The Free Dictionary Blog
Categories: English Grammar and Spelling, Literature and History, Site Announcements, Trending Topics, Wordymology
A bouquet of 15 flower words.
Teeth, turbans, and taxonomists—the surprising seeds of some of your favorite flowers' names.
Know nonsense. And 6 of its best synonyms.
There are many excellent synonyms for nonsense. Here are the six with the most absurdly interesting etymologies.
Here’s how every month got its name
Why are the months’ names what they are? What do they mean? And why do so many of them not make sense?
The Etymology of Dance
You might know the steps, but do you know where these classic dances got their names?
The oboe-the-top origins of musical instrument names
12 note-able etymologies hiding behind the music.
Secrets of the Sauce: 8 condiment names explained
You may have a lot of passionate preferences about which condiments you use—and don’t use. But do you know the ingredients of their etymologies?
The loco delicioso origins of Mexican food names
Donkeys, daisies, and explosives. Let's dig in to some crazy delicious etymologies.
Down in History: 11 names remembered for all the wrong reasons
Here's how 11 eponymous personages had their names become forever associated with things negative.
Femalexicon: 9 women immortalized in the English language
Meet nine women whose names and creations live on in our words.
5 words straight outta hip hop
Rap slang has entered the popular lexicon. How many of these words do you use?
The naked truth about exercise words
Trying to keep your New Year’s resolution to get in shape? Hit the etymologym with these fitness-related etymologies. (It counts as a gym day.)
10 words to learn in 2019
“Learning new words at The Free Dictionary is the best resolution you can make.” - Ben Franklin, probably
6 food words you didn’t know were filled with salt
Watching your salt intake? You may want to avoid these salt-heavy etymologies.
Unwrap some Halloween word candy
Treat yourself to the tricky etymologies of these essential Halloween words.
The far-out etymologies of celestial bodies
Axe-wielders, wanderers, and long-haired stars. When it comes to their names, the cast of characters in the nighttime sky is much stranger than you might think.
The weird word origins of your favorite colors
Goblins, magic spells, and crushed-up bugs. You won't believe how some colors got their names.
Why is it called soccer?
Even if you call it "football," you might be surprised where the name "soccer" came from.
The truth about the unusual final word in the royal wedding vows
You’ve probably never heard it before, but you might be able to guess what it means.
Book-Man: The new game from The Free Dictionary
Enter the word maze with Book-Man. How many words can you find?
Why is it called an Oscar? And how do you pronounce Saoirse?
The Free Dictionary answers your Oscars questions.
Resolve to learn these 10 words in 2018 (if you haven’t already)
Here are the top 10 most bookmarked words at The Free Dictionary. How many of them can you define?
The Free Dictionary Names Its 2017 Article of the Year
The winner was chosen from the list of 2017's top searches.
By popular demand: You can now sort your bookmarks into lists
It just got a whole lot easier to manage your bookmarks.
Flashcards have arrived at The Free Dictionary
Study for your next big test, boost your vocabulary, learn words in a new language, and more!
"Impanel" just became the #1 search on The Free Dictionary
What is impaneling, and what is a grand jury?
Searches for "maverick" are trending
“Maverick” has been one of the most-searched words at TheFreeDictionary.com on July 28, 2017.
Searches for "jamboree" are up 400%
"Jamboree" has been one of the most-searched words at TheFreeDictionary.com on July 25, 2017.
Master these 10 most common writing tasks and you're set for life
Expert tips and templates for tackling life's toughest writing assignments: essays, cover letters, thank-you notes, and more.
Refine your writing with this list of transition words
Master the art of the seamless transition with this list of transition words and phrases for essays, plus examples of each type of transition.
Similes, Metaphors, Analogies, Allegories, and Alligators: Learn the Difference
Our helpful guide to similes, metaphors, and more will help you tell the difference between them with simple explanations and famous examples.
41 adorable baby animal names (with pics!)
Baby animal names are sometimes just as cute as the baby animals themselves. Here's a list of 41 of the most adorable.
A clowder of cats: 30 fancy names for animal groups
Do you know which animals groups are called an unkindness, an ambush, or an ostentation?
A full list of prepositions (no singing required)
Looking for a list of prepositions? Look no further.
A list of adjectives with which you can describe anything
A list of adjectives, including types of adjectives and examples.
A list of verbs with which you can do (or be) anything
A list of verbs, including explanations of how different types of verbs function in a sentence.
A very long list of adverbs, not all of which end in -ly
A list of adverbs, plus definitions and examples of how to use different types of adverbs in a sentence.
The famous last words of 12 enigmatic icons
The famous last words of the dying and the last dying words of the famous. It's a good thing someone was around to write them down.
What does your name mean? It might be more obvious than you think
Want to know what your name means? Start your search here.
What rhymes with orange? And 8 other burning language questions
What rhymes with orange? What is the plural of moose? What is the longest word in the world? All of your questions about words, answered by The Free Dictionary.
12 synonyms for beautiful used perfectly by famous authors
Looking for another word for beautiful? Feast your eyes on these 12 classic authors' descriptions for beauty.
13 awesome synonyms for awesome used by awesome authors
Awesome. Really awesome. Super awesome. Are you running out of synonyms for awesome?
14 popular phrases you had no idea were from the King James Bible
Who knew so many popular phrases originated in the Bible? Here's 14 you probably use all the time.
14 Shakespeare quotes NOT written by Shakespeare
Shakespeare wrote a lot of great lines. Just not these.
4 things the Death Star isn't (by definition)
Let's not jump to any conclusions, Obi-Wan. Let's consult the dictionary first.
59 times you quoted Shakespeare without knowing it
You use these words and phrases all the time. Did you know Shakespeare coined them?
Deflategate and 14 other scandals ending in -gate (including Gategate!)
Why do scandals always end in -gate?
Googol, Yahoo, and 28 other words invented from scratch
Neologisms coined into existence can be found throughout literature, science, and industry, and they include some of the words you use every day.
I before E: 21 spelling rules (and their crazy exceptions!)
Believe it or not, English actually has spelling rules. And exceptions...
See how letters came from words (not the other way around)
A visual guide to how we arrived at the modern alphabet.
The 7 Major Differences between British and American Spelling
Do you know the 7 ways in which Brits and Americans spell things differently?
The 8 reasons your mispelling the 40 most misspelled words
A list of some of the most common misspellings, grouped into the reasons why they're most often misspelled.
The Strange Things Americans and Brits Say Differently
The queue for the loo, or the line for the bathroom? Depends where you live.
We ranked the top 27 letters of the alphabet (U won't believe what's #21!)
Finally, the definitive ranking of every letter in the alphabet.
Ze Said/E Said: 5 Candidates for a Gender-Neutral Singular Pronoun
Can we decide on a pronoun to be vague in gender but specific in number?
Homophones, Homonyms, and Homographs: How to tell the difference
These three grammar terms are confusing and easily mixed up. Learn how to tell them apart with easy explanations and examples.
Quotation marks and punctuation: Inside or Outside?
'By the way', the Queen said to Uncle Sam, 'What does it mean when you say, "O say can you see?"'
The top 3 things ruining your sentences
The sentence is one of the most basic building blocks of writing. Don't mess it up.