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Dictionary by Merriam-Webster: dictionary | History & Facts | Britannica

Definition of web

 (Entry 1 of 2)1: a fabric on a loom or in process of being removed from a loom2a: COBWEBSPIDERWEBb: a network of silken thread spun especially by the larvae of various insects (such as a tent caterpillar) and usually serving as a nest or shelter3: a tissue or membrane of an animal or plantespeciallythat uniting fingers or toes either at their bases (as in humans) or for a greater part of their length (as in many waterbirds)4a: a thin metal sheet, plate, or stripb: the plate connecting the upper and lower flanges of a girder or railc: the arm of a crank5: something resembling a web:a: SNAREENTANGLEMENTweb of intrigueensnarled in a web of folly— D. A. Stockmanb: an intricate pattern or structure suggestive of something woven NETWORK6: the series of barbs on each side of the shaft of a feather VANE7a: a continuous sheet of paper manufactured or undergoing manufacture on a paper machineb: a roll of paper for use in a rotary printing press8: the part of a ribbed vault between the ribs9or Web: WORLD WIDE WEB

Merriam-Webster, Inc. is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries.

In 1831, George and Charles Merriam founded the company as G & C Merriam Co. in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1843, after Noah Webster died, the company bought the rights to An American Dictionary of the English Language from Webster’s estate. All Merriam-Webster dictionaries trace their lineage to this source.

In 1964, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. acquired Merriam-Webster, Inc. as a subsidiary. The company adopted its current name in 1982.

Merriam-Webster dictionary, any of various lexicographic works published by the G. & C. Merriam Co.—renamed Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, in 1982—which is located in Springfield, Massachusetts, and which since 1964 has been a subsidiary of Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Among the dictionaries are Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language (1961), which contains more than 476,000 entries and provides the most extensive record of American English now available, and the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (2003).

The G. & C. Merriam Co., founded in 1831, acquired the rights after the death of Noah Webster in 1843 to his An American Dictionary of the English Language. This work had first been published in 1828 and was the first American unabridged dictionary. A second edition had been published in 1840, and subsequent editions were published by the company in 1847 and 1864. The 1890 revision was given the title Webster’s International Dictionary and was followed in 1909 by Webster’s New International Dictionary, Second Edition, and in 1961 by Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.


the dictionary by merriam-webster is america’s most trusted online dictionary for english word definitions, meanings, and pronunciation. #wordsmatter

Inside the Word World of Merriam-Webster

The office of Merriam-Webster may have existed in essentially the same spot, in Springfield, Massachusetts, since 1831, but in that time, the dictionary business has changed drastically.By Jen Doll

How do I cite a dictionary?

If you are creating an in-text citation for a dictionary entry, you would follow APA’s standard in-text citation guidelines of including the first part of the reference and the year. For example, your in-text citations might look like this: (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 1999) or (Onomatopoeia, n.d.). These in-text citations would then align with your reference list citations. 

If you are citing a full dictionary in your reference list, you would place the title of the dictionary in the position where the author’s name would normally go, so it would look like this:

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed.). (1999). Merriam-Webster Incorporated.

If you are citing a single entry in an online dictionary, you will need to include the word that you looked up first, so it would look something like this:

Onomatopoeia. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionaryhttp://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/onomatopoeia


That’s what Peter Sokolowski, editor-at-large for Merriam-Webstertold a gathering of editors last spring. We hope you agree, and we also hope this column won’t result in “TL;DR.”

With the web, dictionaries can be updated frequently, and Merriam-Webster just dumped a bunch of new words: more than 840. Included in that dump was “TL;DR,” sometimes rendered as lowercase or without the semicolon in the middle.

M-W traces the first usage to 2002, as an informal way to say “too long; didn’t read.” It was used as shorthand in older computer chat rooms or bulletin boards that collectively were called “Usenet groups,” and so came in handy when texting came along. (“Usenet” itself was born at Duke University in 1979, where programmers called themselves “Usenix,” for “users of Unix.” The “Usenix network” became “Usenet,” or so it seems.)

ICYMI: Trump used a word that astonished Twitter users 

In this fast-paced world, “TL;DR” developed its own shorthand, as a summary or takeaway, as in “The TL;DR of this column is that dictionaries are going to add new words. Get over it.”

For more than 100 years, we’ve provided our students with the tools, resources, and skills necessary to become experts in their chosen career fields. Whether you’re just starting out or completing an advanced degree, you’ll have industry leaders guiding you throughout your academic journey in a personalized and flexible setting.


Parents need to know that Merriam-Webster is a useful site that includes a complete dictionary and fairly informative encyclopedia. All definitions are purely educational and straightforward. The “English-Spanish” section is helpful for translating words and understanding verb conjugation, and the “Medical” section translates medical jargon into layman’s terms. Also, users will enjoy the age-appropriate, word-focused games that improve both vocabulary and memory. Ads (both sponsored and banner) do appear on every page, and links of the sponsored advertisers lure people off the site — occasionally to iffy material (the “marijuana” entry provided a site on how to grow pot, for example). There’s also a store to buy hard copies of Merriam-Webster products.


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