n. & v.
n. 1 a sound or combination of sounds forming a meaningful element of speech, usu. shown with a space on either side of it when written or printed, used as part (or occas. as the whole) of a sentence. 2 speech, esp. as distinct from action (bold in word only). 3 one's promise or assurance (gave us their word). 4 (in sing. or pl.) a thing said, a remark or conversation. 5 (in pl.) the text of a song or an actor's part. 6 (in pl.) angry talk (they had words). 7 news, intelligence; a message. 8 a command, password, or motto (gave the word to begin). 9 a basic unit of the expression of data in a computer.
v.tr. put into words; select words to express (how shall we word that?). at a word as soon as requested. be as good as (or better than) one's word fulfil (or exceed) what one has promised. break one's word fail to do what one has promised. have no words for be unable to express. have a word (often foll. by with) speak briefly (to). in other words expressing the same thing differently. in so many words explicitly or bluntly. in a (or one) word briefly. keep one's word do what one has promised. my (or upon my) word an exclamation of surprise or consternation. not the word for it not an adequate or appropriate description. of few words taciturn. of one's word reliable in keeping promises (a woman of her word). on (or upon) my word a form of asseveration. put into words express in speech or writing. take a person at his or her word interpret a person's words literally or exactly. take a person's word for it believe a person's statement without investigation etc. too ... for words too ... to be adequately described (was too funny for words). waste words talk in vain. the Word (or Word of God) the Bible. word-blind incapable of identifying written or printed words owing to a brain defect. word-blindness this condition. word-deaf incapable of identifying spoken words owing to a brain defect. word-deafness this condition. word for word in exactly the same or (of translation) corresponding words. word-game a game involving the making or selection etc. of words. word of honour an assurance given upon one's honour. word of mouth speech (only). word order the sequence of words in a sentence, esp. affecting meaning etc. word-painting a vivid description in writing. word-perfect knowing one's part etc. by heart. word-picture a piece of word-painting. word processor a purpose-built computer system for electronically storing text entered from a keyboard, incorporating corrections, and providing a printout. words fail me an expression of disbelief, dismay, etc. word-square a set of words of equal length written one under another to read the same down as across (e.g. too old ode). a word to the wise = VERB. SAP. wordage n. wordless adj. wordlessly adv. wordlessness n.
[ OE f. Gmc ]