The Dictionary

Find the meaning of words in a dictionary.

The Dictionary

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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.

For each word shown in a dictionary format below, choose which information the dictionary is telling us about that word from the answers provided.
1.
Sporadic (Medieval Latin; Greek)
Shows what type of a word it is
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows the origin of the word
All words began somewhere at some time. Where they began is known as the word’s origin or etymology. Here, we see after the word “sporadic” the description “Medieval Latin; Greek.” This is where the word originated from. Therefore, Answer (d) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
2.
Helicopter, n.
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows the origin of the word
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
All words belong in a category or categories of types of words such as a noun, a verb, and adjective, an adverb, a pronoun, a preposition, etc. The dictionary will tell you what type of word the word you are looking at is. In this case, you see the letter “n.” after the word “helicopter”. This is the abbreviation to tell you that this word is a “noun” word. Answer (d) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
3.
Formerly, adv.
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows the origin of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
All words belong in a category or categories of types of words such as a noun, a verb, and adjective, an adverb, a pronoun, a preposition, etc. The dictionary will tell you what type of word the word you are looking at is. In this case, you see the letters “adv.” after the word “formerly”. This is the abbreviation to tell you that this word is an “adverb” word. Answer (d) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
4.
Buffet (Middle English, from Old French)
Shows the origin of the word
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows the number of syllables in the word
Shows what type of a word it is
All words began somewhere at some time. Where they began is known as the word’s origin or etymology. Here, we see after the word “buffet” the description “Middle English from Old French.” This is where the word originated from. Therefore, Answer (a) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
5.
Awesome [aw-suh m]
Shows the number of syllables in the word
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows the origin of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
When the word is shown in brackets and is not spelled correctly, this is how the dictionary shows you how the word should sound phonetically. Answer (b) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
6.
Multiplicities, mul-ti-plic-i-ties
Shows the origin of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
Shows the number of syllables in the word
Shows the meaning of the word
A dictionary can help us to learn how to say a word by breaking the word down into smaller segments by syllables. Here we see the word “multiplicity” broken down as “mul-ti-plic-i-ties.” This shows us that the word has five syllables. Answer (c) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
7.
Integrity - steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows the origin of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
All words have a meaning. This helps us to understand the word itself. Here we learn that “integrity” means “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.” Answer (b) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
8.
Plethora - a very large amount or number of things
Shows the origin of the word
Shows the meaning of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
Shows the number of syllables in the word
All words have a meaning. This helps us to understand the word itself. Here we learn that “plethora” means “a very large amount or number of things.” Answer (b) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
9.
Franchise, fran-chise
Shows the number of syllables in the word
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
Shows the meaning of the word
A dictionary can help us to learn how to say a word by breaking the word down into smaller segments by syllables. Here we see the word “franchise” broken down as “fran-chise.” This shows us that the word has two syllables. Answer (a) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
10.
Misconstrue [mis-kon-stroo]
Shows the origin of the word
Shows what type of a word it is
Shows the phonetic pronunciation of the word
Shows the number of syllables in the word
When the word is shown in brackets and is not spelled correctly, this is how the dictionary shows you how the word should sound phonetically. Answer (c) is the correct answer that shows what the dictionary is telling us about this word.
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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