Apostrophe n. 1 punctuation mark (‘) indicating: a omission of letters or numbers (e.g. don’t; Jane ’71). b possessive case (e.g. Harry’s book; boys’ coats). 2 exclamatory passage addressed to (an often absent) person or thing. apostrophize v. (also -ise) (-zing or -sing) (in sense 2).
Apotheosis n. (pl. -theoses) 1 elevation to divine status, deification. 2 glorification of a thing; sublime example.
Appal v. (-ll-) 1 greatly dismay or horrify. 2 colloq. very bad, shocking.
Apparatus n. 1 equipment for a particular function, esp. scientific or technical. 2 political or other complex organization.
Apparel n. formal clothing, dress. apparelled adj.
Apparent adj. 1 readily visible; obvious. 2 seeming. apparently adv.
Apparition n. unexpected thing that appears; ghost or phantom.
Appeal —v. 1 request earnestly or formally; plead.
Appear v. 1 become or be visible. 2 seem (appeared unwell). 3 present oneself publicly or formally.
Appearance n. 1 act of appearing. 2 outward form as perceived (appearance of prosperity). 3 semblance.
Appease v. (-sing) 1 make calm or quiet, esp. conciliate. 2 satisfy (an appetite, scruples). appeasement n.
Appellant n. person who appeals to a higher court.
Appellate attrib. adj. (esp. of a court) concerned with appeals.
Appellation n. formal name or title; nomenclature.
Appellative adj. 1 naming. 2 Gram. (of a noun) designating a class, common.
Append v. (usu. foll. by to) attach, affix, add, esp. to a written document.
Appendage n. thing attached; addition.
Appendectomy n. (also appendicectomy) (pl. -ies) surgical removal of the appendix.
Appendicitis n. inflammation of the appendix.
Appendix n. (pl. -dices) addition to a book etc.
Appertain v. (foll. by to) relate, belong, or be appropriate.
Appetite n. 1 natural craving, esp. for food or sexual activity.
Appetizer n. (also -iser) small amount, esp. of food or drink to stimulate the appetite.
Appetizing adj. (also -ising) stimulating the appetite, esp. for food; tasty.
Applaud v. 1 express strong approval, esp. by clapping. 2 commend, approve.
Applause n. 1 approval shown by clapping the hands. 2 warm approval.
Apple n. 1 roundish fruit with crisp flesh. 2 tree bearing this. apple of one’s eye cherished person or thing.
Apple-pie bed n. bed made (as a joke) with sheets folded so as to prevent a person lying flat.
Apple-pie order n. extreme neatness.
Appliance n. device etc. for a specific task.
Applicable adj. (often foll. by to) that may be applied; relevant; appropriate. applicability n.
Applicant n. person who applies for something, esp. a job.
Application n. 1 formal request. 2 act of applying. 3 substance applied. 4 a relevance.
Applicator n. device for applying ointment etc.
Applied adj. practical, not merely theoretical.
Apply v. (-ies, -ied) 1 (often foll. by for, to, or to + infin.) formally request. 2 be relevant. 3 a make use of; employ. b operate.
Appoint v. 1 assign a job or office to. 2 (often foll. by for) fix (a time, place, etc.). 3 (as appointed adj.) equipped, furnished (well-appointed). appointee n.
Appointment n. 1 appointing or being appointed. 2 arrangement for meeting or consultation. 3 a post or office open to applicants.
Apportion v. (often foll. by to) share out; assign as a share. Apportionment n.
Apposite adj. (often foll. by to) apt, appropriate; well expressed.
Apposition n. juxtaposition, esp. Gram. of elements sharing a syntactic function (e.g. Tagore the poet; your brother Hari ).
Appraisal n. appraising or being appraised.
Appraise v. (-sing) 1 estimate the value or quality of. 2 set a price on.
Appreciable adj. significant, considerable.
Appreciate v. (-ting) 1 a esteem highly; value. b be grateful for. 2 understand, recognize. appreciative adj. appreciatory adj.
Appreciation n. 1 favourable or grateful recognition. 2 sensitive estimation or judgement. 3 rise in value.
Apprehend v. 1 seize, arrest. 2 understand, perceive. [Latin prehendo grasp]
Apprehension n. 1 uneasiness, dread. 2 understanding. 3 arrest, capture.
Apprehensive adj. uneasily fearful. apprehensively adv.
Apprentice —n. 1 person learning a trade by working in it for an agreed period at low wages. 2 novice. —v. (-cing) (usu. foll. by to) engage as an apprentice. apprenticeship n.
Apprise v. (-sing) to inform. formally.
Appro n. colloq. on appro = on approval.
Approach —v. 1 come near or nearer (to) in space or time. 2 tentatively propose to.
Approachable adj. 1 friendly, easy to talk to. 2 able to be approached.
Approbation n. approval, consent.
Appropriate —adj. suitable, proper. —v. (-ting) take, esp. without authority. appropriately adv. appropriation n.
Approval n. 1 approving. 2 consent; favourable opinion.
Approve v. (-ving) 1 confirm; sanction. 2 (often foll. by of) regard with favour.
Approx. abbr. approximate(ly).
Approximate —adj. fairly correct, near to the actual. —v. (-ting) (often foll. by to) bring or come near. approximately adv. approximation n.
Appurtenance n. (usu. in pl.) belonging; accessory.
Apr. abbr. April.
Apricot —n. a small juicy soft orange-yellow peach-like fruit. b tree bearing it.
April n. fourth month of the year.
April Fool n. person successfully tricked on 1 April.
Apriori —adj. 1 (of reasoning) from causes to effects; deductive. 2 (of concepts etc.) not derived from experience. 3 assumed without investigation. —adv. 1 deductively.
Apron n. 1 garment for covering head.
Apse n. large arched or domed recess, esp. at the end of a church.
Apsis n. (pl. apsides) either of two points on the orbit of a planet etc. nearest to or furthest from the body round which it moves.
Apt adj. appropriate, suitable.
Aptitude n. 1 natural talent. 2 ability or fitness.
Aqua n. the colour aquamarine. [abbreviation]
Aqua fortis n. nitric acid.
Aqualung n. portable breathing-apparatus for divers.
Aquamarine —n. adj.1 bluish-green.
Aquaplane —n. board for riding on water, pulled by a speedboat.
Aqua regia n. highly corrosive mixture of acids, attacking many substances unaffected by other reagents.
Aquarelle n. painting in thin usu. transparent water-colours.
Aquarium n. (pl. -s) tank of water for keeping and showing fish etc.
Aquarius n. (pl. -es) 1 constellation and eleventh sign of the zodiac (the Water-carrier). 2 person born when the sun is in this sign.
Aquatic —adj. 1 growing or living in water.
Aquatint n. etched print resembling a water-colour.
Aqua vitae n. strong alcoholic spirit, esp. brandy.
Aqueduct n. water channel, esp. a bridge on columns across a valley.
Aqueous adj. of or like water.
Aqueous humour n. clear fluid in the eye between the lens and the cornea.
Aquiline adj. 1 of or like an eagle. 2 (of a nose) curved.
Ar symb. argon.
-ar suffix forming adjectives (lunar; linear).
Arab —n. member of a Semitic people originating in Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries. —adj. of Arabia or the Arabs
Arabesque n. 1 Ballet posture with one leg extended horizontally backwards and arms outstretched. 2 design of intertwined leaves, scrolls, etc.
Arabian —adj. of or relating to Arabia (esp. in geographical contexts).
Arabic —n. Semitic language of the Arabs. —adj. of the Arabs (esp. their language or literature).
Arable adj. (of land) suitable for crop production.
Arachnid n. arthropod of a class comprising spiders, scorpions, etc.
Aramaic —n. branch of the Semitic family of languages, esp. the language of Syria used as a lingua franca in the Near East from the sixth century BC. —adj. of or in Aramaic.
Arbiter n. 1 arbitrator in a dispute. 2 person influential in a specific field.
Arbitrary adj. 1 random. 2 capricious; despotic. arbitrarily adv.
Arbitrate v. (-ting) decide by arbitration.
Arbitration n. settlement of a dispute by an impartial third party.
Arbitrator n. person appointed to arbitrate.
Arbor n. (Brit. arbour) shady garden enclosed by trees etc.
Arboreal adj. of or living in trees.
Arborescent adj. treelike in growth or form.
Arboretum n. (pl. -ta) place cultivating and displaying rare trees.
Arboriculture n. cultivation of trees and shrubs.
Arbor vitae n. any of various evergreen conifers.
Arbutus n. tree or shrub with clusters of flowers.
Arc —n. 1 part of the circumference of a circle or other curve.
Arcade n. series of arches supporting or set along a wall.
Arcadian —n. idealized country dweller. —adj. poetically rural.
Arcane adj. mysterious, secret.
Arch —n. curved structure as an opening, as a support for a bridge, floor, etc.
Arch– adj. chief, superior (archbishop).
Archaean (US Archean) —adj. of the earliest geological era.
Archaeology n. (US archaeology) study of ancient cultures, esp. by the excavation and analysis of physical remains. archaeological adj. archaeologist n.
Archaic adj. a antiquated. b (of a word etc.) no longer in ordinary use. archaically adv.
Archaism n. 1 use of the archaic esp. in language or art. 2 archaic words or expression. archaistic adj.
Archangel n. angel of the highest rank.
Archbishop n. chief bishop of a province.
Archdeacon n. church dignitary next below a bishop. archdeaconry n. (pl. -ies).
Archduke n. hist. chief duke (esp. as the title of a son of the Emperor of Austria). archduchy n. (pl. -ies).
Archean (Brit. Archaean) —adj. of the earliest geological era. —n. this time.
Arch-enemy n. (pl. -ies) 1 chief enemy. 2 the Devil.
Archer n. 1 person who shoots with a bow and arrows. 2 (the Archer) zodiacal sign or constellation Sagittarius.
Archery n. shooting with a bow and arrows, esp. as a sport.
Archetype n. 1 original model; prototype. 2 typical specimen. archetypal adj.
Archidiaconal adj. of an archdeacon.
Archipelago n. (pl. -s) 1 group of islands. 2 sea with many islands.
Architect n. designer of buildings etc., supervising their construction.
Architectonic adj. 1 of architecture. 2 of the systematization of knowledge.
Architecture n. 1 design and construction of buildings. 2 style of a building. 3 buildings etc. collectively. Architectural adj.
Architrave n. 1 (in classical architecture) main beam resting across the tops of columns. 2 moulded frame around a doorway or window.
Archive —n. (usu. in pl.) 1 collection of documents or records. 2 store for these. —v. (-ving) place or store in an archive.
Archivist n. keeper of archives.
Archway n. arched entrance or passage.
Arc lamp n. (also arc light) light using an electric arc.
Arctic —adj. 1 of the north polar regions. 2 (arctic) colloq. very cold.
Arctic Circle n. parallel of latitude 66° 33´ N, forming an imaginary line round the Arctic region.
Arc welding n. use of an electric arc to melt metals to be welded.
Ardent adj. 1 eager, fervent, passionate. 2 burning. ardently adv.
Ardor n. (Brit. ardour) zeal, enthusiasm.
Arduous adj. hard to accomplish; laborious, strenuous.
Area n. 1 extent or measure of a surface (over a large area). 2 region (southern area).
Arena n. 1 central part of an amphitheatre etc. 2 scene of conflict.
Areola n. (pl. -lae) circular pigmented area, esp. around a nipple. areolar adj.
Argon n. inert gaseous element.
Argosy n. (pl. -ies) poet. large merchant ship.
Argot n. jargon of a group or class.
Argue v. (-ues, -ued, -uing) 1 (often foll. by with, about, etc.) exchange views forcefully or contentiously. 2 (often foll. by that) maintain by reasoning; indicate. 3 (foll. by for, against) reason. 4 treat (a matter) by reasoning. arguable adj. arguably adv.
Argument n. 1 (esp. contentious) exchange of views; dispute. 2 (often foll. by for, against) reason given; reasoning process.
Argumentation n. methodical reasoning; arguing.
Argumentative adj. given to arguing.
Argus n. watchful guardian.
Argy-bargy n. (pl. -ies) dispute, wrangle.
Aria n. long accompanied solo song in an opera etc.
Arid adj. 1 dry, parched. 2 uninteresting. aridity n.
Aries n. (pl. same) 1 constellation and first sign of the zodiac (the Ram). 2 person born when the sun is in this sign.
Aright adv. rightly.
Arise v. (-sing; past arose; past part. arisen) originate.
Aristocracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 ruling class; nobility. 2 a government by an elite.
Aristocrat n. member of the aristocracy.
Aristocratic adj. 1 of or like the aristocracy. 2 a distinguished.
Aristotelian —n. disciple or student of Aristotle. —adj. of Aristotle or his ideas.
Arithmetic —n. 1 science of numbers. 2 use of numbers; computation. —adj. (also arithmetical) of arithmetic.
Arithmetic progression n. sequence of numbers with constant intervals (e.g. 9, 7, 5, 3, etc.).
Ark n. ship in which Noah escaped the Flood with his family and animals.
Ark of the Covenant n. chest or cupboard containing the tables of Jewish Law.
Arm 1 n. 1 upper limb of the human body from shoulder to hand. 2 fore-limb or tentacle of an animal. 3 sleeve of a garment.
Arm 2 —n. 1 (usu. in pl.) weapon.
Armada n. fleet of warships, esp. (Armada) that sent by Spain against England in 1588.
Armadillo n. (pl. -s) S. American mammal with a plated body and large claws.
Armageddon n. huge battle or struggle, esp. marking the end of the world. [Rev. 16:16]
Armament n. 1 (often in pl.) military equipment. 2 equipping for war.
Armature n. 1 rotating coil or coils of a dynamo or electric motor. 2 iron bar placed across the poles of a horseshoe magnet to preserve its power.
Armband n. band worn around the upper arm to hold up a shirtsleeve, or as identification, or to aid swimming.
Armchair n. 1 chair with arm supports.
Armhole n. each of two holes for arms in a garment.
Armistice n. truce, esp. permanent.
Armistice Day n. anniversary of the armistice of 11 Nov. 1918.
Armlet n. ornamental band worn round the arm.
Armor (Brit. armour) —n. 1 protective usu. metal covering formerly worn in fighting.
Armorial adj. of heraldry or coats of arms provide with protective covering, and often guns.
Armourer n. 1 maker of arms or armour. 2 official in charge of arms.
Armoury n. (pl. -ies) arsenal.
Armpit n. hollow under the arm at the shoulder.
Arms race n. competitive accumulation of weapons by nations.
Arm-wrestling n. trial of strength in which each party tries to force the other’s arm down.
Army n. (pl. -ies) 1 organized armed land force.
Arnica n. 1 plant of the daisy family with yellow flowers. 2 medicine prepared from this.
Aroma n. 1 esp. pleasing smell, often of food. 2 subtle pervasive quality.
Aromatherapy n. use of plant extracts and oils in massage. aromatherapist n.
Aromatic —adj. 1 fragrant, spicy. 2 Chem. of organic compounds having an unsaturated ring, esp. containing a benzene ring. —n. aromatic substance.
Around —adv. 1 on every side; all round; round about. 2 here and there (tree around). —prep. 1 on or along the circuit of. 2 on every side of.
Arouse v. (-sing) 1 induce (esp. an emotion). 2 awake from sleep. 3 stir into activity. 4 stimulate sexually. arousal n.
Arpeggio n. (pl. -s) Mus. notes of a chord played in succession.
Arrack n. (also arak) alcoholic spirit, esp. made from coco sap or rice.
Arraign v. 1 indict, accuse. 2 find fault with; call into question. arraignment n.
Arrange v. (-ging) 1 put into order; classify.
Arrangement n. arranging or being arranged.
Arras n. hist. rich tapestry or wall-hanging.
Array —n. 1 imposing or well-ordered series or display. 2 ordered arrangement. —v. deck, adorn.
Arrears n.pl. amount (esp. of work, rent, etc.) still outstanding or uncompleted.
Arrest —v. 1 lawfully seize (a suspect etc.). 2 stop or check the progress of.
Arrester n. device for slowing an aircraft after landing.
Arris n. Archit. sharp edge at the junction of two surfaces.
Arrival n. arriving; appearance on the scene.
Arrive v. (-ving) 1 (often foll. by at, in) reach a destination.
Arriviste n. ambitious or ruthless person.
Arrogant adj. aggressively assertive or presumptuous. arrogance n. arrogantly adv.
Arrogate v. (-ting) 1 (often foll. by to oneself) claim (power etc.) without right. 2 (often foll. by to) attribute unjustly (to a person). arrogation n.
Arrow n. pointed slender missile shot from a bow.
Arrowhead n. 1 pointed tip of an arrow.
Arrowroot n. 1 nutritious starch. 2 plant yielding this.
Arse n. (US ass) coarse slang buttocks.
Arsehole n. (US asshole) coarse slang 1 anus. 2 offens. contemptible person.
Arsenal n. 1 store, esp. of weapons. 2 place for the storage and manufacture of weapons and ammunition.
Arsenic —n. 1 non-scientific name for arsenic trioxide, a highly poisonous white powder used in weed-killers etc. 2 Chem. brittle semi-metallic element. —adj. of or containing arsenic.
Arson n. crime of deliberately setting fire to property. arsonist n.
Art n. 1 a human creative skill or its application. b work showing this. 2 a (in pl.; prec. by the) branches of creative activity concerned with the production of imaginative designs, sounds, or ideas.
Art deco n. decorative art style of 1910–30, with geometric motifs and strong colours.
Artefact n. (also artifact) man-made object, esp. a tool or vessel as an archaeological item.
Arterial adj. 1 of or like an artery. 2 (esp. of a road) main, important.
Arteriosclerosis n. loss of elasticity and thickening of artery walls, esp. in old age.
Artery n. (pl. -ies) 1 any of the blood-vessels carrying blood from the heart. 2 main road or railway line.
Artesian well n. well in which water rises to the surface by natural pressure through a vertical hole.
Artful adj. crafty, deceitful. artfully adv.
Arthritis n. inflammation of a joint or joints. arthritic adj. & n.
Arthropod n. invertebrate with a segmented body and jointed limbs, e.g. an insect, spider etc.
Artichoke n. 1 plant allied to the thistle.
Article —n. 1 item or thing. 2 non-fictional journalistic essay. 3 clause or item in an agreement or contract. 4 definite or indefinite article. —v. (-ling) employ under contract as a trainee.
Articled clerk n. trainee solicitor.
Articular adj. of a joint or joints.
Articulate —adj. fluent and clear in speech. —v. (-ting) 1 a pronounce distinctly. b speak or express clearly.
Articulated lorry n. one with sections connected by a flexible joint.
Articulation n. 1 a speaking or being spoken. b articulate utterance; speech.
Artifice n. 1 trick or clever device. 2 cunning.
Artificer n. 1 craftsman. 2 skilled military mechanics.
Artificial adj. 1 not natural . 2 imitating nature. 3 affected, insincere. artificiality n. artificially adv.
Artificial insemination n. non-sexual injection of semen into the uterus.
Artificial intelligence n. use of computers for tasks normally regarded as needing human intelligence.
Artificial respiration n. manual or mechanical stimulation of breathing.
Artillery n. (pl. -ies) heavy guns used in land warfare. artilleryman n.
Artisan n. skilled manual worker or craftsman.
Artist n. 1 practitioner of any of the arts, esp. painting. 2 artiste. 3 person using skill or taste. artistry n.
Artiste n. professional performer, esp. a singer or dancer.
Artistic adj. 1 having natural skill in art. 2 skilfully or tastefully done. 3 of art or artists. artistically adv.
Artless adj. 1 guileless, ingenuous. 2 natural. 3 clumsy. artlessly adv.
Art nouveau n. art style of the late 19th century, with flowing lines.
Artwork n. 1 illustrative material in printed matter. 2 works of art collectively.
Arty adj. (-ier, -iest) colloq. pretentiously or affectedly artistic.
Arum n. plant with arrow-shaped leaves.
-ary suffix forming adjectives (auxiliary; primary).
Aryan —n. 1 speaker of any of the languages of the Indo-European family. 2 improperly (in Nazi ideology) non-Jewish Caucasian. —adj. of Aryans.
As1 symb. arsenic.
As2 —adv. & conj. (adv. as antecedent in main sentence; conj. in relative clause expressed or implied) to the extent to which … is or does etc.
Asafetida n. (Brit. asafoetida) resinous pungent plant gum used in cooking and formerly in medicine.
a.s.a.p. abbr. as soon as possible.
Asbestos n. 1 fibrous silicate mineral. 2 this as a heat-resistant or insulating material.
Ascend v. 1 move or slope upwards, rise. 2 climb; go up.
Ascendancy n. (often foll. by over) dominant power or control.
Ascendant —adj. 1 rising. 2 Astron. rising towards the zenith. 3 Astrol. just above the eastern horizon. 4 predominant. —n. Astrol. ascendant point of the sun’s apparent path.
Ascension n. ascent.
Ascent n. 1 ascending, rising, or progressing. 2 upward slope or path etc.
Ascertain v. find out for certain. ascertainment n. [French: related to *certain]
Ascetic —adj. severely abstinent; self-denying. —n. ascetic, esp. religious, person. asceticism n. [Greek askeo exercise]
ASCII abbr. Computing American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
Ascorbic acid n. vitamin C, which prevents scurvy.
Ascribe v. (-bing) (usu. foll. by to) 1 attribute. 2 regard as belonging. ascription n.
Asepsis n. 1 absence of sepsis or harmful micro-organisms. 2 method of achieving asepsis in surgery. aseptic adj.
Asexual adj. without sex, sexual organs, or sexuality. asexually adv.
Ash1 n. 1 (often in pl.) powdery residue left after burning. 2 (pl.) human remains after cremation.
Ash2 n. 1 tree with silver-grey bark. 2 its hard, pale wood.
Ashamed adj. (usu. predic.) 1 embarrassed by shame (ashamed of myself). 2 (foll. by to + infin.) hesitant, reluctant out of shame.
Ashcan n. US dustbin.
Ashen adj. like ashes, esp. grey or pale.
Ashkenazi n. (pl. -zim) East European Jew.
Ashlar n. 1 large square-cut stone used in building; masonry made of these. 2 thin slabs of masonry used for facing walls.
Ashore adv. towards or on the shore or land.
Ashram n. place of religious retreat for Hindus. [Sanskrit]
Ashtray n. small receptacle for cigarette ash, stubs, etc.
Ashy adj. (-ier, -iest) 1 = *ashen. 2 covered with ashes.
Asian —n. 1 native of Asia. 2 person of Asian descent. —adj. of Asia.
Asiatic —n. offens. Asian. —adj. Asian.
Aside —adv. to or on one side; away, apart. —n. words spoken aside, esp. confidentially to the audience by an actor.
Asinine adj. like an ass, esp. stupid or stubborn. asininity n.
Ask v. 1 call for an answer to or about. 2 seek to obtain from someone.
Askance adv. sideways or squinting. look askance at regard suspiciously.
Askew —adv. awry, crookedly. —predic. adj. oblique; awry.
Aslant —adv. obliquely or at a slant. —prep. obliquely across.
Asleep predic. adj. & adv. a in or into a state of sleep. b inactive, inattentive.
Asp n. small venomous snake of North Africa or Southern Europe.
Asparagus n. 1 plant of the lily family. 2 edible shoots of this.
Aspect n. 1 viewpoint, feature, etc. to be considered (one aspect of the story). 2 appearance or look (cheerful aspect).
Aspen n. poplar with very tremulous leaves.
Asperity n. (pl. -ies) 1 sharpness of temper or tone. 2 roughness; rough excrescence.
Asphalt —n. 1 dark bituminous pitch. 2 mixture of this with sand, gravel, etc., for surfacing roads etc. —v. surface with asphalt.
Asphodel n. 1 plant of the lily family. 2 poet. immortal flower growing in Elysium.
Asphyxia n. lack of oxygen in the blood, causing unconsciousness or death; suffocation. asphyxiant adj. & n.
Asphyxiate v. (-ting) suffocate. asphyxiation n.
Aspic n. savoury jelly used esp. to contain game, eggs, etc.
Aspidistra n. house-plant with broad tapering leaves.
Aspirant —adj. aspiring. —n. person who aspires.
Aspirate —adj. pronounced with an exhalation of breath; blended with the sound of h. —n. sound of h; consonant pronounced in this way. —v. (-ting) pronounce with breath or with initial h.
Aspiration n. 1 ambition or desire. 2 drawing breath or Phonet. aspirating.
Aspirator n. apparatus for aspirating fluid.
Aspire v. (-ring) (usu. foll. by to or after, or to + infin.) have ambition or a strong desire.
Aspirin n. (pl. same or -s) 1 white powder, acetylsalicylic acid, used to reduce pain and fever. 2 tablet of this.
Ass1 n. 1 a four-legged long-eared mammal related to the horse. b donkey. 2 stupid person.
Ass2 n. (Brit. arse) coarse slang buttocks.
Assail v. 1 attack physically or verbally. 2 tackle (a task) resolutely. assailant n.
Assassin n. killer, esp. of a political or religious leader.
Assassinate v. (-ting) kill for political or religious motives. assassination n.
Assault —n. 1 violent physical or verbal attack. 2 Law threat or display of violence against a person. —v. make an assault on.
Assay —n. testing of a metal or ore to determine its ingredients and quality. —v. make an attempt.
Assemblage n. 1 assembling. 2 assembled group.
Assemble v. (-ling) 1 gather together; collect.
Assembler n. 1 person who assembles a machine etc.
Assembly n. (pl. -ies) 1 assembling. 2 assembled group, esp. as a deliberative body.
Assent —v. (usu. foll. by to) 1 express agreement. 2 consent. —n. consent or approval, esp. official. assenter n.
Assert v. 1 declare, state clearly. 2 refl. insist on one’s rights. 3 enforce a claim TO.
Assertion n. declaration, forthright statement.
Assertive adj. tending to assert oneself; forthright, positive. assertively adv. assertiveness n.
Assess v. 1 estimate the size or quality of. 2 estimate the value of (property etc.) assessment n. [Latin assideo -sess- sit by]
Assessor n. 1 person who assesses (esp. for tax or insurance). 2 legal adviser on technical questions.
Asset n. 1 useful or valuable person or thing. 2 (usu. in pl.) property and possessions, esp. that can be set against debts etc.
Asset-stripping n. the taking over of a company and selling off of its assets to make a profit.
Asseverate v. (-ting) declare solemnly. asseveration n. [Latin severus serious]
Asshole n. (Brit. arsehole) coarse. slang 1 anus. 2 offens. contemptible person.
Assiduous adj. 1 persevering, hard-working. 2 attending closely. assiduity n. assiduously adv.
Assign —v. 1 (usu. foll. by to) a allot as a share or responsibility. b appoint to a position, task, etc. 2 fix (a time, place, etc.). 3 (foll. by to) ascribe to (a reason, date, etc.) —n. assignee/ assigner.
Assignation n. 1 appointment to meet, esp. by lovers in secret. 2 assigning or being assigned.
Assignee n. Law person to whom a right or property is assigned.
Assignment n. 1 task or mission. 2 assigning or being assigned. 3 legal transfer.
Assimilate v. (-ting) 1 absorb or be absorbed, either physically or mentally. 2 (usu. foll. by to, with) make like; cause to resemble. assimilable adj. assimilation n. assimilative adj. assimilator n.
Assist v. (often foll. by in + verbal noun) help. assistance n.
Assistant n. (often attrib.) person who helps, esp. as a subordinate.
Assoc. abbr. Association.
Associate —v. (-ting) 1 connect mentally . 2 join or combine, esp. for a common purpose. 3 refl. declare oneself or be in agreement. 4 (usu. foll. by with) meet frequently or deal. associative adj.
Association n. 1 group organized for a joint purpose; society. 2 associating or being associated. 3 companionship. 4 mental connection of ideas.
Assonance n. partial resemblance of sound between two syllables. assonant adj. [Latin sonus sound]
Assort v. 1 classify or arrange in sorts. 2 (usu. foll. by with) suit or harmonize with.
Assorted adj. 1 of various sorts, mixed. 2 classified. 3 matched (ill-assorted pair).
Assortment n. diverse group or mixture.
Assuage v. (-ging) 1 calm or soothe. 2 appease (an appetite). assuagement n.
Assume v. (-ming) 1 (usu. foll. by that) take to be true. 2 simulate (ignorance etc.). 3 undertake (an office etc.). 4 take or put on (an aspect, attribute, etc.)
Assuming adj. arrogant, presumptuous.
Assumption n. 1 assuming. 2 thing assumed.
Assurance n. 1 emphatic declaration; guarantee. 2 insurance, esp. life insurance. 3 certainty. 4 self-confidence; assertiveness.
Assure v. (-ring) 1 (often foll. by of) a convince. b tell (a person) confidently. 2 ensure; guarantee (a result etc.).
Assuredly adv. certainly.
AST abbr. Atlantic Standard Time.
Astatine n. radioactive element, the heaviest of the halogens.
Aster n. plant with bright daisy-like flowers.
Asterisk —n. symbol (*) used to mark words or to indicate omission etc. —v. mark with an asterisk.
Astern adv. (often foll. by of) 1 in or to the rear of a ship or aircraft. 2 backwards.
Asteroid n. 1 any of the minor planets orbiting the sun, mainly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Asthma n. respiratory condition marked by wheezing.
Asthmatic —adj. of or suffering from asthma. —n. asthmatic person.
Astigmatism n. eye or lens defect resulting in distorted images. astigmatic adj.
Astir predic. adj. & adv. 1 in motion. 2 out of bed.
Astonish v. surprise greatly, amaze. astonishment n.
Astound v. astonish greatly.
Astraddle adv. astride.
Astrakhan n. 1 dark curly fleece of young Astrakhan lambs. 2 cloth imitating this.
Astral adj. of the stars; starry.
Astray adv. & predic.adj. out of the right way, erring.
Astride —adv. 1 (often foll. by of) with a leg on each side. 2 with legs apart. —prep. astride of; extending across.
Astringent —adj. 1 checking bleeding by contracting body tissues. 2 severe, austere. —n. astringent substance. astringency n.
Astrolabe n. instrument formerly used to measure the altitude of stars etc.
Astrology n. study of supposed planetary influence on human affairs. astrologer n. astrological adj. astrologist n.
Astronaut n. crew member of a spacecraft. [Greek astron star, nautes sailor]
Astronautics n.pl. (treated as sing.) science of space travel. astronautical adj.
Astronomical adj. (also astronomic) 1 of astronomy. 2 vast, gigantic. Astronomically adv.
Astronomy n. the scientific study of celestial bodies. astronomer n.
Astrophysics n.pl. (treated as sing.) the study of the physics and chemistry of celestial bodies. astrophysical adj. astrophysicist n.
Astute adj. shrewd. astutely adv. astuteness n.
Asunder adv. literary apart.
Asylum n. 1 sanctuary; protection, esp. for fugitives from the law (seek asylum). 2 hist. institution for the mentally ill or destitute.
Asymmetry n. lack of symmetry. asymmetric adj. asymmetrical adj. [Greek]
At symb. astatine.
at prep. 1 expressing position (wait at the corner; at school). 2 expressing a point in time (at dawn). 3 expressing a point in a scale (at his best). 4 expressing engagement in an activity etc.
Atavism n. 1 reappearance of a remote ancestral characteristic, throwback. 2 reversion to an earlier type. atavistic adj.
Ataxia n. Med. imperfect control of bodily movements.
-ate1 suffix forming nouns denoting status, function, or office (postulate; doctorate).
-ate2 suffix forming adjectives with the sense ‘having, full of’ (foliate; passionate).
Atelier n. workshop or artist’s studio.
Atheism n. belief that there is no God. atheist n. atheistic adj.
Atherosclerosis n. degeneration of the arteries caused by a build-up of fatty deposits.
Athirst predic. adj.1 (usu. foll. by for) eager. 2 thirsty.
Athlete n. person who engages in athletics, exercise, etc.
Athlete’s foot n. fungal foot condition.
Athletic adj. 1 of athletes or athletics. 2 physically strong or agile. athletically adv. athleticism n.
Athletics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) physical exercises, esp. track and field events.
at-home n. social reception in a person’s home.
-ation suffix 1 forming nouns denoting an action or an instance of it (distortation; hesitation). 2 forming nouns denoting a result or product of action (plantation; starvation).
Atlantic adj. of or adjoining the ocean between Europe and Africa to the east and America to the west.
Atlas n. book of maps or charts. [Greek Atlas, the Titan who held up the universe]
Atmosphere n. a gases enveloping the earth, any other planet, etc. b air in a room etc. atmospheric adj.
Atmospherics n.pl. 1 electrical atmospheric disturbance, esp. caused by lightning. 2 interference with telecommunications caused by this.
Atoll n. ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon.
Atom n. 1 a smallest particle of a chemical element that can take part in a chemical reaction. b this as a source of nuclear energy. 2 minute portion or thing .
Atom bomb n. bomb in which energy is released by nuclear fission.
Atomic adj. 1 of or using atomic energy or atomic bombs. 2 of atoms.
Atomic energy n. nuclear energy.
Atomic mass n. mass of an atom measured in atomic mass units.
Atomic number n. number of protons in the nucleus of an atom.
Atomic theory n. theory that all matter consists of atoms.
Atomize v. (also -ise) (-zing or -sing) reduce to atoms or fine particles.
Atonal adj. Mus. not written in any key or mode. atonality n.
Atone v. (-ning) (usu. foll. by for) make amends (for a wrong doing, sin).
Atonement n. 1 atoning. 2 (the Atonement) expiation by Christ for the sin of mankind.
Atrocious adj. 1 very bad or unpleasant (atrocious manners). 2 wicked (atrocious cruelty). atrociously adv. [Latin atrox cruel]
Atrocity n. (pl. -ies) 1 wicked or cruel act. 2 extreme wickedness.
Atrophy —n. wasting away, esp. through disuse; emaciation. —v. (-ies, -ied) suffer atrophy or cause atrophy in.
Atropine n. poisonous alkaloid in deadly nightshade.
Attach v. 1 fasten, affix, join. 2 (in passive; foll. by to) be very fond of. 3 attribute or be attributable; assign (can’t attach a name to it; no blame attaches to us). 4 accompany; form part of (no conditions are attached).
Attachment n. 1 thing attached, esp. for a purpose. 2 affection, devotion. 3 attaching or being attached. 4 legal seizure. 5 temporary position in an organization.
Attack —v. 1 try to hurt or defeat using force. 2 criticize adversely. —n. 1 act of attacking. 2 offensive operation. attacker n. [French from Italian]
Attain v. 1 reach, gain, accomplish (a goal etc.). 2 (foll. by to) arrive at by effort or development.
Attainment n. 1 (often in pl.) accomplishment or achievement. 2 attaining.
Attar n. perfume made from rose-petals.
Attempt —v. 1 (often foll. by to + infin.) try to do or achieve (attempted to demonstrate). 2 try to conquer (a mountain etc.). —n. (often foll. by at, on, or to + infin.) attempting; endeavour.
Attend v. 1 a be present (at) (attended the meeting). b go regularly to (attends church). 2 escort.
Attendance n. 1 attending or being present. 2 number present.
Attendant —n. person escorting or providing a service (Queen’s attendant). —adj. 1 accompanying (attendant costs). 2 (often foll. by on) waiting (attendant on the queen).
Attendee n. person who attends (a meeting etc.).
Attention n. 1 act or faculty of applying one’s mind; notice. 2 consideration, care.
Attentive adj. 1 concentrating; paying attention. 2 assiduously polite. attentively adv. attentiveness n.
Attenuate v. (-ting) 1 make thin. 2 reduce in force, value, etc. attenuation n.
Attest v. 1 certify the validity of. 2 (foll. by to) bear witness to. attestation n.
Attic —adj. of ancient Athens. —n. Greek as used by the ancient Athenians.
Attic n. space or room at the top of a house, usu. under the roof.
Attire —n. clothes, esp. formal. —v. (-ring) (usu. as attired adj.) dress, esp. formally.
Attitude n. 1 opinion or way of thinking; behaviour reflecting this. 2 bodily posture; pose.
Attitudinize v. (also -ise) (-zing or -sing) adopt (esp. affected) attitudes; pose.
Attorney n. (pl. -s) 1 lawyer etc. appointed to act for another in business or legal matters. 2 US qualified lawyer.
Attorney-General n. (pl. Attorneys-General) chief legal officer in some countries.
Attract v. 1 draw to itself or oneself. 2 arouse interest or admiration in.
Attraction n. 1 a attracting or being attracted. b attractive quality. c person or thing that attracts. 2 Physics tendency of bodies to attract each other.
Attractive adj. 1 attracting (esp. interest or admiration). 2 aesthetically pleasing; good-looking. attractively adv.
Attribute —v. (-ting) (usu. foll. by to) 1 regard as belonging to, written or said by, etc. (an essay attributed to Addison). 2 ascribe to (a cause). attributable adj. attribution n.
Attributive adj. Gram. (of an adjective or noun) preceding the word described, as ‘new’ in the ‘new master’.
Attrition n. 1 gradual wearing down (war of attrition). 2 abrasion, friction.
Attune v. (-ning) 1 (usu. foll. by to) adjust to a situation etc. 2 Mus. tune.
Atypical adj. not typical. Atypically adv.
Au symb. gold. [Latin aurum]
Aubergine n. plant with white or purple egg-shaped fruit used as a vegetable; eggplant.
Aubrietia n. (also aubretia) dwarf perennial rock-plant with purple or pink flowers.
Auburn adj. reddish-brown (usu. of hair).
Auction —n. sale in which articles are sold to the highest bidder. —v. sell by auction.
Auction bridge n. game in which players bid for the right to name trumps.
Auctioneer n. person who conducts auctions, esp. for a living.
Audacious adj. 1 daring, bold. 2 impudent. audacity n.
Audible adj. able to be heard. audibility n. audibly adv.
Audience n. 1 a assembled listeners or spectators, esp. at a play, concert, etc. b people addressed by a film, book, etc.
Audio n. (usu. attrib.) sound or its reproduction.
Audio frequency n. frequency able to be perceived by the human ear.
Audiotape n. (also audio tape) a magnetic tape for recording sound.
Audio typist n. person who types from a tape-recording.
Audiovisual adj. (of teaching methods etc.) using both sight and sound.
Audit —n. official scrutiny of accounts. —v. (-t-) conduct an audit of.
Audition —n. test of a performer’s suitability or ability. —v. assess or be assessed at an audition.
Auditor n. person who audits accounts.
Auditorium n. (pl. -s) part of a theatre etc. for the audience.
Auditory adj. of hearing.
Aug. abbr. August.
Augean adj. filthy. [Greek Augeas, a mythical king: his filthy stables were cleaned by Hercules diverting a river through them]
Auger n. tool with a screw point for boring in wood.
Aught n. archaic anything. [Old English]
Augment v. make or become greater; increase. augmentation n.
Augmentative adj. augmenting.
Augur —v. portend, serve as an omen (augur well or ill). —n. hist. Roman religious official interpreting natural phenomena in order to pronounce on proposed actions.
Augury n. (pl. -ies) 1 omen. 2 interpretation of omens.
August n. eighth month of the year. [Latin Augustus, first Roman emperor]
August adj. venerable, imposing. [Latin]
Augustan adj. 1 of the reign of Augustus, esp. as a flourishing literary period. 2 (of literature) refined and classical in style.
Auk n. black and white sea bird with short wings, e.g. the guillemot, puffin, etc.
Aunt n. 1 sister of one’s father or mother. 2 uncle’s wife. 3 colloq. (form of address by a child to) parent’s female friend.
Auntie n. (also aunty) (pl. -ies) colloq. aunt.
Aunt Sally n. 1 game in which sticks or balls are thrown at a wooden dummy. 2 target of general abuse.
Au pair n. young foreigner, esp. a woman, helping with housework etc. in exchange for board and lodging.
Aura n. (pl. -s) 1 distinctive atmosphere. 2 subtle emanation.
Aural adj. of the ear or hearing. aurally adv.
Aureate adj. golden, resplendent.
Aureole n. (also aureola) 1 halo or circle of light, esp. in a religious painting. 2 corona round the sun or moon.
au revoir int. & n. goodbye (until we meet again).
Auricle n. 1 each atrium of the heart. 2 external ear of animals. auricular adj.
Auricula n. (pl. -s) primula with ear-shaped leaves.
Auriferous adj. yielding gold. [Latin aurifer from aurum gold]
Aurochs n. (pl. same) extinct wild ox.
Aurora n. (pl. -s or aurorae) luminous phenomenon, usu. of streamers of light in the night sky above the northern.
Auscultation n. listening, esp. to sounds from the heart, lungs, etc., for purposes of diagnosis.
Auspice n. 1 (in pl.) patronage (esp. under the auspices of). 2 omen, premonition.
Auspicious adj. promising well; favourable.
Austere adj. (-terer, -terest) 1 severely simple. 2 morally strict. 3 stern, grim.
Austerity n. (pl. -ies) being austere; hardship.
Austral adj. 1 southern. 2 (Austral) of Australia or Australasia.
Australasian adj. of Australasia, including Australia and the islands of the SW Pacific.
Australian —n. 1 native or national of Australia. 2 person of Australian descent. —adj. of Australia.
Autarchy n. absolute rule; despotism.
Autarky n. self-sufficiency, esp. economic.
Authentic adj. 1 of undisputed origin; genuine. 2 reliable, trustworthy. authentically adv. authenticity n.
Authenticate v. (-ting) establish as true, genuine, or valid. authentication n.
Author n. (fem. authoress) 1 writer, esp. of books. 2 originator of an idea, event, etc.
Authoritarian —adj. favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority. —n. authoritarian person.
Authoritative adj. 1 reliable, esp. having authority. 2 official.
Authority n. (pl. -ies) 1 a power or right to enforce obedience. b (often foll. by for, or to + infin.) delegated power. 2 (esp. in pl.) body having authority.
Authorize v. (also -ise) (-zing or -sing) 1 officially approve, sanction. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) give authority to (a person to do a thing). authorization n.
Authorized Version n. English translation of the Bible made in 1611.
Authorship n. 1 origin of a book etc. 2 profession of an author.
Autism n. condition characterized by self-absorption and social withdrawal. autistic adj.
Auto n. (pl. -s) US colloq. car. [abbreviation of automobile]
Auto– comb. form 1 self. 2 one’s own. 3 of or by oneself or itself.
Autobahn n. (pl. -s) German, Austrian, or Swiss motorway. [German]
Autobiography n. (pl. -ies) 1 written account of one’s own life. autobiographer n. autobiographical adj.
Autoclave n. sterilizer using high-pressure steam.
Autocracy n. (pl. -ies) 1 rule by an autocrat. 2 dictatorship.
Autocrat n. 1 absolute ruler. 2 dictatorial person. autocratic adj. autocratically adv.
Autocross n. motor racing across country or on unmade roads.
Autocue n. propr. screen etc. from which a speaker reads a television script.
auto-da-fé n. (pl. autos-da-fé) 1 hist. ceremonial judgement of heretics by the Spanish Inquisition. 2 public burning of heretics.
Autograph —n. signature, esp. that of a celebrity. —v. sign or write on in one’s own hand.
Autoimmune adj. (of a disease) caused by antibodies produced against substances naturally present in the body.
Automat n. US 1 slot-machine. 2 cafeteria dispensing food and drink from slot-machines.
Automate v. (-ting) convert to or operate by automation.
Automatic —adj. 1 working by itself, without direct human intervention. 2 a done spontaneously (automatic reaction). automatically adv.
Automatic pilot n. device for keeping an aircraft or ship on a set course.
Automation n. 1 use of automatic equipment in place of manual labour. 2 productions of goods etc. by this.
Automatism n. 1 involuntary action. 2 unthinking routine.
Automaton n. (pl. -mata or -s) 1 machine-controlled automatically; robot. 2 person acting like a robot.
Automobile n. US motor car.
Automotive adj. of motor vehicles.
Autonomous adj. 1 having self-government. 2 free to act independently.
Autonomy n. 1 self-government. 2 personal freedom.
Autopsy n. (pl. -ies) post-mortem.
Autoroute n. French motorway.
Autostrada n. (pl. -s or -strade) Italian motorway.
Auto-suggestion n. hypnotic or subconscious suggestion made to oneself.
Autumn n. 1 (often attrib.) season between summer and winter. 2 time of incipient decline. autumnal adj.
Autumn equinox n. (also autumnal equinox) equinox about 22 Sept.
Auxiliary —adj. 1 subsidiary, additional. 2 giving help. —n. (pl. -ies) 1 auxiliary person or thing. 2 (in pl.) foreign or allied troops in the service of a nation at war. 3 verb used to form tenses or moods of other verbs.
Auxin n. plant hormone that regulates growth.
AV abbr. Authorized Version.
Avail —v. 1 help; be of use. 2 refl. (foll. by of) make use of, profit by. —n. use, profit (of no avail).
Available adj. at one’s disposal, obtainable. availability n.
Avalanche n. 1 rapidly sliding mass of snow and ice on a mountain. 2 sudden abundance (avalanche of work). [French]
Avant-garde —n. pioneers or (esp. artistic) innovators. —adj. new; pioneering.
Avarice n. extreme greed for wealth. avaricious adj.
Avatar n. (in Hindu mythology) descent of a deity etc. to earth in bodily form. [Sanskrit, = descent]
Ave. abbr. Avenue.
Avenge v. (-ging) 1 inflict retribution on behalf of. 2 take vengeance for (an injury).
Avenue n. 1 a broad esp. tree-lined road or street. b tree-lined path etc. 2 approach (explored every avenue).
Aver v. (-rr-) formal assert, affirm. averment n. [Latin verus true]
Average —n. 1 usual amount, extent, or rate. 2 amount obtained by adding two or more numbers and dividing by how many there are.
Averse predic. adj. (usu. foll. by to) opposed, disinclined.
Aversion n. 1 (usu. foll. by to, for) dislike or unwillingness. 2 object of this.
Avert v. (often foll. by from) 1 turn away (one’s eyes or thoughts). 2 prevent or ward off (esp. danger).
Avesta n. (usu. prec. by the) sacred writings of Zoroastrianism.
Aviary n. (pl. -ies) large cage or building for keeping birds.
Aviation n. science or practice of flying aircraft.
Aviator n. person who flies aircraft.
Avid adj. eager, greedy. avidity n. avidly adv. [Latin aveo crave]
Avionics n.pl. (usu. treated as sing.) electronics as applied to aviation.
Avocet n. long-legged wading bird with an upward-curved bill.
Avoid v. 1 keep away or refrain from. 2 escape; evade. 3 Law quash, annul. avoidable adj. avoidance n. [French]
Avoirdupois n. (in full avoirdupois weight) system of weights based on a pound of 16 ounces or 7,000 grains.
Avow v. formal declare, confess. avowal n. avowedly adv. [Latin voco call]
Avuncular adj. like or of an uncle, esp. in manner.
Await v. 1 wait for. 2 be in store for.
Awake —v. (-king; past awoke; past part. awoken) 1 cease to sleep or arouse from sleep. 2 (often foll. by to) become or make alert, aware, or active. —predic. adj. not asleep.
Award —v. give as a payment or prize. —n. 1 thing or amount awarded. 2 judicial decision.
Aware predic. adj. 1 (often foll. by of or that) conscious; having knowledge. 2 well-informed. awareness n.
Away —adv. 1 to or at a distance from the place, person, or thing in question.
Awe —n. reverential fear or wonder. —v. (awing) inspire with awe.
Aweigh predic. adj. (of an anchor) clear of the bottom.
Awe-inspiring adj. awesome; magnificent.
Awesome adj. inspiring awe; dreaded.
Awful adj. 1 colloq. very bad or unpleasant.
Awfully adv. 1 badly; unpleasantly (performed awfully). 2 colloq. very.
Awhile adv. for a short time. [a while]
Awkward adj. 1 difficult to use or deal with. 2 clumsy, ungainly. 3 embarrassed.
Awl n. small tool for piercing holes, esp. in leather.
Awn n. bristly head of a sheath of barley and other grasses.
AWOL abbr. colloq. absent without leave.
Awry —adv. 1 crookedly, askew. 2 amiss, wrong. —predic. adj. crooked; unsound.
Ax (Brit. axe) —n. 1 chopping-tool with a handle and heavy blade.
Axe (US ax) —n. 1 chopping-tool with a handle and heavy blade.
Axial adj. of, forming, or placed round an axis.
Axil n. upper angle between a leaf and stem.
Axiom n. 1 established or accepted principle. 2 self-evident truth. axiomatic adj.
Axis n. (pl. axes) 1 a. imaginary line about which a body rotates. b. line which divides a regular figure symmetrically.
Axle n. spindle on which a wheel is fixed or turns. [Old Norse]
Ayatollah n. religious leader in Iran. [Persian from Arabic, = token of God]
Aye —adv. archaic or dial. yes. —n. affirmative answer or vote.
Azalea n. a kind of rhododendron.
Azimuth n. angular distance from a north or south point of the horizon to the intersection with the horizon of a vertical circle passing through a given celestial body. azimuthal adj.
Aztec —n. 1 member of the native Mexican people overthrown by the Spanish in 1519. 2 language of this people. —adj. of the Aztecs or their language.
Azure —n. 1 deep sky-blue colour. —adj. deep sky-blue.
B n. (pl. Bs ) second letter of the English alphabet. 2. second category of something.
BA abbr. 1 Bachelor of Arts. 2 British Airways.
Ba symb. barium.
Baa —v. (baas, baaed or baa’d) bleat. —n. sheep’s cry.
Babble —v. (-ling) 1 talk, chatter, or say incoherently or excessively. (of a stream etc.) murmur. —n. 1 babbling. 2 murmur of voices, water, etc.
Babe n. 1 literary baby. 2 innocent or helpless person. 3 US slang young woman.
Babel n. 1 confused noise, esp. of voices. 2 scene of confusion.
Baboon n. large long-nosed African and Arabian monkey.
Baby —n. (pl. -ies) 1 very young child. 2 childish person. —v. (-ies, -ied) treat like a baby. babyhood n. babyish adj.
Baby boom n. colloq. temporary increase in the birthrate.
Baby Buggy n. propr. a kind of child’s pushchair.
Babygro n. (pl. -s) propr. stretchy all-in-one baby suit.
Babysit v. (-tt-; past and past part. -sat) look after a child while its parents are out. babysitter n.
Baccarat n. gambling card-game.
Bacchanal —n. 1 drunken revelry or reveller. 2 priest or follower of Bacchus. —adj. 1 of or like Bacchus.
Bacchanalia n.pl. 1 Roman festival of Bacchus. 2 drunken revelry.
Bacchant —n. (fem. bacchante) 1 priest or follower of Bacchus. 2 drunken reveller. —adj. of or like Bacchus or his rites.
Baccy n. (pl. -ies) colloq. tobacco.
Bachelor n. 1 unmarried man. 2 person with a university first degree. bachelorhood n.
Bachelor girl n. independent young single woman.
Bacillus n. (pl. bacilli) rod-shaped bacterium, esp. one causing disease. bacillary adj.
Back —n. 1 a rear surface of the human body from shoulder to hip. b upper surface of an animal’s body. —v. 1 a give moral or financial support to.
Backache n. ache in the back.
Backbiting n. malicious talk. backbite v.
Back-boiler n. boiler behind a domestic fire.
Backbone n. 1 spine. 2 chief support. 3 firmness of character.
Back-breaking adj. (esp. of manual work) extremely hard.
Back-burner n. on the back-burner receiving little attention.
Backchat n. colloq. verbal insolence.
Backcloth n. 1 painted cloth at the back of a stage. 2 background to a scene or situation.
Backcomb v. comb (the hair) towards the scalp to give it fullness.
Backdate v. (-ting) 1 make retrospectively valid. 2 put an earlier date to than the actual one.
Back door n. secret or ingenious means.
Backfire v. (-ring) 1 (of an engine or vehicle) ignite or explode too early in the cylinder or exhaust.
Back-formation n. formation of a word from its seeming derivative (e.g. laze from lazy).
Background n. 1 part of a scene or picture furthest from the observer. 2 (often attrib.) inconspicuous position (kept in the background; background music). 3 person’s education, social circumstances, etc.
N. B. The rest is to be uploaded.