] "It's not part of my job," Belinda responded.
• [ intrans. ] (of a person) act or behave in reaction to someone or something : she turned her head, responding to his grin with a smile.
a verbal or written answer : without waiting for a response, she returned to her newspaper | we received 400 applications in response to one job ad.
• a reaction to something : an extended, jazzy piano solo drew the biggest response from the crowd | an honors degree course in Japanese has been established in response to an increasing demand.
the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone : women bear children and take responsibility for child care.
• the state or fact of being accountable or to blame for something : the group has claimed responsibility for a string of murders.
• the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization : we would expect individuals lower down the organization to take on more responsibility. • (often responsibilities) a thing that one is required to do as part of a job, role, or legal obligation : he will take over the responsibilities of overseas director.
having an obligation to do something, or having control over or care for someone, as part of one's job or role : the department responsible for education.
• [ predic. ] ( responsible to) having to report to (a superior or someone in authority) and be answerable to them for one's actions : the team manager is responsible to the league president. • capable of being trusted : a responsible adult.
1 reacting quickly and positively : a flexible service that is responsive to changing social and economic patterns.
• responding readily and with interest or enthusiasm : our most enthusiastic and responsive students.
1 cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength : he needed to rest after the feverish activity | I'm going to rest up before traveling to England.
2 [ intrans. ] be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position : her elbow was resting on the arm of the sofa. • [ trans. ] place (something) so that it is supported in a specified position : he rested a hand on her shoulder. • ( rest on/upon) (of a look) alight or be steadily directed on : his eyes rested briefly on the boy. • ( rest on/upon) be based on or grounded in; depend on : the country's security rested on its alliances. • [ trans. ] ( rest something in/on) place hope, trust, or confidence on or in : she rested her hopes in her attorney. • belong or be located at a specified place or with a specified person : ultimate control rested with the founders.
at rest not moving or exerting oneself. • not agitated or troubled; tranquil : he felt at rest, the tension gone. • dead and buried.
put (or set) someone's mind (or doubts or fears) at rest relieve someone of anxiety or uncertainty; reassure someone.
state (something) again or differently, esp. in order to correct or to make more clear or convincing : he restated his opposition to abortion [as adj.] restated earnings.
(of a person or animal) unable to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom : the audience grew restless and inattentive. • offering no physical or emotional rest; involving constant activity or motion : a restless night.
1 the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition : the restoration of Andrew's sight. • the process of repairing or renovating a building, work of art, vehicle, etc., so as to restore it to its original condition : the altar paintings seem in need of restoration. • the reinstatement of a previous practice, right, custom, or situation : the restoration of capital punishment.
bring back (a previous right, practice, custom, or situation); reinstate : the government restored confidence in the housing market. See note at recover . • return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position : the effort to restore him to office isn't working. • repair or renovate (a building, work of art, vehicle, etc.) so as to return it to its original condition : the building has been lovingly restored. • give (something previously stolen, taken away, or lost) back to the original owner or recipient : the government will restore land and property to those who lost it through confiscation.
prevent (someone or something) from doing something; keep under control or within limits : he had to be restrained from walking out of the meeting | [as adj. ] ( restraining) Cara put a restraining hand on his arm. • prevent oneself from displaying or giving way to (a strong urge or emotion : Amos had to restrain his impatience. • deprive (someone) of freedom of movement or personal liberty : leg cuffs are used in the U.S. for restraining and transporting extremely violent and dangerous criminals.
1 (often restraints) a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits : decisions are made within the financial restraints of the budget.
put a limit on; keep under control : some roads may have to be closed at peak times to restrict the number of visitors. • deprive (someone or something) of freedom of movement or action : cities can restrict groups of protesters from gathering on a residential street. • ( restrict someone to) limit someone to only doing or having (a particular thing) or staying in (a particular place) : I shall restrict myself to a single example.
• ( restrict something to) limit something, esp. an activity, to (a particular place, time, or category of people) : the zoological gardens were at first restricted to members and their guests. • withhold (information) from general circulation or disclosure : at first the government tried to restrict news of our involvement in Vietnam.
a limiting condition or measure, esp. a legal one : planning restrictions on commercial development. • the limitation or control of someone or something, or the state of being limited or restricted : the restriction of local government power.
1 imposing restrictions or limitations on someone's activities or freedom : a web of restrictive regulations.
organize differently : a plan to strengthen and restructure the department | [as n. ] ( restructuring) the restructuring of this wing of the Louvre.
occur or follow as the consequence of something : government unpopularity resulting from the state of the economy | [as adj. ] ( resulting) talk of a general election and the resulting political uncertainty.
begin to do or pursue (something) again after a pause or interruption : a day later normal service was resumed. • [ intrans. ] begin to be done, pursued, or used again after a pause or interruption : hostilities had ceased and normal life had resumed. • [ intrans. ] begin speaking again after a pause or interruption : he sipped at the glass of water on the lectern and then resumed | [with direct speech ] "As for Joe," the major resumed, "I can't promise anything."
2 a summary : I gave him a quick résumé of events.
• arise or become evident again : serious concerns about the welfare of animals eventually resurfaced.
increasing or reviving after a period of little activity, popularity, or occurrence : resurgent nationalism.
restore (a dead person) to life : he queried whether Jesus was indeed resurrected. • revive the practice, use, or memory of (something); bring new vigor to : the deal collapsed and has yet to be resurrected.
the action or fact of resurrecting or being resurrected : the story of the resurrection of Osiris.
revive (someone) from unconsciousness or apparent death : an ambulance crew tried to resuscitate him. • figurative make (something such as an idea or enterprise) active or vigorous again : measures to resuscitate the ailing Japanese economy.
1 |ˈrēˌtāl| sell (goods) to the public in such a way : the difficulties in retailing the new products.
continue to have (something); keep possession of : built in 1830, the house retains many of its original features. • not abolish, discard, or alter : the rights of defendants must be retained. • keep in one's memory : I retained a few French words and phrases.
make an attack or assault in return for a similar attack : the blow stung and she retaliated immediately.
the continued possession, use, or control of something : the retention of direct control by central government. • the fact of keeping something in one's memory : the children's retention of facts.
not revealing one's thoughts or feelings readily : she was extremely reticent about her personal affairs.
• (of an athlete) cease to play competitively : he retired from football several years ago.
2 withdraw to or from a particular place : she retired into the bathroom with her toothbrush. • (of a military force) retreat from an enemy or an attacking position : lack of numbers compelled the cavalry to retire.
1 the action or fact of leaving one's job and ceasing to work : a man nearing retirement | the library has seen a large number of retirements this year.
1 [ reporting verb ] say something in answer to a remark or accusation, typically in a sharp, angry, or wittily incisive manner : [with direct speech ] "No need to be rude," retorted Isabel | [with clause ] he retorted that this was nonsense | [ intrans. ] I resisted the urge to retort.
go back over (the same route that one has just taken) : he began to retrace his steps to the parking lot. • discover and follow (a route or course taken by someone else) : I've tried to retrace some of her movements.
draw or pull (something) back or back in : she retracted her hand as if she'd been burned. • withdraw (a statement or accusation) as untrue or unjustified : he retracted his allegations. • withdraw or go back on (an undertaking or promise) : the parish council was forced to retract a previous resolution.
(of an army) withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat : the French retreated in disarray. • move back or withdraw, esp. so as to remove oneself from a difficult or uncomfortable situation : it becomes so hot that the lizards retreat into the shade | [as adj. ] ( retreating) the sound of retreating footsteps. • withdraw to a quiet or secluded place : after the funeral he retreated to the shore.
(of an army) withdraw from enemy forces as a result of their superior power or after a defeat : the French retreated in disarray. • move back or withdraw, esp. so as to remove oneself from a difficult or uncomfortable situation : it becomes so hot that the lizards retreat into the shade | [as adj. ] ( retreating) the sound of retreating footsteps. • withdraw to a quiet or secluded place : after the funeral he retreated to the shore.
1 an act of moving back or withdrawing : a speedy retreat | the army was in retreat. • an act of changing one's decisions, plans, or attitude, esp. as a result of criticism from others : the unions made a retreat from their earlier position.
(of a company, government, or individual) reduce costs or spending in response to economic difficulty : as a result of the recession the company retrenched | [ trans. ] if people are forced to retrench their expenditure trade will suffer.
punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved : settlers drove the Navajo out of Arizona in retribution for their raids.
the process of getting something back from somewhere : the investigation was completed after the retrieval of plane wreckage.
get (something) back; regain possession of : I was sent to retrieve the balls from his garden. See note at recover .
1 denoting action that is directed backward or is reciprocal : retrocede | retroject. 2 denoting location behind : retrosternal | retrochoir.
(esp. of legislation) taking effect from a date in the past : a big retroactive tax increase.
in retrospect when looking back on a past event or situation; with hindsight : perhaps, in retrospect, I shouldn't have gone.
looking back on or dealing with past events or situations : our survey was retrospective.
in return as a response, exchange, or reward for something : he leaves the house to his sister in return for her kindness.
• [in sing. ] an act of going back to an earlier state or condition : the designer advocated a return to elegance. • the action of giving, sending, or putting something back : we demand the return of our books and papers.
restore political unity to (a place or group, esp. a divided territory) : communist insurgents had effectively reunified the country.
come together or cause to come together again after a period of separation or disunity : [ intrans. ] the three friends reunited in 1959 | [ trans. ] Stephanie was reunited with her parents.
use again or more than once : the tape could be magnetically erased and reused.
give new and improved form, structure, or appearance to : an attempt to revamp the museum's image | [as adj. ] ( revamped) a revamped magazine.
• a new and improved version : the show was a revamp of an old idea.
make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others : Brenda was forced to reveal Robbie's whereabouts | [with clause ] he revealed that he and his children had received death threats. • cause or allow (something) to be seen : the clouds were breaking up to reveal a clear blue sky. • make (something) known to humans by divine or supernatural means : the truth revealed at the Incarnation.
1 a surprising and previously unknown fact, esp. one that is made known in a dramatic way : revelations about his personal life. • the making known of something that was previously secret or unknown : the revelation of an alleged plot to assassinate the king. • used to emphasize the surprising or remarkable quality of someone or something : seeing them play at international level was a revelation.
the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands : other spurned wives have taken public revenge on their husbands. • the desire to inflict such retribution : it was difficult not to be overwhelmed with feelings of hate and revenge.
• [ trans. ] inflict such retribution on behalf of (someone else) : it's a pity he chose that way to revenge his sister.
(of a loud noise) be repeated several times as an echo : her deep booming laugh reverberated around the room. • (of a place) appear to vibrate or be disturbed because of a loud noise : the hall reverberated with gaiety and laughter.
feel deep respect or admiration for (something) : Cézanne's still lifes were revered by his contemporaries
deep respect for someone or something : rituals showed honor and reverence for the dead. See note at honor .
a change to an opposite direction, position, or course of action : a dramatic reversal in population decline in the Alps | the reversal of tidal currents.
move backward : the truck reversed into the back of a bus. • [ trans. ] cause (a vehicle) to move backward : I got in the car, reversed it and drove it up the driveway. • [ trans. ] turn (something) the other way around or up or inside out : [as adj. ] ( reversed) a reversed S-shape. • [ trans. ] make (something) the opposite of what it was : the damage done to the ozone layer may be reversed. • [ trans. ] exchange (the position or function) of two people or things : the experimenter and the subject reversed roles and the experiment was repeated.
going in or turned toward the direction opposite to that previously stated : the trend appears to be going in the reverse direction. • operating, behaving, or ordered in a way contrary or opposite to that which is usual or expected : here are the results in reverse order.
1 a complete change of direction or action : the growth actuates a reverse of photosynthesis.
2 the opposite side or face to the observer : the address is given on the reverse of this leaflet.
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.
1 a return to a previous state, practice, or belief : there was some reversion to polytheism | [in sing. ] a reversion to the two-party system.
return to (a previous state, condition, practice, etc.) : he reverted to his native language. • return to (a previous topic) : he ignored her words by reverting to the former subject.
1 a formal assessment or examination of something with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary : a comprehensive review of defense policy | all areas of the company will come under review.
1 examine or assess (something) formally with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary : the company's safety procedures are being reviewed. • write a critical appraisal of (a book, play, movie, etc.) for publication in a newspaper or magazine : I reviewed his first novel.
1 reconsider and alter (something) in the light of further evidence : he had cause to revise his opinion a moment after expressing it. • reexamine and make alterations to (written or printed matter) : the book was published in 1960 and revised in 1968 | [as adj. ] ( revised) a revised edition.
imbue (something) with new life and vitality : a package of spending cuts to revitalize the economy.
an improvement in the condition or strength of something : a revival in the fortunes of the party | an economic revival. • an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again : cross-country skiing is enjoying a revival.
restore to life or consciousness : both men collapsed, but were revived. • [ intrans. ] regain life, consciousness, or strength : she was beginning to revive from her faint. • give new strength or energy to : the cool, refreshing water revived us all.
1 [ trans. ] put an end to the validity or operation of (a decree, decision, or promise) : the men appealed and the sentence was revoked.
1 [ intrans. ] rise in rebellion : the insurgents revolted and had to be suppressed. • refuse to acknowledge someone or something as having authority : voters may revolt when they realize the cost of the measures.
an attempt to put an end to the authority of a person or body by rebelling : a countrywide revolt against the central government | the peasants rose in revolt.
change (something) radically or fundamentally : this fabulous new theory will revolutionize the whole of science.
move in a circle on a central axis : overhead, the fan revolved slowly.
make a gift of something to (someone) in recognition of their services, efforts, or achievements : the engineer who supervised the work was rewarded with a bonus. • show one's appreciation of (an action or quality) by making a gift : an effective organization recognizes and rewards creativity and initiative. • ( be rewarded) receive what one deserves : their hard work was rewarded by the winning of a five-year contract.
a thing given in recognition of service, effort, or achievement : the holiday was a reward for 40 years' service with the company | figurative the emotional rewards of being a parent. • a fair return for good or bad behavior : a slap on the face was his reward for his impudence.
providing satisfaction; gratifying : skiing can be hugely rewarding.
write (something) again so as to alter or improve it : the songs may have to be rewritten | [ intrans. ] he began rewriting, adding more and more layers.
rewrite history select or interpret events from the past in a way that suits one's own particular purposes.
(of a word, syllable, or line) have or end with a sound that corresponds to another : balloon rhymes with moon | [as adj. ] ( rhyming) rhyming couplets.
a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound : Ruth listened to the rhythm of his breathing.
having or relating to rhythm : a rhythmic dance. • occurring regularly : there are rhythmic changes in our bodies.
• having (a particular thing) in large amounts : many vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidant vitamins | [in combination ] a protein-rich diet.
• (of a color or sound) pleasantly deep and strong : his rich bass voice. • (of a smell or taste) pleasantly smooth and mellow : Basmati rice has a rich aroma.
containing a large amount of something specified: : lime-rich | protein-rich.
(of a bullet, shell, or other projectile) rebound one or more times off a surface : a bullet ricocheted off a nearby wall. • [ trans. ] cause to rebound in such a way : they fired off a couple of rounds, ricocheting the bullets against a wall. • figurative move or appear to move with a series of such rebounds : the sound ricocheted around the hall.
make someone or something free of (a troublesome or unwanted person or thing) : we now have the greatest chance ever to rid the world of nuclear weapons. • ( be rid of) be freed or relieved from : she couldn't wait to be rid of us.
• a person, event, or fact that is difficult to understand or explain : the riddle of her death.
talk (or speak) in riddles express oneself in an ambiguous or puzzling manner.
• the quality of comfort or smoothness offered by a vehicle while it is being driven, as perceived by the driver or passenger : the ride is comfortable, though there is a slight roll when cornering.
1 a journey made on horseback, on a bicycle or motorcycle, or in a vehicle : did you enjoy your ride? | figurative investors have had a bumpy ride.
• travel up or down in (an elevator) : the astronauts rode elevators to the launch pad | [ intrans. ] we'll ride up in the elevator. • [ intrans. or complement ] (of a vehicle, animal, racetrack, etc.) be of a particular character for riding on or in : the van rode as well as some cars of twice the price. • informal transport (someone) in a vehicle : the taxi driver who rode Kelly into the airport not long ago.
a rough (or easy) ride a difficult (or easy) time doing something : the president has been given a rough ride by this conservative Congress.
a long narrow hilltop, mountain range, or watershed : the northeast ridge of Everest.
the subjection of someone or something to mockery and derision : he is held up as an object of ridicule.
subject (someone or something) to mockery and derision : his theory was ridiculed and dismissed.
(esp. of something undesirable or harmful) of common occurrence; widespread : male chauvinism was rife in medicine in those days. See note at prevalent . • ( rife with) full of : the streets were rife with rumor and fear.
in an unchecked or widespread manner : speculation ran rife that he was an arms dealer.
turn over something, esp. the pages of a book, quickly and casually : he riffled through the pages | [ trans. ] she opened a book with her thumbnail and riffled the pages. • ( riffle through) search quickly through (something), esp. so as to cause disorder : she riffled through her leather handbag. • [ trans. ] disturb the surface of; ruffle : there was a slight breeze that riffled her hair.
a crack, split, or break in something : the wind had torn open a rift in the clouds.
• figurative a serious break in friendly relations : their demise caused a rift between the city's town and gown.
form fissures, cracks, or breaks, esp. through large-scale faulting; move apart : a fragment of continental crust that rifted away from eastern Australia | [as n. ] ( rifting) active rifting in southwestern Mexico.
2 true or correct as a fact : I'm not sure I know the right answer | her theories were proved right.
• the best or most suitable of a number of possible choices for a particular purpose or occasion : he was clearly the right man for the job | I was waiting for the right moment to ask him. • socially fashionable or important : he was seen at all the right places. • [ predic. ] in a satisfactory, sound, or normal state or condition : that sausage doesn't smell right | if only I could have helped put matters right.
• exactly; directly (used to emphasize the precise location or time of something) : Harriet was standing right behind her.
2 a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way : [with infinitive ] she had every right to be angry | you're quite within your rights to ask for your money back | there is no right of appeal against the decision.
• redress or rectify (a wrong or mistaken action) : she was determined to right the wrongs done to her father.
containing or being a right angle : a right-angled triangle.
right on informal used an expression of strong support, approval, or encouragement. See also right-on .
1 (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous : he is a good, righteous man, I am sure | feelings of righteous indignation about pay and conditions. See note at moral .
correctly : if I remember rightly, she never gives interviews.
• with good reason : the delicious cuisine for which her country was rightly famous.
unable to bend or be forced out of shape; not flexible : a seat of rigid orange plastic | rigid ships are the dirigibles in which the bag is built around a metallic framework. • (of a person or part of the body) stiff and unmoving, esp. as a result of shock or fear : his face grew rigid with fear. • figurative not able to be changed or adapted : teachers are being asked to unlearn rigid rules for labeling children.
1 the quality of being extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate : his analysis is lacking in rigor. • severity or strictness : the full rigor of the law.
extremely thorough, exhaustive, or accurate : the rigorous testing of consumer products. • (of a rule, system, etc.) strictly applied or adhered to : rigorous controls on mergers.
the upper or outer edge of an object, typically something circular or approximately circular : a china egg cup with a gold rim. See note at border .
form or act as an outer edge or rim for : a huge lake rimmed by glaciers | [as adj., in combination ] ( -rimmed) steel-rimmed glasses.
1 [ intrans. ] make a clear resonant or vibrating sound : a shot rang out | a bell rang loudly | [as n. ] ( ringing) the ringing of fire alarms. • [ trans. ] cause (a bell or alarm) to make such a sound : he walked up to the door and rang the bell. • (of a telephone) produce a series of resonant or vibrating sounds to signal an incoming call : the phone rang again as I replaced it.
• ( ring with/to) (of a place) resound or reverberate with (a sound or sounds) : the room rang with laughter.
• [in sing. ] informal a telephone call : I'd better give her a ring tomorrow.
ring a bell informal revive a distant recollection; sound familiar : the name Woodall rings a bell.
ring in one's ears (or head) linger in the memory : he left Washington with the president's praises ringing in his ears.
ring off the hook (of a telephone) be constantly ringing due to a large number of incoming calls.
wash (something) with clean water to remove soap, detergent, dirt, or impurities : always rinse your hair thoroughly | mussels should be well rinsed before use. • wash (something) quickly, esp. without soap : Rose rinsed out a tumbler. • clean (one's mouth) by swilling around and then spitting out a mouthful of water or mouthwash : Karen rinsed her mouth out. • [ trans. ] remove (soap, detergent, dirt, or impurities) by washing with clean water : the conditioning mousse doesn't have to be rinsed out | [ intrans. ] rub salt on to rough areas of skin, then rinse off.
1 an act of rinsing something : I gave my hands a quick rinse.
1 a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd : riots broke out in the capital. • [as adj. ] concerned with or used in the suppression of such disturbances : riot police.
take part in a violent public disturbance : students rioted in Paris | [as n. ] ( rioting) a night of rioting.
1 [ trans. ] tear or pull (something) quickly or forcibly away from something or someone : a fan tried to rip his pants off during a show | figurative countries ripped apart by fighting. • [ trans. ] make a long tear or cut in : you've ripped my jacket | [as adj. ] ( ripped) ripped jeans. • make (a hole) by force : the truck was struck by lightning and had a hole ripped out of its roof. • [ intrans. ] come violently apart; tear : he heard something rip. • cut (wood) in the direction of the grain. 2 [ intrans. ] move forcefully and rapidly : fire ripped through her bungalow.
rip something off informal steal : they have ripped off $6.7 billion. • copy; plagiarize : the film is a shameless collection of ideas ripped off from other movies.
a fraud or swindle, esp. something that is grossly overpriced : designer label clothes are just expensive rip-offs. • an inferior imitation of something : rip-offs of all the latest styles.
the time is ripe a suitable time has arrived : the time was ripe to talk about peace.
• [ predic. ] ( ripe for) arrived at the fitting stage or time for (a particular action or purpose) : land ripe for development. • [ predic. ] ( ripe with) full of : a population ripe with discontent. • [ attrib. ] (of a person's age) advanced : she lived to a ripe old age.
become or make ripe : [ intrans. ] honeydew melons ripen slowly | [ trans. ] for ease of harvesting, the fruit is ripened to order. See note at mature .
• a thing resembling such a wave or series of waves in appearance or movement : the sand undulated and was ridged with ripples. • a gentle rising and falling sound, esp. of laughter or conversation, that spreads through a group of people : a ripple of laughter ran around the room. • a particular feeling or effect that spreads through or to someone or something : his words set off a ripple of excitement within her.
(of water) form or flow with small waves on the surface : the Mediterranean rippled and sparkled | [as adj. ] ( rippling) the rippling waters. • [ trans. ] cause (the surface of water) to form small waves : a cool wind rippled the surface of the estuary. • move or cause to move in a way resembling such waves : [ intrans. ] fields of grain rippling in the wind. • [ intrans. ] (of a sound or feeling) spread through a person, group, or place : applause rippled around the tables.
the continuing and spreading results of an event or action : while their marriage made an impact on their friends, the ripple effect on family members was even more profound.
1 move from a lower position to a higher one; come or go up : the tiny aircraft rose from the ground. • (of the sun, moon, or another celestial body) appear above the horizon : the sun had just risen. • (of a fish) come to the surface of water : a fish rose and was hooked and landed. • (of a voice) become higher in pitch : my voice rose an octave or two as I screamed. • reach a higher position in society or one's profession : the officer was a man of great courage who had risen from the ranks. • ( rise above) succeed in not being limited or constrained by (a restrictive environment or situation) : he struggled to rise above his humble background.
2 get up from lying, sitting, or kneeling : she pushed back her chair and rose. • get out of bed, esp. in the morning : I rose and got dressed. • chiefly Brit. (of a meeting or a session of a court) adjourn : the judge's remark heralded the signal for the court to rise. • be restored to life : your sister has risen from the dead.
• cease to be submissive, obedient, or peaceful : the activists urged militant factions to rise up. • ( rise to) (of a person) react with annoyance or argument to (provocation) : he didn't rise to my teasing. • ( rise to) find the strength or ability to respond adequately to (a challenging situation) : many participants in the race had never sailed before, but they rose to the challenge.
3 (of land or a feature following the contours of the land) incline upward; become higher : the moorlands rise and fall in gentle folds. • (of a building, mountain, or other high object or structure) be much taller than the surrounding landscape : the cliff rose more than a hundred feet above us. • (of someone's hair) stand on end : he felt the hairs rise on the back of his neck.
4 increase in number, size, amount, or quality : land prices had risen. • (of the sea, a river, or other body of water) increase in height to a particular level, typically through tidal action or flooding : the river level rose so high the work had to be abandoned | figurative the rising tide of crime. • (of an emotion) develop and become more intense : he felt a tide of resentment rising in him.
1 an upward movement; an instance of becoming higher : the bird has a display flight of steep flapping rises. • an act of a fish moving to the surface to take a fly or bait. • an increase in sound or pitch : the rise and fall of his voice. • an instance of social, commercial, or political advancement : few models have had such a meteoric rise.
on the rise becoming greater or more numerous; increasing : prices were on the rise. • becoming more successful : young stars on the rise.
rise like a phoenix from the ashes emerge renewed after apparent disaster or destruction.
a situation involving exposure to danger : flouting the law was too much of a risk | all outdoor activities carry an element of risk. • [in sing. ] the possibility that something unpleasant or unwelcome will happen : reduce the risk of heart disease | [as adj. ] a high consumption of caffeine was suggested as a risk factor for loss of bone mass.
expose (someone or something valued) to danger, harm, or loss : he risked his life to save his dog. • act or fail to act in such a way as to bring about the possibility of (an unpleasant or unwelcome event) : unless you're dealing with pure alcohol you're risking contamination from benzene.
at risk |ˈøt ˈrɪsk| exposed to harm or danger : 23 million people in Africa are at risk from starvation.
at the risk of doing something although there is the possibility of something unpleasant resulting : at the risk of boring people to tears, I repeat the most important rule in painting.
run the risk (or run risks) expose oneself to the possibility of something unpleasant occurring : she preferred not to run the risk of encountering his sister. take a risk (or take risks) proceed in the knowledge that there is a chance of something unpleasant occurring.
a religious or other solemn ceremony or act : the rite of communion | fertility rites.
a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order : the ancient rituals of Christian worship | the role of ritual in religion.
of, relating to, or done as a religious or solemn rite : ritual burial. • (of an action) arising from convention or habit : the players gathered for the ritual pregame huddle.
make (something) into a ritual by following a pattern of actions or behavior : hooliganism as a ritualized expression of aggression.
compete for superiority with; be or seem to be equal or comparable to : the efficiency of the Bavarians rivals that of the Viennese.
competition for the same objective or for superiority in the same field : commercial rivalry | ethnic rivalries.
2 figurative a series of events or a course of action that will lead to a particular outcome : he's well on the road to recovery.
down the road informal in the future.
the end of the road (or line) the point beyond which progress or survival cannot continue : if the lawsuit is not dropped it could be the end of the road for the publisher.
figurative we have to have a pretty clear road map of the next season.
• figurative any hindrance : the tax has become a roadblock against investment incentives.
schedule as part of a lengthy or complex program : originally roadmapped for an early Q4 release, the next generation of the processor will ship in the last few days of the year.
move about or travel aimlessly or unsystematically, esp. over a wide area : tigers once roamed over most of Asia | [as adj. ] ( roaming) roaming elephants. • [ trans. ] travel unsystematically over, through, or around (a place) : gangs of youths roamed the streets unopposed.
• a loud and deep sound uttered by a person or crowd, generally as an expression of pain, anger, or approval : he gave a roar of rage.
• (of something inanimate) make a loud, deep, prolonged sound : a huge fire roared in the grate. • (of a person or crowd) utter a loud, deep, prolonged sound, typically because of anger, pain, or excitement : Manny roared with rage. • [ trans. ] utter or express in a loud tone : the crowd roared its approval | [with direct speech ] "Get out of my way!" he roared.
1 cook (food, esp. meat) by prolonged exposure to heat in an oven or over a fire : she was going to roast a leg of lamb for Sunday dinner | [as adj. ] ( roasted) roasted chestnuts.
take property unlawfully from (a person or place) by force or threat of force : he tried, with three others, to rob a bank | she was robbed of her handbag | [ intrans. ] he was convicted of assault with intent to rob. • (usu. be robbed) informal overcharge (someone) for something : Bob thinks my suit cost $100, and even then he thinks I was robbed. • informal or dialect steal : he accused her of robbing the cream out of his chocolate eclair. • deprive (someone or something) of something needed, deserved, or significant : poor health has robbed her of a normal social life.
the action of robbing a person or place : he was involved in drugs, violence, extortion, and robbery | an armed robbery.
(of a person, animal, or plant) strong and healthy; vigorous : the Caplans are a robust, healthy lot. • (of an object) sturdy in construction : a robust metal cabinet. • (of a process or system, esp. an economic one) able to withstand or overcome adverse conditions : California's robust property market.
1 [ trans. ] cause (someone or something) to move gently to and fro or from side to side : she rocked the baby in her arms. • [ intrans. ] move in such a way : the vase rocked back and forth on its base | [as adj. ] ( rocking) the rocking movement of the boat.
• (with reference to a building or region) shake or cause to shake or vibrate, esp. because of an impact, earthquake, or explosion : [ trans. ] a terrorist blast rocked a Tube station | [ intrans. ] the building began to rock on its foundations.
2 [in sing. ] a gentle movement to and fro or from side to side : she placed the baby in the cradle and gave it a rock.
rock the boat informal say or do something to disturb an existing situation.
the lowest possible level : morale is at rock bottom.
unlikely to change, fail, or collapse : her love was rock solid.
1 [ intrans. ] (of an amount, price, etc.) increase very rapidly and suddenly : sales of milk in supermarkets are rocketing | [as adj. ] ( rocketing) rocketing prices. • [with adverbial of direction ] move or progress very rapidly : the cab rocketed down a ramp | he rocketed to national stardom. • [ trans. ] cause to move or progress very rapidly : she showed the kind of form that rocketed her to the semifinals last year.
consisting or formed of rock, esp. when exposed to view : a rocky crag above the village.
• figurative not stable or firm; full of problems : the marriage seemingly got off to a rocky start.
1 a dishonest or unprincipled man : you are a rogue and an embezzler.
• a person or thing that behaves in an aberrant, faulty, or unpredictable way : he hacked into data and ran rogue programs.
• the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation : she greeted us all in her various roles of mother, friend, and daughter | religion plays a vital role in society.
1 move or cause to move in a particular direction by turning over and over on an axis : [ intrans. ] the car rolled down into a ditch | [ trans. ] she rolled the ball across the floor. • turn or cause to turn over to face a different direction : [no , with adverbial ] she rolled on to her side | [ trans. ] they rolled him over on to his back. • [ trans. ] turn (one's eyes) upward, typically to show surprise or disapproval : Sarah rolled her eyes. • [ trans. ] make (something cylindrical) revolve between two surfaces : Plummer rolled the glass between his hands.
• [ intrans. ] (of a moving ship, aircraft, or vehicle) rock or oscillate around an axis parallel to the direction of motion : the ship pitched and rolled. • [ intrans. ] move along or from side to side unsteadily or uncontrollably : they were rolling about with laughter.
• (of time) elapse steadily : the years rolled by. • (of a drop of liquid) flow : huge tears rolled down her cheeks.
3 [ trans. ] turn (something flexible) over and over on itself to form a cylinder, tube, or ball : she started to roll up her sleeping bag. • [ trans. ] make by forming material into a cylinder or ball : [with two objs. ] Harry rolled himself a joint. • [ intrans. ] (of a person or animal) curl up tightly : the shock made the armadillo roll into a ball.
5 [ intrans. ] (of a loud, deep sound such as that of thunder or drums) reverberate : the first peals of thunder rolled across the sky. • [ trans. ] pronounce (a consonant, typically an r) with a trill: : when he wanted to emphasize a point he rolled his rrrs. • [ trans. ] utter (a word or words) with a reverberating or vibratory effect : he rolled the word around his mouth.
1 a cylinder formed by winding flexible material around a tube or by turning it over and over on itself without folding : a roll of carpet. • a cylindrical mass of something or a number of items arranged in a cylindrical shape : a roll of mints.
2 a movement in which someone or something turns or is turned over on itself : a roll of the dice | the ponies completed two rolls before getting back on their feet.
roll (or throw) of the dice a risky attempt to do or achieve something : the merger was their last roll of the dice, and it failed miserably.
roll up one's sleeves prepare to fight or work.
roll something out officially launch or unveil a new product or service : the firm rolled out its newest generation of supercomputers.
a rolling stone gathers no moss proverb a person who does not settle in one place will not accumulate wealth, status, responsibilities, or commitments.
deal with or describe in an idealized or unrealistic fashion; make (something) seem better or more appealing than it really is : the tendency to romanticize nonindustrial societies | [ intrans. ] she was romanticizing about the past.
• used to signify a house or other building, esp. in the context of hospitality or shelter : helping those without a roof over their heads | they slept under the same roof.
go through the roof informal 1 (of prices or figures) reach extreme or unexpected heights. 2 another way of saying hit the roof .
a new recruit, esp. in the army or police : [as adj. ] a rookie cop.
• figurative opportunity or scope for something to happen or be done, esp. without causing trouble or damage : there is plenty of room for disagreement in this controversial area | there is room for improvement.
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.
2 the basic cause, source, or origin of something : love of money is the root of all evil | jealousy was at the root of it | [as adj. ] the root cause of the problem. See note at origin .
• the essential substance or nature of something : matters at the heart and root of existence.
• ( roots) family, ethnic, or cultural origins, esp. as the reasons for one's long-standing emotional attachment to a place or community : it's always nice to return to my roots.
2 (usu. be rooted) establish deeply and firmly : vegetarianism is rooted in Indian culture. • ( be rooted in) have as an origin or cause : the Latin dubitare is rooted in an Indo-European word.
take root (of a plant) begin to grow and draw nourishment from the soil through its roots. • become fixed or established : the idea had taken root in my mind.
root something out (also root something up) dig or pull up a plant by the roots. • find and get rid of someone or something regarded as pernicious or dangerous : a campaign to root out corruption.
a list or plan showing turns of duty or leave for individuals or groups in an organization : next week's duty roster.
1 (esp. of a person's skin) colored like a pink or red rose, typically as an indication of health, youth, or embarrassment : the memory had the power to make her cheeks turn rosy. 2 promising or suggesting good fortune or happiness; hopeful : the strategy has produced results beyond the most rosy forecasts.
(chiefly of animal or vegetable matter) decompose by the action of bacteria and fungi; decay : the chalets were neglected and their woodwork was rotting away. • [ trans. ] cause to decay : caries sets in at a weak point and spreads to rot the whole tooth.
1 the process of decaying : the leaves were turning black with rot. • rotten or decayed matter : she was busy cutting the rot from the potatoes. • ( the rot) a process of deterioration; a decline in standards : it was when they moved back to the family home that the rot set in.
(of motion) revolving around a center or axis; rotational : a rotary motion.
move in a circle around an axis or center : the wheel continued to rotate | [as adj. ] ( rotating) a rotating drum. • [ trans. ] cause to move around an axis or in a circle : the small directional side rockets rotated the craft. • pass to each member of a group in a regularly recurring order : the job of chairing the meeting rotates. • [ trans. ] grow (different crops) in succession on a particular piece of land to avoid exhausting the soil : these crops were sometimes rotated with grass.
• the passing of a privilege or responsibility from one member of a group to another in a regularly recurring succession : it has become common for senior academics to act as heads of department in rotation.
mechanical or habitual repetition of something to be learned : a poem learned by rote in childhood.
suffering from decay : rotten eggs | the supporting beams were rotten. • morally, socially, or politically corrupt : he believed that the whole art business was rotten. • informal very bad : she was a rotten cook.
1 having an uneven or irregular surface; not smooth or level : take a square of sandpaper, rough side out. • (of ground or terrain) having many bumps or other obstacles; difficult to cross : they had to carry the victim across the rough, stony ground. • not soft to the touch : her skin felt dry and rough. • (of a voice) coming out with difficulty so as to sound harsh and rasping : his voice was rough with barely suppressed fury.
2 (of a person or their behavior) not gentle; violent or boisterous : strollers should be capable of withstanding rough treatment. See note at rude . • (of an area or occasion) characterized by or notorious for the occurrence of violent behavior : the workmen hate going to the rough areas of town. • (of the sea) having large and dangerous waves : the lifeboat crew braved rough seas to rescue a couple.
• informal difficult and unpleasant; hard; severe : the teachers gave me a rough time because my image didn't fit. | the first day of a job is rough on everyone. • [as complement ] informal unwell : the altitude had hit her and she was feeling rough. • [as complement ] informal depressed and anxious : when he's feeling rough, he comes and talks things over to calm him down.
3 not finished tidily or decoratively; plain and basic : the customers sat at rough wooden tables. • put together without the proper materials or skill; makeshift : he had one arm in a rough sling. • (of hair or fur) not smooth; coarse : the creature's body was covered with rough hair.
• ( rough something out) produce a preliminary and unfinished sketch or version of something : the engineer roughed out a diagram on his notepad. • make uneven or ruffled : rough up the icing with a palette knife | the water was roughed by the wind.
a rough ride a difficult time or experience : rebel shareholders are expected to give officials a rough ride.
make or become rough : [ trans. ] the wind was roughening the surface of the river | [ intrans. ] his voice roughened.
1 in a manner lacking gentleness; harshly or violently : the man picked me up roughly. 2 in a manner lacking refinement and precision : people were crouching over roughly built brick fireplaces. • approximately : this is a walk of roughly 13 miles | [ sentence adverb ] the narrative is, roughly speaking, contemporary with the earliest of the gospels.
1 shaped like or approximately like a circle or cylinder : she was seated at a small, round table. • having a curved shape like part of the circumference of a circle : round arches. 2 shaped like or approximately like a sphere : a round glass ball | the grapes are small and round.
• an act of playing all the holes in a golf course once : Eileen enjoys the occasional round of golf.
1 pass and go around (something) so as to move on in a changed direction : the ship rounded the cape and sailed north. 2 alter (a number) to one less exact but more convenient for calculations : we'll round the weight up to the nearest pound | the committee rounded down the figure | let's just round it off to an even ten dollars.
round something off make the edges or corners of something smooth : round off the spars with a soft plastic fitting. • complete something in a satisfying or suitable way : I rounded off my visit to Ganu by purchasing a number of exquisite masks.
bring out of sleep; awaken : she was roused from a deep sleep by a hand on her shoulder. • [ intrans. ] cease to sleep or to be inactive; wake up : she roused, took off her eyepads, and looked around.
a way or course taken in getting from a starting point to a destination : our route was via the Jerusalem road.
a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program : I settled down into a routine of work and sleep | as a matter of routine a report will be sent to the director. • a set sequence in a performance such as a dance or comedy act : he was trying to persuade her to have a tap routine in the play.
performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason : the principal insisted that this was just a routine annual drill. • monotonous or tedious : we are set in our dull routine existence.
1 a person who spends their time wandering : they became rovers who departed further and further from civilization.
in a row forming a line : four chairs were set in a row. • informal in succession : we get six days off in a row.
a number of people or things in a more or less straight line : her villa stood in a row of similar ones. • a line of seats in a theater : they sat in the front row.
noisy and disorderly : it was a rowdy but good-natured crowd.
move one's hand or a cloth repeatedly to and fro on the surface of (something) with firm pressure : she rubbed her arm, where she had a large bruise | [ intrans. ] he rubbed at the dirt on his jeans. • [ trans. ] move (one's hand, a cloth, or another object) over a surface in such a way : he rubbed a finger around the rim of his mug. • [ trans. ] cause (two things) to move to and fro against each other with a certain amount of pressure and friction : many insects make noises by rubbing parts of their bodies together.
• [ intrans. ] move to and fro over something while pressing or grinding against it : the ice breaks into small floes that rub against each other. • [ intrans. ] (of shoes or other hard items in contact with the skin) cause pain through friction : badly fitting shoes can rub painfully. • make dry, clean, or smooth with pressure from a hand, cloth, or other object : she found a towel and began rubbing her hair | [ trans. ] she rubbed herself as dry as possible.
• [ trans. ] spread (ointment, polish, or a substance of similar consistency) over a surface with repeated movements of one's hand or a cloth : she took out her sunblock and rubbed some on her nose. • ( rub something in/into/through) work an ingredient into (a mixture) by breaking and blending it with firm movements of one's fingers : sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the fat.
1 [usu. in sing. ] an act of rubbing : she pulled out a towel and gave her head a quick rub.
rub it in (or rub someone's nose in something) informal emphatically draw someone's attention to an embarrassing or painful fact : they don't just beat you, they rub it in.
• material that is considered unimportant or valueless : she had to sift through the rubbish in every drawer.
waste or rough fragments of stone, brick, concrete, etc., esp. as the debris from the demolition of buildings : two buildings collapsed, trapping scores of people in the rubble.
• a category : party policies on matters falling under the rubric of law and order.
1 (of a person's face) having a healthy red color : a cheerful pipe-smoking man of ruddy complexion.
1 ( the rudiments of) the first principles of a subject : she taught the girls the rudiments of reading and writing. • an elementary or primitive form of something : the rudiments of a hot-water system.
involving or limited to basic principles : he received a rudimentary education.
bitterly regret (something one has done or allowed to happen) : Ferguson will rue the day he turned down that offer | she might live to rue this impetuous decision. See note at mourn .
expressing sorrow or regret, esp. when in a slightly humorous way : she gave a rueful grin.
1 disorder or disarrange (someone's hair), typically by running one's hands through it : he ruffled her hair affectionately. • (of a bird) erect (its feathers) in anger or display : on his departure to the high wires, the starling ruffled his feathers and flirted his wings. • disturb the smoothness or tranquility of : the evening breeze ruffled the surface of the pond in the yard.
(of ground or terrain) having a broken, rocky, and uneven surface : a rugged coastline. • (of a machine or other manufactured object) strongly made and capable of withstanding rough handling : the binoculars are compact, lightweight, and rugged. • having or requiring toughness and determination : a week of rugged, demanding adventure at an outdoor training center.
the physical destruction or disintegration of something or the state of disintegrating or being destroyed : a large white house falling into gentle ruin. • the remains of a building, typically an old one, that has suffered much damage or disintegration : the ruins of the castle | the church is a ruin now.
1 [ trans. ] reduce (a building or place) to a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration : [as adj. ] ( ruined) a ruined castle. • cause great and usually irreparable damage or harm to; have a disastrous effect on : a noisy freeway has ruined village life.
in ruins in a state of complete disorder or disintegration : the economy was in ruins.
1 [ trans. ] exercise ultimate power or authority over (an area and its people) : Latin America today is ruled by elected politicians | [ intrans. ] the period in which Spain ruled over Portugal. • (of a feeling) have a powerful and restricting influence on (a person's life) : her whole life seemed to be ruled by fear. • [ intrans. ] be a dominant or powerful factor or force : [with complement ] the black market rules supreme. • [with clause ] pronounce authoritatively and legally to be the case : a federal court ruled that he was unfairly dismissed from his job.
rule of thumb a broadly accurate guide or principle, based on experience or practice rather than theory.
rule something out (or in) exclude (or include) something as a possibility : the doctor ruled out appendicitis.
1 [ intrans. ] make a continuous deep, resonant sound : thunder rumbled, lightning flickered. • [with adverbial of direction ] (esp. of a large vehicle) move in the specified direction with such a sound : heavy trucks rumbled through the streets. • [ trans. ] utter in a deep, resonant voice : the man's low voice rumbled an instruction.
1 a continuous deep, resonant sound like distant thunder : the steady rumble of traffic | figurative rumbles of discontent.
search unsystematically and untidily through a mass or receptacle : he rummaged in his pocket for a handkerchief | [ trans. ] he rummaged the drawer for his false teeth. • [ trans. ] find (something) by searching in this way : Mick rummaged up his skateboard. • [ trans. ] (of a customs officer) make a thorough search of (a vessel) : our brief was to rummage as many of the vessels as possible.
a currently circulating story or report of uncertain or doubtful truth : they were investigating rumors of a massacre | rumor has it that he will take a year off.
be circulated as an unverified account : [with clause ] it's rumored that he lives on a houseboat | [with infinitive ] she is rumored to have gone into hiding.
1 [ intrans. ] move at a speed faster than a walk, never having both or all the feet on the ground at the same time : the dog ran across the road | she ran the last few yards, breathing heavily | he hasn't paid for his drinks—run and catch him.
3 pass or cause to pass quickly or smoothly in a particular direction : [ intrans. ] the rumor ran through the pack of photographers | [ trans. ] Helen ran her fingers through her hair.
• extend or cause to extend in a particular direction : [ intrans. ] cobbled streets run down to a tiny harbor | [ trans. ] he ran a wire under the carpet. • [ intrans. ] ( run in) (of a quality or trait) be common or inherent in members of (a particular family), esp. over several generations : weight problems run in my family. • [ intrans. ] pass into or reach a specified state or level : inflation is running at 11 percent | [with complement ] the decision ran counter to previous government commitments.
4 [ intrans. ] (of a liquid) flow in a specified direction : tears were running down her face. • [ trans. ] cause (a liquid) to flow : [ trans. ] she ran cold water into the sink. • [ trans. ] cause water to flow over (something) : I ran my hands under the faucet. • [ trans. ] fill (a bath) with water : [with two objs. ] I'll run you a nice hot bath. • [ intrans. ] ( run with) be covered or streaming with (a particular liquid) : his face was running with sweat. • [ intrans. ] emit or exude a liquid : she was weeping loudly, and her nose was running.
• [ intrans. ] (of a solid substance) melt and become fluid : it was so hot that the butter ran. • [ intrans. ] (of the sea, the tide, or a river) rise higher or flow more quickly : there was still a heavy sea running. • [ intrans. ] (of dye or color in fabric or paper) dissolve and spread when the fabric or paper becomes wet : the red dye ran when the socks were washed. • [ intrans. ] (of a stocking or pair of tights) develop a ravel. 5 [ intrans. ] (of a bus, train, ferry, or other form of transportation) make a regular journey on a particular route : buses run into town every half hour. • [ trans. ] put (a particular form of public transportation) in service : the group is drawing up plans to run trains on key routes.
6 [ trans. ] be in charge of; manage : Andrea runs her own catering business | [as adj. in combination ] ( -run) an attractive family-run hotel. • [ intrans. ] (of a system, organization, or plan) operate or proceed in a particular way : everything's running according to plan. • organize and make available for other people : we decided to run a series of seminars. • carry out (a test or procedure) : he asked the army to run tests on the anti nerve-gas pills.
7 be in or cause to be in operation; function or cause to function : [ intrans. ] the car runs on unleaded fuel | [ trans. ] a number of peripherals can be run off one SCSI port. • move or cause to move between the spools of a recording machine : [ trans. ] I ran the tape back | [ intrans. ] the tape has run out. 8 [ intrans. ] continue or be valid or operative for a particular period of time : the course ran for two days | this particular debate will run on and on.
• [with adverbial or complement ] happen or arrive at the specified time : the program was running fifteen minutes late. • (of a play or exhibition) be staged or presented : the play ran on Broadway last year. 9 [ intrans. ] be a candidate in a political election : he announced that he intended to run for President. • [ trans. ] (esp. of a political party) sponsor (a candidate) in an election : they ran their first candidate for the school board.
• [ trans. ] (esp. of a political party) sponsor (a candidate) in an election : they ran their first candidate for the school board. 10 publish or be published in a newspaper or magazine : [ trans. ] the tabloids ran the story | [ intrans. ] when the story ran, there was a big to-do. • [ intrans. ] (of a story, argument, or piece of writing) have a specified wording or contents : "Tapestries slashed!" ran the dramatic headline.
• an opportunity or attempt to achieve something : their absence means the Russians will have a clear run at the title. • a preliminary test of the efficiency of a procedure or system : if you are styling your hair yourself, have a practice run. • an attempt to secure election to political office : his run for the Republican nomination.
come running be eager to do what someone wants : he had only to snap his fingers, and she would come running.
run afoul (or foul) of 1 Nautical collide or become entangled with (an obstacle or another vessel) : another ship ran afoul of us. 2 come into conflict with; go against : the act may run afoul of consumer protection legislation.
( make a) run for it attempt to escape someone or something by running away.
run low (or short) become depleted : supplies had run short. • have too little of something : we're running short of time.
run across meet or find by chance : I just thought you might have run across him before.
run after informal seek to acquire or attain; pursue persistently : businesses that have spent years running after the boomer market. • seek the company of (someone) with the aim of developing a romantic or sexual relationship with them.
run away leave or escape from a place, person, or situation of danger : children who run away from home normally go to big cities. • (also informal run off) leave one's home or current partner in order to establish a relationship with someone else : he ran off with his wife's best friend | Fran, let's run away together. • try to avoid acknowledging or facing up to an unpleasant or difficult situation : the commissioners are running away from their responsibilities. run away with 1 (of one's imagination or emotions) work wildly, so as to overwhelm (one) : Susan's imagination was running away with her. • (of a horse) bolt with (its rider). 2 accept (an idea) without thinking it through properly : a lot of people ran away with the idea that they were Pacifists. 3 excel in or win (a competition) easily : the Yankees ran away with the series.
run into 1 collide with : he ran into a lamp post. • meet by chance : I ran into Stasia and Katie on the way home. • experience (a problem or difficult situation) : the bank ran into financial difficulties. 2 reach (a level or amount) : debts running into millions of dollars. 3 blend into or appear to coalesce with : her words ran into each other.
run out 1 (of a supply of something) be used up : our food is about to run out. • use up one's supply of something : we've run out of gasoline. • become no longer valid : her contract runs out at the end of the year. 2 (of rope) be paid out : slowly, he let the cables run out. 3 [with adverbial of direction ] extend; project : a row of buildings ran out to Cityline Avenue.
run over 1 (of a container or its contents) overflow : the bath's running over. 2 exceed (an expected limit) : the filming ran over schedule and budget.
run through 1 be present in every part of; pervade : a sense of personal loss runs through many of his lyrics. 2 use or spend recklessly or rapidly : her husband had long since run through her money.
run up against experience or meet (a difficulty or problem) : the proposal has been dropped because it could run up against Federal regulations.
run after informal seek to acquire or attain; pursue persistently : businesses that have spent years running after the boomer market. • seek the company of (someone) with the aim of developing a romantic or sexual relationship with them.
run around in circles informal be fussily busy with little result.
1 an analysis or summary of something by a knowledgeable person : he gave his teammates a rundown on the opposition. 2 a reduction in the productivity or activities of a company or institution : a rundown in the business would be a devastating blow to the local economy.
1 (esp. of a building or area) in a poor or neglected state after having been prosperous : a run-down, vandalized inner-city area.
run out of gas informal run out of energy; lose momentum.
run out of (or lose) steam informal lose impetus or enthusiasm : a rebellion that had run out of steam.
run something down (or run down) reduce (or become reduced) in size, numbers, or resources : hardwood stocks in some countries are rapidly running down. • lose (or cause to lose) power; stop (or cause to stop) functioning : the battery has run down. • gradually deteriorate (or cause to deteriorate) in quality or condition : the property had been allowed to run down.
run through (or over)something discuss, read, or repeat something quickly or briefly : I'll just run through the schedule for the weekend. • rehearse a performance or series of actions : okay, let's run through Scene 3 again.
• figurative a level in a hierarchical structure, esp. a class or career structure : we must ensure that the unskilled do not get trapped on the bottom rung.
a competitor or team taking second place in a contest : he was runner-up in the 200 m individual medley.
(esp. of a pipe, a vessel, or a bodily part such as an organ or membrane) break or burst suddenly : if the main artery ruptures he could die. • [ trans. ] cause to break or burst suddenly and completely : the impact ruptured both fuel tanks. • [ trans. ] suffer such a bursting of (a bodily part) : it was her first match since rupturing an Achilles tendon.
an instance of breaking or bursting suddenly and completely : a small hairline crack could develop into a rupture | the patient died after rupture of an aneurysm. • figurative a breach of a harmonious relationship : the rupture with his father would never be healed.
1 [ intrans. ] move with urgent haste : Jason rushed after her | I rushed outside and hailed a taxi. • (of air or a liquid) flow strongly : the water rushed in through the great oaken gates. • [ intrans. ] act with great haste : as soon as the campaign started, they rushed into action | [with infinitive ] shoppers rushed to buy computers. • [ trans. ] force (someone) to act hastily : I don't want to rush you into something.
• ( rush something out) produce and distribute something, or put something up for sale, very quickly : a rewritten textbook was rushed out last autumn.
• [ intrans. ] gain a specified amount of yardage or score a touchdown or conversion by running from scrimmage with the ball : he rushed for 100 yards on 22 carries.
1 a sudden quick movement toward something, typically by a number of people : there was a rush for the door. • a flurry of hasty activity : the pre-Christmas rush | [as adj. ] a rush job. • a sudden strong demand for a commodity : there's been a rush on the Tribune because of the murder. • a sudden flow or flood : she felt a rush of cold air. • a sudden intense feeling : Mark felt a rush of anger.
be affected with rust : the blades had rusted away | [as adj. ] ( rusting) rusting machinery.
• figurative a state of deterioration or disrepair resulting from neglect or lack of use : they are here to scrape the rust off the derelict machinery of government.
1 [ intrans. ] make a soft, muffled crackling sound like that caused by the movement of dry leaves or paper : she came closer, her skirt swaying and rustling. • [with adverbial of direction ] move with such sound : a nurse rustled in with a syringe. • [ trans. ] move (something), causing it to make such a sound : Dolly rustled the paper irritably.
1 (of a metal object) affected by rust : a rusty hinge. • rust-colored : green grass turning a rusty brown. 2 (of knowledge or a skill) impaired by lack of recent practice : my typing is a little rusty. • stiff with age or disuse : it was my first race for three months and I felt a bit rusty. • (of a voice) croaking : her voice sounded rusty.
• figurative a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change : the administration was stuck in a rut and was losing its direction.
having or showing no pity or compassion for others : a ruthless manipulator.
funny or amusing in a slightly odd or peculiar way : a wacky chase movie.
1 a lump or bundle of a soft material, used for padding, stuffing, or wiping : a wad of cotton.
• informal a large amount of something, esp. money : she was working on TV and had wads of money.
• [ trans. ] walk through (something filled with water) : firefighters waded the waist-deep flood water.
(with reference to an animal's tail) move or cause to move rapidly to and fro : [ intrans. ] his tail began to wag | [ trans. ] the dog went out, wagging its tail. • [ trans. ] move (an upward-pointing finger) from side to side to signify a warning or reprimand : she wagged a finger at Elinor.
a single rapid movement from side to side : a chirpy wag of the head.
carry on (a war or campaign) : it is necessary to destroy their capacity to wage war.
moving with quick short movements from side to side or up and down : a waggly tail.
a prolonged high-pitched cry of pain, grief, or anger : Christopher let out a wail. • a sound resembling this : the wail of an air-raid siren.
give such a cry of pain, grief, or anger : Tina ran off wailing | [with direct speech ] "But why?" she wailed. • make a sound resembling such a cry : the wind wailed and buffeted the timber structure.
wait and see wait to find out what will happen before doing or deciding something.
refrain from insisting on or using (a right or claim) : he will waive all rights to the money. See note at relinquish . • refrain from applying or enforcing (a rule, restriction, or fee) : her tuition fees would be waived.
• informal abandon or suddenly withdraw from a job, commitment, or situation : they can walk away from the deal | we were expecting the merger with Bell to go through—we didn't expect Bell to walk on the deal.
walk out 1 depart suddenly or angrily. • leave one's job suddenly. • go on strike. • abandon someone or something toward which one has responsibilities : he walked out on his wife. 2 Brit., informal dated go for walks in courtship : you were walking out with Tom.
walk someone through guide (someone) carefully through a process : a meeting to walk parents through the complaint process.
enclose (an area) within walls, esp. to protect it or lend it some privacy : housing areas that are walled off from the indigenous population.
walls have ears proverb be careful what you say as people may be eavesdropping.
dance a waltz : I waltzed across the floor with the lieutenant. • [ trans. ] guide (someone) in or as if in a waltz : he waltzed her around the table. • [ intrans. ] move or act lightly, casually, or inconsiderately : you can't just waltz in and expect to make a mark | it is the third time that he has waltzed off with the coveted award.
walk or move in a leisurely, casual, or aimless way : he wandered aimlessly through the narrow streets. • move slowly away from a fixed point or place : please don't wander off again | figurative his attention had wandered.
• (esp. of a condition or feeling) decrease in vigor, power, or extent; become weaker : confidence in the dollar waned.
a person who tries to be like someone else or to fit in with a particular group of people : a star-struck wannabe.
want to (or wanna) bet? informal used to express vigorous disagreement with a confident assertion : "You can't be with me every moment." "Want to bet?"
a state of armed conflict between different nations or states or different groups within a nation or state : Japan declared war on Germany | Iran and Iraq had been at war for six years. • a particular armed conflict : after the war, they emigrated to America. • a state of competition, conflict, or hostility between different people or groups : she was at war with her parents | a price war among discount retailers. • a sustained effort to deal with or end a particular unpleasant or undesirable situation or condition : the authorities are waging war against all forms of smuggling | a war on drugs.
ward someone/something off prevent from harming or affecting one : she put up a hand as if to ward him off.
a person responsible for the supervision of a particular place or thing or for ensuring that regulations associated with it are obeyed : the warden of a local nature reserve | an air-raid warden.
pottery, typically that of a specified type : blue-and-white majolica ware | ( wares) Minoan potters produced an astonishing variety of wares.
make or become warm : [ trans. ] I stamped my feet to warm them up | figurative the film warmed our hearts | [ intrans. ] it's a bit chilly in here, but it'll soon warm up.
warmhearted adjective (of a person or their actions) sympathetic and kind.
inform someone in advance of an impending or possible danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation : [ trans. ] his father had warned him of what might happen | [with direct speech ] "He's going to humiliate you," John warned | [with clause ] the union warned that its members were close to going on strike. • give someone forceful or cautionary advice about their actions or conduct : [ trans. ] friends warned her against the marriage | [ trans. ] they warned people not to keep large amounts of cash in their homes | [ intrans. ] they warned against false optimism.
a statement or event that indicates a possible or impending danger, problem, or other unpleasant situation : a warning about heavy thunderstorms | suddenly and without any warning, the army opened fire | [as adj. ] a red warning light. • cautionary advice : a word of warning—don't park illegally. • advance notice of something : she had only had four days' warning before leaving Berlin.
1 become or cause to become bent or twisted out of shape, typically as a result of the effects of heat or dampness : [ intrans. ] wood has a tendency to warp | [ trans. ] moisture had warped the box. • [ trans. ] cause to become abnormal or strange; have a distorting effect on : your judgment has been warped by your obvious dislike of him | [as adj. ] ( warped) a warped sense of humor.
1 a twist or distortion in the shape or form of something : the head of the racket had a curious warp.
1 a document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or some other body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice : magistrates issued a warrant for his arrest | an extradition warrant.
• [usu. with negative ] justification or authority for an action, belief, or feeling : there is no warrant for this assumption.
feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems : dogs that have been mistreated often remain very wary of strangers | a wary look. See note at vigilant .
• [ intrans. ] (esp. of waves) sweep, move, or splash in a particular direction : the sea began to wash along the decks. • [ trans. ] (usu. be washed) (of a river, sea, or lake) flow through or lap against (a country, coast, etc.) : offshore islands washed by warm blue seas. • [ intrans. ] ( wash over) (of a feeling) affect (someone) suddenly : a deep feeling of sadness washed over her. • [ intrans. ] ( wash over) occur all around without greatly affecting (someone) : she allowed the babble of conversation to wash over her.
• [ trans. ] remove (a stain or dirt) from something by cleaning with water and detergent : they have to keep washing the mold off the walls | figurative all that hate can't wash away the guilt. • [ intrans. ] (of dirt or a stain) be removed in such a way : the dirt on his clothes would easily wash out. • [ intrans. ] (of fabric, a garment, or dye) withstand cleaning to a specified degree without shrinking or fading : a linen-mix yarn that washes well.
2 [ intrans. ] (of a person or a part of the body) become progressively weaker and more emaciated : she was dying of AIDS, visibly wasting away [as adj. ] ( wasting): a wasting disease.
1 (of a material, substance, or byproduct) eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required after the completion of a process : ensure that waste materials are disposed of responsibly | plants produce oxygen as a waste product.
save one's breath stop wasting time in futile talk : save your breath; I know all about it.
(of a person, action, or process) using or expending something of value carelessly, extravagantly, or to no purpose : wasteful energy consumption.
• [ intrans. ] ( watch for) look out or be on the alert for : in spring and summer, watch for kingfishers | watch out for broken glass.
• follow closely or maintain an interest in : the girls watched the development of this relationship with incredulity. • exercise care, caution, or restraint about : most women watch their diet during pregnancy | [with clause ] you should watch what you say!
2 [usu. in sing. ] an act or instance of carefully observing someone or something over a period of time : the security forces have been keeping a close watch on our activities.
be on the watch be carefully looking out for something, esp. a possible danger.
watch one's step used as a warning to someone to walk or act carefully.
water under the bridge (or water over the dam) used to refer to events or situations that are in the past and consequently no longer to be regarded as important or as a source of concern.
water-resistant
impervious to water : a waterproof hat. • not liable to be washed away by water : waterproof ink.
1 [ intrans. ] move one's hand to and fro in greeting or as a signal : he waved to me from the train. • [ trans. ] move (one's hand or arm, or something held in one's hand) to and fro : he waved a sheaf of papers in the air. • move to and fro with a swaying or undulating motion while remaining fixed to one point : the flag waved in the wind. • [ trans. ] convey (a greeting or other message) by moving one's hand or something held in it to and fro : we waved our farewells | [with two objs. ] she waved him goodbye.
• an intense burst of a particular feeling or emotion : horror came over me in waves | a new wave of apprehension assailed her. • a sudden occurrence of or increase in a specified phenomenon : a wave of strikes had effectively paralyzed the government.
2 a gesture or signal made by moving one's hand to and fro : he gave a little wave and walked off.
shake with a quivering motion : the flame wavered in the draft. • become unsteady or unreliable : his love for her had never wavered. • be undecided between two opinions or courses of action; be irresolute : she never wavered from her intention.
(of a line or surface) having or consisting of a series of undulating and wavelike curves : she had long, wavy hair.
wax and wane undergo alternate increases and decreases : companies whose fortunes wax and wane with the economic cycle.
1 cover or treat (something) with wax or a similar substance, typically to polish or protect it : I washed and waxed the floor.
• ( one's way) used with a verb and adverbial phrase to intensify the force of an action or to denote movement or progress : I shouldered my way to the bar.
at or to a considerable distance or extent; far (used before an adverb or preposition for emphasis) : his understanding of what constitutes good writing is way off target | my grandchildren are way ahead of others their age. • [as submodifier ] much : I was cycling way too fast. • [usu. as submodifier ] extremely; really (used for emphasis) : the guys behind the bar were way cool. [ORIGIN: shortening of away .]
by way of 1 so as to pass through or across; via : we approached the Berlin Wall by way of Checkpoint Charlie. 2 constituting; as a form of : "I can't help it," shouted Tom by way of apology. 3 by means of : noncompliance with the regulations is punishable by way of a fine.
give way 1 yield to someone or something : he was not a man to give way to this kind of pressure. • (of a support or structure) be unable to carry a load or withstand a force; collapse or break. • ( give way to) allow oneself to be overcome by or to succumb to (an emotion or impulse) : she gave way to a burst of weeping. 2 allow someone or something to be or go first : give way to traffic coming from the right. • ( give way to) be replaced or superseded by : Alan's discomfort gave way to anger.
go out of one's way [usu. with infinitive ] make a special effort to do something : Mrs. Mott went out of her way to be courteous to Sara.
have it your ( own) way [in imperative ] informal used to indicate angrily that although one disagrees with something someone has said or proposed, one is not going to argue further : have it your way-we'll go to Princetown.
in a way (or in some ways or in one way) to a certain extent, but not altogether or completely (used to reduce the effect of a statement) : in some ways television is more challenging than theater.
in no way not at all : quasars in no way resemble normal galaxies.
know one's way around be familiar with (an area, procedure, or subject).
one way and another taking most aspects or considerations into account : it's been quite a day one way and another.
one way or another (or one way or the other) used to indicate that something is the case for any of various unspecified reasons : one way or another she brought it on herself. • by some means : he wants to get rid of me one way or another. • whichever of two given alternatives is the case : the question is not yet decided, one way or the other.
the other way around in the opposite position or direction. • the opposite of what is expected or supposed : it was you who sought me out, not the other way around.
• (of a faculty or part of the body) not able to fulfill its functions properly : he had a weak stomach. • of a low standard; performing or performed badly : the choruses on this recording are weak. • not convincing or logically forceful : the argument is an extremely weak one | a weak plot.
• (of a belief, emotion, or attitude) not held or felt with such conviction or intensity as to prevent its being abandoned or dispelled : their commitment to the project is weak.
• (of a liquid or solution) lacking flavor or effectiveness because of being heavily diluted : a cup of weak coffee. • displaying or characterized by a lack of enthusiasm or energy : she managed a weak, nervous smile.
weak-minded adjective lacking determination, emotional strength, or intellectual capacity.
make or become weaker in power, resolve, or physical strength : [ trans. ] fault lines had weakened and shattered the rocks | [ intrans. ] his resistance had weakened.
• [in sing. ] a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing : the tables and maps contain a wealth of information.
• habitually have on one's body or be dressed in : although she was a widow, she didn't wear black. • exhibit or present (a particular facial expression or appearance) : they wear a frozen smile on their faces.
2 [ trans. or complement ] damage, erode, or destroy by friction or use : the track has been worn down in part to bare rock. • [ intrans. or complement ] undergo such damage, erosion, or destruction : mountains are wearing down with each passing second. • [ trans. ] form (a hole, path, etc.) by constant friction or use : the water was forced up through holes it had worn. • [ intrans. ] ( wear on) cause weariness or fatigue to : some losses can wear on you.
3 damage or deterioration sustained from continuous use : you need to make a deduction for wear and tear on all your belongings.
wear something out (or wear out) 1 use or be used until no longer in good condition or working order : wearing out the stair carpet | the type was used again and again until it wore out. 2 ( wear someone/something out) exhaust or tire someone or something : an hour of this wandering wore out Lampard's patience.
feeling or showing tiredness, esp. as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep : he gave a long, weary sigh. See note at tired . • reluctant to see or experience any more of; tired of : she was weary of their constant arguments | [in combination ] war-weary Americans. • calling for a great amount of energy or endurance; tiring and tedious : the weary journey began again.
1 wear away or change the appearance or texture of (something) by long exposure to the atmosphere : [ trans. ] his skin was weathered almost black by his long outdoor life | [as adj. ] ( weathered) chemically weathered rock. • [ intrans. ] (of rock or other material) be worn away or altered by such processes : the ice sheet preserves specimens that would weather away more quickly in other regions.
form (fabric or a fabric item) by interlacing long threads passing in one direction with others at a right angle to them : linen was woven in the district. • form (thread) into fabric in this way : some thick mohairs can be difficult to weave. • [ intrans. ] [usu. as n. ] ( weaving) make fabric in this way typically by working at a loom : cotton spinning and weaving was done in mills.
• ( weave something into) include an element in (such a story or pattern) : interpretative comments are woven into the narrative.
• ( weave something into) include something as an integral part or element of (a woven fabric) : a gold pattern was woven into the material.
• figurative a complex system of interconnected elements, esp. one perceived as a trap or danger : he found himself caught up in a web of bureaucracy.
get married to : he was to wed the king's daughter. • [ intrans. ] get married : they wed a week after meeting | ( be wed) after a three-month engagement, they were wed in London. • give or join in marriage : will you wed your daughter to him?
• combine (two factors or qualities, esp. desirable ones) : in this recording he weds an excellent program with a distinctive vocal style. • ( be wedded to) be obstinately attached or devoted to (an activity, belief, or system) : foreign policy has remained wedded to outdated assumptions.
• ( weed something out) remove something, esp. inferior or unwanted items or members from a group or collection : we must raise the level of research and weed out the poorest work.
week after week during each successive week, esp. over a long period : week after week of overcast skies.
week in, week out every week without exception.
done, produced, or occurring once a week : there was a weekly dance on Wednesdays.
1 shed tears : a grieving mother wept over the body of her daughter | [ trans. ] he wept bitter tears at her cruelty. • utter or express with tears : [with direct speech ] "No!" she wept. • [ trans. ] archaic mourn for; shed tears over : a young widow weeping her lost lord.
1 [ trans. ] find out how heavy (someone or something) is, typically using scales : weigh yourself on the day you begin the diet | the vendor weighed the vegetables. • have a specified weight : when the twins were born, they weighed ten pounds. • balance in the hands to guess or as if to guess the weight of : she picked up the brick and weighed it in her right hand.
2 assess the nature or importance of, esp. with a view to a decision or action : the consequences of the move would need to be very carefully weighed. • ( weigh something against) compare the importance of one factor with that of (another) : they need to weigh benefit against risk. • [ intrans. ] influence a decision or action; be considered important : the evidence weighed heavily against him.
weigh in with informal make a forceful contribution to a competition or argument by means of : Baker weighed in with a three-pointer.
3 the ability of someone or something to influence decisions or actions : a recommendation by the committee will carry great weight. • the importance attached to something : individuals differ in the weight they attach to various aspects of a job.
2 attach importance or value to : speaking, reading, and writing should be weighted equally in the assessment. • ( be weighted) be planned or arranged so as to put a specified person, group, or factor in a position of advantage or disadvantage : the balance of power is weighted in favor of the government.
• very pleasing because much needed or desired : after your walk, the café serves a welcome pot of coffee | deregulation is welcome to consumers. • [ predic., with infinitive ] allowed or invited to do a specified thing : anyone is welcome to join them at their midday meal. • [ predic. ] ( welcome to) used to indicate that one is relieved to be relinquishing the control or possession of something to another : the job is all yours and you're welcome to it!
greet (someone arriving) in a glad, polite, or friendly way : hotels should welcome guests in their own language | [as adj. ] ( welcoming) a welcoming smile. • be glad to entertain (someone) or receive (something) : we welcome any comments.
• figurative cause to combine and form a harmonious or effective whole : his efforts to weld together the religious parties ran into trouble.
• statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need : the protection of rights to education, housing, and welfare.
3 [with modal ] very probably; in all likelihood : being short of breath may well be the first sign of asthma. • without difficulty : she could well afford to pay for the reception herself. • with good reason : "What are we doing here?" "You may well ask."
all's well that ends well proverb if the outcome of a situation is happy, this compensates for any previous difficulty or unpleasantness.
all very well informal used to express criticism or rejection of a favorable or consoling remark : your proposal is all very well in theory, but in practice it will not pay.
• a plentiful source or supply : she could feel a deep well of sympathy and compassion.
(of a liquid) rise to the surface and spill or be about to spill : tears were beginning to well in her eyes. • (of an emotion) arise and become more intense : all the old bitterness began to well up inside her again.
successfully altered or moved so as to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result : her eyes were well adjusted to the darkness.
sensible; wise : you would be well advised to obtain legal advice.
conducting oneself in an appropriate manner : the crowd was very well behaved.
• of strong, solid construction : the well-built and massively thick walls.
1 (of a task or undertaking) carried out successfully or satisfactorily : the decoration is very well done | [ postpositive ] the satisfaction of a job well done.
fully merited or deserved : a well-earned rest.
• having a good training in or knowledge of a subject : boys who are well grounded in traditional academic subjects.
having or showing good intentions despite a lack of success or fortunate results : well-intentioned advice.
strongly or skillfully constructed : a well-made film.
having or showing good manners; polite : they were well mannered and eager to please.
wealthy : her family is quite well off. • in a favorable situation or circumstances : they were well off without her.
well-spoken adjective (of a person) speaking in an educated and refined manner.
(of a comment, argument, etc.) shrewd and accurate : though she often makes her case too earnestly, her points are well-taken.
much frequented by travelers : a well-trodden path.
skillfully constructed or put together : a well-wrought argument.
1 the direction toward the point of the horizon where the sun sets at the equinoxes, on the left-hand side of a person facing north, or the part of the horizon lying in this direction : the evening sun glowed from the west | a patrol aimed to create a diversion to the west of the city.
to or toward the west : he faced west and watched the sunset | the accident happened a mile west of Bowes.
leading or traveling toward the west : I need a westbound train.
toward the west : the journey covers eight time zones in a westward direction.
in a westerly direction : the vast prairie lands extending from northern Ohio westward.
strike forcefully with a sharp blow : his attacker whacked him on the head | [ intrans. ] she found a stick to whack at the branches.
2 a try or attempt : we decided to take a whack at spotting the decade's trends. 3 Brit. a specified share of or contribution to something : motorists pay a fair whack for the use of the roads through taxes.
what for? informal for what reason? what if ——? 1 what would result if ——? : what if nobody shows up? 2 what does it matter if ——? : what if our house is a mess? I'm clean.
what's what informal what is useful or important : I'll teach her what's what.
what do (or would) you say used to make a suggestion or offer : what do you say to a glass of wine?
what goes around comes around proverb the consequences of one's actions will have to be dealt with eventually.
used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to any thing or amount, no matter what : [as pron. ] do whatever you like | [as adj. ] take whatever action is needed. • regardless of what : [as pron. ] you have our support, whatever you decide | [as adj. ] whatever decision he made I would support it.
• ( the wheel) a steering wheel (used in reference to driving or steering a vehicle or vessel) : his crew knows when he wants to take the wheel.
1 [ trans. ] push or pull (a vehicle with wheels) : the sea sled was wheeled out to the flight deck.
(of a person) breathe with a whistling or rattling sound in the chest, as a result of obstruction in the air passages : the illness often leaves her wheezing. • [ trans. ] utter with such a sound : he could barely wheeze out his pleas for a handout | [with direct speech ] "Don't worry son," he wheezed.
1 a sound of or as of a person wheezing : I talk with a wheeze.
when in Rome ( do as the Romans do) proverb when abroad or in an unfamiliar environment you should adopt the customs or behavior of those around you.
where there's smoke there's fire proverb there's always some reason for a rumor.
where or approximately where : whereabouts do you come from?
in contrast or comparison with the fact that : you treat the matter lightly, whereas I myself was never more serious.
by which : a system whereby people could vote by telephone.
1 a smell that is only smelled briefly or faintly : I caught a whiff of peachy perfume.
1 a sudden desire or change of mind, esp. one that is unusual or unexplained : she bought it on a whim | he appeared and disappeared at whim.
(of a person or animal) make a series of low, feeble sounds expressive of fear, pain, or discontent : a child in a bed nearby began to whimper. • [with direct speech ] say something in a low, feeble voice expressive of such emotions : "He's not dead, is he?" she whimpered.
1 playfully quaint or fanciful, esp. in an appealing and amusing way : a whimsical sense of humor. 2 acting or behaving in a capricious manner : the whimsical arbitrariness of autocracy.
a long, high-pitched complaining cry : the dog gave a small whine.
give or make a long, high-pitched complaining cry or sound : the dog whined and scratched at the back door. • [ reporting verb ] complain in a feeble or petulant way : [ intrans. ] the waitress whined about the increased work | [with direct speech ] "What about him?" he whined.
• (of a flexible object or rain or wind) strike or beat violently : the wind whipped their faces | [ intrans. ] ferns and brambles whipped at him.
• ( whip someone into) urge or rouse someone into (a specified state or position) : the radio host whipped his listeners into a frenzy | the city had been whipped into shape.
whip something out (or off) write something hurriedly : you'll find the software ideal for whipping out memos and proposals.
move or cause to move rapidly around and around : [ intrans. ] leaves whirled in eddies of wind | [ trans. ] I whirled her around the dance floor. • move or cause to move rapidly : [ intrans. ] Sybil stood waving as they whirled past | [ trans. ] he was whirled into the bushes. • [ intrans. ] (of the head, mind, or senses) seem to spin around : Kate made her way back to the office, her mind whirling. • [ intrans. ] (of thoughts or mental images) follow each other in bewildering succession : a kaleidoscope of images whirled through her brain.
• figurative a turbulent situation from which it is hard to escape : he was drawing her down into an emotional whirlpool.
• used in similes and metaphors to describe a very energetic or tumultuous person or process : a whirlwind of activity [as adj. ] : a whirlwind romance.
a soft or confidential tone of voice; a whispered word or phrase : she spoke in a whisper.
1 [ intrans. ] emit a clear, high-pitched sound by forcing breath through a small hole between one's lips or teeth : the audience cheered and whistled | [as n. ] ( whistling) I awoke to their cheerful whistling | [as adj. ] ( whistling) a whistling noise.
blow the whistle on informal bring an illicit activity to an end by informing on the person responsible.
whistle-blower (also whistleblower) noun a person who informs on someone engaged in an illicit activity.
1 [ intrans. ] move quickly through the air with a whistling or whooshing sound : the Iraqi missiles whizzed past | figurative the weeks whizzed by. • ( whiz through) do or deal with quickly : Audrey would whiz through a few chores in the shop.
a young person who is outstandingly skillful or successful at something : a computer whiz-kid.
• used to emphasize a large extent or number : whole shelves in libraries are devoted to the subject | a whole lot of money.
1 a thing that is complete in itself : the subjects of the curriculum form a coherent whole. 2 ( the whole) all of something : the effects will last for the whole of his life.
as a whole as a single unit and not as separate parts; in general : a healthy economy is in the best interests of society as a whole.
in the whole ( wide) world anywhere; of all : he was the nicest person in the whole world. on the whole taking everything into account; in general.
showing or characterized by complete sincerity and commitment : you have my wholehearted support.
being sold in such a way : bottles from this region sell wholesale at about $72 a case. • on a large scale : the safety clauses seem to have been taken wholesale from union documents.
conducive to or suggestive of good health and physical well-being : the food is plentiful and very wholesome. • conducive to or promoting moral well-being : good wholesome fun.
• (after a measurement and in questions) from side to side : it measures 15 cm long by 12 cm wide | how wide do you think this house is?
• considerable : tax revenues have undershot Treasury projections by a wide margin. 2 including a great variety of people or things : a wide range of opinion. • spread among a large number of people or over a large area : the business is slowly gaining wider acceptance. • [in combination ] extending over the whole of : an industry-wide trend.
3 at a considerable or specified distance from a point or mark : Bodie's shot was inches wide.
• (in field sports) at or near the side of the field : he played in a wide left position.
2 far from a particular point or mark : a shot that went wide to the right. • at or near the side of the field; toward the sideline : he will play wide on the right.
wide open |ˈˈwaɪd ˈoʊpən| 1 stretching over an outdoor expanse : the wide open spaces of Montana. 2 offering a great variety of opportunities : suddenly the whole world was wide open to her. 3 (of a contest) of which the outcome is not predictable. 4 vulnerable, esp. to attack.
covering an extensive range : a wide-ranging discussion.
1 over a wide area or at a wide interval : he smiled widely and held out a hand | a tall man with widely spaced eyes. • to a large degree in nature or character (used to describe considerable variation or difference) : lending policies vary widely between different banks | [as submodifier ] people in widely different circumstances. 2 over a large area or range; extensively : Deborah has traveled widely | [as submodifier ] she was widely read. • by many people or in many places : credit cards are widely accepted.
make or become wider : [ trans. ] the incentive to dredge and widen the river | [ intrans. ] his grin widened | the lane widened out into a small clearing.
make into a widow or widower : she had to care for her widowed mother.
the measurement or extent of something from side to side : the yard was about seven feet in width | the shoe comes in a variety of widths. • a piece of something at its full extent from side to side : a single width of hardboard.
• the quality of covering or accepting a broad range of things; scope : the width of experience required for these positions.
hold and use (a weapon or tool) : a masked raider wielding a handgun. • have and be able to use (power or influence) : faction leaders wielded enormous influence within the party.
move or cause to move up and down or from side to side with small rapid movements : [ trans. ] Stasia wiggled her toes | [ intrans. ] my tooth was wiggling around. • ( wiggle out of) avoid (something), esp. by devious means : they're trying to wiggle out of their agreement.
2 uncontrolled or unrestrained, esp. in pursuit of pleasure : she went through a wild phase of drunken parties and desperate affairs. • haphazard, esp. rashly so : a wild guess. • extravagant or unreasonable; fanciful : who, even in their wildest dreams, could have anticipated such a victory? • stormy : the wild sea.
a natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region : kiwis are virtually extinct in the wild.
will do informal expressing willingness to carry out a request or suggestion : "Might be best to check." "Righty-oh, will do."
1 [usu. in sing. ] the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action : she has an iron will | a battle of wills between children and their parents | an act of will.
• a deliberate or fixed desire or intention : Jane had not wanted them to stay against their will | [with infinitive ] the will to live.
at will at whatever time or in whatever way one pleases : it can be molded and shaped at will | he was shoved around at will.
at will at whatever time or in whatever way one pleases : it can be molded and shaped at will | he was shoved around at will.
(of an immoral or illegal act or omission) intentional; deliberate : willful acts of damage.
• given or done readily : willing and prompt obedience.
1 whether one likes it or not : he would be forced to collaborate willy-nilly. 2 without direction or planning; haphazardly : politicians expanded spending programs willy-nilly.
• gain (a person's attention, support, or love), typically gradually or by effort : you will find it difficult to win back their attention. • ( win someone over) gain the support or favor of someone by action or persuasion : her sense of humor had won him over at once.
give a slight involuntary grimace or shrinking movement of the body out of or in anticipation of pain or distress : he winced at the disgust in her voice.
1 the perceptible natural movement of the air, esp. in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction : the wind howled about the building | an easterly wind | gusts of wind.
get wind of informal begin to suspect that (something) is happening; hear a rumor of : Marty got wind of a plot being hatched. [ORIGIN: referring originally to the scent of game in hunting.]
1 [ intrans. ] move in or take a twisting or spiral course : the path wound among olive trees. 2 [ trans. ] pass (something) around a thing or person so as to encircle or enfold : he wound a towel around his midriff. • repeatedly twist or coil (a length of something) around itself or a core : Anne wound the wool into a ball. • [ intrans. ] be twisted or coiled in such a way : large vines wound around every tree. • wrap or surround (a core) with a coiled length of something : devices wound with copper wire.
3 [ trans. ] make (a clock or other device, typically one operated by clockwork) operate by turning a key or handle : he wound up the clock every Saturday night | she was winding the gramophone.
• a piece of unexpected good fortune, typically one that involves receiving a large amount of money : [as adj. ] windfall profits.
window of opportunity a favorable opportunity for doing something that must be seized immediately if it is not to be missed.
look at the goods displayed in shop windows, esp. without intending to buy anything : [as n. ] ( window-shopping) window-shopping is the favorite pastime of all New Yorkers.
1 an act of concluding or finishing something : the windup of the convention.
4 a group within a political party or other organization that holds particular views or has a particular function : Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA.
close and open one eye quickly, typically to indicate that something is a joke or a secret or as a signal of affection or greeting : he winked at Nicole as he passed. • ( wink at) pretend not to notice (something bad or illegal) : the authorities winked at their illegal trade.
in the wink of an eye (or in a wink) very quickly. not sleep (or get) a wink (or not get a wink of sleep) not sleep at all.
characteristic of winter, esp. in feeling or looking very cold and bleak : a wintry landscape | figurative his eyes were decidedly wintry.
clean or dry (something) by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand : Paul wiped his face with a handkerchief | he wiped down the kitchen wall. • [ trans. ] remove (dirt or moisture) from something by rubbing its surface with a cloth, a piece of paper, or one's hand : she wiped away a tear. • clean (something) by rubbing it against a surface : the man wiped his hands on his hips. • [ trans. ] spread (a liquid) over a surface by rubbing : gently wipe the lotion over the eyelids. • [ trans. ] figurative remove or eliminate (something) completely : things have happened to wipe the smile off Kate's face.
wipe out informal fall over or off a vehicle. • be capsized by a wave while surfing. wipe someone out 1 kill a large number of people : the plague had wiped out whole villages. 2 (usu. be wiped out) ruin someone financially. 3 informal exhaust or intoxicate someone. wipe something out eliminate something completely : their life savings were wiped out.
1 install electric circuits or wires in : wiring a plug | they wired the place themselves. • connect (someone or something) to a piece of electronic equipment : a microphone wired to a loudspeaker.
down to the wire informal used to denote a situation whose outcome is not decided until the very last minute : it was probable that the test of nerves would go down to the wire.
forming adjectives and adverbs of manner or respect such as clockwise, otherwise. Compare with -ways . • informal with respect to; concerning : security-wise, there are few problems.
• [with infinitive ] feel or express a desire to do something : they wish to become involved. • [ trans. ] ask (someone) to do something or that (something) be done : I wish it to be clearly understood. • [with two objs. ] express a desire for (the success or good fortune) of (someone) : they wish her every success.
• (usu. wishes) an expression of such a desire, typically in the form of a request or instruction : she must carry out her late father's wishes. • an invocation or recitation of a hope or desire : he makes a wish. • (usu. wishes) an expression of a desire for someone's success or good fortune : they had received kindness and good wishes from total strangers. • a thing or event that is or has been desired; an object of desire : the petitioners eventually got their wish.
• expressing or containing a desire or hope for something impractical or unfeasible : without resources the proposed measures were merely wishful thinking.
1 mental sharpness and inventiveness; keen intelligence : he does not lack perception or native wit. • ( wits) the intelligence required for normal activity; basic human intelligence : he needed all his wits to figure out the way back.
2 a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor : a player with a sharp tongue and a quick wit.
be at one's wits' end be overwhelmed with difficulties and at a loss as to what to do next.
gather (or collect) one's wits allow oneself to think calmly and clearly in a demanding situation.
1 accompanied by (another person or thing) : a nice steak with a bottle of red wine. • in the same direction as : marine mammals generally swim with the current. • along with (with reference to time) : wisdom comes with age. • in proportion to : the form of the light curve changes with period in a systematic way. 2 possessing (something) as a feature or accompaniment : a flower-sprigged blouse with a white collar. • marked by or wearing : a tall dark man with a scar on one cheek | a small man with thick glasses. 3 indicating the instrument used to perform an action : cut it with a knife | treatment with acid before analysis. • indicating the material used for some purpose : fill the bowl with water. 4 in opposition to : we started fighting with each other. 5 indicating the manner or attitude of the person doing something : with great reluctance. 6 indicating responsibility : leave it with me. 7 in relation to : my father will be angry with me. 8 employed by : she's with IBM now. • as a member or employee of : he plays with the Cincinnati Cyclones. • using the services of : I bank with the TSB. 9 affected by (a particular fact or condition) : with no hope | in bed with lumbago. • indicating the cause of an action or condition : trembling with fear | the paper was yellow with age. 10 indicating separation or removal from something : to part with one's dearest possessions | their jobs could be dispensed with.
be with someone 1 agree with or support someone : we're all with you on this one. 2 informal follow someone's meaning : I'm not with you.
with that at that point; immediately after saying or doing something dramatic : with that, she flounced out of the room.
with all one's heart (or one's whole heart) sincerely; completely.
with all one's might using all one's power or strength.
with...
with respect to as regards; with reference to : the two groups were similar with respect to age, sex, and diagnoses.
with the exception of except; not including.
1 [ trans. ] remove or take away (something) from a particular place or position : slowly Ruth withdrew her hand from his. • take (money) out of an account : normally you can withdraw up to $50 in cash. • take back or away (something bestowed, proposed, or used) : the party threatened to withdraw its support for the government.
• say that (a statement one has made) is untrue or unjustified : he failed to withdraw his remarks and apologize.
2 [ intrans. ] leave or come back from a place, esp. a war zone : Iraqi forces withdrew from Kuwait. • [ trans. ] cause (someone) to leave or come back from a place, esp. a war zone : both countries agreed to withdraw their troops. • no longer participate in an activity or be a member of a team or organization : his rival withdrew from the race on the second lap.
• retreat from contact or communication with other people : he went silent and withdrew into himself.
• a sum of money withdrawn from an account : a $30,000 cash withdrawal. • the action of ceasing to participate in an activity : the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a plant) become dry and shriveled : the grass had withered to an unappealing brown | [as adj. ] ( withered) withered leaves. • (of a person, limb, or the skin) become shrunken or wrinkled from age or disease : [as adj. ] ( withered) a girl with a withered arm. • cease to flourish; fall into decay or decline : programs would wither away if they did not command local support.
refuse to give (something that is due to or is desired by another) : the name of the dead man is being withheld | [as n. ] ( withholding) the withholding of consent to treatment.
• internally or inwardly : beauty coming from within.
within —— distance near enough to reach by the means specified : the parking lot is within easy walking distance | he wanted to be within driving distance of his grandparents.
without exception with no one or nothing excluded.
without fail absolutely predictably; with no exception : he writes every week without fail.
without further (or more) ado without any fuss or delay; immediately.
without limit with no restriction.
remain undamaged or unaffected by; resist : the structure had been designed to withstand winds of more than 100 mph.
foolish; stupid : a witless retort.
1 a person who sees an event, typically a crime or accident, take place : police are appealing for witnesses to the accident | I was witness to one of the most amazing comebacks in sprinting history.
1 [ trans. ] see (an event, typically a crime or accident) take place : a bartender who witnessed the murder. • have knowledge of (an event or change) from personal observation or experience : what we are witnessing is the birth of a dangerously liberal orthodoxy. • (of a time, place, or other context) be the setting in which (a particular event) takes place : the 1980s witnessed an unprecedented increase in the scope of the electronic media.
showing or characterized by quick and inventive verbal humor : a witty remark | Marlowe was charming and witty.
• a person who is very skilled in a particular field or activity : a financial wizard.
move unsteadily from side to side : the table wobbles where the leg is too short.
• [with adverbial of direction ] move in such a way in a particular direction : they wobble around on their bikes. • (of the voice) tremble; quaver : her voice wobbled dangerously, but she brought it under control.
tending to move unsteadily from side to side : the car had a wobbly wheel.
• (of a person, action or state) uncertain, wavering, or insecure : the evening gets off to a wobbly start.
great sorrow or distress : they had a complicated tale of woe. • ( woes) things that cause sorrow or distress; troubles : to add to his woes, customers have been spending less.
characterized by, expressive of, or causing sorrow or misery : her face was woeful. • very bad; deplorable : the remark was enough to establish his woeful ignorance about the theater.
cry wolf call for help when it is not needed, with the effect that one is not believed when one really does need help. [ORIGIN: with allusion to Aesop's fable of the shepherd boy who deluded people with false cries of "Wolf!"]
(of a man) engage in numerous casual sexual affairs with women : [as n. ] ( womanizing) there were rumors that his womanizing had now become intolerable.
• a place of origination and development : the womb of evil.
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable : he had stood in front of it, observing the intricacy of the ironwork with the wonder of a child. • the quality of a person or thing that causes such a feeling : Athens was a place of wonder and beauty. • a strange or remarkable person, thing, or event : the electric trolley car was looked upon as the wonder of the age.
1 desire or be curious to know something : how many times have I written that, I wonder? | [with clause ] I can't help wondering how Stasia and Katie are feeling.
no (or little or small) wonder it is not surprising : it is little wonder that the fax machine is so popular.
inspiring a feeling of wonder or delight; marvelous : this wondrous city.
crooked; off-center; askew : you have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth. • (of a thing) unsteady; shaky : they sat drinking, perched on the wonky stools.
(of a dog) bark : the dog started to woof.
unsteady, dizzy, or dazed : I still felt woozy from all the pills.
• (usu. words) something that someone says or writes; a remark or piece of information : his grandfather's words had been meant kindly | a word of warning. • speech as distinct from action : he conforms in word and deed to the values of a society that he rejects. • [with negative ] ( a word) even the smallest amount of something spoken or written : don't believe a word of it.
• ( one's word) a person's account of the truth, esp. when it differs from that of another person : in court it would have been his word against mine. • ( one's word) a promise or assurance : everything will be taken care of—you have my word. • ( words) the text or spoken part of a play, opera, or other performed piece; a script : he had to learn his words.
• ( words) angry talk : her father would have had words with her about that. • a message; news : I was afraid to leave Washington in case there was word from the office. • a command, password, or motto : someone gave me the word to start playing.
break one's word fail to do what one has promised.
break one's word fail to do what one has promised.
put something into words express something in speech or writing : he felt a vague disappointment which he couldn't put into words.
take someone at their word interpret a person's words literally or exactly, esp. by believing them or doing as they suggest.
take someone's word ( for it) believe what someone says or writes without checking for oneself.
• the place where one engages in such activity : I was returning home from work on a packed subway. • the period of time spent during the day engaged in such activity : he was going to the theater after work.
• [ trans. ] cause (a device or machine) to operate : teaching customers how to work a VCR. • (of a plan or method) have the desired result or effect : the desperate ploy had worked. • [ trans. ] bring about; produce as a result : with a dash of blusher here and there, you can work miracles.
at work engaged in work. • in action : researchers were convinced that one infectious agent was at work.
work one's way through college (or school, etc.) obtain the money for educational fees or one's maintenance as a student by working.
known throughout the world : the world-famous tenor José Carreras.
(in hyperbolic use) of supreme importance or having a momentous effect : a world-shaking announcement.
of or concerned with material values or ordinary life rather than a spiritual existence : his ambitions for worldly success.
1 (of a person or animal) extremely tired; exhausted : you look worn out. 2 damaged or shabby to the point of being no longer usable : worn-out shoes.
• [ trans. ] cause to feel anxiety or concern : there was no need to worry her | I've been worrying myself sick over my mother | [ trans. ] he is worried that we are not sustaining high employment | [as adj. ] ( worrying) the level of inflation has improved but remains worrying.
• [ trans. ] cause annoyance to : the noise never really stops, but it doesn't worry me.
a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems : her son had been a constant source of worry to her. • a source of anxiety : the idea is to secure peace of mind for people whose greatest worry is fear of attack.
causing anxiety or concern : a worrisome problem.
worse off in a less advantageous position; less fortunate or prosperous.
make or become worse : [ intrans. ] her condition worsened on the flight | [ trans. ] arguing actually worsens the problem | [as adj. ] ( worsening) Romania's rapidly worsening economic situation.
the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity : the worship of God | ancestor worship. • the acts or rites that make up a formal expression of reverence for a deity; a religious ceremony or ceremonies : the church was opened for public worship. • adoration or devotion comparable to religious homage, shown toward a person or principle : Krushchev threw the worship of Stalin overboard.
show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites : the Maya built jungle pyramids to worship their gods. • treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity : she adores her sons and they worship her.
feeling or showing reverence and adoration : her voice was full of worshipful admiration.
(of a projected development) characterized by the worst of the possible foreseeable circumstances : in the worst-case scenario, coastal resorts and communities face disaster.
• used to suggest that the specified course of action may be advisable : a meat and potato dish that's worth checking out. • having income or property amounting to a specified sum : she is worth $10 million.
the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated : they had to listen to every piece of gossip and judge its worth. • an amount of a commodity equivalent to a specified sum of money : he admitted stealing 10,000 dollars' worth of computer systems. • the amount that could be achieved or produced in a specified time : the companies have debts greater than two years' worth of their sales.
for all someone is worth informal 1 as energetically or enthusiastically as someone can : he thumps the drums for all he's worth. 2 so as to obtain everything one can from someone : the youths milked him for all he was worth and then disappeared. for what it is worth used to present a comment, suggestion, or opinion without making a claim as to its importance or validity : for what it's worth, she's very highly thought of abroad. worth it informal sufficiently good, enjoyable, or successful to repay any effort, trouble, or expense : it requires a bit of patience to learn, but it's well worth it.
worth the time, money, or effort spent; of value or importance : extra lighting would make a worthwhile contribution to road safety.
• having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way : issues worthy of further consideration. • good enough; suitable : no composer was considered worthy of the name until he had written an opera.
2 (expressing the conditional mood) indicating the consequence of an imagined event or situation : he would lose his job if he were identified. • ( I would) used to give advice : I wouldn't drink that if I were you.
5 expressing a conjecture, opinion, or hope : I would imagine that they'll want to keep it | I guess some people would consider it brutal | I would have to agree.
6 used to make a comment about behavior that is typical : every night we would hear the boy crying | derogatory they would say that, wouldn't they?
showing a critical or disrespectful attitude : she tells me I'm fat and is always making derogatory remarks.
desiring or aspiring to be a specified type of person : a would-be actress who dresses up as Marilyn Monroe.
would you believe it? used to express surprise at something one is relating : they're still arguing, would you believe it?
wouldn't hurt (or harm) a fly (of a person or animal) inoffensive and harmless.
• an injury to a person's feelings or reputation : the new crisis has opened old wounds.
inflict an injury on (someone) : the sergeant was seriously wounded | [as adj. ] ( wounded) a wounded soldier. • injure (a person's feelings) : you really wounded his pride when you turned him down | [as adj. ] ( wounded) her wounded feelings.
1 [ trans. ] cover or enclose (someone or something) in paper or soft material : he wrapped the Christmas presents | Leonora wrapped herself in a large white bath towel. • clasp; embrace : she wrapped him in her arms.
2 [ trans. ] ( wrap something around) arrange paper or soft material around (someone or something), typically as a covering or for warmth or protection : wrap the bandage around the injured limb. • place an arm, finger, or leg around (someone or something) : he wrapped an arm around her waist.
2 [usu. in sing. ] informal the end of a session of filming or recording : right, it's a wrap.
wrap something up complete or conclude a discussion or agreement : they hope to wrap up negotiations within sixty days. • win a game or competition : Australia wrapped up the series 4-0.
extreme anger (chiefly used for humorous or rhetorical effect) : he hid his pipe for fear of incurring his father's wrath.
full of or characterized by intense anger : natural calamities seemed to be the work of a wrathful deity.
cause (a large amount of damage or harm) : torrential rainstorms wreaked havoc yesterday | the environmental damage wreaked by ninety years of phosphate mining.
the destruction of a ship at sea; a shipwreck : the survivors of the wreck. • a ship destroyed in such a way : the salvaging of treasure from wrecks.
• something, esp. a vehicle or building, that has been badly damaged or destroyed : the plane was reduced to a smoldering wreck | figurative the wreck of their marriage.
• a road or rail crash : a train wreck. • a person whose physical or mental health or strength has failed : the scandal left the family emotional wrecks.
cause the destruction of (a ship) by sinking or breaking up : he was drowned when his ship was wrecked. • involve (someone) in such a wreck : sailors who had the misfortune to be wrecked on these coasts.
the remains of something that has been badly damaged or destroyed : firemen had to cut him free from the wreckage of the car.
pull or twist (someone or something) suddenly and violently : Casey grabbed the gun and wrenched it upward from my hand | [ trans. ] she wrenched herself free of his grip | [ intrans. ] figurative the betrayal wrenched at her heart.
take part in a fight, either as a sport or in earnest, that involves grappling with one's opponent and trying to throw or force them to the ground : as the policeman wrestled with the gunman a shot rang out. • [ trans. ] force (someone) into a particular position or place by fighting in such a way : the security guards wrestled them to the ground. • figurative struggle with a difficulty or problem : for over a year David wrestled with a guilty conscience. • [ trans. ] move or manipulate (something) in a specified way with difficulty and some physical effort : she wrestled the keys out of the ignition.
• a hard struggle : a lifelong wrestle with depression.
twist and turn with quick writhing movements : he kicked and wriggled but she held him firmly. • [ trans. ] cause to move in such a way : she wriggled her bare, brown toes. • [ intrans. ] move in a particular direction with wriggling movements : Susie wriggled out of her clothes.
a wriggling movement : she gave an impatient little wriggle.
squeeze and twist (something) to force liquid from it : she wrung the cloth out in the sink. • [ trans. ] extract (liquid) by squeezing and twisting something : I wrung out the excess water.
make or cause lines or folds in (something, esp. fabric or the skin) : Dotty's wrinkled stockings. • grimace and cause wrinkles on (a part of the face) : he sniffed and wrinkled his nose. • [ intrans. ] form or become marked with lines or folds : her brow wrinkled.
• informal a minor difficulty; a snag : the organizers have the wrinkles pretty well ironed out. 2 informal a clever innovation, or useful piece of information or advice : learning the wrinkles from someone more experienced saves time.
writ large clear and obvious : the unspoken question writ large upon Rose's face. • in a stark or exaggerated form : bribing people by way of tax allowances is the paternalistic state writ large.
be (or have something) written all over one (or one's face) informal used to convey that the presence of a particular quality or feeling is clearly revealed by a person's expression : guilt was written all over his face.
write something off 1 ( write someone/something off) dismiss someone or something as insignificant : the boy had been written off as a nonachiever. 2 cancel the record of a bad debt; acknowledge the loss of or failure to recover an asset : he urged the banks to write off debt owed by poorer countries.
make continual twisting, squirming movements or contortions of the body : he writhed in agony on the ground. • [ trans. ] cause to move in such a way : a snake writhing its body in a sinuous movement.
2 unjust, dishonest, or immoral : they were wrong to take the law into their own hands | it was wrong of me to write you such an angry note.
• with an incorrect result : she guessed wrong.
an unjust, dishonest, or immoral action : I have done you a great wrong.
get someone wrong misunderstand someone, esp. by falsely imputing malice.
(in a game) play so as to catch (an opponent) off balance : Cook wrong-footed the defense with a low free kick. • Brit. put (someone) in a difficult or embarrassing situation by saying or doing something that they do not expect : an announcement regarded as an attempt to wrong-foot the opposition.
illegal or dishonest behavior : the head of the bank has denied any wrongdoing.
upset and anxious : she didn't get too wrought up about things.
1 using or expressing dry, esp. mocking, humor : a wry smile | wry comments.
wunderkind |ˈvʊndəkɪnd| noun ( pl. -kinds or -kinder |-kɪndə|) a person who achieves great success when relatively young.
a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year : she's away on sabbatical.
• the contents of such a bag or the amount it can contain : a sack of flour.
4 ( the sack) informal dismissal from employment : he got the sack for swearing | they were given the sack.
1 informal dismiss from employment : any official found to be involved would be sacked on the spot.
connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration : sacred rites | the site at Eleusis is sacred to Demeter. See note at divine .
• an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy : we must all be prepared to make sacrifices.
offer or kill as a religious sacrifice : the goat was sacrificed at the shrine. • give up (something important or valued) for the sake of other considerations : working hard doesn't mean sacrificing your social life.
violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred : putting ecclesiastical vestments to secular use was considered sacrilege.
cause to feel sorrow; make unhappy : he was greatly saddened by the death of his only son | [ trans. ] I was saddened to see their lack of commitment.
• (usu. be saddled with) burden (someone) with an onerous responsibility or task : he's saddled with debts of $12 million.
• based on good reasons or evidence and not likely to be proved wrong : the verdict is safe and satisfactory | his world, it's safe to say• often derogatory cautious and unenterprising : MacGregor would be a compromise, the safe choice. will not fall apart.
2 uninjured; with no harm done : they had returned safe and sound | hopes of her safe return later faded.
1 the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury : they should leave for their own safety | the survivors were airlifted to safety.
a long story of heroic achievement, esp. a medieval prose narrative in Old Norse or Old Icelandic : a figure straight out of a Viking saga.
having, showing, or indicating profound wisdom : they nodded in agreement with these sage remarks.
1 a piece of material extended on a mast to catch the wind and propel a boat, ship, or other vessel : all the sails were unfurled. • the use of sailing ships as a means of transport : this led to bigger ships as steam replaced sail. • [in sing. ] a voyage or excursion in a ship, esp. a sailing ship or boat : they went for a sail.
1 travel in a boat with sails, esp. as a sport or recreation : Ian took us out sailing on the lake. • [with adverbial ] travel in a ship or boat using sails or engine power : the ferry caught fire sailing between Caen and Portsmouth. • [with adverbial ] begin a voyage; leave a harbor : the catamaran sails at 3:30. • [ trans. ] travel by ship on or across (a sea) or on (a route) : plastic ships could be sailing the oceans soon. • [ trans. ] navigate or control (a boat or ship) : I stole a small fishing boat and sailed it to the Delta. 2 [with adverbial of direction ] move smoothly and rapidly or in a stately or confident manner : she sailed into the conference room at 2:30 sharp.
very holy or virtuous : a truly saintly woman. • of or relating to a saint : a crypt for some saintly relic.
1 ( for the sake of something or for something's sake) for the purpose of; in the interest of; in order to achieve or preserve : the couple moved to the coast for the sake of her health | for safety's sake, photographers are obliged to stand behind police lines. • used in phrases to comment on the speaker's purpose in choosing a particular way of wording a text or presenting an argument : let us say, for the sake of argument, that the plotter and the assassin are one and the same person. • ( for its own sake or something for something's sake or for the sake of it) used to indicate something that is done as an end in itself rather than to achieve some other purpose : new ideas amount to change for change's sake.
2 ( for the sake of someone or for someone's sake) out of consideration for or in order to help someone : I felt I couldn't give up, for my own sake or the baby's | I have to make an effort for John's sake. • in order to please : he'd do anything for me—even killed a man for my sake | I've spent a long time doing things for everybody's sake.
1 the exchange of a commodity for money; the action of selling something : we withdrew it from sale | the sale has fallen through. • ( sales) a quantity or amount sold : price cuts failed to boost sales.
( up) for sale offered for purchase; to be bought : cars for sale at reasonable prices. on sale offered for purchase : the November issue is on sale now. • offered for purchase at a reduced price.
1 most noticeable or important : it succinctly covered all the salient points of the case. • prominent; conspicuous : it was always the salient object in my view.
• figurative display great relish at the sight or prospect of something : I was fairly salivating at the prospect of a $10 million loan.
rub salt into the (or someone's) wound make a painful experience even more painful for someone.
take something with a grain (or pinch) of salt regard something as exaggerated; believe only part of something : take a stock tip with a grain of salt.
a gesture of respect, homage, or polite recognition or acknowledgment, esp. one made to or by a person when arriving or departing : he raises his arms in a triumphant salute.
rescue (a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo) from loss at sea : an emerald and gold cross was salvaged from the wreck. • retrieve or preserve (something) from potential loss or adverse circumstances : it was the only crumb of comfort he could salvage from the ordeal.
make a formal salute to : don't you usually salute a superior officer? | [ intrans. ] he clicked his heels and saluted. • greet : he saluted her with a smile.
the rescue of a wrecked or disabled ship or its cargo from loss at sea : [as adj. ] a salvage operation was under way.
• preservation or deliverance from harm, ruin, or loss : they try to sell it to us as economic salvation. • ( one's salvation) a source or means of being saved in this way : his only salvation was to outfly the enemy.
all (or just) the same in spite of this; nevertheless : she knew they had meant it kindly, but it had hurt all the same. • in any case; anyway : I can manage alone, thanks all the same.
be all the same to be unimportant to (someone) what happens : it was all the same to me where it was being sold.
the very same the same (used for emphasis, often to express surprise) : the very same thrillers that flop in theaters become video hits.
take a sample or samples of (something) for analysis : bone marrow cells were sampled | [as adj., with submodifier ] ( sampled) a survey of two hundred randomly sampled households.
set apart as or declare holy; consecrate : a small Christian shrine was built to sanctify the site. • (often be sanctified) make legitimate or binding by religious sanction : they see their love sanctified by the sacrament of marriage.
making a show of being morally superior to other people : what happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first? See note at moral .
1 a threatened penalty for disobeying a law or rule : a range of sanctions aimed at deterring insider abuse.
1 (often be sanctioned) give official permission or approval for (an action) : only two treatments have been sanctioned by the Food and Drug Administration. See note at approve .
1 a place of refuge or safety : people automatically sought a sanctuary in time of trouble | his sons took sanctuary in the church. • immunity from arrest : he has been given sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
1 smooth or polish with sandpaper or a mechanical sander : sand the rusty areas until you expose bare metal | [as n. ] ( sanding) some recommend a light sanding between the second and third coats.
(of a person) of sound mind; not mad or mentally ill : hard work kept me sane.
1 cheerfully optimistic : they are not sanguine about the prospect.
of or relating to the conditions that affect hygiene and health, esp. the supply of sewage facilities and clean drinking water : a sanitary engineer. • hygienic and clean : the most convenient and sanitary way to get rid of food waste from your kitchen.
make clean and hygienic : new chemicals for sanitizing a pool. • (usu. be sanitized) derogatory alter (something regarded as less acceptable) so as to make it more palatable : lawyers sanitized documents that could have exposed the company to lawsuits.
the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health : I began to doubt my own sanity.
without : flavorful vegetarian dishes sans meat, eggs, or milk.
the use of irony to mock or convey contempt : his voice, hardened by sarcasm, could not hide his resentment. See note at wit .
• a play, novel, film, or other work that uses satire : a stinging satire on American politics.
containing or using satire : a New York-based satirical magazine.
• [with negative ] what is felt to be owed or due to one, esp. in reparation of an injustice or wrong : the work will come to a halt if the electricity and telephone people don't get satisfaction.
to one's satisfaction so that one is satisfied : some amendments were made, not entirely to his satisfaction.
fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect : the brakes are satisfactory if not particularly powerful.
meet the expectations, needs, or desires of (someone) : I have never been satisfied with my job | [ intrans. ] wealth, the promise of the eighties, has failed to satisfy. • fulfill (a desire or need) : social services is trying to satisfy the needs of so many different groups. • provide (someone) with adequate information or proof so that they are convinced about something : [ trans. ] people need to be satisfied that the environmental assessments are accurate | the chief engineer satisfied himself that it was not a weapon.
cause (something) to become thoroughly soaked with liquid so that no more can be absorbed : the soil is saturated. • cause (a substance) to combine with, dissolve, or hold the greatest possible quantity of another substance : the groundwater is saturated with calcium hydroxide.
• (usu. be saturated with) figurative fill (something or someone) with something until no more can be held or absorbed : they've become thoroughly saturated with powerful and seductive messages from the media. • supply (a market) beyond the point at which the demand for a product is satisfied : Japan's electronics industry began to saturate the world markets.
(of an animal or force of nature) fierce, violent, and uncontrolled : tales of a savage beast | a week of savage storms. • cruel and vicious; aggressively hostile : they launched a savage attack on the budget.
• a brutal or vicious person : the mother of one of the victims has described his assailants as savages.
(esp. of a dog or wild animal) attack ferociously and maul : ewes savaged by marauding dogs.
savant |ˈsav(ə)nt| |savɑ˜| noun a learned person, esp. a distinguished scientist. See also idiot savant .
2 keep and store up (something, esp. money) for future use : she had never been able to save much from her salary | [ intrans. ] you can save up for retirement in a number of ways.
3 avoid the need to use up or spend (money, time, or other resources) : save $20 on a new camcorder | [with two objs. ] an efficient dishwasher would save them one year and three months at the sink. • avoid, lessen, or guard against : this approach saves wear and tear on the books | [with two objs. ] the statement was made to save the government some embarrassment.
save face retain respect; avoid humiliation : an outcome that allows them all to save face.
save someone the trouble (or bother) avoid involving someone in useless or pointless effort : write it down and save yourself the trouble of remembering.
shrewdness and practical knowledge, esp. in politics or business : the financiers lacked the necessary political savvy.
cut (something, esp. wood or a tree) using a saw : the top of each post is sawed off at railing height | [ intrans. ] thieves escaped after sawing through iron bars on a basement window | [as adj., in combination ] ( -sawn) rough-sawn planks.
• [ trans. ] enable a listener or reader to learn or understand something by conveying or revealing (information or ideas) : I don't want to say too much | figurative the movie's title says it all.
• [ trans. ] (of a clock or watch) indicate (a specified time) : the clock says ten past two. • ( be said) be asserted or reported (often used to avoid committing the speaker or writer to the truth of the assertion) : [with infinitive ] they were said to be training freedom fighters | [with clause ] it is said that she lived to be over a hundred.
• [ trans. ] ( say something for) present a consideration in favor of or excusing (someone or something) : all I can say for him is that he's a better writer than some.
an opportunity for stating one's opinion or feelings : the voters are entitled to have their say on the treaty. • an opportunity to influence developments and policy : the assessor will have a say in how the money is spent | the households concerned would still have some say in what happened.
go without saying be obvious : it goes without saying that teachers must be selected with care. [ORIGIN: translating French (cela) va sans dire.] have something to say for oneself contribute to a conversation or discussion, esp. as an explanation for one's behavior or actions : haven't you anything to say for yourself?
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.
they say it is rumored.
says you! informal used in speech to express disagreement or disbelief : "He's guilty." "Says you! I think he's innocent."
attach scaffolding to (a building) : [as adj. ] ( scaffolded) the soot-black scaffolded structures.
injure with very hot liquid or steam : the tea scalded his tongue. See note at burn .
1 [ trans. ] remove scale or scales from : he scales the fish and removes the innards.
[ trans. ] weigh a specified weight : some men scaled less than ninety pounds.
1 a graduated range of values forming a standard system for measuring or grading something : company employees have hit the top of their pay scales | figurative two men at opposite ends of the social scale.
• a series of marks at regular intervals in a line used in measuring something : the mean delivery time is plotted against a scale on the right. • a device having such a series of marks : she read the exact distance off a scale.
• a rule determining the distances between such marks : the vertical axis is given on a logarithmic scale. 2 [in sing. ] the relative size or extent of something : no one foresaw the scale of the disaster | everything in the house is on a grand scale. • [often as adj. ] a ratio of size in a map, model, drawing, or plan : a one-fifth scale model of a seven-story building | an Ordnance Survey map on a scale of 1:2500.
1 climb up or over (something high and steep) : thieves scaled an 8-foot fence. 2 represent in proportional dimensions; reduce or increase in size according to a common scale : [as adj. ] ( scaled) scaled plans of the house.
scale something back reduce something in size, number, or extent, esp. by a constant proportion across the board : in the short term, even scaling back defense costs money. scale something down (or scale down) reduce something (or be reduced) in size, number or extent, esp. by a constant proportion across the board : manufacturing capacity has been scaled down | his whole income scaled down by 20 percent. scale something up (or scale up) increase something (or be increased) in size or number : one cannot suddenly scale up a laboratory procedure by a thousandfold.
a dishonest scheme; a fraud : [with adj. ] an insurance scam.
swindle : a guy that scams the elderly out of their savings.
(esp. of a small animal or child) run with quick light steps, esp. through fear or excitement : he scampered in like an overgrown puppy.
1 look at all parts of (something) carefully in order to detect some feature : he raised his binoculars to scan the coast. • look quickly but not very thoroughly through (a document or other text) in order to identify relevant information : we scan the papers for news from the trouble spots | [ intrans. ] I scanned through the reference materials. • cause (a surface, object, or part of the body) to be traversed by a detector or an electromagnetic beam : their brains are scanned so that researchers can monitor the progress of the disease.
• convert (a document or picture) into digital form for storage or processing on a computer : text and pictures can be scanned into the computer.
an act of scanning someone or something : a quick scan of the sports page.
causing general public outrage by a perceived offense against morality or law : a series of scandalous liaisons | a scandalous allegation. • (of a state of affairs) disgracefully bad, typically as a result of someone's negligence or irresponsibility : a scandalous waste of taxpayers' money.
barely sufficient or adequate : companies with scant regard for the safety of future generations. • [ attrib. ] barely amounting to a specified number or quantity : she weighed a scant two pounds.
provide grudgingly or in insufficient amounts : he does not scant his attention to the later writings. • deal with inadequately; neglect : the press regularly scants a host of issues relating to safety and health.small or insufficient in quantity or amount : scanty wages. • (of clothing) revealing; skimpy : the women looked cold in their scanty gowns.
1 a mark left on the skin or within body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed quite completely and fibrous connective tissue has developed : a faint scar ran the length of his left cheek.
• figurative a lasting effect of grief, fear, or other emotion left on a person's character by a traumatic experience : the attack has left mental scars on Terry and his family. • a mark left on something following damage of some kind : Max could see scars of the blast.
mark with a scar or scars : he is likely to be scarred for life after injuries to his face, arms, and legs | [as adj., in combination ] ( -scarred) battle-scarred troops.
(esp. of food, money, or some other resource) insufficient for the demand : as raw materials became scarce, synthetics were developed. • occurring in small numbers or quantities; rare : the freshwater shrimp becomes scarce in soft water.
only just; almost not : her voice is so low I can scarcely hear what she is saying. • only a very short time before : she had scarcely dismounted before the door swung open. • used to suggest that something is unlikely to be or certainly not the case : they could scarcely all be wrong.
cause great fear or nervousness in; frighten : the rapid questions were designed to scare her into blurting out the truth. • [ trans. ] drive or keep (someone) away by frightening them : the threat of bad weather scared away the crowds.
a sudden attack of fright : gosh, that gave me a scare!
fearful; frightened : she's scared stiff of her dad | [with clause ] I was scared I was going to kill myself | [with infinitive ] he's scared to come to you and ask for help.
harm; injure : he was barely scathed.
witheringly scornful; severely critical : she launched a scathing attack on the governor.
throw in various random directions : scatter the coconut over the icing | his family is hoping to scatter his ashes at sea. • ( be scattered) [usu. with adverbial ] occur or be found at intervals rather than all together : there are many mills scattered throughout the marshlands | [as adj. ] ( scattered) a scattered mountain community.
• (of a group of people or animals) separate and move off quickly in different directions : the roar made the dogs scatter.
a small, dispersed amount of something : a scatter of houses on the north shore.
search for and collect (anything usable) from discarded waste : people sell junk scavenged from the garbage | [ intrans. ] the city dump where the squatters scavenge to survive.
• search for discarded items or food in (a place) : the mink is still commonly seen scavenging the beaches of California.
• a postulated sequence or development of events : a possible scenario is that he was attacked after opening the front door.
1 the place where an incident in real life or fiction occurs or occurred : the emergency team were among the first on the scene | relatives left flowers at the scene of the crash.
• an incident of a specified nature : there had already been some scenes of violence. • a place or representation of an incident : scenes of 1930s America. • [with adj. ] a specified area of activity or interest : the country music scene.
• [usu. in sing. ] a public display of emotion or anger : she was loath to make a scene in the office.
behind the scenes out of sight of the public at a theater or organization. • figurative secretly : diplomatic maneuvers going on behind the scenes.
a distinctive smell, esp. one that is pleasant : the scent of freshly cut hay. See note at smell . • pleasant-smelling liquid worn on the skin; perfume : she sprayed scent over her body.
2 discern by the sense of smell : a shark can scent blood from well over half a mile away. • figurative sense the presence, existence, or imminence of : a commander who scented victory.
1 a plan for carrying out a process or procedure, giving lists of intended events and times : we have drawn up an engineering schedule. • (usu. one's schedule) one's day-to-day plans or timetable : take a moment out of your busy schedule. • a timetable : information on airline schedules.
arrange or plan (an event) to take place at a particular time : the release of the single is scheduled for April. • make arrangements for (someone or something) to do something : [ trans. ] he is scheduled to be released from prison this spring.
ahead of (or behind) schedule earlier (or later) than planned or expected. on ( or according to) schedule on time; as planned or expected.
• (of thought, ideas, etc.) simplistic or formulaic in character, usually to an extent inappropriate to the complexities of the subject matter : a highly schematic reading of the play.
a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining some particular object or putting a particular idea into effect : a clever marketing scheme. • a secret or underhanded plan; a plot : police uncovered a scheme to steal paintings worth more than $250,000.
haul or carry (something heavy or awkward) : she schlepped her groceries home. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) go or move reluctantly or with effort : I would have preferred not to schlep all the way over there to run an errand.
involving or relating to serious academic study: : scholarly journals | a scholarly career. • having or showing knowledge, learning, or devotion to academic pursuits : a scholarly account of the period | an earnest, scholarly man.
1 of or concerning schools and education : scholastic achievement.
send to school; educate : a scientist born in Taiwan and schooled in California. • train or discipline (someone) in a particular skill or activity : he schooled her in horsemanship | it's important to school yourself to be good at exams.
school of thought a particular way of thinking, typically one disputed by the speaker : a school of thought that calls into question the constitutional foundations of this country.
1 [ trans. ] cut (something) with scissors : pages scissored out of a magazine.q
speak to someone or about something in a scornfully derisive or mocking way : department officials scoffed at the allegations | [with direct speech ] "You, a scientist?" he scoffed.
• archaic an object of ridicule : his army was the scoff of all Europe.
remonstrate with or rebuke (someone) angrily : Mom took Anna away, scolding her for her bad behavior. See note at rebuke .
• a quantity taken up by a scoop : an apple pie with scoops of ice cream on top.
1 pick up and move (something) with a scoop : Philip began to scoop grain into his bag. • create (a hollow or hole) with or as if with a scoop : a hole was scooped out in the floor of the dwelling. • pick up (someone or something) in a swift, fluid movement : he laughed and scooped her up in his arms.
go or leave somewhere quickly : I'd better scoot | they scooted off on their bikes.
the extent of the area or subject matter that something deals with or to which it is relevant : we widened the scope of our investigation | such questions go well beyond the scope of this book. See note at range . • the opportunity or possibility to do or deal with something : the scope for major change is always limited by political realities.
2 ( pl. same) a group or set of twenty or about twenty : a score of men lost their lives in the battle | Doyle's success brought imitators by the score. • ( scores of) a large amount or number of something : he sent scores of enthusiastic letters to friends.
1 gain (a point, goal, run, etc.) in a competitive game : Penn State scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter | [ intrans. ] Martinez scored on Anderson's sacrifice fly.
• decide on the score to be awarded to (a competitor) : the judge must score each dog against this standard. • gain (a number of points) for a competitor; be worth : each correct answer scores ten points.
• informal secure (a success or an advantage) : the band scored a hit single. • [ intrans. ] informal be successful : [with complement ] his new movie scored big.
the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt : I do not wish to become the object of scorn | [in sing. ] a general scorn for human life.
feel or express contempt or derision for : he accused America of scorning the Arab nation. See note at despise . • reject (something) in a contemptuous way : opponents scorned Noriega's offer to negotiate.
feeling or expressing contempt or derision : the justices have been scornful of the government's conduct | scornful laughter.
1 clean or brighten the surface of (something) by rubbing it hard, typically with an abrasive or detergent : he scoured the bathtub. • remove (dirt or unwanted matter) by rubbing in such a way : use an electric toothbrush to scour off plaque | [ intrans. ] I've spent all day mopping and scouring.
• [in sing. ] an act of rubbing something hard to clean or brighten it : give the floor a good scour.
subject (a place, text, etc.) to a thorough search in order to locate something : David scoured each newspaper for an article on the murder.
make a search for someone or something in various places : I was sent to scout around for a place to park the camper | we scouted for clues.
• [ trans. ] explore or examine (a place or area of business) so as to gather information about it : American companies are keen to scout out business opportunities.
scratch or grope around with one's fingers to find, collect, or hold on to something : she scrabbled at the grassy slope, desperate for a firm grip. • (of an animal) scratch at something with its claws : a dog was scrabbling at the door.
1 [in sing. ] an act of scratching or scrambling for something : he heard the scrabble of claws behind him. • a struggle to get somewhere or achieve something : a scrabble among the salesmen to avoid going to the bottom of the heap.
1 [ intrans. ] make one's way quickly or awkwardly up a steep slope or over rough ground by using one's hands as well as one's feet : we scrambled over the wet boulders. • move hurriedly or clumsily from or into a particular place or position : she scrambled out of the car | I tried to scramble to my feet. • ( scramble into) put (clothes) on hurriedly : Robbie scrambled into jeans and a T-shirt.
• [with infinitive ] struggle or compete with others for something in an eager or uncontrolled and undignified way : firms scrambled to win public-sector contracts.
1 a difficult or hurried clamber up or over something : an undignified scramble over the wall.
• an eager or uncontrolled and undignified struggle with others to obtain or achieve something : a scramble for high-priced concert seats.
1 a small piece or amount of something, esp. one that is left over after the greater part has been used : I scribbled her address on a scrap of paper | scraps of information. • ( scraps) bits of uneaten food left after a meal, esp. when fed to animals : he filled Sammy's bowls with fresh water and scraps. • used to emphasize the lack or smallness of something : there was not a scrap of aggression in him | every scrap of green land is up for grabs by development.
discard or remove from service (a retired, old, or inoperative vehicle, vessel, or machine), esp. so as to convert it to scrap metal : the decision was made to scrap the entire fleet. • abolish or cancel (something, esp. a plan, policy, or law) that is now regarded as unnecessary, unwanted, or unsuitable : the station scrapped plans to televise the contest live.
1 [ trans. ] push or pull a hard or sharp implement across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter : rinse off the carrots and scrape them | we scraped the dishes clean. • use a sharp or hard implement to remove (dirt or unwanted matter) from something : she scraped the mud off her shoes. • apply (a hard or sharp implement) in this way : he scraped the razor across the stubble on his cheek. • make (a hollow) by scraping away soil or rock : he found a ditch, scraped a hole, and put the bag in it.
2 rub or cause to rub by accident against a rough or hard surface, causing damage or injury : [ intrans. ] he smashed into the wall and felt his knee scrape against the plaster | [ trans. ] she reversed in a reckless sweep, scraping the left front fender. • [ trans. ] draw or move (something) along or over something else, making a harsh noise : she scraped back her chair and stood up. • [ intrans. ] move with or make such a sound : she lifted the gate to prevent its scraping along the ground.
3 [ trans. ] just manage to achieve; accomplish with great effort or difficulty : for some years he scraped a living as a tutor. • ( scrape something together/up) collect or accumulate something with difficulty : they could hardly scrape up enough money for one ticket, let alone two. • [ intrans. ] try to save as much money as possible; economize : they had scrimped and scraped and saved for years.
• [ intrans. ] ( scrape by/along) manage to live with difficulty : she has to scrape by on Social Security. • [ intrans. ] narrowly pass by or through something : there was only just room to scrape through between the tree and the edge of the stream.
1 an act or sound of scraping : he heard the scrape of his mother's key in the lock. • an injury or mark caused by scraping : there was a long, shallow scrape on his shin.
1 consisting of disorganized, untidy, or incomplete parts : scrappy lecture notes piled up unread. [ORIGIN: mid 19th cent.: derivative of scrap 1 .]
1 [ trans. ] score or mark the surface of (something) with a sharp or pointed object : the car's paintwork was battered and scratched | [ intrans. ] he scratched at a stain on his jacket. • make a long, narrow superficial wound in the skin of : her arms were scratched by the thorns | I scratched myself on the tree. • rub (a part of one's body) with one's fingernails to relieve itching : Jessica lifted her sunglasses and scratched her nose. • make (a mark or hole) by scoring a surface with a sharp or pointed object : I found two names scratched on one of the windowpanes.
• accomplish (something) with great effort or difficulty : he scratches out a living growing strawberries.
• [ trans. ] remove (something) from something else by pulling a sharp implement over it : he scratched away the plaster. • [ intrans. ] make a rasping or grating noise by scraping something over a hard surface : the dog scratched to be let in | [as n. ] ( scratching) there was a sound of scratching behind the wall.
1 a mark or wound made by scratching : the scratches on her arm were throbbing | [as adj. ] scratch marks on the door. • [in sing. ] informal a slight or insignificant wound or injury : it's nothing—just a scratch. • [in sing. ] an act or spell of scratching oneself to relieve itching : he gave his scalp a good scratch.
scratch the surface 1 deal with a matter only in the most superficial way : research has only scratched the surface of the paranormal. 2 initiate the briefest investigation to discover something concealed : they have a boring image, but scratch the surface and it's fascinating.
write (something) in a hurried, careless way : Charlie scrawled his signature | [ intrans. ] he was scrawling on the back of a used envelope.
an example of hurried, careless writing : the page was covered in scrawls and doodles | reams of handwritten scrawl. • a note or message written in this way : Duncan read the scrawl, then passed it to her.
give a long, loud, piercing cry or cries expressing excitement, great emotion, or pain : they could hear him screaming in pain | [as adj. ] ( screaming) a houseful of barking dogs and screaming children. • [ reporting verb ] cry something in a high-pitched, frenzied way : [ intrans. ] I ran to the house screaming for help | [with direct speech ] "Get out!" he screamed | [ trans. ] he screamed abuse into the phone.
• urgently and vociferously call attention to one's views or feelings, esp. ones of anger or distress : [with clause ] his supporters scream that he is being done an injustice | figurative the creative side of me is screaming out for attention.
a long, loud, piercing cry expressing extreme emotion or pain : they were awakened by screams for help.
(of a person or animal) give a loud, harsh, piercing cry : she hit her brother, causing him to screech with pain. • make a loud, harsh, squealing sound : [as adj. ] ( screeching) she brought the car to a screeching halt.
• a loud, harsh, squealing sound : a screech of brakes.
• ( screen something off) separate something from something else with or as if with a screen : an area had been screened off as a waiting room. • protect (someone) from something dangerous or unpleasant : in my country, a man of my rank would be screened completely from any risk of attack. • prevent from causing or protect from electromagnetic interference : ensure that your microphone leads are properly screened from hum pickup.
2 show (a movie or video) or broadcast (a television program) : the show is to be screened by HBO later this year.
• check on or investigate (someone), typically to ascertain whether they are suitable for or can be trusted in a particular situation or job : all prospective presidential candidates would have to screened by the committee. • evaluate or analyze (something) for its suitability for a particular purpose or application : only one percent of rain forest plants have been screened for medical use.
• ( screen someone/something out) exclude someone or something after such evaluation or investigation : only those refugees who are screened out are sent back to Vietnam.
1 [ trans. ] fasten or tighten with a screw or screws : screw the hinge to your new door. • rotate (something) so as to fit it into or on to a surface or object by means of a spiral thread : Philip screwed the top on the flask. • [ intrans. ] (of an object) be attached or removed by being rotated in this way : a connector that screws on to the gas cylinder. • ( screw something around) turn one's head or body around sharply : he screwed his head around to try and find the enemy.
2 [ trans. ] (usu. be screwed) informal cheat or swindle (someone), esp. by charging them too much for something : if you do what they tell you, you're screwed | we ended up getting more money than what they were trying to screw us for.
screw up informal completely mismanage or mishandle a situation : I'm sorry, Susan, I screwed up. screw someone up informal cause someone to be emotionally or mentally disturbed : this job can really screw you up. screw something up 1 tense the muscles of one's face or around one's eyes, typically so as to register an emotion or because of bright light. 2 informal cause something to fail or go wrong : why are you trying to screw up your life? 3 summon up one's courage : now Stephen had to screw up his courage and confess.
write or draw (something) carelessly or hurriedly : he took the clipboard and scribbled something illegible | [as adj. ] ( scribbled) scribbled notes | [ intrans. ] hastily he scribbled in the margin.
a piece of writing or a picture produced in this way : illegible scribbles | he would never be able to decipher your scribble.
1 handwriting as distinct from print; written characters : her neat, tidy script.
the sacred writings of Christianity contained in the Bible : passages of scripture | the fundamental teachings of the Scriptures.
1 [ intrans. ] move displayed text or graphics in a particular direction on a computer screen in order to view different parts of them : she scrolled through her file.
rub (someone or something) hard so as to clean them, typically with a brush and water : he had to scrub the floor | she was scrubbing herself down at the sink | [ intrans. ] she scrubbed furiously at the plates. • ( scrub something away/off) remove dirt by rubbing hard : it took ages to scrub off the muck.
1 an act of scrubbing something or someone : give the floor a good scrub.
(of a person or process) diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details : the research has been carried out with scrupulous attention to detail. • very concerned to avoid doing wrong : she's too scrupulous to have an affair with a married man.
examine or inspect closely and thoroughly : customers were warned to scrutinize the small print.
scrape or brush the surface of (a shoe or other object) against something : I scuffed the heel of my shoe on a stone. • mark (a surface) by scraping or brushing it, esp. with one's shoes : the linoleum on the floor was scuffed.
1 a short, confused fight or struggle at close quarters : there were minor scuffles with police. 2 an act or sound of moving in a hurried, confused, or shuffling manner : he heard the scuffle of feet.
1 engage in a short, confused fight or struggle at close quarters : the teacher noticed two students scuffling in the corridor. 2 [with adverbial of direction ] move in a hurried, confused, or awkward way, making a rustling or shuffling sound : a drenched woman scuffled through the doorway.
create or represent (something) by carving, casting, or other shaping techniques : sculpting human figures from ivory | [ intrans. ] she was teaching him how to sculpt.
• a work of such a kind : a bronze sculpture | a collection of sculpture.
make or represent (a form) by carving, casting, or other shaping techniques : the choir stalls were each carefully sculptured.
a layer of dirt or froth on the surface of a liquid : green scum found on stagnant pools. • informal a worthless or contemptible person or group of people : you drug dealers are the scum of the earth.
(of a person or small animal) move hurriedly with short quick steps : pedestrians scurried for cover.
a situation of hurried and confused movement : I was in such a scurry.
an act or sound of scuttling : I heard the scuttle of rats across the room.
run hurriedly or furtively with short quick steps : a mouse scuttled across the floor.
(in words adopted from Latin) apart; without : secede | secure.
the level of the sea's surface, used in reckoning the height of geographical features such as hills and as a barometric standard : it is only 500 feet above sea level. Compare with mean sea level .
• [in sing. ] the state or fact of being joined or rendered impervious by such a substance or device : many fittings have tapered threads for a better seal.
fasten or close securely : he folded it, sealed the envelope, and walked to the mailbox.
• ( seal something off) isolate an area by preventing or monitoring entrance to and exit from it : anti-terrorist squad officers sealed off the area to search for possible bombs.
• conclude, establish, or secure (something) definitively, excluding the possibility of reversal or loss : to seal the deal he offered Thornton a place on the board of the nascent company.
my (or his, etc.) lips are sealed used to convey that one will not discuss or reveal something.
come (or fall) apart at the seams informal (of a person or system) be in a very poor condition and near to collapse : the attitude of the airport guard was symptomatic of a system falling apart at the seams.
(of a fabric or surface) smooth and without seams or obvious joins : seamless stockings | figurative seamless dialogue between the two pianos.
try to find something by looking or otherwise seeking carefully and thoroughly : I searched among the rocks, but there was nothing | Daniel is then able to search out the most advantageous mortgage | Hugh will be searching for the truth. • [ trans. ] examine (a place, vehicle, or person) thoroughly in order to find something or someone : she searched the house from top to bottom | the guards searched him for weapons.
an act of searching for someone or something : the police carried out a thorough search of the premises | he plans to go to the Himalayas in search of a yeti.
burn or scorch the surface of (something) with a sudden, intense heat : the water got so hot that it seared our lips | figurative a sharp pang of disappointment seared her. See note at burn . • [ intrans. ] (of pain) be experienced as a sudden, burning sensation : a crushing pain seared through his chest.
• fluctuating or restricted according to the season or time of year : there are companies whose markets are seasonal | seasonal rainfall.
• a sitting place for a passenger in a vehicle or for a member of an audience : we have a fairly small theater with about 1,300 seats. • a place in an elected legislative or other body : he lost his seat in the 1998 election. • a site or location of something specified : Washington, the seat of the federal government.
arrange for (someone) to sit somewhere : he seated her next to her husband. • ( seat oneself or be seated) sit down : she invited them to be seated | [as adj. ] ( seated) a dummy in a seated position. • (of a place such as a theater or restaurant) have seats for (a specified number of people) : a large tent that seats 100 to 150 people. • [ trans. ] fit in position : upper boulders were simply seated in the interstices below.
withdraw formally from membership in a federal union, an alliance, or a political or religious organization : the kingdom of Belgium seceded from the Netherlands in 1830.
the action of withdrawing formally from membership of a federation or body, esp. a political state : the republics want secession from the union.
keep (someone) away from other people : I secluded myself up here for a life of study and meditation.
the state of being private and away from other people : they enjoyed ten days of peace and seclusion.
• alternating; other : auctions are held every second week.
2 subordinate or inferior in position, rank, or importance : it was second only to Copenhagen among Baltic ports | he is a writer first and a scientist second.
second to none the best, worst, fastest, etc.
1 anticipate or predict (someone's actions or thoughts) by guesswork : he had to second-guess what the environmental regulations would be in five years' time. 2 judge or criticize (someone) with hindsight : the prime minister was willing to second-guess senior ministers in public.
1 (of goods) having had a previous owner; not new : a secondhand car. • [ attrib. ] denoting a store or shop where such goods can be bought : a secondhand bookstore. 2 (of information or experience) accepted on another's authority and not from original investigation : secondhand knowledge of her country.
1 on the basis that something has had a previous owner : tips on the pitfalls to avoid when buying secondhand. 2 on the basis of what others have said; indirectly : I was discounting anything I heard secondhand.
of mediocre or inferior quality : a second-rate theater.
a change of opinion or resolve reached after considering something again : on second thought, perhaps he was right.
1 coming after, less important than, or resulting from someone or something else that is primary : luck plays a role, but it's ultimately secondary to local knowledge.
not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others : how did you guess I had a secret plan? | the resupply effort was probably kept secret from Congress.
(of a cell, gland, or organ) produce and discharge (a substance) : insulin is secreted in response to rising levels of glucose in the blood.
(of a person or an organization) inclined to conceal feelings and intentions or not to disclose information : she was very secretive about her past.
• (of a person's expression or manner) having an enigmatic or conspiratorial quality : a secretive smile.
denoting or concerning a sect or sects : among the sectarian offshoots of Ismailism were the Druze of Lebanon.
sect |sɛkt| noun a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.
1 any of the more or less distinct parts into which something is or may be divided or from which it is made up : arrange orange sections on a platter. See note at fragment .
2 a distinct group within a larger body of people or things : the children's section of the library. • a group of players of a family of instruments within an orchestra : the brass section.
of or relating to a section or subdivision of a larger whole : a sectional championship. • of or relating to a section or group within a community : the chairman of the commission looked on sectional interests as a danger to the common good. • of or relating to a view of the structure of an object in section : sectional drawings. • made or supplied in sections : sectional sills, made from more than one piece of timber.
• a distinct part or branch of a nation's economy or society or of a sphere of activity such as education : the industrial and commercial sector | the Muslim sector of the village.
1 denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis : secular buildings | secular moral theory. Contrasted with sacred .
fixed or fastened so as not to give way, become loose, or be lost : check to ensure that all nuts and bolts are secure. • not subject to threat; certain to remain or continue safe and unharmed : they are working to ensure that their market share remains secure against competition. • protected against attack or other criminal activity : the official said that no airport could be totally secure. • (of a place of detention) having provisions against the escape of inmates : a secure unit for youthful offenders.
• feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety : everyone needs to have a home and to feel secure and wanted.
fix or attach (something) firmly so that it cannot be moved or lost : pins secure the handle to the main body. • make (a door or container) hard to open; fasten or lock : doors are likely to be well secured at night. • protect against threats; make safe : the government is concerned to secure the economy against too much foreign ownership.
1 the state of being free from danger or threat : the system is designed to provide maximum security against toxic spills | job security. • the safety of a state or organization against criminal activity such as terrorism, theft, or espionage : a matter of national security.
• the state of feeling safe, stable, and free from fear or anxiety : this man could give the emotional security she needed.
calm, dignified, and unhurried : in the old days, business was carried on at a rather more sedate pace. • quiet and rather dull : sedate suburban domesticity.
calm (someone) or make them sleep by administering a sedative drug : she was heavily sedated.
promoting calm or inducing sleep : the seeds have a sedative effect.
attract (someone) to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy : they should not be seduced into thinking that their success ruled out the possibility of a relapse. See note at tempt .
tempting and attractive; enticing : a seductive voice.
I can't see into the future.
• be the time or setting of (something) : the 1970s saw the beginning of a technological revolution. • observe without being able to affect : they see their rights being taken away.
• ( see something in) find good or attractive qualities in (someone) : I don't know what I see in you. 2 discern or deduce mentally after reflection or from information; understand : I can't see any other way to treat it | [with clause ] I saw that perhaps he was right | she could see what Rhoda meant. • [with clause ] ascertain after inquiring, considering, or discovering an outcome : I'll go along to the club and see if I can get a game. • [ trans. ] regard in a specified way : he saw himself as a good teacher | you and I see things differently. • foresee; view or predict as a possibility : I can't see him earning any more anywhere else.
4 [ trans. ] escort or conduct (someone) to a specified place : don't bother seeing me out. • [ intrans. ] ( see to) attend to; provide for the wants of : I'll see to Dad's tea. • [ intrans. ] ensure : Lucy saw to it that everyone got enough to eat and drink | [with clause ] see that no harm comes to him.
as far as I can see to the best of my understanding or belief. as I see it in my opinion.
see through not be deceived by; detect the true nature of : he can see through her lies and deceptions.
see the light of day be born. • figurative come into existence; be made public, visible, or available : this software first saw the light of day back in 1993.
1 [ trans. ] sow (land) with seeds : the shoreline is seeded with a special grass.
• figurative cause (something) to begin to develop or grow : severance payouts that help seed their new businesses.
because; since : seeing as Stuart's an old friend, I thought I might help him out.
attempt to find (something) : they came here to seek shelter from biting winter winds. • attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something) : the new regime sought his extradition | [ intrans. ] her parents had never sought to interfere with her freedom. • ask for (something) from someone : he sought help from the police. • ( seek someone/something out) search for and find someone or something : it's his job to seek out new customers.
• ( cannot seem to do something) be unable to do something, despite having tried : he couldn't seem to remember his lines.
• [with infinitive ] used to make a statement or description of one's thoughts, feelings, or actions less assertive or forceful : I seem to remember giving you very precise instructions.
appearing to be real or true, but not necessarily being so; apparent : Ellen's seeming indifference to the woman's fate. See note at ostensible .
so as to give the impression of having a certain quality; apparently : a seemingly competent and well-organized person. • [ sentence adverb ] according to the facts as one knows them; as far as one knows : it's touch and go, seemingly, and she's asking for you.
conforming to accepted notions of propriety or good taste; decorous : I felt it was not seemly to observe too closely.
(of a liquid) flow or leak slowly through porous material or small holes : water began to seep through the soles of his boots.
(of a liquid) bubble up as a result of being boiled : the brew foamed and seethed.
• (of a river or the sea) foam as if it were boiling; be turbulent : the gray ocean seethed. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) be filled with intense but unexpressed anger : inwardly he was seething at the slight to his authority. • (of a place) be crowded with people or things moving about in a rapid or hectic way : the entire cellar was seething with spiders | the village seethed with life. • [with adverbial of direction ] (of a crowd of people) move in a rapid or hectic way : we cascaded down the stairs and seethed across the station | [as adj. ] ( seething) the seething mass of commuters.
divide (something) into separate parts or sections : the unemployed are segmented into two groups. • [ intrans. ] divide into separate parts or sections : the market is beginning to segment into a number of well-defined categories.
set apart from the rest or from each other; isolate or divide : handicapped people should not be segregated from the rest of society. • separate or divide (people, activities, or institutions) along racial, sexual, or religious lines : blacks were segregated in churches, schools, and colleges | [as adj. ] ( segregated) segregated education systems.
the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart : the segregation of pupils with learning difficulties. • the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment : an official policy of racial segregation.
• figurative of enormous proportions or effect : there are seismic pressures threatening American society.
1 [ trans. ] take hold of suddenly and forcibly : she jumped up and seized his arm | she seized hold of the door handle. • capture (a place) using force : army rebels seized an air force base. • assume (power or control) by force : the current president seized power in a coup. • (of the police or another authority) take possession of (something) by warrant or legal right; confiscate; impound : police have seized 726 lb of cocaine.
• take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively : he seized his chance to attack as Delaney hesitated. • (of a feeling or pain) affect (someone) suddenly or acutely : he was seized by the most dreadful fear. • strongly appeal to or attract (the imagination or attention) : the story of the king's escape seized the public imagination.
seize on/upon take eager advantage of (something); exploit for one's own purposes : the government has eagerly seized on the evidence to deny any link between deprivation and crime.
seize the day make the most of the present moment. [ORIGIN: see carpe diem .]
1 the action of capturing someone or something using force : the seizure of the Assembly building | the Nazi seizure of power.
2 a sudden attack of illness, esp. a stroke or an epileptic fit : the patient had a seizure.
(of a group of people or things) carefully chosen from a larger number as being the best or most valuable : he joined his select team of young Intelligence operatives. • (of a place or group of people) only used by or consisting of a wealthy or sophisticated elite; exclusive : the opera was seen by a small and highly select audience.
1 the action or fact of carefully choosing someone or something as being the best or most suitable : such men decided the selection of candidates | they objected to his selection.
relating to or involving the selection of the most suitable or best qualified : the mini-cow is the result of generations of selective breeding. • (of a person) tending to choose carefully : he is very selective in his reading.
• [with adj. ] a person's particular nature or personality; the qualities that make a person individual or unique : by the end of the round he was back to his old self | Paula seemed to be her usual cheerful self.
• [with adj. ] ( one's self) used ironically to refer in specified glowing terms to oneself or someone else : the only side worth supporting is your own sweet self.
self...
feeling undue awareness of oneself, one's appearance, or one's actions : I feel a bit self-conscious parking my scruffy old car | a self-conscious laugh.
(of a thing) destroy itself by exploding or disintegrating automatically, having been preset to do so : the tape would automatically self-destruct after twenty minutes. • [as adj. ] denoting a device that enables or causes something to destroy itself in such a way : the self-destruct button.
educated largely through one's own efforts, rather than by formal instruction : he was a self-made and almost self-educated businessman.
working for oneself as a freelancer or the owner of a business rather than for an employer : a self-employed builder. • relating to or designed for people working for themselves : the rules for self-employed pension plans have been altered.
confidence in one's own worth or abilities; self-respect : assertiveness training for those with low self-esteem. See note at pride .
not needing to be demonstrated or explained; obvious : self-evident truths | [with clause ] it is self-evident that you cannot work 14 hours a day and have time left over for a child.
easily understood; not needing explanation : the film's title is fairly self-explanatory.
(of an opinion or prediction) bound to be proved correct or to come true as a result of behavior caused by its being expressed : expecting something to be bad can turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
motivated to do or achieve something because of one's own enthusiasm or interest, without needing pressure from others : she's a very independent, self-motivated individual.
having an arrogantly high regard for oneself or one's own opinions : a pompous, self-opinionated bully.
self-pity noun excessive, self-absorbed unhappiness over one's own troubles.
self-portrait noun a portrait of an artist produced or created by that artist.
described as or proclaimed to be such by oneself, without endorsement by others : exercise books written by self-proclaimed experts.
needing no outside help in satisfying one's basic needs, esp. with regard to the production of food : I don't think Botswana, due to the climate, could ever be self-sufficient in food. • emotionally and intellectually independent : their son was a little bit of a loner and very self-sufficient.
having acquired knowledge or skill on one's own initiative rather than through formal instruction or training : a self-taught graphic artist.
concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish : an act of selfless devotion.
• [ intrans. ] ( sell for/at) be available for sale at (a specified price) : these antiques sell for about $375. • [ intrans. ] ( sell out) sell all of one's stock of something : they had nearly sold out of the initial run of 75,000 copies. • [ intrans. ] ( sell out) be all sold : it was clear that the performances would not sell out.
sell one's soul ( to the devil) do or be willing to do anything, no matter how wrong it is, in order to achieve one's objective : universities are selling their souls for commercial success.
the outward appearance or apparent form of something, esp. when the reality is different : she tried to force her thoughts back into some semblance of order.
1 half : semicircular. • occurring or appearing twice in a specified period : semiannual. 2 partly; in some degree or particular : semiconscious. • almost : semidarkness.
1 (of a work, event, moment, or figure) strongly influencing later developments : his seminal work on chaos theory.
semiotics |ˈsiːmɪˈɒtɪks| |ˈsɛmɪ-| plural noun [treated as sing. ] the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.
receiving payment for an activity but not relying entirely on it for a living : a semiprofessional musician.
• [ trans. ] cause to move sharply or quickly; propel : the volcano sent clouds of ash up four miles into the air. • ( send someone to) arrange for someone to go to (an institution) and stay there for a particular purpose : many parents prefer to send their children to single-sex schools.
send for order or instruct (someone) to come to one; summon : if you don't go I shall send for the police. • order by mail : send for our mail order catalog. send something in submit material to be considered for a competition or possible publication : don't forget to send in your entries for our summer competition.
send someone off instruct someone to go; arrange for someone's departure : she sent him off to a lecturing engagement. • (of a referee, esp. in soccer or rugby) order a player to leave the field and take no further part in the game : the player was sent off for rough play. send something off dispatch something by mail : please take a moment or two to send off a check to a good cause.
send something out 1 produce or give out something; emit something : radar signals were sent out in powerful pulses. 2 dispatch items to a number of people; distribute something widely : the company sent out written information about the stock.
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.
(of a person) having or showing the weaknesses or diseases of old age, esp. a loss of mental faculties : she couldn't cope with her senile husband.
1 of a more advanced age : he is 20 years senior to Leonard.
a person who is a specified number of years older than someone else : she was only two years his senior.
1 a physical feeling or perception resulting from something that happens to or comes into contact with the body : a burning sensation in the middle of the chest. • the capacity to have such feelings or perceptions : they had lost sensation in one or both forearms. • an inexplicable awareness or impression : [with clause ] she had the eerie sensation that she was being watched. 2 a widespread reaction of interest and excitement : his arrest for poisoning caused a sensation.
• a person, object, or event that arouses such interest and excitement : she was a sensation, the talk of the evening.
(of an event, a person, or a piece of information) causing great public interest and excitement : a sensational murder trial. • (of an account or a publication) presenting information in a way that is intended to provoke public interest and excitement, at the expense of accuracy : cheap sensational periodicals. • informal very good indeed; very impressive or attractive : you look sensational | a sensational view.
2 a feeling that something is the case : she had the sense of being a political outsider. • an awareness or feeling that one is in a specified state : you can improve your general health and sense of well-being. • ( sense of) a keen intuitive awareness of or sensitivity to the presence or importance of something : she had a fine sense of comic timing.
• a reasonable or comprehensible rationale : I can't see the sense in leaving all the work to you. 4 a way in which an expression or a situation can be interpreted; a meaning : it is not clear which sense of the word "characters" is intended in this passage.
perceive by a sense or senses : with the first frost, they could sense a change in the days. • be aware of : she could sense her father's anger rising. • [with clause ] be aware that something is the case without being able to define exactly how one knows : he could sense that he wasn't liked. • (of a machine or similar device) detect : an optical fiber senses a current flowing in a conductor.
bring someone to their (or come to one's) senses restore someone to (or regain) consciousness. • cause someone to (or start to) think and behave reasonably after a period of folly or irrationality.
make sense of find meaning or coherence in : she must try to make sense of what was going on.
1 [often as complement ] (of a person) unconscious : the attack left a policeman beaten senseless. • incapable of sensation : she knocked the glass from the girl's senseless fingers. 2 (esp. of violent or wasteful action) without discernible meaning or purpose : in Vietnam, I saw the senseless waste of human beings.
the ability to appreciate and respond to complex emotional or aesthetic influences; sensitivity : the study of literature leads to a growth of intelligence and sensibility. • ( sensibilities) a person's delicate sensitivity that makes them readily offended or shocked : the scale of the poverty revealed by the survey shocked people's sensibilities.
1 (of a statement or course of action) chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit : I cannot believe that it is sensible to spend so much | a sensible diet. • (of a person) possessing or displaying prudence : he was a sensible and capable boy. • (of an object) practical and functional rather than decorative : Mom always made me have sensible shoes.
• [ predic. ] ( sensible of/to) able to notice or appreciate; not unaware of : we are sensible of the difficulties he faces.
1 quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences : the new method of protein detection was more sensitive than earlier ones | spiders are sensitive to vibrations on their web. • easily damaged, injured, or distressed by slight changes : the committee called for improved protection of wildlife in environmentally sensitive areas.
2 (of a person or a person's behavior) having or displaying a quick and delicate appreciation of others' feelings : I pay tribute to the Minister for his sensitive handling of the bill. • easily offended or upset : I suppose I shouldn't be so sensitive. 3 kept secret or with restrictions on disclosure to avoid endangering security : he was suspected of passing sensitive information to other countries.
the quality or condition of being sensitive : a total lack of common decency and sensitivity | he has a sensitivity to cow's milk. • ( sensitivities) a person's feelings which might be easily offended or hurt; sensibilities : the only rules that matter are practical ones that respect local sensitivities.
of or relating to sensation or the physical senses; transmitted or perceived by the senses : sensory input.
of or arousing gratification of the senses and physical, esp. sexual, pleasure : the production of the ballet is sensual and passionate. See note at sensuous .
2 the punishment assigned to a defendant found guilty by a court : her husband is serving a three-year sentence for fraud. • the punishment fixed by law for a particular offense : slander of an official carried an eight-year prison sentence.
declare the punishment decided for (an offender) : ten army officers were sentenced to death.
able to perceive or feel things : she had been instructed from birth in the equality of all sentient life forms.
a view of or attitude toward a situation or event; an opinion : I agree with your sentiments regarding the road bridge. • general feeling or opinion : the council sought steps to control the rise of racist sentiment.
• exaggerated and self-indulgent feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia : many of the appeals rely on treacly sentiment.
• exaggerated and self-indulgent feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia : many of the appeals rely on treacly sentiment.
excessive tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia : there are passages which verge on sentimentality | sentimentalities of this kind seem reserved, in her, for people she does not know.
able to be separated or treated separately : body and soul are not separable.
forming or viewed as a unit apart or by itself : this raises two separate issues | he regards the study of literature as quite separate from life. • not joined or touching physically : hostels with separate quarters for men and women. • different; distinct : melt the white and dark chocolate in separate bowls.
1 [ trans. ] cause to move or be apart : police were trying to separate two rioting mobs | they were separated by the war. • form a distinction or boundary between (people, places, or things) : only a footpath separated their garden from the shore | six years separated the two brothers. • [ intrans. ] become detached or disconnected : the second stage of the rocket failed to separate. • [ intrans. ] leave another person's company : they separated at the corner, agreeing to meet within two hours. • [ intrans. ] stop living together as a couple : after her parents separated, she was brought up by her mother | [as adj. ] ( separated) her parents are separated.
2 divide or cause to divide into constituent or distinct elements : [ intrans. ] the milk had separated into curds and whey | [ trans. ] separate the eggs and beat the yolks. • [ trans. ] extract or remove for use or rejection : the skins are separated from the juice before fermentation | figurative we need to separate fact from speculation. • [ trans. ] distinguish between; consider individually : we cannot separate his thinking from his activity.
1 the action or state of moving or being moved apart : the damage that might arise from the separation of parents and children. • the state in which a husband and wife remain married but live apart : legal grounds for divorce or separation | she and her husband have agreed to a trial separation. See also legal separation (sense 1). 2 the division of something into constituent or distinct elements : prose structured into short sentences with meaningful separation into paragraphs.
• the process of distinguishing between two or more things : religion involved the separation of the sacred and the profane | the constitution imposed a clear separation between church and state.
separation of powers an act of vesting the legislative, executive, and judicial powers of government in separate bodies.
• something that takes place after or as a result of an earlier event : this encouragement to grow potatoes had a disastrous sequel some fifty years later.
1 a particular order in which related events, movements, or things follow each other : the content of the program should follow a logical sequence.
2 a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order : a grueling sequence of exercises | a sonnet sequence.
1 arrange in a particular order : trainee librarians decide how a set of misfiled cards could be sequenced.
forming or following in a logical order or sequence : a series of sequential steps.
1 isolate or hide away (someone or something) : Tiberius was sequestered on an island | the artist sequestered himself in his studio for two years.
1 calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil : her eyes were closed and she looked very serene | serene certainty. See note at calm .
the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled : an oasis of serenity amidst the bustling city.
1 consisting of, forming part of, or taking place in a series : a serial publication.
a story or play appearing in regular installments on television or radio or in a magazine or newspaper : a new three-part drama serial.
1 publish or broadcast (a story or play) in regular installments : sections of the book were serialized in the New Yorker.
1 perform duties or services for (another person or an organization) : Malcolm has served the church very faithfully. • provide (an area or group of people) with a product or service : a telecommunications company that serves southern New England. • [ intrans. ] be employed as a member of the armed forces : a military engineer who served with the army. • spend (a period) in office, in an apprenticeship, or in prison : he is serving a ten-year jail sentence.
• present (someone) with food or drink : I'll serve you with coffee and cake | [with two objs. ] Peter served them generous portions of soup. • (of food or drink) be enough for : the recipe serves four people. • attend to (a customer in a store) : she turned to serve the impatient customer.
be at someone's service be ready to assist someone whenever possible. be of service be available to assist someone.
1 [ trans. ] put, lay, or stand (something) in a specified place or position : Dana set the mug of tea down | Catherine set a chair by the bed. • ( be set) be situated or fixed in a specified place or position : the village was set among olive groves on a hill. • represent (a story, play, movie, or scene) as happening at a specified time or in a specified place : a spy novel set in Berlin. • mount a precious stone in (something, typically a piece of jewelry) : a bracelet set with emeralds.
• mount a precious stone in (something, typically a piece of jewelry) : a bracelet set with emeralds.
• [ intrans. ] (of a dancer) acknowledge another dancer, typically one's partner, using the steps prescribed : the gentleman sets to and turns with the lady on his left hand.
2 [ trans. ] put or bring into a specified state : plunging oil prices set in motion an economic collapse in Houston | [ trans. ] the hostages were set free. • [ trans. ] cause (someone or something) to start doing something : the incident set me thinking. • [ trans. ] instruct (someone) to do something : he'll set a man to watch you. • give someone (a task) : [with two objs. ] the problem we have been set.
set sail hoist the sails of a vessel. • begin a voyage : tomorrow we set sail for France.
set about 1 start doing something with vigor or determination : it would be far better to admit the problem openly and set about tackling it. 2 Brit., informal attack (someone). set someone against cause someone to be in opposition or conflict with : he hadn't meant any harm, but his few words had set her against him. set something against offset something against : wives' allowances can henceforth be set against investment income.
set someone apart give someone an air of unusual superiority : his blunt views set him apart. set something apart separate something and keep it for a special purpose : there were books and rooms set apart as libraries. set something aside 1 save or keep something, typically money or time, for a particular purpose : the bank expected to set aside about $700 million for restructuring. • remove land from agricultural production. 2 annul a legal decision or process. set someone/something back 1 delay or impede the progress of someone or something : this incident undoubtedly set back research. 2 informal (of a purchase) cost someone a particular amount of money : that must have set you back a bit.
set in (of something unpleasant or unwelcome) begin and seem likely to continue : less hardy plants should be brought inside before cold weather sets in.
set someone off cause someone to start doing something, esp. laughing or talking : anything will set him off laughing. set something off 1 detonate a bomb. • cause an alarm to go off. • cause a series of things to occur : the fear is that this could set off a chain reaction in other financial markets. 2 serve as decorative embellishment to : a pink carnation set off nicely by a red bow tie and cream shirt.
set someone/something on (or upon) cause or urge a person or animal to attack : I was asked to leave and threatened with having dogs set upon me.
set out begin a journey. • aim or intend to do something : she drew up a plan of what her organization should set out to achieve. set something out arrange or display something in a particular order or position. • present information or ideas in a well-ordered way in writing or speech : this chapter sets out the debate surrounding pluralism. set to begin doing something vigorously : she set to with bleach and scouring pads to render the vases spotless.
set someone up 1 establish someone in a particular capacity or role : his father set him up in business. 2 restore or enhance the health of someone : after my operation, the doctor recommended a cruise to set me up again. 3 informal make an innocent person appear guilty of something : suppose Zielinski had set him up for Ingram's murder? set something up 1 place or erect something in position : police set up a roadblock on Tenth Street. 2 establish a business, institution, or other organization. • make the arrangements necessary for something : he asked if I would like him to set up a meeting with the president. 3 begin making a loud sound. set oneself up as establish oneself in (a particular occupation) : he set himself up as an attorney in St. Louis. • claim to be or act like a specified kind of person (used to indicate skepticism as to someone's right or ability to do so) : he set himself up as a crusader for higher press and broadcasting standards.
1 a group or collection of things that belong together, resemble one another, or are usually found together : a set of false teeth | a new cell with two sets of chromosomes | a spare set of clothes. • a collection of implements, containers, or other objects customarily used together for a specific purpose : an electric fondue set. • a group of people with common interests or occupations or of similar social status : it was a fashionable haunt of the literary set.
2 [in sing. ] the way in which something is set, disposed, or positioned : the shape and set of the eyes. • the posture or attitude of a part of the body, typically in relation to the impression this gives of a person's feelings or intentions : the determined set of her upper torso. • the flow of a current or tide in a particular direction : the rudder kept the dinghy straight against the set of the tide.
• the place or area in which filming is taking place or a play is performed : the magazine has interviews on set with top directors.
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.
set the agenda draw up a list of items to be discussed at a meeting. • influence or determine a program of action : the activists set the agenda, and timorous administrators usually go along.
set the pace be the fastest runner in the early part of a race. • lead the way in doing or achieving something : space movies have set the pace for the development of special effects.
set the stage for prepare the conditions for (the occurrence or beginning of something) : these churchmen helped to set the stage for popular reform.
1 a reversal or check in progress : a serious setback for the peace process.
1 [ trans. ] resolve or reach an agreement about (an argument or problem) : every effort was made to settle the dispute. • end (a legal dispute) by mutual agreement : the matter was settled out of court | [ intrans. ] he sued for libel and then settled out of court. • determine; decide on : exactly what goes into the legislation has not been settled | [ intrans. ] they had not yet settled on a date for the wedding.
• determine; decide on : exactly what goes into the legislation has not been settled | [ intrans. ] they had not yet settled on a date for the wedding. • pay (a debt or account) : his bill was settled by charge card | [ intrans. ] I settled up with your brother for my board and lodging. • complete the administration and distribution of a decedent's estate. • ( settle something on) give money or property to (someone) through a deed of settlement or a will.
• [ intrans. ] ( settle for) accept or agree to (something that one considers to be less than satisfactory) : it was too cold for champagne so they settled for a cup of tea. • dated silence (someone considered a nuisance) by some means : he told me to hold my tongue or he would find a way to settle me. 2 [ intrans. ] adopt a more steady or secure style of life, esp. in a permanent job and home : one day I will settle down and raise a family. • [with adverbial of place ] make one's permanent home somewhere : in 1863 the family settled in London.
• begin to feel comfortable or established in a new home, situation, or job : she settled in happily with a foster family | he had settled into his new job. • [ trans. ] establish a colony in : European immigrants settled much of Australia. • ( settle down to) turn one's attention to; apply oneself to : Catherine settled down to her studies.
• become or make calmer or quieter : [ intrans. ] after a few months the controversy settled down | [ trans. ] try to settle your puppy down before going to bed. 3 [ intrans. ] sit or come to rest in a comfortable position : he settled into an armchair. • [ trans. ] make (someone) comfortable in a particular place or position : she allowed him to settle her in the taxi. • [ trans. ] move or adjust (something) so that it rests securely : she settled her bag on her shoulder. • fall or come down on to a surface : dust from the mill had settled on the roof.
• [ intrans. ] (of suspended particles) sink slowly in a liquid to form sediment; (of a liquid) become clear or still through this process : sediment settles near the bottom of the tank | he pours a glass and leaves it on the bar to settle. • [ intrans. ] (of an object or objects) gradually sink down under its or their own weight : they listened to the soft ticking and creaking as the house settled. • [ intrans. ] (of a ship or boat) sink gradually.
1 an official agreement intended to resolve a dispute or conflict : unions succeeded in reaching a pay settlement | the settlement of the Palestinian problem. • a formal arrangement made between the parties to a lawsuit in order to resolve it, esp. out of court : the owner reached an out-of-court settlement with the plaintiffs. 2 a place, typically one that has hitherto been uninhabited, where people establish a community : the little settlement of Buttermere.
more than two but not many : [as adj. ] the author of several books | [as pron. ] Van Gogh was just one of several artists who gathered at Auvers | several of his friends attended.
the action of ending a connection or relationship : the severance and disestablishment of the Irish Church | a complete severance of links with the Republic. • the state of being separated or cut off : she works on the feeling of severance, of being deprived of her mother.
1 (of something bad or undesirable) very great; intense : a severe shortage of technicians | a severe attack of asthma | damage is not too severe. • demanding great ability, skill, or resilience : a severe test of stamina. 2 strict or harsh : the charges would have warranted a severe sentence | he is unusually severe on what he regards as tendentious pseudo-learning. 3 very plain in style or appearance : she wore another severe suit, gray this time.
divide by cutting or slicing, esp. suddenly and forcibly : the head was severed from the body | [as adj. ] ( severed) severed limbs. • put an end to (a connection or relationship); break off : he severed his relations with Lawrence.
in poor condition through long or hard use or lack of care : a conscript in a shabby uniform saluted the car.
• figurative used in reference to something that restrains or impedes : society is going to throw off the shackles of racism and colonialism.
• figurative restrain; limit : they seek to shackle the oil and gas companies by imposing new controls.
1 comparative darkness and coolness caused by shelter from direct sunlight : sitting in the shade | this area will be in shade for much of the day.
• figurative a position of relative inferiority or obscurity : her elegant pink and black ensemble would put most outfits in the shade.
• [in sing. ] a slight amount of something : there is a shade of wistfulness in his rejection.
1 screen from direct light : she shaded her eyes against the sun. • cover, moderate, or exclude the light of : he shaded the flashlight with his hand. 2 darken or color (an illustration or diagram) with parallel pencil lines or a block of color : she shaded in the outline of a chimney. • [ intrans. ] (of a color or something colored) gradually change into another color : the sky shaded from turquoise to night blue. 3 make a slight reduction in the amount, rate, or price of : banks may shade the margin over base rate they charge customers.
shades of —— used to suggest reminiscence of or comparison with someone or something specified : colleges were conducting campaigns to ban Jewish societies—shades of Nazi Germany.
1 a dark area or shape produced by a body coming between rays of light and a surface : trees cast long shadows. • partial or complete darkness, esp. as produced in this way : the north side of the cathedral was deep in shadow | ( shadows) a stranger slowly approached from the shadows.
• a dark patch or area on a surface : there are dark shadows beneath your eyes. • a region of opacity on a radiograph : shadows on his lungs.
2 figurative used in reference to proximity, ominous oppressiveness, or sadness and gloom : the shadow of war fell across Europe | only one shadow lay over Sally's life. • used in reference to something insubstantial or fleeting : a freedom that was more shadow than substance. • used in reference to a position of relative inferiority or obscurity : he lived in the shadow of his father. • [with negative ] the slightest trace of something : she knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was lying.
• a weak or inferior remnant or version of something : this fine-looking, commanding man had become a shadow of his former self. • an expression of perplexity or sadness : a shadow crossed Maria's face.
1 (often be shadowed) envelop in shadow; cast a shadow over : the market is shadowed by St. Margaret's church | a hood shadowed her face. 2 follow and observe (someone) closely and typically secretly : he had been up all night shadowing a team of poachers.
full of shadows : the shadowy back streets of Stringtown. • of uncertain identity or nature : a shadowy figure appeared through the mist | the shadowy world of covert operations.
1 a long, narrow part or section forming the handle of a tool or club, the body of a spear or arrow, or a similar implement : the shaft of a golf club | the shaft of a feather.
• a ray of light or bolt of lightning : a shaft of sunlight. • a sudden flash of a quality or feeling : a shaft of inspiration.
1 [ intrans. ] (of light) shine in beams : brilliant sunshine shafted through the skylight.
situated in or full of shade : shady woods. • giving shade from sunlight : they sprawled under a shady carob tree.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a structure or area of land) tremble or vibrate : buildings shook in Sacramento and tremors were felt in Reno. • [ trans. ] cause to tremble or vibrate : a severe earthquake shook the area. • (of a person, a part of the body, or the voice) tremble uncontrollably from a strong emotion such as fear or anger : Luke was shaking with rage | her voice shook with passion.
2 [ trans. ] move (an object) up and down or from side to side with rapid, forceful, jerky movements : she stood in the hall and shook her umbrella. • [ trans. ] remove (an object or substance) from something by movements of this kind : they shook the sand out of their shoes. • informal get rid of or put an end to (something unwanted) : he was unable to shake off the memories of the trenches.
• grasp (someone) and move them roughly to and fro, either in anger or to rouse them from sleep : [ trans. ] he gently shook the driver awake and they set off.
3 [ trans. ] upset the composure of; shock or astonish : rumors of a further loss shook the market | the fall shook him up quite badly | [as adj. ] ( shaken) she was visibly shaken and upset when she returned. • [ trans. ] cause a change of mood or attitude by shocking or disturbing (someone) : he had to shake himself out of his lethargy.
1 an act of shaking : with a shake of its magnificent antlers the stag charged down the slope | camera shake causes the image to become blurred.
• an amount of something that is sprinkled by shaking a container : add a few shakes of sea salt and black pepper.
shake one's head turn one's head from side to side in order to indicate refusal, denial, disapproval, or incredulity : she shook her head in disbelief.
shake someone off get away from someone by shaking their grip loose. • manage to evade or outmaneuver someone who is following or pestering one : he thought he had shaken off his pursuer. • (in sports, esp. a race) outdistance another competitor : in the final lap she looked as though she had shaken off the Dutch girl.
shake someone up rouse someone from lethargy, apathy, or complacency : he had to do something to shake the team up—we lacked spark.
1 a radical change or restructuring, particularly in a hierarchical organization or group : after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a shakedown of the Russian press was inevitable. • a thorough search of a person or place : harassment and shakedowns by persons in police uniforms.
shaking or trembling : she managed a shaky laugh. • unstable because of poor construction or heavy use : a cracked, dangerously shaky table. • not safe or reliable; liable to fail or falter : thoroughly shaky evidence | Burns overcame a shaky start to beat the Red Sox.
• situated at no great depth : the shallow bed of the North Sea. • varying only slightly from a specified or understood line or direction, esp. the horizontal : a shallow roof. • not exhibiting, requiring, or capable of serious thought : a shallow analysis of contemporary society.
1 a thing that is not what it is purported to be : the proposed legislation is a farce and a sham. • pretense : it all turned out to be sham and hypocrisy. • a person who pretends to be someone or something they are not : he was a sham, totally unqualified for his job as a senior doctor.
bogus; false : a clergyman who arranged a sham marriage.
• used to reprove someone for something of which they should be ashamed : shame on you for hitting a woman | for shame, brother! • [in sing. ] a regrettable or unfortunate situation or action : it is a shame that they are not better known. • a person, action, or situation that brings a loss of respect or honor : ignorance of Latin would be a disgrace and a shame to any public man.
a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior : she was hot with shame | he felt a pang of shame at telling Alice a lie. • a loss of respect or esteem; dishonor : the incident had brought shame on his family.
worthy of or causing shame or disgrace : a shameful accusation.
(of a person or their conduct) characterized by or showing a lack of shame : his shameless hypocrisy.
• [usu. with adj. ] a specific form or guise assumed by someone or something : a fiend in human shape. • a piece of material, paper, etc., made or cut in a particular form : stick paper shapes on for the puppet's eyes and nose.
2 [with adj. ] the particular condition or state of someone or something : he was in no shape to drive | the building was in poor shape. • the distinctive nature or qualities of something : the future shape and direction of the country. • definite or orderly arrangement : check that your structure will give shape to your essay.
give a particular shape or form to : most caves are shaped by the flow of water through limestone | shape the dough into two-inch balls. • make (something) fit the form of something else : [ trans. ] suits have been shaped to fit so snugly that no curve is undefined. • determine the nature of; have a great influence on : his childhood was shaped by a loving relationship with his elder brother.
get into shape (or get someone into shape) become (or make someone) physically fitter by exercise : if you're thinking of getting into shape, take it easy and build up slowly.
out of shape 1 (of an object) not having its usual or original shape, esp. after being bent or knocked : check that the pipe end and compression nut are not bent out of shape. 2 (of a person) in poor physical condition; unfit.
(esp. of a garment) lacking a distinctive or attractive shape : women in shapeless cotton dresses.
a part or portion of a larger amount that is divided among a number of people, or to which a number of people contribute : under the proposals, investors would pay a greater share of the annual fees required | we gave them all the chance to have a share in the profits. • one of the equal parts into which a company's capital is divided, entitling the holder to a proportion of the profits : bought 33 shares of American Standard. • part proprietorship of property held by joint owners : Jake had a share in a large seagoing vessel.
• [in sing. ] the allotted or due amount of something that a person expects to have or to do, or that is expected to be accepted or done by them : she's done more than her fair share of globe-trotting.
v• use, occupy, or enjoy (something) jointly with another or others : they once shared a house in the Hamptons | [ intrans. ] there weren't enough plates, so we had to share | [as adj. ] ( shared) a shared bottle of wine.
1 precisely (used after an expression of time) : the meeting starts at 7:30 sharp.
• producing a sudden, piercing physical sensation or effect : I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back. • (of a food, taste, or smell) acidic and intense : sharp goats' milk cheese. • (of a sound) sudden and penetrating : there was a sharp crack of thunder. • (of words or a speaker) intended or intending to criticize or hurt : she feared his sharp tongue. • (of an emotion or experience) felt acutely or intensely; painful : her sharp disappointment was tinged with embarrassment.
• distinct in outline or detail; clearly defined : the job was a sharp contrast from her past life | the scene was as sharp and clear in his mind as a film. • informal (of clothes or their wearer) neat and stylish : they were greeted by a young man in a sharp suit.
3 (of an action or change) sudden and marked : there was a sharp increase in interest rates | he heard her sharp intake of breath. • (of a bend, angle, or turn) making a sudden change of direction : a sharp turn in the river. • having or showing speed of perception, comprehension, or response : her sharp eyes missed nothing | his old mind was not so sharp as it once was | he had a sharp sense of humor. • quick to take advantage, esp. in an unscrupulous or dishonest way : Paul's a sharp operator.
sharp-witted adjective (of a person) quick to notice and understand things.
make or become sharp : [ trans. ] she sharpened her pencil | [ intrans. ] her tone sharpened to exasperation. • improve or cause to improve : [ intrans. ] they must sharpen up or risk losing half their business | [ trans. ] students will sharpen up their reading skills.
break or cause to break suddenly and violently into pieces : [ intrans. ] bullets riddled the bar top, glasses shattered, bottles exploded | [ trans. ] the window was shattered by a stone. • [ trans. ] damage or destroy (something abstract) : the crisis will shatter their confidence. • [ trans. ] upset (someone) greatly : everyone was shattered by the news | [as adj. ] ( shattering) he found it a shattering experience.
• cut off (something such as hair, wool, or grass), with scissors or shears : I'll shear off all that fleece.
(of a tree or other plant) allow (leaves or fruit) to fall to the ground : both varieties shed leaves in winter.
• discard (something undesirable, superfluous, or outdated) : what they lacked was a willingness to shed the arrogance of the past. • have the property of preventing (something) from being absorbed : this leather has a superior ability to shed water, sweat, and salt.
shed (or throw or cast) light on help to explain (something) by providing further information about it.
shed tears weep; cry.
(of a person or expression) showing embarrassment from shame or a lack of self-confidence : a sheepish grin.
1 [ attrib. ] nothing other than; unmitigated (used for emphasis) : she giggled with sheer delight | marriage is sheer hard work.
2 a rectangular piece of paper, esp. one of a standard size produced commercially and used for writing and printing on : a sheet of unmarked paper. • a quantity of text or other information contained on such a piece of paper : he produced yet another sheet of figures.
1 the hard protective outer case of a mollusk or crustacean : cowrie shells | the technique of carving shell.
• ( one's shell) figurative used with reference to a state of shyness or introversion : she'll soon come out of her shell with the right encouragement.
• a shielded or safe condition; protection : he hung back in the shelter of a rock | you're welcome to take shelter from the storm.
protect or shield from something harmful, esp. bad weather : the hut sheltered him from the cold wind | [as adj. ] ( sheltered) the plants need a shady, sheltered spot in the garden. • [ intrans. ] find refuge or take cover from bad weather or danger : people were sheltering under store canopies and trees. • prevent (someone) from having to do or face something difficult or unpleasant : [as adj. ] ( sheltered) she led a sheltered life until her mother and father went through a bitter divorce.
• figurative decide not to proceed with (a project or plan), either temporarily or permanently : plans to reopen the school have been shelved.
secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering : widespread financial shenanigans had ruined the fortunes of many.
3 a person or thing providing protection : a protective coating of grease provides a shield against abrasive dirt.
protect (someone or something) from a danger, risk, or unpleasant experience : he pulled the cap lower to shield his eyes from the glare | these people have been completely shielded from economic forces. • prevent from being seen : the rocks she sat behind shielded her from the lodge.
move or cause to move from one place to another, esp. over a small distance : [ trans. ] I shift the weight back to the other leg | [ intrans. ] the roof cracked and shifted. • [ intrans. ] change the position of one's body, esp. because one is nervous or uncomfortable : he shifted a little in his chair. • [ trans. ] change the emphasis, direction, or focus of : she's shifting the blame onto me. • [ intrans. ] change in emphasis, direction, or focus : the wind had shifted to the east | the balance of power shifted abruptly.
• [ trans. ] informal sell (something) : a lot of high-priced product you simply don't know how to shift. • [ intrans. ] change gear in a vehicle : she shifted down to fourth.
1 a slight change in position, direction, or tendency : a shift of wind took us by surprise | a shift in public opinion.
shifting sands something that is constantly changing, esp. unpredictably : whether something is accepted depends upon the shifting sands of taste.
shine with a soft tremulous light : the sea shimmered in the sunlight.
a light with such qualities : a pale shimmer of moonlight.
1 [ intrans. ] (of the sun or another source of light) give out a bright light : the sun shone through the window. • glow or be bright with reflected light : I could see his eyes shining in the light of the fire. • [ trans. ] direct (a flashlight or other light) somewhere in order to see something in the dark : an usher shines his flashlight into the boys' faces. • (of something with a smooth surface) reflect light because clean or polished : my shoes were polished until they shone like glass.
• (of a person's eyes) be bright with the expression of a particular emotion : his eyes shone with excitement. • [often as adj. ] ( shining) figurative be brilliant or excellent at something : he has set a shining example with his model behavior | she shines at comedy. • ( shine through) figurative (of a quality or skill) be clearly evident : at Regis his talent shone through.
a quality of brightness, esp. through reflecting light : a shine of saliva on his chin. • a high polish or sheen; a luster : use shoe polish to try and get a shine | my hair has lost its shine. • an act of rubbing something to give it a shiny surface : Tom's shoes got a quick shine from a boy with a buffing cloth.
take the shine off spoil the brilliance or excitement of : the absence of new jobs has taken some of the shine off his stellar popularity ratings.
1 [ trans. ] (often be shipped) transport (goods or people) on a ship : the wounded soldiers were shipped home. • transport by some other means : the freight would be shipped by rail. • [ trans. ] send (a package) somewhere via the mail service or a private company : his papers have already been shipped to the University of Kansas.
a sinking ship used in various phrases to describe an organization or endeavor that is failing, usually in the context of criticizing someone for leaving it : they have fled like rats from a sinking ship.
(of a person or ship) suffer a shipwreck : he was shipwrecked off the coast of Sardinia and nearly drowned | figurative her right to a fair trial might be shipwrecked by prosecutorial misconduct.
(of a person or animal) shake slightly and uncontrollably as a result of being cold, frightened, or excited : they shivered in the damp foggy cold. See note at shake .
a momentary trembling movement : she gave a little shiver as the wind flicked at her bare arms | the way he looked at her sent shivers down her spine. • ( the shivers) a spell or an attack of trembling, typically as a result of fear or horror : a look that gave him the shivers.
haul or carry (something heavy or awkward) : she schlepped her groceries home. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) go or move reluctantly or with effort : I would have preferred not to schlep all the way over there to run an errand.
1 a sudden upsetting or surprising event or experience : it was a shock to face such hostile attitudes when I arrived. • a feeling of disturbed surprise resulting from such an event : her death gave us all a terrible shock | her eyes opened wide in shock.
2 a violent shaking movement caused by an impact, explosion, or tremor : earthquake shocks | rackets today don't bend or absorb shock the way wooden rackets do.
1 [ trans. ] (often be shocked) cause (someone) to feel surprised and upset : she was shocked at the state of his injuries. • offend the moral feelings of; outrage : the revelations shocked the nation. • [ intrans. ] experience such feelings : he shocked so easily.
a sharp change of pressure in a narrow region traveling through a medium, esp. air, caused by explosion or by a body moving faster than sound : charting the shock waves of the explosion | figurative the oil embargo sent shock waves through the American economy.
badly made or done : we're not paying good money for shoddy goods. • figurative lacking moral principle; sordid : a shoddy misuse of the honor system.
be (or put oneself) in another person's shoes be (or put oneself) in another person's situation or predicament : if I'd been in your shoes I'd have walked out on him.
make (a person or animal) go away by waving one's arms at them, saying "shoo," or otherwise acting in a discouraging manner : I went to comfort her but she shooed me away.
1 [ trans. ] kill or wound (a person or animal) with a bullet or arrow : he was shot in the leg during an armed robbery | [ trans. ] troops shot dead 29 people. • [ intrans. ] fire a bullet from a gun or discharge an arrow from a bow : he shot at me twice | the troops were ordered to shoot to kill | [ trans. ] they shot a volley of arrows into the village.
• [ trans. ] cause to move suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction : he would have fallen if Marc hadn't shot out a hand to stop him | Beauchamp shot United into the lead. • [ trans. ] direct (a glance, question, or remark) at someone : [with two objs. ] Luke shot her a quick glance | [with direct speech ] "I can't believe what I'm hearing," she shot back.
• (of a pain) move with a sharp stabbing sensation : Claudia felt a shaft of pain shoot through her chest | figurative a pang of regret shot through her.
3 [ intrans. ] (in soccer, hockey, basketball, etc.) kick, hit, or throw the ball or puck in an attempt to score a goal : Williams twice shot wide | [ trans. ] after school, we'd go straight out in the alley to shoot baskets.
4 [ trans. ] film or photograph (a scene, film, etc.) : she has just been commissioned to shoot a video | [ intrans. ] point the camera and just shoot—nothing could be easier.
shoot someone/something down kill or wound someone by shooting them, esp. in a ruthless way : troops shot down 28 demonstrators. • bring down an aircraft, missile, or pilot by shooting at it. • figurative crush someone or their opinions by forceful criticism or argument : she tried to argue and got shot down in flames for her trouble.
1 [ intrans. ] go to a store or stores to buy goods : she shopped for groceries twice a week. • ( shop around) look for the best available price or rate for something : they shopped around for cheaper food.
shoplifting noun the criminal action of stealing goods from a shop while pretending to be a customer.
support or hold up (something) with such props or beams : rescue workers had to shore up the building, which was in danger of collapse | figurative tax relief to help shore up the ailing airline industry.
the line along which a large body of water meets the land : he walked along the shoreline.
• (of a garment or sleeves on a garment) only covering the top part of a person's arms or legs : a short skirt.
2 lasting or taking a small amount of time : visiting London for a short break | a short conversation. • [ attrib. ] seeming to last less time than is the case; passing quickly : in 10 short years all this changed. • (of a person's memory) retaining things for only a small amount of time : he has a short memory for past misdeeds.
3 relatively small in extent : a short speech | he wrote a short book. • [ predic. ] ( short of/on) not having enough of (something); lacking or deficient in : they were short of provisions | I know you're short on cash. • [ predic. ] in insufficient supply : food is short.
(chiefly in sports) at, to, or over a relatively small distance : you go deep and you go short. • not as far as the point aimed at; not far enough : all too often you pitch the ball short.
short of less than : he died at sixty-one, four years short of his pensionable age. • not reaching as far as : a rocket failure left a satellite tumbling in an orbit far short of its proper position. • without going so far as (some extreme action) : short of putting out an all-persons alert, there's little else we can do.
short for an abbreviation or nickname for : I'm Robbie—short for Roberta.
having sleeves that do not reach below the elbow : a short-sleeved silk top.
a state or situation in which something needed cannot be obtained in sufficient amounts : a shortage of hard cash | food shortages. See note at lack .
make or become shorter : [ trans. ] he shortened his stride | [ intrans. ] around mid-September, days shorten and temperatures dip.
a deficit of something required or expected : they are facing an expected $10 billion shortfall in revenue.
• [in sing. ] a short and simple way of expressing or referring to something : poetry for him is simply a shorthand for literature that has aesthetic value.
1 in a short time; soon : the new database will shortly be available for consultation | the flight was hijacked shortly after takeoff. 2 in a few words; briefly : they received a letter shortly outlining the proposals. • abruptly, sharply, or curtly : "Do you like football?" "I do not," she said shortly.
• figurative lacking imagination or foresight : expedient, shortsighted solutions to problems.
1 the firing of a gun or cannon : he brought down a caribou with a single shot to the neck | figurative the opening shots have been fired in a legal battle over repairs. • an attempt to hit a target by shooting : he asked me if I would like to have a shot at a pheasant. • [with adj. ] the range of a gun or cannon : six more desperadoes came galloping up and halted just out of rifle shot. • figurative a critical or aggressive remark : Paul tried one last shot—"You realize what you want will cost more money?" • [with adj. ] a person with a specified level of ability in shooting : he was an excellent shot at short and long distances.
2 a hit, stroke, or kick of the ball in sports such as basketball, tennis, or golf : his partner pulled off a winning backhand shot. • an attempt to drive a ball into a goal; an attempt to score : he took a shot that the goalie stopped. • informal an attempt to do something : several of the competitors will have a shot at the title.
• the range of a camera's view : a prop man was standing just out of shot. 5 informal a small drink, esp. of distilled liquor : he took a shot of whiskey. • an injection of a drug or vaccine : Jerry gave the monkey a shot of a sedative.
give it one's best shot informal do the best that one can.
shotgun marriage (also shotgun wedding) noun informal an enforced or hurried wedding, esp. because the bride is pregnant.
• ( shoulders) figurative this part of the body regarded as bearing responsibility or hardship or providing strength : all accounts place the blame squarely on his shoulders.
1 [ trans. ] put (something heavy) over one's shoulder or shoulders to carry : we shouldered our crippling backpacks and set off slowly up the hill. • figurative take on (a burden or responsibility) : she shouldered the blame for the incident. 2 [ trans. ] push (someone or something) out of one's way with one's shoulder : she shouldered him brusquely aside. • [ intrans. ] move in this way : he shouldered past a woman with a baby | he shouldered his way through the seething mass of children.
a shoulder to cry on someone who listens sympathetically to one's problems. shoulder to shoulder side by side : everyone is bunched together shoulder to shoulder. • acting together toward a common aim; with united effort : we fought shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the country.
shouldered |ˈ sh ōldərd| |ˈʃoʊldərd| adjective [in combination ] : broad-shouldered.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a person) utter a loud call or cry, typically as an expression of a strong emotion : she shouted for joy. • [ reporting verb ] say something very loudly; call out : [ trans. ] he leaned out of his window and shouted abuse at them | I shouted out a warning | [with direct speech ] "Come back!" she shouted. • ( shout at) speak loudly and angrily to; insult or scold loudly : he apologized because he had shouted at her in front of them all.
• [ trans. ] ( shout someone down) prevent someone from speaking or being heard by shouting : he was shouted down as he tried to explain the decision.
push (someone or something) roughly : police started pushing and shoving people down the street | [ intrans. ] kids pushed, kicked, and shoved. • [ intrans. ] make one's way by pushing someone or something : Woody shoved past him. • [ trans. ] put (something) somewhere carelessly or roughly : she shoved the books into her briefcase. • ( shove it) informal used to express angry dismissal of something : I should have told the boss to shove it.
a strong push : she gave him a hefty shove and he nearly fell.
• an amount of something carried or moved with shovel : a few shovels of earth.
move (coal, earth, snow, or similar material) with a shovel : she shoveled coal on the fire. • [ trans. ] remove snow from (an area) with a shovel : I'll clean the basement and shovel the walk.
1 be or allow or cause to be visible : [ intrans. ] wrinkles were starting to show on her face | [ intrans. ] the muscles of her jaws showed white through the skin | [ trans. ] a white blouse will show the blood.
• [ trans. ] put on display in an exhibition or competition : he ceased early in his career to show his work | [ intrans. ] other artists who showed there included Robert Motherwell.
• [ intrans. ] (of a movie) be presented in this way : a movie showing at the Venice Film Festival. • [ trans. ] indicate (a particular time, measurement, etc.) : a travel clock showing the time in different cities. • [ trans. ] represent or depict in art : a postcard showing the Wicklow Mountains.
• [ intrans. ] informal (of a woman) be visibly pregnant : Shirley was four months pregnant and just starting to show.
• accord or treat someone with (a specified quality) : he urged his soldiers to fight them and show no mercy | [with two objs. ] he has learned to show women some respect. • [ intrans. ] (of an emotion) be noticeable : he tried not to let his relief show.
3 [ trans. ] demonstrate or prove : experts say this shows the benefit of regular inspections | [with clause ] the figures show that the underlying rate of inflation continues to fall. • ( show oneself) prove or demonstrate oneself to be : [with infinitive ] she showed herself to be a harsh critic | [with complement ] he showed himself to be an old-fashioned Baptist separatist.
• an outward display intended to give a particular, false impression : Drew made a show of looking around for firewood | they are all show and no go.
get (or keep) the show on the road informal begin (or succeed in continuing with) an undertaking or enterprise : "Let's get this show on the road—we're late already."
show one's cards another way of saying show one's hand below.
show one's face appear in public : she had been up in court and was so ashamed she could hardly show her face.
show one's hand (in a card game) reveal one's cards. • figurative disclose one's plans : he needed hard evidence, and to get it he would have to show his hand.
show someone/something off display or cause others to take notice of someone or something that is a source of pride : his jeans were tight-fitting, showing off his compact figure.
• a place or occasion for presenting something favorably to general attention : the gallery will provide a showcase for Atlanta's young photographers.
• a mass of small things falling or moving at the same time : a shower of dust sprinkled his face. • figurative a large number of things happening or given to someone at the same time : he was pleased by the shower of awards.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a mass of small things) fall or be thrown in a shower : bits of broken glass showered over me. • [ trans. ] cause (a mass of small things) to fall in a shower : his hooves showered sparks across the concrete floor. • [ trans. ] ( shower someone with) throw (a number of small things) all at once toward someone : hooligans showered him with rotten eggs.
a strip of some material, such as paper, cloth, or food, that has been torn, cut, or scraped from something larger : her beautiful dress was torn to shreds figurative : my reputation will be in shreds. • [often with negative ] a very small amount : there was not a shred of evidence that linked him to the fire.
1 having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute : she was shrewd enough to guess the motive behind his gesture | a shrewd career move. See note at keen . 2 archaic (esp. of weather) piercingly cold : a shrewd east wind. • (of a blow) severe : a bayonet's shrewd thrust.
utter a high-pitched piercing sound or words, esp. as an expression of terror, pain, or excitement : the audience shrieked with laughter | [with direct speech ] "There it is!" she shrieked | [ trans. ] she was shrieking abuse at a taxi driver. • (of something inanimate) make a high-pitched screeching sound : the wheels shrieked as the car sped away. • figurative be very obvious or strikingly discordant : the patterned carpets shrieked at Betsy from the shabby store.
a high-pitched piercing cry or sound; a scream : shrieks of laughter.
(of a voice or sound) high-pitched and piercing : a shrill laugh. • derogatory (esp. of a complaint or demand) loud and forceful : a concession to their shrill demands.
make a shrill noise : a piercing whistle shrilled through the night air. • speak or cry with a shrill voice : [with direct speech ] "For God's sake!" shrilled Jan.
1 become or make smaller in size or amount; contract or cause to contract [ intrans. ] : the workforce has shrunk to less than a thousand [ trans. ] : the summer sun had shrunk and dried the wood.
• [ trans. ] ( shrink something on) slip a metal tire or other fitting on to (something) while it is expanded with heat and allow it to tighten in place : the metal is unsuitable for shrinking onto wooden staves. 2 [ intrans. ] move back or away, esp. because of fear or disgust : she shrank away from him, covering her face | he shrank back against the wall. • [often with negative ] ( shrink from) be averse to or unwilling to do (something difficult or unappealing) : I don't shrink from my responsibilities.
wrinkle and contract or cause to wrinkle and contract, esp. due to loss of moisture [ intrans. ] : the flowers simply shriveled up | [ trans. ] a heat wave so intense that it shriveled the grapes in every vineyard. • [ intrans. ] figurative lose momentum, will, or desire; become insignificant or ineffectual : under the reign of the Nazis, German universities shriveled as centers of learning.
raise (one's shoulders) slightly and momentarily to express doubt, ignorance, or indifference : Jimmy looked inquiringly at Pete, who shrugged his shoulders | [ intrans. ] he just shrugged and didn't look interested. • ( shrug something off) dismiss something as unimportant : the managing director shrugged off the criticism.
1 an act or instance of shrugging one's shoulders : she gave him a dismissive shrug.
(of a person) tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear or repugnance : he shuddered with revulsion | [with infinitive ] figurative I shudder to think of retirement. See note at shake . • (esp. of a vehicle, machine, or building) shake or vibrate deeply : the train shuddered and edged forward.
an act of shuddering : the elevator rose with a shudder | figurative the peso's devaluation sent shudders through the market.
1 [ intrans. ] walk by dragging one's feet along or without lifting them fully from the ground : I stepped into my skis and shuffled to the edge of the steep slope | [as adj. ] ( shuffling) she heard Grandma's shuffling steps. • shift one's position while sitting or move one's feet while standing, typically because of boredom, nervousness, or embarrassment : Christine shuffled uneasily in her chair | [ trans. ] Ben shuffled his feet in the awkward silence.
• move (people or things) around so as to occupy different positions or to be in a different order : she shuffled her papers into a neat pile. • [ intrans. ] ( shuffle through) sort or look through (a number of things) hurriedly : he shuffled through the papers on his desk. 3 [ trans. ] ( shuffle something into) put part of one's body into (an item of clothing), typically in a clumsy way : shuffling her feet into a pair of shoes, she tiptoed out of the room.
• ( shuffle something off) get out of or avoid a responsibility or obligation : some hospitals can shuffle off their responsibilities by claiming to have no suitable facilities.
1 [in sing. ] a shuffling movement, walk, or sound : there was a shuffle of approaching feet.
• a change of order or relative positions; a reshuffle : the president will deliver a speech short on economic details Cabinet shuffles but long on fight.
persistently avoid, ignore, or reject (someone or something) through antipathy or caution : he shunned fashionable society.
be quiet : "Shush! Do you want to wake everyone?"
1 [ trans. ] tell or signal (someone) to be silent : she shushed him with a wave. • [ intrans. ] become or remain silent : Beth told her to shush.
move (something) into position so that it blocks an opening : shut the window, please | she shut her lips tight | [as adj. ] ( shut) she slammed the door shut. • [ intrans. ] (of something that can block an opening) move or be moved into position : the door shut behind him. • block an opening into (something) by moving something into position : he shut the box and locked it.
• make or become unavailable for business or service, either permanently or until due to be open again; close : [ trans. ] we shut the shop for lunch | [ intrans. ] the accident and emergency departments will shut.
shut down (or shut something down) cease (or cause something to cease) business or operation : the plant's operators decided to shut down the reactor.
shut someone/something in keep someone or something inside a place by closing something such as a door : her parents shut her in an upstairs room. • enclose or surround a place : the village is shut in by the mountains on either side. • trap something by shutting a door or drawer on it : you shut your finger in the door.
shut off (or shut something off) (used esp. in relation to water, electricity, or gas) stop (or cause something to stop) flowing : he was about to shut off the power. • stop (or cause something to stop) working : the engines shut off automatically. • ( shut something off) block the entrances and exits of something : the six compartments were being shut off from each other.
shut someone/something out keep someone or something out of a place or situation : the door swung closed behind them, shutting out some of the noise • prevent an opponent from scoring in a game. • screen someone or something from view : clouds shut out the stars. • prevent something from occurring : there was a high-mindedness that shut out any consideration of alternatives. • block something such as a painful memory from the mind : anything he didn't like he shut out. shut up (or shut someone up) [often in imperative ] informal stop (or cause someone to stop) talking : just shut up and listen | I lifted a finger slightly to shut him up.
close the shutters of (a window or building) : the windows were shuttered against the afternoon heat | [as adj. ] ( shuttered) barred and shuttered stores. • close (a business) : the city was gripped by economic forces that were squeezing its tax base and shuttering its factories.
1 a form of transportation that travels regularly between two places : the nine o'clock shuttle from Boston | [as adj. ] a shuttle bus service from the city center.
travel regularly between two or more places : a container ship that shuttled between Rotterdam and the Persian Gulf. • [ trans. ] transport in a shuttle : the river taxi shuttled employees between the newspaper's offices and the capital.
• [ predic. ] ( shy about) slow or reluctant to do (something) : she has never been shy about discussing her efforts to raise aesthetic standards. • [in combination ] having a dislike of or aversion to a specified thing : they were a little camera-shy.
2 [ predic. ] ( shy of) informal less than; short of : he won the championship with a score three points shy of a world record.
• ( shy from) avoid doing or becoming involved in (something) due to nervousness or a lack of confidence : don't shy away from saying what you think.
• figurative (of an organization, system, or society) suffering from serious problems, esp. of a financial nature : their economy remains sick.
3 [ predic. ] ( sick of) intensely annoyed with or bored by (someone or something) as a result of having had too much of them : I'm absolutely sick of your moods.
make someone sick cause someone to vomit or feel nauseous or unwell : sherry makes me sick and so do cigars. • cause someone to feel intense annoyance or disgust : you're so damned self-righteous you make me sick! —— oneself sick do something to such an extent that one feels nauseous or unwell (often used for emphasis) : she was worrying herself sick about Mike.
sick and tired of informal annoyed about or bored with (something) and unwilling to put up with it any longer : I am sick and tired of all the criticism.
1 [ trans. ] (often be sickened) make (someone) feel disgusted or appalled : she was sickened by the bomb attack. • [ intrans. ] archaic feel disgust or horror : he sickened at the thought.
1 a position to the left or right of an object, place, or central point : a town on the other side of the river | on either side of the entrance was a garden | Rachel tilted her head to one side. • either of the two halves of an object, surface, or place regarded as divided by an imaginary central line : she lay on her side of the bed | the left side of the brain. • the right or the left part of a person's or animal's body, esp. of the human torso : he has been paralyzed on his right side since birth.
• [in sing. ] a place or position closely adjacent to someone : his wife stood at his side. • either of the lateral halves of the body of a butchered animal, or an animal or fish prepared for eating : a side of beef.
2 an upright or sloping surface of a structure or object that is not the top or bottom and generally not the front or back : a car crashed into the side of the house | line the sides of the cake pan | [as adj. ] a side entrance.
3 a part or region near the edge and away from the middle of something : a minivan was parked at the side of the road | cabins on the south side of the clearing.
• each of the lines forming the boundary of a plane rectilinear figure : the farm buildings formed three sides of a square. 4 a person or group opposing another or others in a dispute, contest, or debate : the two sides agreed to resume border trade | whose side are you on?
• the position, interests, or attitude of one person or group, esp. when regarded as being in opposition to another or others : Mrs. Burt hasn't kept her side of the bargain | the conservationists are on the city's side of the case. • a particular aspect of something, esp. a situation or a person's character : her ability to put up with his disagreeable side. • a person's kinship or line of descent as traced through either their father or mother : Richard was of French descent on his mother's side.
1 [ intrans. ] ( side with/against) support or oppose in a conflict, dispute, or debate : he felt that Max had betrayed him by siding with Beatrice.
by (or at) someone's side close to someone, esp. so as to give them comfort or moral support : a stepson who stayed by your side when your own son deserted you.
from side to side 1 alternately left and right from a central point : I shook my head frantically from side to side. 2 across the entire width; right across : the fleet stretched four miles from side to side.
on the —— side tending toward being ——; rather —— (used to qualify an adjective) : these shoes are a bit on the tight side.
on (or to) one side out of one's way; aside. • to be dealt with or considered later, esp. because tending to distract one from something more important : before the kickoff a player has to set his disappointments and frustrations to one side.
side by side (of two or more people or things) close together and facing the same way : on we jogged, side by side, for a mile. • together : we have been using both systems, side by side, for two years. • (of people or groups) supporting each other; in cooperation : the two institutions worked side by side in complete harmony.
take sides support one person or cause against another or others in a dispute, conflict, or contest : I do not want to take sides in this matter.
a secondary, typically undesirable effect of a drug or medical treatment : many anticancer drugs now in use have toxic side effects.
side issue noun a point or topic connected to or raised by some other issue, but not as important, esp. one that distracts attention from the more important issue.
1 an activity done in addition to one's main job, esp. to earn extra income : [as adj. ] a sideline career as a stand-up comic. • an auxiliary line of goods or business : electronic handbooks are a lucrative sideline for the firm.
cause (a player) to be unable to play on a team or in a game : he has been sidelined for the last six weeks with a fractured wrist. • figurative remove from the center of activity or attention; place in a less influential position : a respected lawyer will be sidelined by alcohol abuse.
avoid (someone or something) by stepping sideways : as she walked she sidestepped the many cracks in the pavement. • figurative avoid dealing with or discussing (something problematic or disagreeable) : he neatly sidestepped the questions about riots.
a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside : Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks | [as adj. ] siege warfare.
• used figuratively with reference to the fact that a sieve does not hold all its contents : she's forgotten all the details already—she's got a mind like a sieve .
put (a fine, loose, or powdery substance) through a sieve so as to remove lumps or large particles : sift the flour into a large bowl. • figurative examine (something) thoroughly so as to isolate that which is most important or useful : until we sift the evidence ourselves, we can't comment objectively | [ intrans. ] the fourth stage involves sifting through the data and evaluating it. • ( sift something out) separate something, esp. something to be discarded, from something else : he asked for streamlined procedures to sift out frivolous applications.
emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling : Harry sank into a chair and sighed with relief | [with direct speech ] "I'm in a bit of a mess," Elaine sighed.
a long, deep, audible exhalation expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling : she let out a long sigh of despair | figurative when the aircraft touched down I breathed a sigh of relief.
• the action or fact of seeing someone or something : I've always been scared of the sight of blood. • the area or distance within which someone can see or something can be seen : he now refused to let Rose out of his sight.
2 a thing that one sees or that can be seen : John was a familiar sight in the bar for many years | he was getting used to seeing unpleasant sights. • ( sights) places of interest to tourists and visitors in a city, town, or other place : she offered to show me the sights.
at first sight on first seeing or meeting someone : it was love at first sight. • after an initial impression (which is then found to be different from what is actually the case) : the debate is more complex than it seems at first sight. catch (or get a) sight of glimpse for a moment; suddenly notice : when she caught sight of him she smiled.
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.
out of sight 1 not visible : she saw them off, waving until the car was out of sight. 2 (also outasight) [often as exclam. ] informal extremely good; excellent : [as adj. ] these stereophones are an out-of-sight choice.
set one's sights on have as an ambition; hope strongly to achieve or reach : Katherine set her sights on college.
a sight for sore eyes informal a person or thing that one is extremely pleased or relieved to see. a sight to behold a person or thing that is particularly impressive or worth seeing.
1 an object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the probable presence or occurrence of something else : flowers are often given as a sign of affection | [with clause ] the stores are full, which is a sign that the recession is past its worst. • something regarded as an indication or evidence of what is happening or going to happen : the signs are that counterfeiting is growing at an alarming rate. • [with negative ] used to indicate that someone or something is not present where they should be or are expected to be : there was still no sign of her.
2 a gesture or action used to convey information or instructions : she gave him the thumbs-up sign. • a notice that is publicly displayed giving information or instructions in a written or symbolic form : I didn't see the stop sign.
1 [ trans. ] write one's name on (a letter, card, or similar item) to identify oneself as the writer or sender : the card was signed by the whole class. • indicate agreement with or authorization of the contents of (a document or other written or printed material) by attaching a signature : the two countries signed a nonaggression treaty. • write (one's name) for purposes of identification or authorization : she signed her name in the book | [ trans. ] she signed herself Ingrid | [ intrans. ] he signed on the dotted line.
• [ intrans. ] sign a contract committing oneself to work for a particular person or organization : Sherman has signed for another two seasons.
sign language noun a system of communication using visual gestures and signs, as used by deaf people.
1 a gesture, action, or sound that is used to convey information or instructions, typically by prearrangement between the parties concerned : the firing of the gun was the signal for a chain of beacons to be lit | [with infinitive ] the policeman raised his hand as a signal to stop. See note at sign . • an indication of a state of affairs : the markets are waiting for a clear signal about the direction of policy.
• an event or statement that provides the impulse or occasion for something specified to happen : the champion's announcement that he was retiring was the signal for scores of journalists to gather at his last match.
transmit information or instructions by means of a gesture, action, or sound : hold your fire until I signal. • [ trans. ] instruct (someone) to do something by means of gestures or signs rather than explicit orders : she signaled Charlotte to be silent. • (of a cyclist, motorist, or vehicle) indicate an intention to turn in a specified direction using an extended arm or flashing indicator : [with complement ] Stone signaled right | [with infinitive ] the truck signaled to turn left.
• [with clause ] give an indication of a state of affairs : she gave a glance that signaled that her father was being secretive.
• the action of signing a document : the license was sent to the customer for signature.
a party that has signed an agreement, esp. a country that has signed a treaty : Bulgaria is a signatory to a variety of international human rights conventions | [as adj. ] the signatory states.
1 the quality of being worthy of attention; importance : adolescent education was felt to be a social issue of some significance.
1 [ trans. ] be an indication of : this decision signified a fundamental change in their priorities. • be a symbol of; have as meaning : the church used this image to signify the Holy Trinity.
complete absence of sound : sirens pierce the silence of the night | an eerie silence descended over the house. • the fact or state of abstaining from speech : Karen had withdrawn into sullen silence | she was reduced to silence for a moment.
• the state of standing still and not speaking as a sign of respect for someone deceased or in an opportunity for prayer : a moment of silence presided over by a local minister.
cause to become silent; prohibit or prevent from speaking : the team's performance silenced their critics | freedom of the press cannot be silenced by tanks.
in silence without speech or other sound : we finished our meal in silence.
be born with a silver spoon in one's mouth be born into a wealthy family of high social standing.
• a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem : the Internet, like TQM and Reengineering, proved to be no silver bullet | an interesting characteristic of silver bullet productivity solutions is their tendency to be recycled every 10 to 20 years.
• (usu. similarities) a similar feature or aspect : the similarities between people of different nationalities.
simile |ˈsɪmɪli| noun a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox).
(of water or food) stay just below the boiling point while being heated : the goulash was simmering slowly in the oven | figurative the disagreement simmered for years and eventually boiled over. • [ trans. ] keep (something) at such a point when cooking or heating it : simmer the sauce gently until thickened. • be in a state of suppressed anger or excitement : she was simmering with resentment.
a state or temperature just below the boiling point : bring the water to a simmer.
simpleminded adjective having or showing very little intelligence or judgment.
the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do : for the sake of simplicity, this chapter will concentrate on one theory.
make (something) simpler or easier to do or understand : an overhaul of court procedure to simplify litigation.
imitate the appearance or character of : red ocher intended to simulate blood | [as adj. ] ( simulated) a simulated leather handbag. • pretend to have or feel (an emotion) : it was impossible to force a smile, to simulate pleasure. • produce a computer model of : future population changes were simulated by computer.
an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law : a sin in the eyes of God | the human capacity for sin. • an act regarded as a serious or regrettable fault, offense, or omission : he committed the unforgivable sin of refusing to give interviews | humorous with air like this, it's a sin not to go out.
1 in the intervening period between (the time mentioned) and the time under consideration, typically the present : [as prep. ] she has suffered from cystic fibrosis since 1984 | the worst property slump since the war | [as conj. ] I've felt better since I've been here | [as adv. ] she ran away on Friday and we haven't seen her since.
in a sincere or genuine way : I sincerely hope that we shall have a change of government | [as submodifier ] sincerely held differences of belief.
wicked and immoral; committing or characterized by the committing of sins : sinful men | a sinful way of life.
burn (something) superficially or lightly : the fire had singed his eyebrows | [as adj. ] ( singed) a smell of singed feathers. See note at burn . • [ intrans. ] be burned in this way : the heat was so intense I could feel the hairs on my hands singe.
1 ( single someone/something out) choose someone or something from a group for special treatment : one newspaper was singled out for criticism.
1 done without help from anyone else : [as adv. ] sailing single-handed around the world | [as adj. ] a single-handed crusade.
having or concentrating on only one aim or purpose : the single-minded pursuit of profit.
1 exceptionally good or great; remarkable : the singular beauty of the desert. • strange or eccentric in some respect : no explanation accompanied this rather singular statement.
1 giving the impression that something harmful or evil is happening or will happen : there was something sinister about that murmuring voice.
1 [ intrans. ] go down below the surface of something, esp. of a liquid; become submerged : he saw the coffin sink below the surface of the waves.
2 [ intrans. ] descend; drop : Sam felt the ground sinking beneath his feet | you can relax on the veranda as the sun sinks. • (of a person) lower oneself or drop gently : she sank back onto her pillow. • [with adverbial of direction ] gradually penetrate the surface of something : her feet sank into the thick pile of the carpet.
• ( sink in) figurative (of words or facts) be fully understood or realized : Peter read the letter twice before its meaning sank in.
3 [ intrans. ] gradually decrease or decline in value, amount, quality, or intensity : their output sank to a third of the prewar figure | the reputation of the mayor sank to a very low level. • lapse or fall into a particular state or condition, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant : he sank into a coma after suffering a brain hemorrhage. • be overwhelmed by a darker mood; become depressed : her heart sank as she thought of Craig.
4 [ trans. ] insert beneath a surface by digging or hollowing out : rails attached with screws sunk below the surface of the wood.
a (or that) sinking feeling an unpleasant feeling caused by the realization that something unpleasant or undesirable has happened or is about to happen.
drink (something) by taking small mouthfuls : I sat sipping coffee | [ intrans. ] she sipped at her tea.
a small mouthful of liquid : she took a sip of the red wine.
• figurative draw off or transfer over a period of time, esp. illegally or unfairly : he's been siphoning money off the firm.
sissy |ˈsɪsi| informal noun ( pl. -sies) a person regarded as effeminate or cowardly.
• [ trans. ] cause to adopt or be in such a position : sit yourself down and I'll bring you some coffee.
• [ intrans. ] be or remain in a particular position or state : the fridge was sitting in a pool of water. • [with adverbial ] (of an item of clothing) fit a person well or badly as specified : the blue uniform sat well on his big frame.
sit on the fence avoid making a decision or choice.
sit tight informal remain firmly in one's place. • refrain from taking action or changing one's mind : we're advising our clients to sit tight and neither to buy nor sell.
sit back relax : sit back and enjoy the music. • take no action; choose not to become involved : I can't just sit back and let Betsy do all the work.
• a place where a particular event or activity is occurring or has occurred : the site of the Battle of Antietam | materials for repairs are always on site.
fix or build (something) in a certain place or position : the pilot light is usually situated at the front of the boiler | [as adj. with submodifier ] ( situated) a conveniently situated hotel. • put in context; describe the circumstances surrounding (something) : it is necessary to situate these ideas in the wider context of the economy.
six times as great or as numerous : a sixfold increase in their overheads. • having six parts or elements : a sixfold plan of action.
by six times; to six times the number or amount : coal prices have risen sixfold.
sixty-four thousand dollar question noun informal something that is not known and on which a great deal depends.
1 the relative extent of something; a thing's overall dimensions or magnitude; how big something is : the schools varied in size | a forest the size of Connecticut | houses of all sizes.
2 each of the classes, typically numbered, into which garments or other articles are divided according to how large they are : I can never find anything in my size. • a person or garment corresponding to such a numbered class : she's a size 10.
alter or sort in terms of size or according to size : some drills are sized in millimeters. • ( size something up) estimate or measure something's dimensions : she was trying to size up a room with a tape measure. • ( size someone/something up) informal form an estimate or rough judgment of someone or something : the two men sized each other up.
(of food) make a hissing sound when frying or cooking : the bacon began to sizzle in the pan. • [often as adj. ] ( sizzling) informal be very hot : the sizzling summer temperatures. • [often as adj. ] ( sizzling) informal be very exciting or passionate, esp. sexually : that was the start of a sizzling affair.
move on ice skates or roller skates in a gliding fashion : the boys were skating on the ice.
• the supporting framework, basic structure, or essential part of something : the concrete skeleton of an unfinished building | the skeleton of a report.
1 not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations : the public were deeply skeptical about some of the proposals.
• a brief written or spoken account or description of someone or something, giving only basic details : a biographical sketch of Ernest Hemingway.
make a rough drawing of : as they talked, Modigliani began to sketch her | [ intrans. ] Jeanne sketched and painted whenever she had the time. • give a brief account or general outline of : they sketched out the prosecution case.
not thorough or detailed : the information they had was sketchy.
1 neither parallel nor at right angles to a specified or implied line; askew; crooked : his hat looked slightly skew | a skew angle.
suddenly change direction or position : the car had skewed across the track. • twist or turn or cause to do this : he skewed around in his saddle | [ trans. ] his leg was skewed in and pushed against the other one. • [ trans. ] make biased or distorted in a way that is regarded as inaccurate, unfair, or misleading : the curriculum is skewed toward the practical subjects.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a vehicle) slide, typically sideways or obliquely, on slippery ground or as a result of stopping or turning too quickly : the taxicab skidded to a halt. • slip; slide : Barbara's foot skidded, and she fell to the floor. • [ trans. ] cause to skid : he skidded his car. • [ trans. ] move a heavy object on skids : they skidded the logs down the hill to the waterfront. • figurative decline; deteriorate : its shares have skidded 29% since March.
• [ trans. ] read (something) quickly or cursorily so as to note only the important points : he sat down and skimmed the report | [ intrans. ] she skimmed through the newspaper.
2 an act of reading something quickly or superficially : a quick skim through the pamphlet.
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?
under the skin in reality, as opposed to superficial appearances : he still believes that all women are goddesses under the skin.
(of a person or part of their body) very thin : his skinny arms. See note at thin . • (of an article of clothing) tight-fitting : a skinny black dress.
move along lightly, stepping from one foot to the other with a hop or bounce : she began to skip down the path.
• [ trans. ] omit (part of a book that one is reading, or a stage in a sequence that one is following) : the video manual allows the viewer to skip sections he's not interested in | [ intrans. ] she disliked him so much that she skipped over any articles that mentioned him. • [ trans. ] fail to attend or deal with as appropriate; miss : I wanted to skip my English lesson to visit my mother | try not to skip breakfast.
• [ intrans. ] informal run away; disappear : I'm not giving them a chance to skip off again.
• a short argument : there was a skirmish over the budget.
the sky's the limit informal there is practically no limit (to something such as a price that can be charged or the opportunities afforded to someone).
a large, thick, flat piece of stone, concrete, or wood, typically rectangular : paving slabs | she settled on a slab of rock. • a large, thick slice or piece of cake, bread, chocolate, etc. : a slab of bread and cheese.
dribble at the mouth; slaver : he was slabbering like a child.
1 not taut or held tightly in position; loose : a slack rope | her mouth went slack. 2 (of business) characterized by a lack of work or activity; quiet : business was rather slack. • slow or sluggish : they were working at a slack pace. • having or showing laziness or negligence : slack accounting procedures.
• [ intrans. ] ( slack off) decrease in quantity or intensity : the flow of blood slacked off. • [ intrans. ] informal work slowly or lazily : she reprimanded her girls if they were slacking.
take (or pick) up the slack 1 use up a surplus or improve the use of resources to avoid an undesirable lull in business : as domestic demand starts to flag, foreign demand will help pick up the slack. 2 pull on the loose end or part of a rope in order to make it taut.
shut (a door, window, or lid) forcefully and loudly : he slams the door behind him as he leaves. • [ intrans. ] be closed forcefully and loudly : she heard a car door slam. • [ trans. ] push or put somewhere with great force : Charlie slammed down the phone. • [ intrans. ] ( slam into) crash into; collide heavily with : the car mounted the sidewalk, slamming into a lamppost.
• [ trans. ] informal hit (something) with great force in a particular direction : he slammed a shot into the net. • put (something) into action suddenly or forcefully : I slammed on the brakes. • [ intrans. ] move violently or loudly : he slammed out of the room.
• [ trans. ] (usu. be slammed) informal criticize severely : his efforts to slam the president destroyed his own campaign. • [ trans. ] informal score points against or gain a victory over (someone) easily : the Blue Devils slammed Kansas to win the title.
1 [usu. in sing. ] a loud bang caused by the forceful shutting of something such as a door : the back door closed with a slam.
slope or lean in a particular direction; diverge from the vertical or horizontal : a plowed field slanted up to the skyline | [as adj. ] ( slanting) the slanting beams of the roof. • (esp. of light or shadow) fall in an oblique direction : the early sun slanted across the mountains. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to lean or slope in such a way : slant your skis as you turn to send up a curtain of water. • [ trans. ] [often as adj. ] ( slanted) present or view (information) from a particular angle, esp. in a biased or unfair way : slanted news coverage.
1 [in sing. ] a sloping position : the hedge grew at a slant | cut flower stems on the slant. 2 a particular point of view from which something is seen or presented : a new slant on science.
• [ intrans. ] hit against or into something with the sound of such an action : water slapped against the boat.
a blow with the palm of the hand or a flat object : he gave her a slap across her cheek. • a sound made or as if made by such an action : she heard the slap of water against the harbor wall.
slap on the back congratulations or commendations : they deserve a hearty slap on the back for their efforts.
cut (something) with a violent sweeping movement, typically using a knife or sword : a tire was slashed on my car | they cut and slashed their way to the river | [ intrans. ] the man slashed at him with a sword. • informal reduce (a price, quantity, etc.) greatly : the workforce has been slashed by 2,000.
1 a cut made with a wide, sweeping stroke : the man took a mighty slash at his head with a large sword. • a wound or gash made by such an action : he staggered over with a crimson slash across his temple.
• a list of candidates for election to a post or office, typically a group sharing a set of political views : another slate of candidates will be picked for the state convention.
3 (usu. be slated) schedule; plan : renovations are slated for late June | [ trans. ] the former brickyard is slated to be renovated. • (usu. be slated) nominate (someone) as a candidate for an office or post : I understand that I am being slated for promotion.
• the killing of a large number of people or animals in a cruel or violent way; massacre : the slaughter of 20 peaceful demonstrators.
• kill (people or animals) in a cruel or violent way, typically in large numbers : innocent civilians are being slaughtered. • informal defeat (an opponent) thoroughly : our team was slaughtered in the finals.
• a person who is excessively dependent upon or controlled by something : the poorest people of the world are slaves to the banks | she was no slave to fashion.
work excessively hard : after slaving away for fourteen years, all he gets is two thousand.
• excessive dependence on or devotion to something : slavery to tradition.
relating to or characteristic of a slave, typically by behaving in a servile or submissive way : he noted the slavish, feudal respect they had for her. See note at obsequious .
kill (a person or animal) in a violent way : St. George slew the dragon. See note at kill . • (usu. be slain) murder (someone) (used chiefly in journalism) : a man was slain with a shotgun | [as n. ] ( slaying) a gangland slaying.
• (of a place) squalid and seedy : a sleazy all-night cafe.
(of hair, fur, or skin) smooth and glossy : he was tall, with sleek, dark hair. • (of a person or animal) having smooth, glossy skin, hair, or fur, often taken as a sign of physical fitness : a sleek black cat. • (of a person) having a wealthy and well-groomed appearance : his sleek and elegant sisters. • (of an object) having an elegant, streamlined shape or design : his sleek black car slid through the traffic.
• ingratiating; unctuous : she gave Guy a sleek smile to underline her words.
sleep on it informal delay making a decision on something until the following day so as to have more time to consider it.
the part of a garment that wholly or partly covers a person's arm : a shirt with the sleeves rolled up.
up one's sleeve (of a strategy, idea, or resource) kept secret and in reserve for use when needed : he was new to the game but had a few tricks up his sleeve.
1 (of a person or part of the body) gracefully thin : her slender neck. See note at thin .
1 a thin, broad piece of food, such as bread, meat, or cake, cut from a larger portion : four slices of bread | potato slices. • a portion or share of something : local authorities control a huge slice of public spending.
1 cut (something, esp. food) into slices : slice the onion into rings | [as adj. ] ( sliced) a sliced loaf. • ( slice something off/from) cut something or a piece of something off or from (something larger), typically with one clean cut : he sliced a corner from a fried egg | figurative he sliced 70 seconds off the record. • cut with or as if with a sharp implement : the bomber's wings were slicing the air with some efficiency | [ intrans. ] the blade sliced into his palm. • [ intrans. ] move easily and quickly : Senna then sliced past Berger to take third place.
1 (of an action or thing) done or operating in an impressively smooth, efficient, and apparently effortless way : a slick piece of software. • (of a thing) superficially impressive or efficient in presentation : the brands are backed by slick advertising. • (of a person or their behavior) adroit or clever; glibly assured : he's a slick con man. 2 (of skin or hair) smooth and glossy : a dandy-looking dude with a slick black ponytail. • (of a surface) smooth, wet, and slippery : she tumbled back against the slick, damp wall.
1 [ trans. ] make (one's hair) flat, smooth, and glossy by applying water, oil, or cream to it : his damp hair was slicked back | [as adj. in combination ] ( slicked) his slicked-down hair. • cover with a film of liquid; make wet or slippery : she woke to find her body slicked with sweat | [as adj. in combination ] ( -slicked) a rain-slicked road.
move along a smooth surface while maintaining continuous contact with it : she slid down the bank into the water | [as adj. ] ( sliding) the tank should have a sliding glass cover. • [ trans. ] move (something) along a surface in such a way : she slid the keys over the table. • move smoothly, quickly, or unobtrusively : I quickly slid into a seat at the back of the hall. • [ trans. ] move (something) in such a way : she slid the bottle into her pocket. • change gradually to a worse condition or lower level : the country faces the prospect of sliding from recession into slump.
1 small in degree; inconsiderable : a slight increase | a slight ankle injury | the chance of success is very slight.
not in the slightest not at all : he didn't mind in the slightest. the slightest —— [usu. with negative ] any —— whatsoever : I don't have the slightest idea.
2 (of something abstract, esp. a chance or margin) very small : there was just a slim chance of success | the evidence is slim.
• [ trans. ] reduce (a business or other organization) to a smaller size in the hope of making it more efficient : restructuring and slimming down the organization.
covered by or having the feel or consistency of slime : the thick, slimy mud | the walls were slimy with lichens. • informal disgustingly immoral, dishonest, or obsequious : he was a slimy people-pleaser.
• a bandage or soft strap looped around the neck to support an injured arm : she had her arm in a sling.
1 [ trans. ] suspend or arrange (something), esp. with a strap or straps, so that it hangs loosely in a particular position : a hammock was slung between two trees. • carry (something, esp. a garment) loosely and casually : he had his jacket slung over one shoulder.
• [with adverbial of direction ] (of a thing) accidentally slide or move out of position or from someone's grasp : the envelope slipped through Luke's fingers | a wisp of hair had slipped down over her face. • fail to grip or make proper contact with a surface : the front wheels began to slip | [as adj. ] ( slipping) a badly slipping clutch. • [with adverbial of direction ] go or move quietly or quickly, without attracting notice : we slipped out by a back door.
• pass or change to a lower, worse, or different condition, typically in a gradual or imperceptible way : many people feel standards have slipped | [with complement ] profits slipped 31 percent. • ( be slipping) informal be behaving in a way that is not up to one's usual level of performance : you're slipping, Joe—you need a vacation. • ( slip away/by) (of time) elapse : the night was slipping away. • [ trans. ] put (something) in a particular place or position quietly, quickly, or stealthily : she slipped the map into her pocket | [with two objs. ] I slipped him a ten-spot to keep quiet.
• (of a thought or fact) fail to be remembered by (one's mind or memory); elude (one's notice) : a beautiful woman's address was never likely to slip his mind.
1 an act of sliding unintentionally for a short distance : a single slip could send them plummeting down the mountainside. • a fall to a lower level or standard : a continued slip in house prices.
1 a small piece of paper, typically a form for writing on or one giving printed information : his monthly salary slip | complete the tear-off slip below.
(of a surface or object) difficult to hold firmly or stand on because it is smooth, wet, or slimy : slippery ice | her hand was slippery with sweat. • (of a person) evasive and unpredictable; not to be relied on : Martin's a slippery customer.
slippery slope an idea or course of action which will lead to something unacceptable, wrong, or disastrous : he is on the slippery slope toward a life of crime.
slippery : the path was slippy with mud | slippy tires.
a long, narrow cut or opening : make a slit in the stem under a bud | arrow slits.
make a long, narrow cut in (something) : give me the truth or I will slit your throat | [ trans. ] he slit open the envelope. • cut (something) into strips : a wide recording head magnetizes the tape before it is slit to domestic size.
move smoothly over a surface with a twisting or oscillating motion : I spied a baby adder slithering away. • slide or slip unsteadily on a loose or slippery surface : we slithered down a snowy mountain track.
a movement in such a manner : a snakelike slither across the grass.
a small, thin, narrow piece of something cut or split off a larger piece : a sliver of cheese | figurative there was a sliver of light under his door.
have saliva dripping copiously from the mouth : Fido tended to slobber | [as adj. ] ( slobbering) big slobbering kisses.
1 [ intrans. ] work hard over a period of time : they were slogging away to meet a deadline. • [with adverbial of direction ] walk or move with difficulty or effort : he slogged home through the gray slush. 2 [ intrans. ] hit forcefully and typically wildly, esp. in boxing : the fighters were slogging away.
1 a surface of which one end or side is at a higher level than another; a rising or falling surface : he slithered helplessly down the slope. • a difference in level or sideways position between the two ends or sides of a thing : the roof should have a slope sufficient for proper drainage | the backward slope of the chair. • (often slopes) a part of the side of a hill or mountain, esp. as a place for skiing : a ten-minute cable-car ride delivers you to the slopes.
(of a surface or line) be inclined from a horizontal or vertical line; slant up or down : the garden sloped down to a stream | the ceiling sloped | [as adj. ] ( sloping) a sloping floor. • [ trans. ] place or arrange in such a position or inclination : Poole sloped his shoulders | [as adj. ] ( sloped) a sloped leather writing surface.
2 careless and unsystematic; excessively casual : your speech has always been sloppy. • (of a garment) casual and loose-fitting : wearing a sloppy sweater and jeans.
(of liquid in a container) move irregularly with a splashing sound : water in the boat sloshed around under our feet | figurative there is so much money now sloshing around in professional tennis. • (of a person) move through liquid with a splashing sound : they sloshed up the tracks in the dank woods.
1 wet and sticky; slushy : the hoofprints are sloshy depressions.
1 a long, narrow aperture or slit in a machine for something to be inserted : he slid a coin into the slot of the jukebox.
place (something) into a long, narrow aperture : he slotted a cassette into the tape machine | the plates come in sections that can be slotted together. • [ intrans. ] be placed or able to be placed into such an aperture : the processors will slot into a personal computer.
2 [ predic. or as complement ] (of a clock or watch) showing a time earlier than the correct time : the clock was five minutes slow.
4 uneventful and rather dull : a slow and mostly aimless narrative. • (of business) with little activity; slack : sales were slow.
reduce one's speed or the speed of a vehicle or process : the train slowed to a halt | investment has slowed down | [ trans. ] he slowed the car. • ( slow down/up) live or work less actively or intensely : I wasn't feeling well and had to slow down.
the action of showing film or playing back video more slowly than it was made or recorded, so that the action appears slower than in real life : the scene was shown in slow motion | [as adj. ] a slow-motion sequence.
slowly but surely achieving the desired results gradually and reliably rather than quickly and spectacularly : the new church began, slowly but surely, to grow.
a large number or quantity of something : he asked me a slew of questions.
3 an amount of an alcoholic drink, typically liquor, that is gulped or poured : he took a slug of whiskey. [ORIGIN: mid 18th cent.: figuratively from sense 4.]
drink (something, typically alcohol) in a large draft; swig : she picked up her drink and slugged it straight back.
strike (someone) with a hard blow : he was the one who'd get slugged. • ( slug it out) settle a dispute or contest by fighting or competing fiercely : they went outside to slug it out.
slow-moving or inactive : a sluggish stream. • lacking energy or alertness : Alex woke late feeling tired and sluggish. • slow to respond or make progress : the car had been sluggish all morning.
sleep : Sleeping Beauty slumbered in her forest castle | figurative the village street slumbered under the afternoon sun.
1 [with adverbial ] sit, lean, or fall heavily and limply, esp. with a bent back : she slumped against the cushions | ( be slumped) Denis was slumped in his seat. 2 undergo a sudden severe or prolonged fall in price, value, or amount : land prices slumped.
a sudden severe or prolonged fall in the price, value, or amount of something : a slump in annual profits.
1 speak (words or speech) indistinctly so that the sounds run into one another : he was slurring his words like a drunk. • [ intrans. ] (of words or speech) be spoken in this way : his speech was beginning to slur. • pass over (a fact or aspect) so as to conceal or minimize it : essential attributes are being slurred over or ignored.
1 an insinuation or allegation about someone that is likely to insult them or damage their reputation : the comments were a slur on the staff | a racial slur. 2 an act of speaking indistinctly so that sounds or words run into one another or a tendency to speak in such a way : there was a mean slur in his voice.
having or showing a cunning and deceitful nature : she had a sly personality. • (of a remark, glance, or facial expression) showing in an insinuating way that one has some secret knowledge that may be harmful or embarrassing : he gave a sly grin.
a sharp slap or blow, typically one given with the palm of the hand : she gave Mark a smack across the face. • a loud, sharp sound made by such a blow or a similar action : she closed the ledger with a smack.
strike (someone or something), typically with the palm of the hand and as a punishment : Jessica smacked his face quite hard. • [ trans. ] smash, drive, or put forcefully into or onto something : he smacked a fist into the palm of a black-gloved hand.
have a flavor of; taste of : the tea smacked of peppermint. • suggest the presence or effects of (something wrong or unpleasant) : the whole thing smacks of a cover-up.
a flavor or taste of : anything with even a modest smack of hops dries the palate. • a trace or suggestion of : I hear the smack of collusion between them.
of limited size or extent : a small-scale research project | small-scale manufacturing.
polite conversation about unimportant or uncontroversial matters, esp. as engaged in on social occasions : propriety required that he face these people and make small talk.
• showing impertinence by making clever or sarcastic remarks : don't get smart or I'll whack you one.
smart-ass noun informal another term for smart aleck .
an ability or tendency to make impertinent retorts; impudence : why do you hide behind that smart mouth all the time?
1 [ trans. ] violently break (something) into pieces : the thief smashed a window to get into the car | gone are the days when he smashed up hotels. • [ intrans. ] be violently broken into pieces; shatter : the glass ball smashed instantly on the pavement. • violently knock down or crush inward : soldiers smashed down doors. • crash and severely damage (a vehicle) : my Volvo's been smashed up. • hit or attack (someone) very violently : Donald smashed him over the head.
• easily or comprehensively beat (a record) : he smashed the course record. • completely defeat, destroy, or foil (something regarded as hostile or dangerous) : a deliberate attempt to smash the union movement. 2 [ intrans. ] move so as to hit or collide with something with great force and impact : their plane smashed into a mountainside.
• [ trans. ] (in sports) strike (the ball) or score (a goal, run, etc.) with great force : he smashed that one into the bleachers for another two-run homer.
1 an act or sound of something smashing : he heard the smash of glass. • a violent collision or impact between vehicles : a car smash.
2 (also smash hit) informal a very successful song, film, show, or performer : a box-office smash.
coat or mark (something) messily or carelessly with a greasy or sticky substance : his face was smeared with dirt. • [ trans. ] spread (a greasy, oily, or sticky substance) over something : Barbara smeared peanut butter on a slice of bread. • figurative damage the reputation of (someone) by false accusations; slander : someone was trying to smear her by faking letters. • messily blur the outline of (something such as writing or paint); smudge : her lipstick was smeared.
1 a mark or streak of a greasy or sticky substance : there was an oil smear on his jacket. • figurative a false accusation intended to damage someone's reputation : the media were indulging in unwarranted smears.
the faculty or power of perceiving odors or scents by means of the organs in the nose : a highly developed sense of smell | dogs locate the bait by smell. • a quality in something that is perceived by this faculty; an odor or scent : lingering kitchen smells | a smell of coffee. • an unpleasant odor : twenty-seven cats lived there—you can imagine the smell!
• sniff at (something) in order to perceive or detect its odor or scent : the dogs smell each other. • [ intrans. ] have or use a sense of smell : becoming deaf or blind or unable to smell.
• ( smell something out) detect or discover something by the faculty of smell : his nose can smell out an animal from ten miles away. • detect or suspect (something) by means of instinct or intuition : he can smell trouble long before it gets serious | he can smell out weakness in others.
2 [ intrans. ] emit an odor or scent of a specified kind : it smelled like cough medicine | [with complement ] the food smelled and tasted good | [as adj., in combination ] ( -smelling) pungent-smelling food. • have a strong or unpleasant odor : if I don't get a bath soon I'll start to smell | it smells in here. • appear in a certain way; be suggestive of something : it smells like a hoax to me.
• ( smile at/on/upon) regard favorably or indulgently : at first fortune smiled on him.
a pleased, kind, or amused facial expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed : he flashed his most winning smile | she greeted us all with a smile.
smile in an irritatingly smug, conceited, or silly way : Dr. Ali smirked in triumph. See note at smile .
• ( smoke someone/something out) drive someone or something out of a place by using smoke : we will fire the roof and smoke him out.
where there's smoke there's fire proverb there's always some reason for a rumor.
without smoke : a smoke-free environment. • where smoking is not permitted : a smoke-free train.
burn slowly with smoke but no flame : the bonfire still smoldered, the smoke drifting over the paddock. • show or feel barely suppressed anger, hatred, or another powerful emotion : Anna smoldered with indignation | [as adj. ] ( smoldering) he met her smoldering eyes.
kiss and cuddle amorously : the young lovers smooched in their car.
a kiss or a spell of amorous kissing and cuddling : a slurpy smooch on the ear. • Brit. a period of slow dancing in a close embrace : they suggest a dance but it turns into a smooch.
• (of a liquid) with an even consistency; without lumps : cook gently until the sauce is smooth. • (of the sea or another body of water) without heavy waves; calm : the smooth summer sea. • (of movement) without jerks : the trucks gave a smooth ride | graphics are excellent, with fast, smooth scrolling.
• (of an action, event, or process) without problems or difficulties : the group's expansion into the U.S. market was not quite so smooth.
• (of a person or their manner, actions, or words) suavely charming in a way considered to be unctuous : his voice was infuriatingly smooth.
1 (of a person) excessively or ingratiatingly flattering; oily : he seemed anxious to please but not in an unctuous way.
give (something) a flat, regular surface or appearance by running one's hand over it : she smoothed out the newspaper. • rub off the rough edges of (something) : you can use sandpaper to smooth the joint. • deal successfully with (a problem, difficulty, or perceived fault) : these doctrinal disputes were smoothed over. • free (a course of action) from difficulties or problems : a conference would be held to smooth the way for the establishment of the provisional government. • modify (a graph, curve, etc.) so as to lessen irregularities : values are collected over a long period of time so that fluctuations are smoothed out.
use such language to (someone), esp. to persuade them to do something : don't try to smooth-talk me | [as adj. ] ( smooth-talking) a smooth-talking salesman.
the ability or tendency to use insincere flattery or persuasion : your smooth tongue could even turn your mistakes to your advantage.
• ( smother someone/something in/with) cover someone or something entirely with : rich orange sorbets smothered in fluffy whipped cream | figurative he smothered her with kisses. • make (someone) feel trapped and oppressed by acting in an overly protective manner toward them : it's time for you to leave the house—she'll smother you if you remain.
a blurred or smeared mark on the surface of something : a smudge of blood on the floor. • an indistinct or blurred view or image : the low smudge of hills on the horizon.
cause (something) to become messily smeared by rubbing it : she dabbed her eyes, careful not to smudge her makeup. • [ intrans. ] become smeared when rubbed : mascaras that smudge or flake around the eyes. • make blurred or indistinct : the photograph had been smudged by the photocopier and was by no means as clear as the original.
smeared or blurred from being smudged : a smudgy photograph.
move (goods) illegally into or out of a country : he's been smuggling cigarettes from Gibraltar into Spain | [as n. ] ( smuggling) cocaine smuggling has increased alarmingly. • [ trans. ] convey (someone or something) somewhere secretly and illicitly : he smuggled out a message.
1 an unexpected or hidden obstacle or drawback : the picture's U.S. release hit a snag. 2 a sharp, angular, or jagged projection : keep an emery board handy in case of nail snags.
• (in metaphorical use) any person or thing that moves exceedingly slowly : a tedious and complicated process enough to exasperate a snail.
having or showing an excessive pride in oneself or one's achievements : he was feeling smug after his win.
an extremely slow speed : he drove at a snail's pace.
1 break or cause to break suddenly and completely, typically with a sharp cracking sound : [ intrans. ] guitar strings kept snapping | [ trans. ] dead twigs can be snapped off. • [ intrans. ] emit a sudden, sharp cracking sound : banners snapping in the breeze. • [ intrans. ] (of an animal) make a sudden audible bite : a dog was snapping at his heels.
• [ trans. or adverbial ] cause to move or alter in a specified way with a brisk movement and typically a sharp sound : Rosa snapped her bag shut. • [ intrans. ] move or alter in this way : his mouth snapped into a tight, straight line. • [ intrans. ] figurative suddenly lose one's self-control : she claims she snapped after years of violence.
• [ reporting verb ] say something quickly and irritably to someone : [ intrans. ] McIllvanney snapped at her | [with direct speech ] "I really don't much care," she snapped.
• [in sing. ] a hurried, irritable tone or manner : "I'm still waiting," he said with a snap.
in a snap informal in a moment; almost immediately : gourmet-quality meals are ready in a snap.
snap back recover quickly and easily from an illness or period of difficulty : our bodies can snap back pretty well from short-term bouts of stress. snap out of [often in imperative ] informal get out of (a bad or unhappy mood) by a sudden effort : come on, Fran—snap out of it!
1 irritable and inclined to speak sharply; snappish : anything unusual made her snappy and nervous. 2 cleverly concise; neat : snappy catchphrases. • neat and elegant : a snappy dresser.
(of an animal such as a dog) make an aggressive growl with bared teeth : [as adj. ] ( snarling) snarling Dobermans. • [ reporting verb ] (of a person) say something in an angry, bad-tempered voice : I used to snarl at anyone I disliked | [with direct speech ] "Shut your mouth!" he snarled | [ trans. ] he snarled a few choice remarks at them.
an act or sound of snarling : the cat drew its mouth back in a snarl.
quickly seize (something) in a rude or eager way : she snatched a cookie from the plate | figurative a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat. • informal steal (something) or kidnap (someone), typically by seizing or grabbing suddenly : a mission to snatch Winston Churchill. • [ intrans. ] ( snatch at) hastily or ineffectually attempt to seize (something) : she snatched at the handle. • quickly secure or obtain (something) when a chance presents itself : snatching a few hours' sleep. • [ intrans. ] ( snatch at) eagerly take or accept (an offer or opportunity) : I snatched at the chance.
1 an act of snatching or quickly seizing something : a quick snatch of breath. • a short spell of doing something : brief snatches of sleep. • a fragment of song or talk : picking up snatches of conversation.
move or go in a furtive or stealthy manner : I sneaked out by the back exit. • [ trans. ] convey (someone or something) in such a way : someone sneaked a camera inside. • [ trans. ] do or obtain (something) in a stealthy or furtive way : she sneaked a glance at her watch. • ( sneak up on) creep up on (someone) without being detected : he sneaks up on us slyly.
acting or done surreptitiously, unofficially, or without warning : a sneak thief | a sneak preview.
a contemptuous or mocking smile, remark, or tone : he acknowledged their presence with a condescending sneer.
smile or speak in a contemptuous or mocking manner : she had sneered at their bad taste | [with direct speech ] "I see you're conservative in your ways," David sneered.
an act or the sound of expelling air from the nose in such a way : he stopped a sudden sneeze.
draw in air audibly through the nose to detect a smell, to stop it from running, or to express contempt : his dog sniffed at my trousers | [with direct speech ] "You're behaving in an unladylike fashion," sniffed Mother. • [ trans. ] draw in (a scent, substance, or air) through the nose. • [usu. with negative ] ( sniff at) show contempt or dislike for : the price is not to be sniffed at.
• [ trans. ] ( sniff something out) informal discover something by investigation : he made millions upon millions sniffing out tax loopholes for companies.
an act or sound of drawing air through the nose : he gave a sniff of disapproval. • an amount of air or other substance taken up in such a way : his drug use was confined to a sniff of amyl nitrite.
give such a laugh : the boys at school were sure to s***** at him behind his back | [with direct speech ] "Doesn't he look like a fool?" they s*****ed.
a small piece or brief extract : snippets of information about the war.
of, characteristic of, or like a snob : the writer takes a rather snobbish tone.
an explosive sound made by the sudden forcing of breath through a person's nose, used to express indignation, derision, or incredulity : he gave a snort of disgust.
make a sudden sound through one's nose, esp. to express indignation or derision : she snorted with laughter | [with direct speech ] "How perfectly ridiculous!" he snorted.
a fall of snow : heavy snowfalls made travel absolutely impossible. • the quantity of snow falling within a given area in a given time : winters with above-average snowfall.
extinguish (a candle) : a breeze snuffed out the candle. • informal put an end to (something) in a brutal manner : his life was snuffed out by a sniper's bullet. • informal kill : I lost track of the number of people he snuffed who were wearing bulletproof fabric.
breathe noisily through the nose due to a cold or crying : Alice was weeping quietly, snuffling a little. • (esp. of an animal) make repeated sniffing sounds as though smelling at something : the collie snuffled around his boots | [as n. ] ( snuffling) she heard a strange, persistent snuffling.
a sniff or sniffing sound : a silence broken only by the faint snuffles of the dogs.
1 comfortable, warm, and cozy; well protected from the weather or cold : she was safe and snug in Ruth's arms | a snug cottage.
1 [as submodifier ] to such a great extent : the words tumbled out so fast that I could barely hear them | don't look so worried | I'm not so foolish as to say that. • extremely; very much (used for emphasis) : she looked so pretty | I do love it so. • informal used to emphasize a clause or negative statement : that's so not fair | you are so going to regret this.
not so much —— as —— not —— but rather —— : the novel was not so much unfinished as unfinishable.
as (or so) long as 1 during the whole time that : they have been there as long as anyone can remember. 2 provided that : as long as you fed him, he would be cooperative.
so much for 1 indicating that one has finished talking about something : So much for the melodic line. We now turn our attention to the accompaniment. 2 suggesting that something has not been successful or useful : so much for that idea! so much so that to such an extent that : I was fascinated by the company, so much so that I wrote a book about it.
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.
1 make or allow (something) to become thoroughly wet by immersing it in liquid : soak the beans overnight in water. • [ intrans. ] be immersed in water or another liquid : she spent some time soaking in a hot bath. • (of a liquid) cause (something or someone) to become extremely wet : the rain poured down, soaking their hair. • [ intrans. ] (of a liquid) penetrate or permeate completely : cold water was soaking into my shoes.
• [ intrans. ] (of a liquid) penetrate or permeate completely : cold water was soaking into my shoes.
• ( soak oneself in) immerse oneself in (a particular experience, activity, or interest) : he soaked himself in the music of Mozart.
fly or rise high in the air : the bird spread its wings and soared into the air | figurative when she heard his voice, her spirits soared. • maintain height in the air without flapping wings or using engine power : the gulls soared on the summery winds. • increase rapidly above the usual level : the cost of living continued to soar | [as adj. ] ( soaring) the soaring crime rate.
cry noisily, making loud, convulsive gasps : he broke down and sobbed like a child [ trans. ] : he sobbed himself to sleep. • [ trans. ] say while crying noisily : [with direct speech ] "I thought they'd killed you," he sobbed weakly.
an act or sound of sobbing : with a sob of despair she threw herself onto the bed.
make or become sober after drinking alcohol : [ trans. ] that coffee sobered him up | [ intrans. ] I ought to sober up a bit. • make or become more serious, sensible, and solemn : [ intrans. ] his expression sobered her | [as adj. ] ( sobering) a sobering thought.an act or sound of sobbing : with a sob of despair she threw herself onto the bed.
1 [ attrib. ] of or relating to society or its organization : alcoholism is recognized as a major social problem | a traditional Japanese social structure. • of or relating to rank and status in society : a recent analysis of social class in Britain | her mother is a lady of the highest social standing.
1 [ intrans. ] mix socially with others : he didn't mind socializing with his staff. 2 [ trans. ] make (someone) behave in a way that is acceptable to their society : newcomers are socialized into orthodox ways | [as adj. ] ( socializing) a socializing effect.
of or relating to society or social relations : societal change.
sociopath |ˈsəʊsɪə(ʊ)paθ| |ˈsəʊʃɪə(ʊ)-| noun a person with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience.
knock (or blow) someone's socks off informal amaze or impress someone. knock the socks off informal surpass or beat : it will knock the socks off the opposition.
• (of news or other journalism) regarded more as entertainment than as basic news : fashion is regarded as soft news. • willing to compromise in political matters; moderate : candidates ranging from far right to soft left. • informal foolish; silly : he must be going soft in the head. • [ predic. ] ( soft on) informal infatuated with : was Brendan soft on her? • chiefly Brit. willing to compromise in political matters; moderate : candidates ranging from far right to soft left.
2 having a pleasing quality involving a subtle effect or contrast rather than sharp definition : the soft glow of the lamps | the moon's pale light cast soft shadows. • (of a voice or sound) quiet and gentle : they spoke in soft whispers. • (of rain, wind, or other natural force) not strong or violent : a soft breeze rustled the trees.
soft option an easier alternative : probation should in no sense be seen as a soft option by the judiciary.
make or become less hard : [ trans. ] plant extracts to soften and moisturize the skin | [ intrans. ] let the vegetables soften over a low heat. • make or become less severe : [ intrans. ] her expression softened at the sight of Diane's white face. • [ trans. ] undermine the resistance of (someone) : the blockade appears a better weapon with which to soften them up for eventual surrender.
in a quiet voice or manner : "Can't you sleep?" she asked softly | the door opened softly. • with a gentle or slow movement : he touched her cheek softly. • in a pleasantly subdued manner : the room was softly lit by a lamp.
wet and soft : the sandbags were soggy and split open | figurative the chorus sings powerfully but the interpretation is ultimately soggy.
• the territory of a particular nation : the stationing of U.S. troops on Japanese soil.
comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness : she sought solace in her religion.
one and only : my sole aim was to contribute to the national team. • belonging or restricted to one person or group of people : loans can be in sole or joint names | the health club is for the sole use of our guests.
not involving anyone or anything else; only : he is solely responsible for any debts the company may incur | people are appointed solely on the basis of merit.
formal and dignified : a solemn procession. • not cheerful or smiling; serious : Tim looked very solemn. • characterized by deep sincerity : he swore a solemn oath to keep faith.
the state or quality of being serious and dignified : his ashes were laid to rest with great solemnity. • (usu. solemnities) a formal, dignified rite or ceremony : the ritual of the church was observed in all its solemnities.
ask for or try to obtain (something) from someone : he called a meeting to solicit their views. See note at beg . • ask (someone) for something : historians and critics are solicited for opinions by the auction houses. • [ intrans. ] accost someone and offer one's or someone else's services as a prostitute : [as n. ] ( soliciting) although prostitution was not itself an offense, soliciting was.
2 not hollow or containing spaces or gaps : a sculpture made out of solid rock | a solid mass of flowers | the stores were packed solid. • consisting of the same substance throughout : solid silver cutlery.
• (of a line or surface) without spaces; unbroken : the solid outline encloses the area within which we measured. • (of time) uninterrupted; continuous : a solid day of meetings | [ postpositive ] it poured for two hours solid.
3 dependable; reliable : the defense is solid | there is solid evidence of lower inflation. • sound but without any special qualities or flair : the rest of the acting is solid. • unanimous or undivided : they received solid support from their teammates. • financially sound : the company is very solid and will come through the current recession. • [ predic. ] ( solid with) informal on good terms with : he thought he could put himself in solid with you by criticizing her.
1 unity or agreement of feeling or action, esp. among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group : factory workers voiced solidarity with the striking students.
make or become hard or solid : [ intrans. ] the magma slowly solidifies and forms crystals. • [ trans. ] figurative make stronger; reinforce : social and political pressures helped to solidify national identities.
done or existing alone : I live a pretty solitary life | tigers are essentially solitary. • (of a place) secluded or isolated : solitary farmsteads. • [ attrib. ] [often with negative ] single; only : we have not a solitary shred of evidence to go on.
the state or situation of being alone : she savored her few hours of freedom and solitude.
1 having assets in excess of liabilities; able to pay one's debts : interest rate rises have very severe effects on normally solvent companies. 2 [ attrib. ] able to dissolve other substances : osmotic, chemical, or solvent action.
• figurative something that acts to weaken or dispel a particular attitude or situation : an unrivaled solvent of social prejudices.
dark or dull in color or tone; gloomy : the night skies were somber and starless. • oppressively solemn or sober in mood; grave : he looked at her with a somber expression.
in some way; by some means : somehow I managed to get the job done. • for a reason that is not known or specified : he looked different somehow.q
really (or quite) something informal something considered impressive or notable : Want to see the library? It's really something.
there is something in/to —— —— is worth considering; there is some truth in —— : perhaps there is something to his theory | I think there's something in this alien business. thirty-something ( forty-something, etc.) informal an unspecified age between thirty and forty (forty and fifty, etc.) : I'm guessing she's forty-something.
to a moderate extent or by a moderate amount : matters have improved somewhat since then | [as submodifier ] a somewhat thicker book.
no sooner —— than used to convey that the second event mentioned happens immediately after the first : she had no sooner spoken than the telephone rang.
gently calm (a person or their feelings) : a shot of brandy might soothe his nerves | [as adj. ] ( soothing) she put on some soothing music. • reduce pain or discomfort in (a part of the body) : to soothe the skin try chamomile or thyme. • relieve or ease (pain) : it contains a mild anesthetic to soothe the pain.
covered with or colored like soot : the front of the fireplace was blackened and sooty | his olive skin and sooty eyes.
involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt : the story paints a sordid picture of bribes and scams. • dirty or squalid : the overcrowded housing conditions were sordid and degrading.
(of a part of one's body) painful or aching : my feet were sore and my head ached. • [ predic. ] suffering pain from a part of one's body : he was sore from the long ride. • [ predic. ] informal upset and angry : I didn't even know they were sore at us. • [ attrib. ] severe; urgent : we're in sore need of him.
a feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others : he understood the sorrow and discontent underlying his brother's sigh. • an event or circumstance that causes such a feeling : it was a great sorrow to her when they separated.
feeling or showing grief : she looked at him with sorrowful eyes. • causing grief : the sorrowful news of his father's death.
1 a category of things or people having some common feature; a type : if only we knew the sort of people she was mixing with | a radical change poses all sorts of questions. • [with adj. ] informal a person of a specified character or nature : Frank was a genuinely friendly sort.
1 arrange systematically in groups; separate according to type, class, etc. : she sorted out the clothes, some to be kept, some to be thrown away. • ( sort through) look at (a group of things) one after another in order to classify them or make a selection : she sat down and sorted through her mail. 2 resolve (a problem or difficulty) : the teacher helps the children to sort out their problems. • resolve the problems or difficulties of (oneself) : I need time to sort myself out.
in some sort to a certain extent : I am in some sort indebted to you.
nothing of the sort used as an emphatic way of denying permission or refuting an earlier statement or assumption : "I'll pay." "You'll do nothing of the sort."
sort someone out informal deal with someone who is causing trouble, typically by restraining, reprimanding, or punishing them : if he can't pay you, I'll sort him out. sort something out 1 separate something from a mixed group : she started sorting out the lettuce from the spinach. 2 arrange; prepare : they are anxious to sort out traveling arrangements.
in demand; generally desired : this print will be much sought after by collectors | the most expensive and sought-after perfume.
soul mate |ˈsəʊlmeɪt| (also soulmate) noun a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.
(of a building, room, or other place) lacking character and individuality : she found the apartment beautiful but soulless. • (of an activity) tedious and uninspiring : soulless, nonproductive work. • lacking or suggesting the lack of human feelings and qualities : two soulless black eyes were watching her.
• a group of vibrations of this kind; a thing that can be heard : she heard the sound of voices in the hall | don't make a sound.
• the ideas or impressions conveyed by words : you've had a hard day, by the sound of it.
emit sound : a loud buzzer sounded. • [ trans. ] cause (something) to emit sound : she sounded the horn. • [ trans. ] give an audible signal to warn of or indicate (something) : a different bell begins to sound midnight. • [ trans. ] say (something); utter : he sounded a warning that a coup was imminent.
• convey a specified impression when heard : [with complement ] he sounded worried. • (of something or someone that has been described to one) convey a specified impression : it sounds as though you really do believe that | [with complement ] the house sounds lovely.
1 in good condition; not damaged, injured, or diseased : they returned safe and sound | he was not of sound mind. • based on reason, sense, or judgment : sound advice for healthy living | the scientific content is sound. • competent, reliable, or holding acceptable views : he's a bit stuffy, but he's very sound on his law.
• financially secure : she could get her business on a sound footing for the first time.
sour grapes |ˈsaʊ(ə)r ˈgreɪps| an attitude in which someone disparages or affects to despise something because they cannot have it themselves : government officials dismissed many of the complaints as sour grapes. [ORIGIN: with allusion to Aesop's fable The Fox and the Grapes.]
go (or turn) sour become less pleasant or attractive; turn out badly : the case concerns a property deal that turned sour.
having an acid taste like lemon or vinegar : she sampled the wine and found it was sour.
1 the direction toward the point of the horizon 90° clockwise from east, or the point on the horizon itself : the breeze came from the south | they trade with the countries to the south.
to or toward the south : they journeyed south along the valley | it is handily located ten miles south of Baltimore.
1 [ attrib. ] situated in the south or directed toward or facing the south : the southern hemisphere.
in a southerly direction : employment and people began a southward drift.
possessing supreme or ultimate power : in modern democracies the people's will is in theory sovereign.
plant (seed) by scattering it on or in the earth : fill a pot with compost and sow a thin layer of seeds on top. • plant the seeds of (a plant or crop) : the corn had just been sown. • plant (a piece of land) with seed : the field used to be sown with oats. • ( be sown with) be thickly covered with : we walked through a valley sown with boulders.
• (in printing or writing) put blanks between (words, letters, or lines) : [as n. ] ( spacing) the default setting is single line spacing. 2 (usu. be spaced out or space out) informal be or become distracted, euphoric, or disoriented, esp. from taking drugs; cease to be aware of one's surroundings : I was so tired that I began to feel totally spaced out | I kind of space out for a few minutes.
• the amount of paper used or needed to write about a subject : there is no space to give further details. • the freedom and scope to live, think, and develop in a way that suits one : a teenager needing her own space.
• an interval of time (often used to suggest that the time is short, considering what has happened or been achieved in it) : both their cars were stolen in the space of three days.
• an area of land that is not occupied by buildings : she had a love of open spaces.
dig in (ground) with a spade : while spading the soil, I think of the flowers.
the full extent of something from end to end; the amount of space that something covers : a warehouse with a clear span of 28 feet. • the length of time for which something lasts : a short concentration span.
(of a bridge, arch, etc.) extend from side to side of : the stream was spanned by a narrow bridge. • extend across (a period of time or a range of subjects) : their interests span almost all the conventional disciplines. • cover or enclose with the length of one's hand : her waist was slender enough for him to span with his hands.
slap with one's open hand or a flat object, esp. on the buttocks as a punishment : she was spanked for spilling ink on the carpet.
an act of slapping, esp. on the buttocks as a punishment for children : you deserve a good spanking.
1 additional to what is required for ordinary use : few people had spare cash for inessentials. • not currently in use or occupied : the spare bedroom.
1 [with two objs. ] give (something of which one has enough) to (someone); afford to give to : she asked if I could spare her a dollar or two. • make free or available : I'm sure you can spare me a moment.
2 [ trans. ] refrain from killing, injuring, or distressing : there was no way the men would spare her. • [with two objs. ] refrain from inflicting (something) on (someone) : the country had until now been spared the violence occurring elsewhere. • ( spare oneself) [with negative ] try to ensure or satisfy one's own comfort or needs : in her concern to help others, she has never spared herself.
to spare left over : that turkey will feed ten people with some to spare.
• a small bright object or point : there was a spark of light. • a trace of a specified quality or intense feeling : a tiny spark of anger flared within her. • a sense of liveliness and excitement : there was a spark between them at their first meeting.
1 [ intrans. ] emit sparks of fire or electricity : the ignition sparks as soon as the gas is turned on. • produce sparks at the point where an electric circuit is interrupted. 2 [ trans. ] ignite : the explosion sparked a fire. • figurative provide the stimulus for (a dramatic event or process) : the severity of the plan sparked off street protests.
shine brightly with flashes of light : her earrings sparkled as she turned her head | [as adj. ] ( sparkling) her sparkling blue eyes. • be vivacious and witty : after a glass of wine, she began to sparkle.
a glittering flash of light : there was a sparkle in his eyes. • vivacity and wit : she's got a kind of sparkle.
• a sudden and brief spell of an activity or sensation : a spasm of coughing woke him. • prolonged involuntary muscle contraction : the airways in the lungs go into spasm.
1 [usu. in sing. ] a large number of similar things or events appearing or occurring in quick succession : a spate of attacks on travelers.
of or relating to space : the spatial distribution of population | a mouse's spatial memory.
not to speak of used in introducing a further factor to be considered : the rent had to be paid, not to speak of school tuition. nothing (or no —— or none) to speak of used to indicate that there is some but very little of something : I've no capital—well, none to speak of.
speaking of used to introduce a statement or question about a topic recently alluded to : speaking of cost, can I afford to buy it?
speak (or talk) of the devil said when a person appears just after being mentioned. [ORIGIN: from the superstition that the devil will appear if his name is spoken.]
speak volumes (of a gesture, circumstance, or object) convey a great deal : a look that spoke volumes. • be good evidence for : his record speaks volumes for his determination.
concentrate on and become expert in a particular subject or skill : he could specialize in tropical medicine. • confine oneself to providing a particular product or service : the company specialized in commercial brochures. • make a habit of engaging in a particular activity : a group of writers has specialized in attacking the society they live in.
• belonging or relating uniquely to a particular subject : information needs are often very specific to companies and individuals.
identify clearly and definitely : the coup leader promised an election but did not specify a date. • [with clause ] state a fact or requirement clearly and precisely : the agency failed to specify that the workers were not their employees.
a tiny spot : the figure in the distance had become a mere speck. • a small particle of a substance : specks of dust.
a detailed working description : I'll have to look at the specs on the equipment | [as adj. ] our spec chart indicates a transmission speed of 9 seconds.
a visually striking performance or display : the acrobatic feats make a good spectacle | the show is pure spectacle. • an event or scene regarded in terms of its visual impact : the spectacle of a city's mass grief.
beautiful in a dramatic and eye-catching way : spectacular mountain scenery. • strikingly large or obvious : the party suffered a spectacular loss in the election.
2 used to classify something, or suggest that it can be classified, in terms of its position on a scale between two extreme or opposite points : the left or the right of the political spectrum. • a wide range : self-help books are covering a broader and broader spectrum.
1 form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence : my colleagues speculate about my private life | [with clause ] observers speculated that the authorities wished to improve their image. 2 invest in stocks, property, or other ventures in the hope of gain but with the risk of loss : he didn't look as though he had the money to speculate in stocks.
1 engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge : discussion of the question is largely speculative.
unable to speak, esp. as the temporary result of shock or some strong emotion : he was speechless with rage.
• the rate at which someone or something is able to move or operate : the car has a top speed of 147 mph.
1 [ intrans. ] move quickly : I got into the car and home we sped. • [ intrans. ] (of a motorist) travel at a speed that is greater than the legal limit : the car that crashed was speeding. • ( speed up) move or work more quickly : you force yourself to speed up because you don't want to keep others waiting. • [ trans. ] cause to move, act, or happen more quickly : recent initiatives have sought to speed up decision-making.
1 done or occurring quickly : a speedy recovery. 2 moving quickly : a speedy center fielder.
• a state of enchantment caused by such a form of words : the magician may cast a spell on himself. • an ability to control or influence people as though one had magical power over them : she is afraid that you are waking from her spell.
a short period : I want to get away from racing for a spell. • a period spent in an activity : a spell of greenhouse work. • a period of a specified kind of weather : an early cold spell in autumn. • a period of suffering from a specified kind of illness : she plunges off a yacht and suffers a spell of amnesia.
expel large quantities of (something) rapidly and forcibly : buses were spewing out black clouds of exhaust. • [ intrans. ] be poured or forced out in large quantities : oil spewed out of the damaged tanker.
2 an area of activity, interest, or expertise : his new wife's skill in the domestic sphere. • a section of society or an aspect of life distinguished and unified by a particular characteristic : political reforms to match those in the economic sphere.
1 an aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavor food, e.g., cloves, pepper, or mace : enjoy the taste and aroma of freshly ground spices. • an element providing interest and excitement : healthy rivalry adds spice to the game.
• add an interesting or piquant quality to; make more exciting : she was probably adding details to spice up the story.
make someone or something attractive, tidy, or stylish : he arrived all spiffed up in a dinner jacket.
2 a sharp increase in the magnitude or concentration of something : the oil price spike.
• [ intrans. ] increase and then decrease sharply; reach a peak : oil prices would spike and fall again.
like a spike or spikes or having many spikes : he has short spiky hair.
cause or allow (liquid) to flow over the edge of its container, esp. unintentionally : you'll spill that coffee if you're not careful | figurative azaleas spilled cascades of flowers over the pathways. • [ intrans. ] (of liquid) flow over the edge of its container : some of the wine spilled onto the floor | figurative years of frustration spilled over into violence. • [ intrans. ] (of the contents of something) be emptied out onto a surface : passengers' baggage had spilled out of the hold. • cause or allow (the contents of something) to be emptied out : injured cells tend to swell up and burst, spilling their contents. • [ intrans. ] (of a number of people) move out of somewhere quickly : students began to spill out of the building.
1 a quantity of liquid that has spilled or been spilled : a 25-ton oil spill | wipe up spills immediately | figurative their shifting spill of lantern-light. • an instance of a liquid spilling or being spilled : he was absolved from any blame for the oil spill.
an instance of overflowing or spreading into another area : there has been a spillover into public schools of the ethos of private schools. • a thing that spreads or has spread into another area : the village was a spillover from a neighboring, larger village. • [usu. as adj. ] an unexpected consequence, repercussion, or byproduct : the spillover effect of the quarrel.
1 turn or cause to turn or whirl around quickly : [ intrans. ] the girl spun around in alarm | the rear wheels spun violently | [ trans. ] he fiddled with the radio, spinning the dial. • [ intrans. ] (of a person's head) give a sensation of dizziness : the figures were enough to make her head spin.
1 a rapid turning or whirling motion : he concluded the dance with a double spin. • revolving motion imparted to a ball in a game such as baseball, cricket, tennis, or billiards : this racket enables the player to impart more spin to the ball
• [in sing. ] a particular bias, interpretation, or point of view, intended to create a favorable (or sometimes, unfavorable) impression when presented to the public : he tried to put a positive spin on the president's campaign. • [usu. in sing. ] a fast revolving motion of an aircraft as it descends rapidly : he tried to stop the plane from going into a spin.
spin something out make something last as long as possible : they seem keen to spin out the debate through their speeches and interventions. • spend or occupy time aimlessly or without profit : Shane and Mary played games to spin out the afternoon.
a byproduct or incidental result of a larger project : the commercial spin-off from defense research. • a product marketed by its association with a popular television program, movie, personality, etc. : [as adj. ] spin-off merchandising.
of or relating to the spine : spinal injuries.
• figurative a thing's central feature or main source of strength : players who will form the spine of our team.
inspiring terror or terrified excitement : a spine-chilling silence.
a byproduct or incidental result of a larger project : the commercial spin-off from defense research.
winding in a continuous and gradually widening (or tightening) curve, either around a central point on a flat plane or about an axis so as to form a cone : a spiral pattern.
1 [ intrans. ] move in a spiral course : a wisp of smoke spiraled up from the trees.
2 [in sing. ] those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group or in the thought and attitudes of a particular period : the university is a symbol of the nation's egalitarian spirit.
• [with adj. ] a person identified with their most prominent mental or moral characteristics or with their role in a group or movement : he was a leading spirit in the conference. • a specified emotion or mood, esp. one prevailing at a particular time : I hope the team will build on this spirit of confidence. • ( spirits) a person's mood : the warm weather lifted everyone's spirits after the winter. • the quality of courage, energy, and determination or assertiveness : his visitors admired his spirit and good temper.
1 full of energy, enthusiasm, and determination : a spirited campaigner for women's rights. 2 [in combination ] having a specified character, outlook on life, or mood : he was a warmhearted, generous-spirited man.
1 of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things : I'm responsible for his spiritual welfare | the spiritual values of life.
1 eject saliva forcibly from one's mouth, sometimes as a gesture of contempt or anger : Todd spit in Hugh's face. • [ trans. ] forcibly eject (food or liquid) from one's mouth : he spits out his piece of coconut | figurative ATMs that spit out $20 bills.
• [ trans. ] utter in a hostile or aggressive way : she spat abuse at the jury | [with direct speech ] "Go to hell!" she spat.
spit it out informal used to urge someone to say or confess something quickly : spit it out, man, I haven't got all day.
showing or caused by malice : the teachers made spiteful little jokes about me. See note at vindictive .
a sound made by something striking or falling into liquid : we hit the water with a mighty splash. • a spell of moving about in water energetically : the girls joined them for a final splash in the pool. • a small quantity of liquid that has fallen or been dashed against a surface : a splash of gravy. • a small quantity of liquid added to a drink : a splash of lemonade. • a bright patch of color : add a red scarf to give a splash of color. • informal a prominent or sensational news feature or story : a front-page splash.
cause (liquid) to strike or fall on something in irregular drops : she splashed cold water onto her face. • [ trans. ] make wet by doing this : they splashed each other with water. • [ intrans. ] (of a liquid) fall or be scattered in irregular drops : a tear fell and splashed onto the pillow. • [ intrans. ] strike or move around in a body of water, causing it to fly about noisily : some stones splashed into the water | wheels splashed through a puddle.
1 characterized by water flying about noisily in irregular drops : a splashy waterfall. • characterized by irregular patches of bright color : splashy floral silks.
splash with a sticky or viscous liquid : a passing cart rolled by, splattering him with mud.
magnificent; very impressive : a splendid view of Windsor Castle | his robes were splendid. • informal excellent; very good : a splendid fellow | [as exclam. ] "Is your family well? Splendid!"
splendid isolation used to emphasize the isolation of a person or thing : the stone stands in splendid isolation near the moorland road. [ORIGIN: 1896: first applied to the period from 1890 to 1907 when Britain pursued a policy of diplomatic and commercial noninvolvement.]
magnificent and splendid appearance; grandeur : the splendor of the Florida Keys. • ( splendors) magnificent features or qualities : the splendors of the imperial court.
1 break or cause to break forcibly into parts, esp. into halves or along the grain : [ intrans. ] the ice cracked and heaved and split | [ trans. ] split and toast the muffins. • remove or be removed by breaking, separating, or dividing : [ trans. ] the point was pressed against the edge of the flint to split off flakes | [ intrans. ] an incentive for regions to split away from countries. • divide or cause to divide into parts or elements : [ intrans. ] the river had split into a number of channels | [ trans. ] splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.
2 (with reference to a group of people) divide into two or more groups : [ intrans. ] let's split up and find the other two | [ trans. ] once again the family was split up. • [ intrans. ] end a marriage or an emotional or working relationship : I split up with my boyfriend a year ago. • [ trans. ] (often be split) (of an issue) cause (a group) to be divided because of opposing views : the party was deeply split over its future direction.
1 a tear, crack, or fissure in something, esp. down the middle or along the grain : light squeezed through a small split in the curtain. • an instance or act of splitting or being split; a division : the split between the rich and the poor. • a separation into parties or within a party; a schism : the accusations caused a split in the party. • an ending of a marriage or an emotional or working relationship : a much-publicized split with his wife.
a very brief moment of time : for a split second, I hesitated.
1 diminish or destroy the value or quality of : I wouldn't want to spoil your fun | a series of political blunders spoiled their chances of being reelected. • prevent someone from enjoying (an occasion or event) : she was afraid of spoiling Christmas for the rest of the family. • [ intrans. ] (of food) become unfit for eating : I've got some ham that'll spoil if we don't eat it tonight.
• treat with great or excessive kindness, consideration, or generosity : breakfast in bed—you're spoiling me!
speaking in a specified way : a blunt-spoken man.
a person, esp. a man, who makes statements on behalf of another individual or a group : a spokesman for Greenpeace.
1 [ trans. ] wipe, rub, or clean with a wet sponge or cloth : she sponged him down in an attempt to cool his fever. • remove or wipe away (liquid or a mark) in such a way : I'll go and sponge this orange juice off my dress.
like a sponge, esp. in being porous, compressible, elastic, or absorbent : a soft, spongy blanket of moss.
performed or occurring as a result of a sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation or external stimulus : the audience broke into spontaneous applause | a spontaneous display of affection.
1 imitate (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect : it is a movie that spoofs other movies. 2 hoax or trick (someone) : they proceeded to spoof Western intelligence with false information.
frighten; unnerve : they spooked a couple of grizzly bears. • [ intrans. ] (esp. of an animal) take fright suddenly : he'll spook if we make any noise.
1 sinister or ghostly in a way that causes fear and unease : I bet this place is really spooky late at night.
• the contents of such an implement : three spoons of sugar.
occurring at irregular intervals or only in a few places; scattered or isolated : sporadic fighting broke out.
2 informal a person who behaves in a good or specified way in response to teasing, defeat, or a similarly trying situation : go on, be a sport! | Angela's a bad sport.
1 a small round or roundish mark, differing in color or texture from the surface around it : ladybugs have black spots on their red wing covers. • a small mark or stain : a spot of mildew on the wall.
2 a particular place or point : a nice secluded spot | an ideal picnic spot. • [with adj. ] a small feature or part of something with a particular quality : his bald spot | there was one bright spot in a night of dismal failure.
1 [ trans. ] see, notice, or recognize (someone or something) that is difficult to detect or that one is searching for : Andrew spotted the ad in the paper | the men were spotted by police. • (usu. be spotted) recognize that (someone) has a particular talent, esp. for sports or show business : we were spotted by a talent scout.
2 [ trans. ] (usu. be spotted) mark with spots : the velvet was spotted with stains. • [ intrans. ] become marked with spots : a damp atmosphere causes the flowers to spot.
on the spot 1 without any delay; immediately : he offered me the job on the spot. 2 at the scene of an action or event : journalists on the spot reported no progress.
• ( the spotlight) figurative intense scrutiny or public attention : she was constantly in the media spotlight.
illuminate with a spotlight : the dancers are spotlighted from time to time throughout the evening.
wrench or twist the ligaments of (an ankle, wrist, or other joint) violently so as to cause pain and swelling but not dislocation : he left in a wheelchair after spraining an ankle.
sit, lie, or fall with one's arms and legs spread out in an ungainly or awkward way : the door shot open, sending him sprawling across the pavement | she lay sprawled on the bed. • spread out over a large area in an untidy or irregular way : the town sprawled along several miles of cliff top. | [as adj. ] ( sprawling) the sprawling suburbs.
• a group or mass of something that has spread out in an untidy or irregular way : a sprawl of buildings.
• the expansion of an urban or industrial area into the adjoining countryside in a way perceived to be disorganized and unattractive : the growth of urban sprawl.
liquid that is blown or driven through the air in the form of tiny drops : a torrent of white foam and spray | a fine spray of mud. • a liquid preparation that can be forced out of a can or other container in such a form : a can of insect spray.
apply (liquid) to someone or something in the form of a shower of tiny drops : the product can be sprayed on to wet or dry hair. • [ trans. ] sprinkle or cover (someone or something) with a shower of tiny drops of liquid : she sprayed herself with perfume. • [ intrans. ] (of liquid) be driven through the air or forced out of something in such a form : water sprayed into the air. • [ trans. ] treat (a plant) with insecticide or herbicide in such a way : avoid spraying your plants with pesticides.
• scatter (something) somewhere with great force : the truck shuddered to a halt, spraying gravel from under its wheels. • [ trans. ] fire a rapid succession of bullets at : enemy gunners sprayed the decks of the warships.
1 [ trans. ] open out (something) so as to extend its surface area, width, or length : I spread a towel on the sand and sat down | she helped Chris to spread out the map.
2 [no obj., with adverbial ] extend over a large or increasing area : she stood at the window looking at the town spread out below. • ( spread out) (of a group of people) move apart so as to cover a wider area : the Marines spread out across the docks. • [with obj. and adverbial ] distribute or disperse (something) over a certain area : volcanic eruptions spread dust high into the stratosphere.
• gradually reach or cause to reach a larger and larger area or more and more people : [ intrans. ] the violence spread from the city to the suburbs | [ trans. ] she's always spreading rumors about other people. • (of people, animals, or plants) become distributed over a large or larger area : the owls have spread as far north as Yellowknife. • [with obj. and adverbial ] distribute (something) in a specified way : you can spread the payments over as long a period as you like.
3 [with obj. and adverbial ] apply (a substance) to an object or surface in an even layer : he sighed, spreading jam on a croissant. • cover (a surface) with a substance in such a way : spread each slice thinly with mayonnaise.
1 the fact or process of spreading over an area : the spread of AIDS | the spread of the urban population into rural areas. 2 the extent, width, or area covered by something : the male's antlers can attain a spread of six feet.
• the difference between two rates or prices : the very narrow spread between borrowing and deposit rates.
5 an article or advertisement covering several columns or pages of a newspaper or magazine, esp. one on two facing pages : a double-page spread.
spread oneself too thin be involved in so many different activities or projects that one's time and energy are not used to good effect.
a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind : he went on a six-month crime spree | a shopping spree.
1 [ intrans. ] move or jump suddenly or rapidly upward or forward : I sprang out of bed spring 2 : figurative they sprang to her defense.
• [ intrans. ] move rapidly or suddenly from a constrained position by or as if by the action of a spring : the drawer sprang open. • operate or cause to operate by means of a mechanism : [ trans. ] he prepared to spring his trap | [ intrans. ] the engine sprang into life.
2 [ intrans. ] ( spring from) originate or arise from : madness and creativity could spring from the same source. • appear suddenly or unexpectedly from : tears sprang from his eyes. • ( spring up) suddenly develop or appear : a terrible storm sprang up.
3 [in sing. ] a sudden jump upward or forward : with a sudden spring, he leapt onto the table.
• figurative a thing that lends impetus or assistance to a particular action, enterprise, or development : an economic plan that may be the springboard for recovery.
1 [ trans. ] scatter or pour small drops or particles of a substance over (an object or surface) : I sprinkled the floor with water. • scatter or pour (small drops or particles of a substance) over an object or surface : sprinkle sesame seeds over the top. • figurative distribute or disperse something randomly or irregularly throughout (something) : he sprinkled his conversation with quotations.
• figurative place or attach (a number of things) at irregularly spaced intervals : a dress with little daisies sprinkled all over it.
1 a small quantity or amount of something scattered over an object or surface : a generous sprinkle of pepper | figurative fiction with a sprinkle of fact.
run at full speed over a short distance : I saw Charlie sprinting through the traffic toward me.
(of a plant) put forth shoots : the weeds begin to sprout. • [ trans. ] grow (plant shoots or hair) : many black cats sprout a few white hairs. • [ intrans. ] (of a plant, flower, or hair) start to grow; spring up : crocuses sprouted up from the grass | figurative forms of nationalism sprouted as the system collapsed.
gush out in a sudden and forceful stream : he cut his finger, and blood spurted over the sliced potatoes. • [ trans. ] cause to gush out suddenly : the kettle boiled and spurted scalding water everywhere. • move with a sudden burst of speed : the other car had spurted to the top of the ramp | figurative automobile sales spurted 2.1 percent in May.
1 [ intrans. ] make a series of soft explosive sounds, typically when being heated or as a symptom of a fault : the engine sputtered and stopped. • [ reporting verb ] speak in a series of incoherent bursts as a result of indignation or some other strong emotion : [with direct speech ] "But ... but ..." she sputtered.
work for a government or other organization by secretly collecting information about enemies or competitors : he agreed to spy for the West. • ( spy on) observe (someone) furtively : the couple were spied on by reporters. • [ trans. ] discern or make out, esp. by careful observation : he could spy a figure in the distance.
quarrel noisily over a trivial matter : the boys were squabbling over a ball.
waste (something, esp. money or time) in a reckless and foolish manner : entrepreneurs squander their profits on expensive cars. • allow (an opportunity) to pass or be lost : the team squandered several good scoring chances.
1 make square or rectangular; give a square or rectangular cross section to : you can square off the other edge.
3 make compatible; reconcile : I'm able to square my profession with my religious beliefs. • [ intrans. ] be compatible : do those announcements really square with the facts?
• compatible or in agreement : he wanted to make sure we were square with the court's decision and not subject to a lawsuit.
4 level or parallel : place one piece of wood on top of the other, ensuring that they are exactly square. • properly arranged; in good order : we should get everything square before we leave.
directly, without deviating to one side : Ashley looked at him squarely. • in a direct and uncompromising manner; without equivocation : they placed the blame squarely on the president.
crush or squeeze (something) with force so that it becomes flat, soft, or out of shape : wash and squash the cans for the recycling bin | [as adj. ] ( squashed) a squashed banana. • [ trans. ] squeeze or force (someone or something) into a small or restricted space : she squashed some of her clothes inside the bag. • [ intrans. ] make one's way into a small or restricted space : I squashed into the middle of the crowd.
• suppress, stifle, or subdue (a feeling, conjecture, or action) : the mournful sound did nothing to squash her high spirits. • firmly reject (an idea or suggestion) : the proposal was immediately squashed by the Historical Society.
1 [in sing. ] a state of being squeezed or forced into a small or restricted space : it was a tight squash but he didn't seem to mind.
easily crushed or squeezed into a different shape; having a soft consistency : a big, squashy leather chair.
1 [ intrans. ] crouch or sit with one's knees bent and one's heels close to or touching one's buttocks or the back of one's thighs : I squatted down in front of him.
(of a bird) make a loud, harsh noise : the geese flew upriver, squawking. • [with direct speech ] (of a person) say something in a loud, discordant tone : "What are you doing?" she squawked.
a short, high-pitched sound or cry : the door opened with a slight squeak. • [with negative ] a single remark, statement, or communication : I didn't hear a squeak from him for months.
1 make a high-pitched sound or cry : he oiled the hinges to stop them from squeaking. • [with direct speech ] say something in a nervous or excited high-pitched tone : "You're scaring me," she squeaked.
having or making a high-pitched sound or cry : a high, squeaky voice.
a long, high-pitched cry or noise : we heard a splash and a squeal.
1 make such a cry or noise : the girls squealed with delight. • [with direct speech ] say something in a high-pitched, excited tone : "Don't you dare!" she squealed.
1 [ trans. ] firmly press (something soft or yielding), typically with one's fingers : Kate squeezed his hand affectionately | [ intrans. ] he squeezed with all his strength. • [ trans. ] extract (liquid or a soft substance) from something by compressing or twisting it firmly : squeeze out as much juice as you can | [as adj. with submodifier ] ( squeezed) freshly squeezed orange juice. • [ trans. ] obtain (something) from someone with difficulty : a governor who wants to squeeze as much money out of taxpayers as he can.
• informal pressure (someone) in order to obtain something from them : she used the opportunity to squeeze him for information. • (esp. in a financial or commercial context) have a damaging or restricting effect on : the economy is being squeezed by foreign debt repayments. • ( squeeze off) informal shoot a round or shot from a gun : squeeze off a few well-aimed shots. • ( squeeze off) informal take a photograph : he squeezed off a half-dozen Polaroids.
2 [ intrans. ] manage to get into or through a narrow or restricted space : Sarah squeezed in beside her | he found a hole in the hedge and squeezed his way through. • [ trans. ] manage to force into or through such a space : she squeezed herself into her tightest pair of jeans. • [ intrans. ] ( squeeze up) move closer to someone or something so that one is pressed tightly against them or it : he guided her toward a seat, motioning for everyone to squeeze up and make room.
• [ trans. ] ( squeeze someone/something in) manage to find time for someone or something : the doctor can squeeze you in at noon. • [ trans. ] ( squeeze someone/something out) force someone or something out of a domain or activity : workers have been squeezed out of their jobs.
• a state of forcing oneself or being forced into a small or restricted space : it was a tight squeeze in the tiny hall.
• a small amount of liquid extracted from something by pressing it firmly with one's fingers : a squeeze of lemon juice. • a strong financial demand or pressure, typically a restriction on borrowing, spending, or investment in a financial crisis : industry faced higher costs and a squeeze on profits.
make a soft sucking sound such as that made by walking heavily through mud : bedraggled guests squelched across the lawn to seek shelter. • [ trans. ] informal forcefully silence or suppress : property developers tried to squelch public protest.
1 [ intrans. ] look at someone or something with one or both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly or as a reaction to strong light : the bright sun made them squint.
2 [ intrans. ] have eyes that look in different directions : Melanie did not squint. • (of a person's eye) have a deviation in the direction of its gaze : her left eye squinted slightly.
1 [in sing. ] a permanent deviation in the direction of the gaze of one eye : I had a bad squint.
wriggle or twist the body from side to side, esp. as a result of nervousness or discomfort : all my efforts to squirm out of his grasp were useless.
cause (a liquid ) to be ejected from a small opening in something in a thin, fast stream or jet : she squirted soda into a glass. • cause (a container of liquid) to eject its contents in this way : some youngsters squirted a water pistol in her face. • [ trans. ] wet (someone or something) with a jet or stream of liquid in this way : she squirted me with the juice from her lemon wedge.
1 a thin stream or small quantity of liquid ejected from something : a quick squirt of perfume.
make a soft squelching sound when walked on or in : the mud squished under my shoes. • yield easily to pressure when squeezed or squashed : strawberries so ripe that they squished if picked too firmly.
• [ trans. ] informal squash (something) : Naomi was furiously squishing her ice cream in her bowl. • [with adverbial of direction ] squeeze oneself into somewhere : she squished in among them on the couch.
(of a person) thrust a knife or other pointed weapon into (someone) so as to wound or kill : he stabbed him in the stomach | [as n. ] ( stabbing) the fatal stabbings of four rival gang members. • [ intrans. ] make a thrusting gesture or movement at something with a pointed object : she stabbed at the earth with the fork | [ trans. ] she stabbed the air with her forefinger
• [ intrans. ] ( stab into/through) (of a sharp or pointed object) violently pierce : a sharp end of wicker stabbed into his sole. • [ intrans. ] ( stab at) (of a pain or painful thing) cause a sudden sharp sensation : [as adj. ] ( stabbing) I felt a stabbing pain in my chest.
• a wound made in such a way : she had a deep stab in the back.
stab someone in the back betray someone.
make or become stable : [ intrans. ] his condition appears to have stabilized | [ trans. ] an emergency program designed to stabilize the economy. • [ trans. ] cause (an object or structure) to be unlikely to overturn : the craft was stabilized by throwing out the remaining ballast.
not likely to change or fail; firmly established : a stable relationship | prices have remained relatively stable. • (of a patient or a medical condition) not deteriorating in health after an injury or operation : he is now in a stable condition in the hospital. • (of a person) sane and sensible; not easily upset or disturbed : the officer concerned is mentally and emotionally stable. • (of an object or structure) not likely to give way or overturn; firmly fixed : specially designed dinghies that are very stable.
1 a pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged : a stack of boxes. • ( a stack of/stacks of) informal a large quantity of something : there's stacks of work for me now.
1 arrange (a number of things) in a pile, typically a neat one : the books had been stacked up in three piles | she stood up, beginning to stack the plates. • fill or cover (a place or surface) with piles of things, typically neat ones : he spent most of the time stacking shelves. • cause (an aircraft) to fly in circles while waiting for permission to land at an airport : I hope we aren't stacked for hours over Kennedy.
• ( be stacked against/in favor of) used to refer to a situation that is such that an unfavorable or a favorable outcome is overwhelmingly likely : the odds were stacked against Fiji in the World Cup | they found the courts stacked in favor of timber interests.
stack up 1 (or stack something up) form or cause to form a large quantity; build up : cars stack up behind every bus, while passengers stand in line to pay fares. 2 informal measure up; compare : our rural schools stack up well against their urban counterparts. • [usu. with negative ] make sense; correspond to reality : to blame the debacle on the antics of a rogue trader is not credible—it doesn't stack up.
1 [treated as sing. or pl. ] all the people employed by a particular organization : a staff of 600 | hospital staff were not to blame.
provide (an organization, business, etc.) with staff : legal advice centers are staffed by volunteer lawyers [as adj., with submodifier ] : ( staffed) all units are fully staffed.
set the stage for prepare the conditions for (the occurrence or beginning of something) : these churchmen helped to set the stage for popular reform.
1 present a performance of (a play or other show) : the show is being staged at the Goodspeed Opera House. • (of a person or group) organize and participate in (a public event) : UDF supporters staged a demonstration in Sofia. • cause (something dramatic or unexpected) to happen : the president's attempt to stage a comeback | the dollar staged a partial recovery.
• ( the stage) the acting or theatrical profession : I've always wanted to go on the stage.
1 a point, period, or step in a process or development : there is no need at this stage to give explicit details | I was in the early stages of pregnancy.
1 [ intrans. ] walk or move unsteadily, as if about to fall : he staggered to his feet, swaying a little. • [with adverbial of direction ] figurative continue in existence or operation uncertainly or precariously : the council staggered from one crisis to the next.
1 an unsteady walk or movement : she walked with a stagger.
(of a body of water or the atmosphere of a confined space) having no current or flow and often having an unpleasant smell as a consequence : a stagnant ditch. • figurative showing no activity; dull and sluggish : a stagnant economy.
• figurative cease developing; become inactive or dull : teaching can easily stagnate into a set of routines | [as adj. ] ( stagnating) stagnating consumer confidence.
1 a colored patch or dirty mark that is difficult to remove : there were mud stains on my shoes. • a thing that damages or brings disgrace to someone or something's reputation : he regarded his time in jail as a stain on his character. • a patch of brighter or deeper color that suffuses something : the sun left a red stain behind as it retreated.
1 mark (something) with colored patches or dirty marks that are not easily removed : her clothing was stained with blood | [as adj. ] ( stained) a stained placemat | [ intrans. ] red ink can stain.
• figurative damage or bring disgrace to (the reputation or image of someone or something) : the awful events would unfairly stain the city's reputation.
a sum of money or something else of value gambled on the outcome of a risky game or venture : playing dice for high stakes | figurative the mayor raised the stakes in the battle for power. • a share or interest in a business, situation, or system : GM acquired a 50 percent stake in Saab.
1 gamble (money or something else of value) on the outcome of a game or race : one gambler staked everything he'd got and lost | figurative it was risky to stake his reputation on one big success.
at stake 1 to be won or lost; at risk : people's lives could be at stake. 2 at issue or in question : the logical response is to give up, but there's more at stake than logic.
(of food) no longer fresh and pleasant to eat; hard, musty, or dry : stale bread. • no longer new and interesting or exciting : their marriage had gone stale. • [ predic. ] (of a person) no longer able to perform well or creatively because of having done something for too long : a top executive tends to get stale.
• a situation in which further action or progress by opposing or competing parties seems impossible : the war had again reached stalemate.
bring to or cause to reach stalemate : [as adj. ] ( stalemated) the currently stalemated peace talks.
1 [ trans. ] pursue or approach stealthily : a cat stalking a bird. • harass or persecute (someone) with unwanted and obsessive attention : for five years she was stalked by a man who would taunt and threaten her.
1 a stand, booth, or compartment for the sale of goods in a market or large covered area : fruit and vegetable stalls.
1 [ intrans. ] (of a motor vehicle or its engine) stop running, typically because of an overload on the engine : her car stalled at the crossroads.
2 [ intrans. ] (of a situation or process) stop making progress : his career had stalled, hers taken off. • [ trans. ] delay, obstruct, or block the progress of (something) : the government has stalled the much-needed project.
• [ trans. ] utter (words) in such a way : I stammered out my history | [with direct speech ] "I ... I can't," Isabel stammered.
a tendency to stammer : as a young man, he had a dreadful stammer.
1 bring down (one's foot) heavily on the ground or on something on the ground : he stamped his foot in frustration | [ intrans. ] he threw his cigarette down and stamped on it | figurative Robertson stamped on all these suggestions. • [ trans. ] crush, flatten, or remove with a heavy blow from one's feet : he stamped out the flames before they could grow. • ( stamp something out) suppress or put an end to something by taking decisive action : urgent action is required to stamp out corruption.
• impress (a pattern or mark) on something in such a way : a key with a number stamped on the shaft | figurative he must be able to stamp his authority on his team.
• a mark or pattern made by such an instrument, esp. one indicating official validation or certification : passports with visa stamps | figurative the emperor gave them his stamp of approval. • figurative a characteristic or distinctive impression or quality : the whole project has the stamp of authority. • a particular class or type or person or thing : empiricism of this stamp has been esp. influential in British philosophy.
• a sudden rapid movement or reaction of a mass of people in response to a particular circumstance or stimulus : a stampede of bargain hunters.
(of horses, cattle, or other animals) rush wildly in a sudden mass panic : the nearby sheep stampeded as if they sensed impending danger. • [ intrans. ] (of people) move rapidly in a mass : the children stampeded through the kitchen, playing tag or hide-and-seek. • [ trans. ] cause (people or animals) to move in such a way : the raiders stampeded 200 mules | figurative don't let them stampede us into anything.
1 the way in which someone stands, esp. when deliberately adopted (as in baseball, golf, and other sports); a person's posture : she altered her stance, resting all her weight on one leg. • the attitude of a person or organization toward something; a standpoint : the party is changing its stance on the draft.
• [ intrans. ] move to and remain in a specified position : she stood aside to let them enter. • [ trans. ] place or set in an upright or specified position : don't stand the plant in direct sunlight.
2 [ intrans. ] (of an object, building, or settlement) be situated in a particular place or position : the town stood on a hill | the hotel stands in three acres of gardens. • (of a building or other vertical structure) remain upright and entire rather than fall into ruin or be destroyed : after the heavy storms, only one house was left standing. • remain valid or unaltered : my decision stands | his strikeout record stood for 38 years.
3 [ intrans. ] be in a specified state or condition : since mother's death, the house had stood empty | sorry, darling—I stand corrected. • adopt a particular attitude toward a matter or issue : students should consider where they stand on this issue.
• ( stand at) be at (a particular level or value) : the budget stood at $14 million per annum.
4 [ trans. often modal ] withstand (an experience or test) without being damaged : small boats that could stand the punishment of heavy seas. • [usu. with negative ] informal be able to endure or tolerate : I can't stand the way Mom talks to him.
1 [usu. in sing. ] an attitude toward a particular issue; a position taken in an argument : the party's tough stand on welfare | his traditionalist stand. • a determined effort to resist or fight for something : this was not the moment to make a stand for independence | we have to take a stand against racism.
• a large raised tiered structure for spectators, typically at a sports arena : her parents watched from the stands. • a rack, base, or piece of furniture for holding, supporting, or displaying something : a microphone stand. • a small stall or booth in a street, market, or public building from which goods are sold : a hot-dog stand.
as it stands in its present condition : there are no merits in the proposal as it stands. • (also as things stand) in the present circumstances : the country would struggle, as it stands, to host the next Winter Olympic Games.
stand a chance [usu. with negative ] have a prospect of success or survival : his rivals don't stand a chance.
stand on one's own ( two) feet be or become self-reliant or independent.
stand by 1 be present while something bad is happening but fail to take any action to stop it : he was beaten to the ground as onlookers stood by. 2 support or remain loyal to (someone), typically in a time of need : she had stood by him during his years in prison. • adhere to or abide by (something promised, stated, or decided) : the government must stand by its pledges. 3 be ready to deal or assist with something : two battalions were on their way, and a third was standing by.
stand up for speak or act in support of : she learned to stand up for herself. • act as best man for in a wedding. stand up to 1 make a spirited defense against : giving workers the confidence to stand up to their employers. 2 be resistant to the harmful effects of (prolonged wear or use).
stand someone up informal fail to keep an appointment with a boyfriend or girlfriend.
• a required or agreed level of quality or attainment : half of the beaches fail to comply with EPA standards | their tap water was not up to standard.
2 an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations : the wages are low by today's standards | the system had become an industry standard.
cause (something) to conform to a standard : Jones's effort to standardize oriental spelling. • [ intrans. ] ( standardize on) adopt (something) as one's standard : we could standardize on U.S. equipment.
readiness for duty or immediate deployment : buses were placed on standby for the trip to Washington. • the state of waiting to secure an unreserved place for a journey or performance, allocated on the basis of earliest availability : passengers were obliged to go on standby.
2 used to specify the length of time that something has lasted or that someone has fulfilled a particular role : an interdepartmental squabble of long standing.
1 position, status, or reputation : their standing in the community | a man of high social standing.
attach or secure with a staple or staples : Mark stapled a batch of papers together.
1 a main or important element of something, esp. of a diet : bread, milk, and other staples | Greek legend was the staple of classical tragedy. • a main item of trade or production : rubber became the staple of the Malayan economy. 2 the fiber of cotton or wool considered with regard to its length and degree of fineness : [in combination ] jackets made from long-staple Egyptian cotton.
main or important, esp. in terms of consumption : the staple foods of the poor | figurative violence is the staple diet of the video generation. • most important in terms of trade or production : rice was the staple crop grown in most villages.
3 a famous or exceptionally talented performer in the world of entertainment or sports : a pop star | [as adj. ] singers of star quality. • an outstandingly good or successful person or thing in a group : a rising star in the party | [as adj. ] Ellen was a star student.
1 (of a movie, play, or other show) have (someone) as a principal performer : a film starring Liza Minnelli. • [ intrans. ] (of a performer) have a principal role in a movie, play, or other show : McQueen had starred in such epics as The Magnificent Seven | [as adj. ] ( starring) his first starring role. • [ intrans. ] (of a person) perform brilliantly or prominently in a particular endeavor or event : Vitt starred at third base for the Detroit Tigers.
see stars see flashes of light, esp. as a result of being hit on the head.
covered, glittering, or decorated with stars : the star-spangled horizon. • figurative glitteringly successful : a star-spangled career.
look fixedly or vacantly at someone or something with one's eyes wide open : he stared at her in amazement | Robin sat staring into space, her mind numb. • (of a person's eyes) be wide open, with a fixed or vacant expression : her gray eyes stared back at him. • [ intrans. ] (of a thing) be unpleasantly prominent or striking : the obituaries stared out at us.
a long fixed or vacant look : she gave him a cold stare.
1 severe or bare in appearance or outline : the ridge formed a stark silhouette against the sky. • unpleasantly or sharply clear; impossible to avoid : his position on civil rights is in stark contrast to that of his liberal opponent | the stark reality of life for deprived minorities.
• use a particular point, action, or circumstance as an opening for a course of action : the teacher can start by capitalizing on children's curiosity | I shall start with the case you mention first.
• [ intrans. ] begin to move or travel : we started out into the snow | he started for the door. • [ trans. ] begin to attend (an educational establishment) or engage in (an occupation, esp. a profession) : she will start school today | he started work at a travel agency. • begin one's working life : he started as a typesetter | she started off as a general practitioner.
2 [ trans. ] cause (an event or process) to happen : two men started the blaze that caused the explosion | those women started all the trouble.