In some entries you will find a definition labeled n. (for noun) with a •» sign right in the definition. These are entries for nouns that have especially related adjectives. These adjectives are often very different in looks and in sound from the nouns that they relate to. Without a hint, you might not have any idea where to look to find one of them. Your dictionary gives you the clue in this way:

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dog [dog] n., v.   dogged, dog-ging   1 n. A

tame, flesh-eating animal kept as a pet or used to guard, guide, hunt, herd, etc. •* Adj., canine. 2 v. To follow like a hunting dog; hound: Misfortune dogged his steps. 3 n. A device for gripping or holding logs, etc.

You can see that if you were on the subject of dogs and could not think of canine, you would not know where to look for it without a hint. The note sends you straight to canine, and when you turn to it, you find it means of or like a dog, or like a dog's.

Another example is the noun moon and its related adjective lunar, which you know from your science books. And do you recognize feline as the adjective relating to cat? Watch for these helpful hints.



Usually all the parts of speech for a certain word sound alike. For example, cart is pronounced [kart] whether it is used as a noun or as a verb.

But sometimes there are differences. Here is the pronunciation of a familiar word that illustrates the point:

[n. hous; v. houz]

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When you use house as a noun, you say [hous]. When you use it as a verb, you say [houz].

Can you come to my [hous] today? The camp can [houz] eighty boys.

Your dictionary puts parts of speech labels into the pronunciation as well as into the definitions to give you all the information that you need.

Try saying these two sentences to hear the differences between the parts of speech:

The dentist had to [ik-strakf] my aching tooth. Vanilla [eks'trakt] is often used in cakes.

Do you hear why the pronunciation for extract looks like this?


Remember to check pronunciation and parts of speech to be sure you are making the sound that is correct in your sentence.

Word Histories

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Our language has been growing and changing for many centuries. When people have a new idea to explain or something that they need to name, they may add a new word to the vocabulary. Not too long ago, for example, a new and different mealtime became common and popular enough so that it needed a description of its own. Now we have this word:

brunch [brunch] n. A meal, usually in the late morning, combining breakfast and lunch. * This word is a blend of br(eakfasf) and (l)unch.

The » note of this entry tells you what the word was made from and how it was made. Word histories like this are called etymologies. Whenever they might be interesting and useful to you, they follow the definitions in an entry and are introduced by the •* sign. You are well acquainted with the two English words that brunch comes from. Usually, though, the etymology of a word must be traced back through many years, long before there was any English as we know it. Therefore, you will often find an explanation like this one, which goes back to the language of the ancient Greeks:

as-tron-o-my The study of the stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies, their make-up, positions, motions, etc. •» Astron­omy comes from two Greek words meaning arrangement or distribution of the stars, the early study having been mainly the mapping of stars.

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This etymology not only tells you where our word astronomy came from. It also shows you how astronomy has changed over the centuries, for now men can study the make­up and motion of heavenly bodies as well as map their positions.

Now look at a main entry that comes just a little before astronomy in alphabetical order:

as-tro-naut n. A person who travels in space. * Astronaut is parallel to aeronaut, a balloon pilot, and is formed from the Greek roots naules, meaning sailor, and astro-, meaning (between or among) stars.