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A dictionary is a reference book of words listed in alphabetical order. It tells about the word’s origin (etymology), its meaning, its pronunciation, its type (noun, verb, adverb, adjective, etc.) and the number of syllables it has. A word’s origin (also known as its etymology) tells us where the word began or originated from. For example, whether it was an English word, a French word or a Latin word.
The pronunciation tells us how a word is pronounced phonetically. For example, let’s look at the word “bread.”
In the dictionary you will see the word bread followed by [bred]. The word in the brackets is giving you a hint of how the word should sound when spoken and does not deal with the correct spelling of the word.
A syllable is an uninterrupted segment of speech consisting of one vowel sounds. A dictionary will show a word broken down into each of its syllable segments. For example, let’s look at the word illustrate. The dictionary will show the word as: il-lus-trate. This tells us that the word has three syllables.