GKNXT Encyclopedia
0 A B C D E
X Y Z #
M (volume 13)
M, mthe thirteenth letter of the alphabet.
ma’amshort for madam.
macabrehorrible, causing a shudder of horror (a macabre murder).
macaronia type of pasta in the shape of small tubes (a dish of macaroni and cheese).
macaroona small cake containing powdered almonds or coconut.
macawa large type of parrot.
mace1 (old) a spiked club used as a weapon of war. 2 a heavy ornamental stick carried before certain officials as a sign of their office (the mayor’s mace).
machetea large heavy knife sometimes used as a weapon.
machine1 any apparatus for producing power or doing work (a washing machine). 2 a system under which the work of different groups is directed to one end (the political party’s machine).
machine guna gun that fires many bullets in a short time before it has to be reloaded.
machinery1 machines (buy new machinery for the factory). 2 parts of a machine (something wrong with the machinery of the tumble dryer). 3 organization (the machinery of government).
machinista person who makes, looks after, or operates machinery (she was a machinist in a clothing factory).
mackerelan edible sea fish (smoked mackerel).
Macrophobiafear of long waits (see list of phobias)
mad1 insane (the murderer pretended to be mad). 2 out of your mind with anger, pain, etc (mad with grief). 3 (informal) very angry (she was mad at the naughty children). 4 (informal) very unwise, crazy (a mad plan).
madamthe title used in addressing a woman politely.
Madamethe French form of Mrs.
madcapa wild or reckless person. adj reckless, very thoughtless (a madcap plan to make money quickly).
maddento make mad (an animal maddened with pain). adj maddening
madlyvery much (madly in love).
madmana person who is mad (the killer must have been a madman).
madness1 insanity. 2 folly.
Madonna1 the Virgin Mary. 2 a picture or statue of the Virgin Mary.
magazine1 a store for firearms and explosives (the military magazine). 2 a weekly or monthly paper containing articles, stories, etc (women’s magazines).
Mageirocophobiafear of cooking (see list of phobias)
magentaa crimson dye. adj crimson.
maggotthe grub of certain insects, especially the fly or bluebottle (find maggots on the rotting meat).
Magi1 (old) priests of ancient Persia. 2 in Christianity, the wise men from the East who visited the infant Jesus.
magic1 the art of controlling spirits, and so gaining knowledge of the future or commanding certain things to happen; witchcraft (black magic). 2 the art of producing illusions by tricks or sleight of hand (the magic practiced by the stage magician). 3 fascination (the magic of the theater). adj, also magical 1 having to do with magic (a magic spell ma-ji-ca-lee/.
magician1 a person who has magic powers (the magician in the fairy story). 2 a person who practices the art of producing illusions by tricks or sleight of hand (a magician with his own television show).
magisterial1 having the manner of a person who is used to giving commands. 2 having to do with magistrates.
magistracythe office of magistrate.
magistratea person who has the authority to try and sentence those who break the law; a judge (appear before the magistrate).
magnanimousgenerous, especially to enemies or dependants; unselfish (it was magnanimous of him to forgive those who had attacked him). n magnanimity
magnatea person of great wealth or importance (industrial magnates).
magnesiaa white powder made from magnesium, used as a medicine (take milk of magnesia for indigestion).
magnesiuma white metal that burns with a bright white light.
magnet1 a piece of iron that attracts to it other pieces of iron and that when hung up points to the north. 2 a person or thing that attracts (he told such interesting stories that he was a magnet for all the children).
magnetic1 acting like a magnet (magnetic forces). 2 attractive (a magnetic personality).
Magneticsstudy of magnetism (see list of branches of science)
magnetism1 the power of the magnet. 2 the science that deals with the power of the magnet. 3 personal charm or attraction (by his sheer magnetism he always took charge of situations).
Magnetohydrodynamicsstudy of electrically conducting fluids (see list of branches of science)
Magnetostaticsstudy of magnetic fields in systems where the currents are steady (see list of branches of science)
magnification1 the act or power of magnifying. 2 an exaggeration (the magnification of her troubles).
magnificentsplendid, grand (a magnificent royal parade mag-ni-fi-sense/.
magnify1 to make appear larger, to exaggerate (her parents seemed to magnify the crime that she had committed). 2 to praise (magnify God).
magnifying glassa glass with a curved surface that makes things appear larger.
magnitude1 greatness of size or extent (a star of great magnitude). 2 importance (the magnitude of the crime).
magnoliaa tree with beautiful foliage and large pale-colored flowers.
magnuma two-quart bottle or container (a magnum of wine).
magpiea black-and-white bird of the crow family (magpies are known for their habit of collecting bright things).
maharaja(h)an Indian prince.
maharaneean Indian princess.
mahatmaan Indian title of respect for a very holy person.
mahoganya reddish-brown wood often used for furniture (old-fashioned wardrobes made of mahogany).
maid1 (old) a young girl. 2 a female servant (only very wealthy families have maids nowadays). 3 a woman who is employed to clean other people’s houses. 4 (old) a virgin.
maiden(old) a young unmarried woman.
maiden namethe surname of a married woman before marriage (Mrs Kennedy’s maiden name is Jones).
maiden voyagethe first voyage of a new ship (the ship sank on its maiden voyage).
maidenlymodest, gentle.
Maieusiophobiafear of childbirth (see list of phobias)
mail ordera system of buying goods from a catalog and having them delivered to your home.
mail11 the postal service (the check is in the mail). 2 letters, parcels, etc, sent by mail (some mail has gone astray). vb to send by mail (mailed the parcel).
mail2(old) armor (knights clad in mail).
maimto disable (maimed for life in the accident).
mainchief, principal (his main source of income/the main branch of the store). n 1 the greater part. 2 (old) the ocean. 3 a pipe under the street for water, gas, etc. 4 strength (might and main).
mainframea large fast computer that serves a lot of terminals.
mainlandland, as distinct from nearby islands (the children on the island go to school on the mainland).
mainlychiefly (they sell mainly magazines and candy).
mainstay1 the rope holding up the mast of a ship. 2 the chief support (the office manager is the mainstay of the firm).
mainstreamthe prevailing way of thinking or of doing something (in the mainstream of contemporary music).
maintain1 to feed and clothe (difficulty in maintaining his family). 2 to keep up (maintain a good standard of living). 3 to keep in good repair (houses that are expensive to maintain). 4 to defend a point of view (maintain his innocence).
maintenanceupkeep, support (pay for the maintenance of his children).
maizecorn; a type of cereal plant with large yellow seeds eaten as a vegetable.
majesticdignified, stately.
majesty1 grandeur, dignity (the majesty of the occasion). 2 the title given to a king or queen.
major1 the greater in number, size, or quantity (the major part of the audience). 2 the more important (the major medical discoveries). n an army officer just above a captain in rank.
majority1 the greater number (she is liked by the majority of the class). 2 in voting, the amount by which the number of votes cast for one candidate exceeds that cast for another (the government won by a majority of 20). 3 (formal) the age at which you have full civil rights (she has not yet achieved her majority).
make(pt, pp made ) 1 to create (stories of how God made the earth). 2 to construct by putting parts or substances together (make a model airplane out of a kit). 3 to cause to be (the win made him famous). 4 to force (they made her go). 5 to add up to (two plus two makes four). 6 to earn (he makes $50,000 a year). n 1 the way something is made. 2 shape. make for to go toward (they made for the nearest town). make good to succeed, to do well (people from poor backgrounds who make good). make off to run away. make out 1 to decipher (unable to make out the faint writing). 2 (informal) to succeed. make up 1 to invent (a story) (she made up an excuse for not going to the party). 2 to put paint, powder, etc, on the face (she made up her face in the cloakroom). 3 to bring (a quarrel) to an end; to try to become friendly with (she wanted to make up but he was still angry).
make-believepretense (it was just make-believe that she was a princess). Also vb.
make-overthe process of trying to improve the appearance of a person or place.
maker1 a person who makes (a maker of model airplanes/a tool-maker). 2 (cap) God.
makeshiftused or done because nothing better can be found or thought of (after the plane crash they made a makeshift shelter on the desert island).
make-up1 mascara, lipstick, and other substances used to enhance the appearance of the face (a range of make-up in her bag). 2 your character (it was not in his make-up to be mean).
Malacologystudy of molluscs (see list of branches of science)
malariaa fever caused by a mosquito bite.
Malariologystudy of malaria (see list of branches of science)
Malaxophobiafear of love play (see list of phobias)
maleof or relating to the sex that can become a father (a male elephant). Also n.
malevolentwishing harm to others, spiteful (give his rival a malevolent glance). n malevolence
malformedout of shape, wrongly shaped (a malformed foot). n malformation
malfunctionto fail to work correctly (the machine is malfunctioning).
malicepleasure in the misfortunes of others, spite, a desire to harm others (full of malice toward the person who beat him in the match).
maliciousspiteful, full of malice.
malignto speak ill of (he maligned the person who had helped him). adj evil, harmful (a malign influence).
malignancy1 great hatred. 2 a desire to do harm.
malignant1 able to cause death (a malignant cancer). 2 very harmful (a malignant influence). 3 feeling great hatred (malignant feelings toward his rival).
malla large indoor shopping center.
mallarda wild duck.
mallet1 a wooden hammer (fix the fence posts in place with a mallet). 2 the stick used in croquet.
malnutritiona state caused by eating too little food or food that does not supply the needs of the body (children suffering from malnutrition).
maltbarley or other grain prepared for making beer or whiskey. vb to make into or become malt. adj malty
malted milkmilk flavored with malt, sometimes mixed with ice cream.
maltreatto treat badly, to ill-use (accused of maltreating his dog). n maltreatment
mam(m)a(informal) mother.
mammalan animal that suckles its young.
Mammalogystudy of mammals (see list of branches of science)
mammotha type of large elephant, no longer existing. adj huge (a mammoth shopping mall).
man(pl men ) 1 the human race (man has destroyed much of the environment). 2 a human being (all men must die). 3 a male human being (men, women, and children). 4 (informal) a husband. 5 a male servant (his man packed his suitcase). vb (manned , manning ) to provide with people to go to, or to be in, the place where a duty is to be performed (man the lifeboats).
manage1 to control, to be in charge of (managing the firm). 2 to succeed (in doing something) (she managed to get there on time).
manageableeasily controlled (manageable children/manageable hair).
management1 control, direction (under the management of an experienced businessman). 2 the group of persons who control or run a business (management in dispute with the labor unions).
managera person who controls a business or part of it (the manager of the accounts department).
managerialhaving to do with the management of a business (a managerial post).
mandarina variety of small orange.
Mandarinthe chief dialect of the Chinese language.
mandate1 a command (by mandate of the queen). 2 power given to one person, group, or nation to act on behalf of another (e.g. by voters to the governing party) (they claim they had a mandate to increase taxes).
mandatorycompulsory (attendance is mandatory).
mandiblethe lower jawbone.
mandolin(e)a musical stringed instrument, like the guitar but with a rounded back.
manethe long hair on the neck of certain animals (the lion’s mane).
maneuveralso manoeuvre (British spelling) 1 a planned movement of armies or ships. 2 a skillful or cunning plan intended to make another behave as you want him or her to (a maneuver to get rid of his boss, and get his job). 3 npl practice movements of armies or ships (troops on maneuvers). vb 1 to move armies or ships. 2 to move or act cunningly to gain your ends (she maneuvered him out of his job to get promotion).
manfulbrave (a manful attempt). adv manfully
manganesea hard, easily broken gray metal.
mangea skin disease of dogs, etc (we had to take both dogs to the vet as they had developed mange).
mangera raised box or trough out of which horses or cattle feed (the Bible tells us that the baby Jesus lay in a manger).
mangleto cut or tear so as to be unrecognizable (their bodies were badly mangled in the accident).
mango1 an Indian fruit with a large stone (have fresh mango for dessert). 2 the tree on which it grows.
mangrovea tropical tree growing in wet or muddy ground.
mangy1 affected with mange. 2 shabby or dirty.
manhandle1 to move by hand (manhandling the huge wardrobe up the stairs). 2 to treat roughly (he complained that the police manhandled him).
manholea hole in the ground or floor through which a person may enter an underground shaft or tunnel (get down to the sewer through a manhole).
manhoodthe state of being a man or of having the qualities of a man (till he reaches manhood).
mania1 madness (suffering from mania). 2 a very great interest (in), an obsession (he has a mania for fast cars).
maniaca madman (killed by a maniac).
maniacalcompletely mad (a maniacal attack).
Maniaphobiafear of insanity (see list of phobias)
manicurethe care of the hands and fingernails (have a manicure). Also vb.
manicurista person whose job it is to care for hands and fingernails (train as a manicurist).
manifest(formal) easily seen or understood, obvious (her lack of interest was manifest). vb to show clearly (she manifested very little enthusiasm).
manifestationan open showing, a display (a manifestation of his love for her).
manifestlyclearly, obviously (she was manifestly sick).
manifestoa public announcement of future plans (the political party published its manifesto).
manil(l)a1 a material used for making ropes. 2 a type of thick strong brown paper (manila envelopes).
manipulate1 to handle skillfully (manipulating the bones back into position). 2 to manage skillfully (often in a dishonest way) (a barrister accused of trying to manipulate the jury). n manipulation
mankindthe human race.
manlyhaving the qualities of a man (manly behavior).
mannequin1 a dummy used to display clothes in a clothes shop (a mannequin in the shop window). 2 another word for a fashion model (mannequins at the fashion show).
manner1 the way in which anything is done or happens (the manner of his dying). 2 the way a person speaks or behaves to others (he has an open, frank manner). 3 manners courteous behavior.
mannerisma way of behaving, writing, etc, that has become a habit (constantly flicking back his hair is one of his mannerisms).
mannishlike a man.
manoeuvresee maneuver.
manorthe land or house belonging to a lord. adj manorial
mansiona large dwelling house.
manslaughterthe unlawful but unintentional killing of a person (found guilty of manslaughter rather than murder).
mantelpiece , mantel1 an ornamental surround built on either side of and above a fireplace. 2 the shelf above a fireplace (ornaments on the mantelpiece).
mantillaa lace veil used as a head covering (a Spanish lady wearing a mantilla).
mantle1 (old) a loose sleeveless cloak (a velvet mantle over her evening dress). 2 a coating or covering (a mantle of snow).
manualdone by hand (manual tasks). n 1 a small book containing all the important facts on a certain subject (a manual for the washing machine). 2 one of the keyboards of an organ. adv manually
manufacture1 the making of goods or materials (the manufacture of computers). 2 an article so made (importing many foreign manufactures). vb to make, especially by machinery, in large quantities (manufacturing cars). n manufacturer
manuredung or some other substance used to make soil more fertile (farmers spreading manure on their fields). vb to treat with manure.
manuscript1 a paper or book written by hand (he looked at many manuscripts in his research). 2 the written material sent by an author for publishing.
manygreat in number (many people). n a large number (many of my friends).
Maorione of the original inhabitants of New Zealand and their descendants. Also adj.
mapa plan of any part of the earth’s surface (a map of France). vb (mapped , mapping ) to make a map of. map out to plan (map out their campaign).
maple1 any tree of the Acer genus. 2 the hard wood of these trees. maple syrup a sweet syrup made from the sap of the sugar maple (pancakes with maple syrup).
mar(marred , marring ) to spoil, to damage (something marred the performance).
marathon1 a long race of about 26 miles along roads. 2 something that takes a long time and requires a great deal of effort.
marauder(formal) a robber (marauders raiding the border area). adj marauding
marble1 a type of hard stone used for buildings, statues, etc (a mantelpiece made of marble). 2 a small ball of stone or glass used in children’s games.
marchto walk with a regular step (soldiers marching). n 1 movement of a body of soldiers on foot. 2 the distance walked (a march of 15 miles). 3 music suitable for marching to (the band played a stirring march). n marcher
Marchthe third month of the year (the cold winds of March).
marchCollective noun for museums (A march of museums) (see list of collective nouns)
marea female horse.
margarinea substance made from vegetable or animal fat, often used instead of butter (spread margarine on bread).
margin1 (formal) edge, border (the margin of the lake). 2 the part of a page that is not usually printed or written on (comments in the margin). 3 an amount more than is necessary, something extra (leave a margin for error in the estimated calculations).
marginal1 on or near the edge, border, or limit. 2 very small or unimportant (a marginal improvement). adv marginally
marigolda bright yellow or orange flower.
marinaa harbor for the use of yachts and small boats.
marine1 having to do with the sea (marine animals). 2 having to do with shipping (marine insurance). n 1 shipping. 2 a soldier serving on board ship.
Marine biologystudy of the ocean's ecosystem (see list of branches of science)
mariner(formal) a seaman.
Mariologystudy of the Virgin Mary (see list of branches of science)
marionettea doll that can be moved by strings; a puppet.
marital(formal) having to do with marriage (she did not like to discuss her marital problems with anyone).
maritimeof or near the sea (maritime areas).
marjorama sweet-smelling herb used in cooking (add marjoram to the sauce).
mark11 a sign, spot, or stamp that can be seen (a cat with a white mark on its chest). 2 a thing aimed at (the arrow was wide of the mark). 3 a number or letter indicating the standard reached (her essay got a mark of 60%). 4 an acceptable level of quality (work that is not up to the mark). 5 a stain or dent (there were sooty marks on his white shirt). 6 an indication, a sign (give flowers as a mark of respect). vb 1 to make a mark on (a tablecloth marked with fruit stains). 2 to indicate by a mark the standard reached (the teacher marked their essays very strictly). 3 (old) to watch closely, to pay attention to (mark my words). 4 to show the position of (a cross marks the spot where he died). 5 to be a sign of (mark the beginning of change). beside the mark (formal) off the subject (a guess that was beside the mark). mark time 1 to move the legs up and down as if walking, but without going backward or forward. 2 to fill in time (mark time while he’s waiting to go to college).
mark2a former German currency (Germany now uses the euro instead of the mark).
markednoticeable, important (a marked change).
markedlynoticeably (he is markedly healthier).
marker1 a person who keeps the score. 2 a person or thing used to mark a place (buoys as markers for the yacht race).
market1 a public place for buying and selling, a coming together of people to buy and sell (buy fruit at a street market). 2 a demand or need (a market for lightweight cotton clothing). vb to sell in a market (they market their books all over the world).
market researchthe collection and study of data on which products or services people want.
marketablethat can be sold (products that are no longer easily marketable).
marketingthe promoting and selling of a product.
marketplacethe open space where a market is held (a wide range of stalls in the marketplace).
marksmana person who shoots well (a police marksman).
marmaladea jam made from oranges or lemons (marmalade on toast).
marmoseta type of small monkey.
marmota small squirrel-like animal.
maroon1a brownish-crimson color. adj of this color (a book with a maroon cover).
maroon2to abandon (marooned on a desert island).
marqueea large tent (a large marquee on the lawn for a wedding).
marquetrywork in which a design is made by setting differently colored pieces of wood into another piece of wood.
marriage1 the ceremony of marrying or being married (there were 60 guests at their marriage). 2 life together as husband and wife (their marriage is over).
marrowa soft fatty substance filling the hollow parts of bones.
marry1 to join together as husband and wife (married by the local minister). 2 to take as husband or wife (he is marrying his sister’s friend).
Mars1 the fourth planet from the sun. 2 the Roman god of war.
marshlow watery ground, a swamp (have difficulty walking over the marsh). adj marshy
marshal1 an officer of high rank in the army or air force. 2 a law-enforcement officer. 3 an official who makes arrangements for public processions, etc. vb to arrange in order (marshal your facts).
marshmallowa type of soft sweet confection (toasted marshmallows).
marsupialan animal that carries its young in a pouch (kangaroos are marsupials).
martena type of weasel valued for its fur.
martial1 (formal) warlike (a martial nation). 2 having to do with war (martial arts/martial music).
martina bird of the swallow family.
martyr1 a person who suffers death for his or her beliefs (Christian martyrs). 2 a person who suffers continuously from a certain illness (a martyr to asthma). vb to put someone to death for refusing to give up his or her faith (she was martyred for her faith). n martyrdom
marvela wonder. vb to wonder (at), to feel astonishment (marvel at the parachutists’ jumping).
marvelous (British: marvellous)wonderful, astonishing, extraordinary (a marvelous new discovery). 2 (informal) very good, excellent (a marvelous vacation).
marzipana firm paste made from ground almonds, sugar, etc (put marzipan on the cake before the frosting).
mascaraa substance used for darkening eyelashes (brush mascara on her lashes).
mascota person, animal, or thing supposed to bring good luck (a silver horseshoe as a mascot).
masculine1 of the male sex (masculine characteristics). 2 manly (women who like masculine men). 3 like a man (a woman with a masculine walk).
mashto crush food until it is soft (mash potatoes/mash bananas). n a mixture of crushed grain, etc, given to animals as food (prepare a mash for the pigs).
mask1 a cover for the face or part of the face (surgeons wearing masks to prevent the spread of infection). 2 an animal or human face painted on paper, etc, and worn at parties or processions (wear a cat’s mask to the Halloween party). 3 any means of concealing what is really going on (her smile was a mask for her grief). 4 (usually called masque) a poetical play. vb 1 to cover with a mask. 2 to hide (try to mask her amusement).
Masklophobiafear of people in masks, costumes and mascots (see list of phobias)
mason1 a person who is skilled in shaping stone or in building (a mason making large gravestones). 2 a Freemason. adj masonic
masonry1 stonework (the masonry of the statue is crumbling). 2 the skill or work of a mason. 3 Freemasonry.
masqueradea ball at which masks are worn. vb 1 to go in disguise. 2 to pretend to be another (a criminal masquerading as a social worker).
mass1 a lump or quantity of matter (a land mass). 2 (formal) the quantity of matter in a body (the mass of the rock). 3 (often pl) a crowd (there were masses of people at the protest). 4 the larger part (the mass of the people are in favor). vb 1 to gather into a mass. 2 to form a crowd.
Massin the Roman Catholic Church, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
massCollective noun for Catholics (A mass of Catholics) (see list of collective nouns)
massCollective noun for oncologists (A mass of oncologists) (see list of collective nouns)
massCollective noun for priests (A mass of priests) (see list of collective nouns)
massacrethe killing of large numbers of men, women, and children. vb to kill in large numbers (the invading army massacred the townspeople).
massagerubbing and pressing the muscles to strengthen them or make them less stiff (athletes having a massage after the race). Also vb.
masseura man who gives massages.
masseusea woman who gives massages.
massivehuge, big and heavy (a massive rock/a massive rise in unemployment).
maston a ship, an upright pole on which sails may be set (attach a flag to the mast).
master1 a person who is in charge or gives orders (the dog’s master). 2 a male teacher (the French master). 3 an expert (a master of the art of conversation). vb 1 to gain complete knowledge of (master the art of public speaking). 2 to overcome (master her shyness).
masterfulcommanding, used to giving orders (a masterful personality).
masterlyshowing great skill (a masterly performance).
mastermind1 a very intelligent person. 2 a person who plans and organizes a complex scheme, especially a crime. vb to plan and organize a complex scheme.
masterpiecethe best piece of work done by an artist (regarded as Van Gogh’s masterpiece).
mastery1 control, command (gain mastery over the enemy). 2 thorough knowledge (his mastery of foreign languages).
masticate(formal) to chew (masticating food before swallowing). n mastication
mastiffa large powerful dog.
Mastigophobiafear of punishment (see list of phobias)
Mastologystudy of mammals (see list of branches of science)
mat1 a small piece of coarse cloth or plaited fiber used as a floor covering or foot-wiper (a mat at the front door). 2 a piece of cloth or other material placed under a plate or dish (table mats). adj matt. vb (matted , matting ) to twist together, to entangle (matted hair).
matadorin Spain, the man who fights the bull in a bullfight.
match1a small stick tipped with a substance that catches fire when rubbed on certain prepared surfaces (light the fire with a match).
match21 a person or thing the same or nearly the same as another (find a match for the wool). 2 an equal (she was his match in any argument). 3 a sporting contest or game (a football match). 4 a marriage (a love match). vb 1 to be equal to (the restaurant does not match our local one for home cooking). 2 to be like or to go well with something else (the dress matches her eyes).
matchboxa box for holding matches.
matchmakera person who tries to arrange a marriage between others (try to act as matchmakers by asking her female friend and his male friend to dinner).
mate1 a companion, a colleague (schoolmates). 2 (inf or hum) a husband or wife (she is looking for a mate). 3 a ship’s officer below the captain in rank. 4 a workman’s assistant (a plumber’s mate). 5 an animal with which another is paired for producing offspring (looking for a suitable mate for her pedigree dog). vb to come together for breeding (animals mating).
material1 made of matter. 2 worldly, not spiritual (a material person/material interests). 3 (formal) important (it is not material how he feels about it). n 1 the substance out of which a thing is made (use only good-quality materials in his buildings). 2 cloth (coats of a warm material).
materialism1 the belief that nothing exists but matter. 2 the state of being interested only in worldly things such as wealth (her materialism led her to marry for money not love).
materialist1 a person who believes in materialism. 2 a person who is concerned more with wealth and comfort than with ideas (a materialist who has no interest in music or poetry). adj materialistic
materialize, materialise1 to become real, to happen (her dreams of happiness never materialized). 2 to appear (a figure of a man materialized out of the mist).
materiallyto a large extent, considerably (circumstances have changed materially).
maternalof or like a mother (no maternal feelings).
math(informal) mathematics.
mathematicalhaving to do with mathematics (a mathematical problem).
Mathematicsstudy of magnitude, number, and forms (see list of branches of science)
mathematicsthe science of space and number. n mathematician
matineean afternoon performance in a theater (the children went to the Saturday matinee).
matriculateto enroll or be accepted as a student in a university or college. n matriculation
matrimony(formal) the state of marriage (joined in holy matrimony). adj matrimonial
matrix(pl matrices ) 1 in mathematics, the arrangement of a set of quantities in rows and columns. 2 a mold in which hot molten metal is shaped.
matron1 (old) an older married woman. 2 a woman in a school in charge of medical care, etc (matron bandaged the child’s grazed knee).
matronly(of a woman) 1 middle-aged and rather plump (a matronly figure). 2 dignified, serious.
matt(e)dull, without gloss or shine (matt paint).
matter1 that out of which all things are made (the different kinds of matter of the universe). 2 a subject of conversation or writings. 3 affair (a family matter/a matter of great importance). 4 the infected liquid contained in a wound or sore (matter oozing from a boil). vb to be of importance (it doesn’t matter if you can’t be there).
matter-of-factwithout imagination or exaggeration, containing or concerning facts only (a matter-of-fact description).
mattingmaterial used as mats (coconut matting).
mattressa flat bag filled with soft material and sometimes light springs, placed under a sleeper for comfort (prefer a firm mattress).
mature1 ripe (mature fruit). 2 fully grown (mature turkeys). 3 fully developed in body or mind (employers looking for mature people). vb 1 to ripen (fruit maturing early). 2 to become mature (young people beginning to mature). 3 to be due in full (an insurance policy that matures next year).
maturity1 ripeness. 2 full growth or development.
maul1 to injure badly (mauled by a lion). 2 to handle roughly (accuse her boss of mauling her).
mausoleuma magnificent tomb (mausoleums of ancient kings).
mauvea purple dye or color. adj light purple (mauve eye shadow).
maxima wise saying, a rule for behavior (“Do as you would be done by” is a maxim).
maximizealso maximise (British spelling) to make as large or as important as possible (maximize the window to fill the screen).
maximumthe greatest possible number or amount (the maximum that we can afford). Also adj.
may(pt might ) used to express possibility or permission (I may go to the mall later).
mayhawthorn blossom.
Maythe fifth month of the year (the flowers of May).
maybeperhaps (maybe he’ll come and maybe he won’t).
Maydaythe first day of May.
mayonnaisea salad dressing of eggs, oil, etc.
mayorthe chief magistrate of a city or borough.
maze1 a confusing system of paths or passages through which it is difficult to find your way (get lost in the maze at the stately home). 2 a confusing network of streets, etc (lost in a maze of side streets).
mazeCollective noun for canyons (A maze of canyons) (see list of collective nouns)
Mazologystudy of mammals (see list of branches of science)
methe form of “I” used when it is the object of a sentence (I know you but you don’t know me).
meadowrich grassland (cows grazing in the meadows).
meager (British: meagre)scanty, not enough (a meager amount of food/a meager diet).
meal1food taken at one time (evening meal).
meal2grain ground to powder.
mean11 nasty, unkind over small things (mean to her younger sister). 2 unwilling to spend or give away (too mean to give presents). 3 (old or lit) poor (a mean dwelling). 4 (old or lit) of low birth or behavior (of mean birth). n meanness
mean2(pt, pp meant ) 1 to intend (we did not mean to hurt her). 2 to have a certain purpose (this carpet was meant for the sitting room). 3 to express a certain idea (she did not know what the word meant).
mean31 middle (the mean point). 2 halfway between numbers, amounts, extremes, etc, average (the mean annual rainfall). n 1 the average (the mean of the quantities). 2 a middle state (finding the mean between being too harsh and being too kind). 3 (pl) see means
meanderto follow a winding course, as a river over very flat land (paths that meander over the hills).
meaning1 the idea expressed by a word or words (a word with several meanings). 2 the sense in which something is intended to be understood (the meaning of his action mee-ning-ful mee-ning-less/.
meaningCollective noun for dictionaries (A meaning of dictionaries) (see list of collective nouns)
means1 that by which something is done or carried out (means of transport). 2 money or property (a man of means).
meantimethe time between two events (in the meantime). adv meanwhile.
meanwhilethe time between two events; meantime. adv 1 in or during the intervening time. 2 at the same time (he will be late—meanwhile you will have to wait).
measlesan infectious disease with a red rash (catch measles from a friend).
measlyworthless, mean (a measly sum of money).
measure1 a unit used to express size, weight, etc (a liter is a measure of capacity). 2 the size, weight, etc, so expressed (a room of small measure). 3 an instrument used in finding size, weight, etc (a tape measure). 4 a course of action (emergency measures). 5 a law proposed but not passed (new taxation measure). vb 1 to find out size, quantity, etc, with an instrument (measuring the window for new drapes). 2 to judge (measure his skill as a pianist). 3 to weigh out (measure out a pound of sugar). n measurement
measured(formal) steady, regular (a measured pace).
meatthe flesh of animals used as food (vegetarians eat no meat).
meaty1 full of meat (meaty pies). 2 full of information (a meaty lecture).
mechanica person who looks after a machine (a car mechanic).
mechanical1 done or worked by machine (mechanical toy cars). 2 having to do with machinery (mechanical engineering). 3 done by habit, done without awareness (a mechanical task). adv mechanically
Mechanicsstudy of action of force on bodies (see list of branches of science)
mechanicsthe science of motion and force.
mechanismthe machinery that makes something work (something wrong with the mechanism of the washing machine).
Mechanophobiafear of machines (see list of phobias)
Meconologystudy of or treatise concerning opium (see list of branches of science)
medala flat piece of metal with a picture or writing stamped on it, made in memory of some person or event or as a reward of merit (soldiers given medals for bravery).
medalistthe winner of a medal (medalists in the singing competition).
medalliona large medal.
meddleto interfere (object to her meddling in our private affairs). n meddler
meddlesomegiven to interfering (meddlesome neighbors).
mediasee medium.
Media studiesstudy of mass media (see list of branches of science)
medial , median(formal) in the middle (the medial point).
mediateto try to settle a dispute between others (mediating between workers and employers). n mediator
mediationan attempt to settle a dispute between others.
medical1 having to do with medicine (medical, rather than surgical, treatment). 2 having to do with the work of a doctor, medicine, or healing (medical care me-di-ca-lee/.
medicate(formal) 1 to give medicine to. 2 to soak in medicine (medicated shampoo).
medication(formal) medicine, treatment by medicine (on medication for a heart condition).
Medicinestudy of diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease (see list of branches of science)
medicine1 the science of bringing the sick back to health (study medicine). 2 any substance that cures or heals (cough medicine). 3 the science of curing or treating by means other than surgery. adj medicinal adv medicinally
medieval (British: mediaeval)having to do with the Middle Ages (medieval knights).
mediocrenot very good, ordinary (a mediocre performance). n mediocrity
meditate1 to think deeply about (meditating on possible solutions to his problems). 2 to spend short regular periods in deep, especially religious, thought (he meditates every day).
meditationdeep thought.
meditative(formal) thoughtful (in a meditative mood).
medium1 the means by which something is done (expressing his feelings through the medium of paint). 2 (especially in pl media ) a means by which news is made known (the medium of newspapers a story put out by the media). 3 (pl mediums ) a person who is able to receive messages from spirits at a meeting held for that purpose. adj middle or average in size, quality, etc (a medium jar of coffee).
medley1 a mixture (a medley of colors). 2 a selection of tunes played as one item (the band played a medley from the 1960s).
Medomalacuphobiafear of losing an erection (see list of phobias)
Medorthophobiafear of an erect penis (see list of phobias)
meekgentle, kind, unresisting (too meek to insist on her rights). adv meekly
meet(pt, pp met ) 1 to come face to face with, often by chance (I met my neighbor in the mall). 2 to come together by arrangement (we meet for lunch once a week). 3 to pay (unable to meet his debts). 4 to satisfy (meet their requirements/meet their demands). 5 to answer (meet force with force). n a coming together of huntsmen on horseback with hounds for a hunt.
meetinga coming together for a special purpose (a committee meeting/a meeting of parents and teachers).
meetingCollective noun for Quakers (A meeting of Quakers) (see list of collective nouns)
megabytein computing, a unit of storage capacity equal to approximately 1,000,000 bytes.
megabyteCollective noun for computer programmers (A megabyte of computer programmers) (see list of collective nouns)
Megalophobiafear of large things (see list of phobias)
megaphonea large speaking-trumpet for making the voice louder (the policeman used a megaphone to ask the crowd to move back).
melancholysadness, depression (a tendency to melancholy on dark winter days). Also adj.
Melanophobiafear of the color black (see list of phobias)
meleeCollective noun for rioters (A melee of rioters) (see list of collective nouns)
Melissopalynologystudy of honey (see list of branches of science)
Melissophobiafear of bees (see list of phobias)
Melittologystudy of bees (see list of branches of science)
mellow1 soft with ripeness. 2 made kindly by age. vb to make or become mellow. n mellowness
melodicrelating to melody (simple melodic style).
melodioussweet-sounding (melodious pieces of music).
melodramaa thrilling or sensational play, usually with an improbable plot (Victorian melodramas).
melodramaticmore like a play than real life, theatrical, exaggerated (her melodramatic reaction to the news).
melody1 a tune (old-fashioned melodies). 2 the principal part in a piece of harmonized music.
melodyCollective noun for harpists (A melody of harpists) (see list of collective nouns)
Melologystudy of music; musicology (see list of branches of science)
melona large juicy fruit that grows on the ground (have a slice of melon as the first course of the meal).
Melophobiafear or hatred of music (see list of phobias)
melt1 to make or become liquid by heat, to soften, to dissolve (melt the butter). 2 to disappear (the crowd melted away). 3 to make or become gentler (his heart melted at the sight of the children).
member1 one of a society or group (become a member of the chess club). 2 (fml or old) a limb of the body.
membership1 the state of being a member (renew his membership of the chess club). 2 all the members of a society (the membership voted against the idea).
membranea thin layer of skin covering or connecting parts inside the body (the eyeballs are covered by a thin membrane).
mementoan object kept or given to remind you of a person or event (gave him a painting of the house as a memento of his holiday).
memosee memorandum.
memoir1 a written account of past events. 2 npl the story of a person’s life (the memoirs of a famous political leader).
memorableworth remembering (a memorable occasion mem-ra-blee/.
memorandum(pl memoranda ) (often abbreviated to memo) a written note of something you want to remember (a memorandum about staffing levels sent to all heads of department).
memorialan object, often a monument, that helps people to remember a person or event (a memorial to the soldiers who died in the war).
memorizealso memorise (British spelling) to learn by heart (memorizing the telephone number).
memory1 the power of the mind to recall past events or to learn things by heart (have a poor memory). 2 the mind’s store of remembered things (a memory full of useful facts). 3 something remembered (childhood memories). 4 the part of a computer that stores information.
menpl of man.
menace1 a threat, a person or thing likely to cause harm or danger (regard him as a menace to their security). 2 a threat, a show of hostility (demand money with menaces/ a look full of menace). vb (formal) to threaten (a country menaced by talk of war).
menacing1 threatening to harm (menacing letters/a menacing look). 2 threatening-looking (a menacing sky).
ménageCollective noun for mongrels (A ménage of mongrels) (see list of collective nouns)
menageriea collection of wild animals for public show.
mend1 to repair (mend the broken chair). 2 to improve (told to mend his ways). 3 (informal) to become well or healthy again (his broken leg has mended nicely). n the hole or crack that has been mended (see the mend in the shirt).
menialhumble, unskilled (have to do all the menial tasks in the hotel).
meningitisa serious disease affecting the membrane around the brain.
Meningitophobiafear of brain disease (see list of phobias)
Menophobiafear of menstruation (see list of phobias)
menstrual cyclea series of changes that place in a woman’s body, roughly over a 28-day period, which prepare her body for possible pregnancy.
menstruationalso called a period; a monthly discharge of blood from a woman’s womb at the end of the normal menstrual cycle if pregnancy does not take place. vb menstruate adj menstruating
mental1 having to do with the mind (mental illness). 2 done in the mind without anything being written (mental arithmetic). adv mentally
mentality1 mental power (a person of low mentality). 2 the way of thinking typical of a person, the character of a person’s mind (I cannot understand the mentality of someone who would attack an old woman).
menthola substance made from mint and used as a medicine (cough drops containing menthol).
mention1 to speak of, to refer to, to say the name of (mentioned various people who had helped him). 2 to say briefly or indirectly (she mentioned that she was thinking of leaving). n a remark about or reference to.
mentor(formal) a wise adviser (his university lecturer was the young writer’s mentor).
menu1 a list of foods that can be ordered for a meal in a restaurant (the menu was written in French). 2 a list of options on a computer display.
meowsee mew.
mercenary1 working for money (foreign mercenary soldiers). 2 doing things only to obtain money, greedy for money (he’s too mercenary to help anyone free of charge). n a soldier hired to fight for a country not his or her own.
merchandisegoods bought and sold (poor-quality merchandise).
merchanta person who buys and sells goods in large quantities (a wine merchant).
mercifulshowing mercy, forgiving (a merciful judge mer-si-fu-lee/.
mercilesspitiless (a merciless tyrant). adv mercilessly
mercurialquickly changing mood (a mercurial personality).
mercurya liquid silvery-white metal used in thermometers.
Mercurythe closest planet to the sun.
mercykindness and pity, forgiveness, willingness not to punish (treat the wrongdoers with mercy because of their youth).
mereno more or less than (a mere child earns a mere $5 per hour).
merelyonly (she’s merely a child).
Mereologystudy of part-whole relationships (see list of branches of science)
merge1 to join together to make one (they merged the two branches of the bank). 2 to become part of a larger whole (three firms have merged).
mergerthe joining together of two or more businesses (a merger of two banks).
meridianan imaginary line encircling the earth from pole to pole.
meringuea light sweet or cake made from sugar and white of egg (a pie with a topping of meringue).
Merinthophobiafear of being bound or tied up (see list of phobias)
merit1 the quality of deserving praise or reward; worth; excellence (recognize the merit of the performance). 2 good point (a merit of the system). 3 npl good qualities. vb to deserve.
mermaidan imaginary sea creature, half woman andhalf fish. Also merman
merryjoyous, happy, full of fun (a merry mood mer-ri-lee me-ri-ment/.
merry-go-rounda large revolving circular platform with seats in the shape of animals, etc, on which people may ride for amusement at an amusement park.
meshthe space between the threads of a net.
mesmerizealso mesmerise (British spelling) 1 to hold the complete attention of and make seemingly unable to move or speak (they seemed mesmerized by her beauty). 2 (old) to hypnotize.
Mesologystudy of the mutual relationships between living creatures and their biological, social, and environmental surroundings (see list of branches of science)
messCollective noun for grits (A mess of grits) (see list of collective nouns)
messCollective noun for iguanas (A mess of iguanas) (see list of collective nouns)
messCollective noun for officers (A mess of officers) (see list of collective nouns)
messCollective noun for pottage (A mess of pottage) (see list of collective nouns)
mess11 a muddle (the files are in a mess). 2 a dirty or untidy state (the house is in a mess). vb 1 to make dirty or untidy (mess up the house). 2 to do badly or inefficiently (mess up the job).
mess21 a company of people who take their meals together as in the armed services. 2 the place where they eat (the officers’ mess).
message1 information or news sent to another by word of mouth or in writing (send a message of congratulation/receive a telephone message canceling the meeting). 2 a piece of instruction, an important idea (a story with a message).
messengera person who bears a message (the king’s messenger).
Messiah1 the deliverer promised by God to the Jews. 2 Jesus Christ, believed by Christians to be the Messiah.
Messrssee Mr.
messydirty or untidy.
metpt, pp of meet.
metabolismthe system of chemical changes in the cells of the body that provide energy (the rate of metabolism has slowed down). adj metabolic
metala class of substances, such as gold, copper, iron, tin, etc (boxes made of metal).
metallicof or like metal (metallic paint).
Metallogenystudy of the origin and distribution of metal deposits (see list of branches of science)
Metallographystudy of the structure and constitution of metals (see list of branches of science)
Metallophobiafear of metal (see list of phobias)
Metallurgystudy of alloying and treating metals (see list of branches of science)
metallurgythe art or study of working with metals. n metallurgist
metamorphosis(pl metamorphoses ) 1 a change in form or kind (a caterpillar’s metamorphosis into a butterfly). 2 a complete change (he’s undergone a metamorphosis since he married).
metaphora way of comparing two things by identifying them and speaking about one as if it were the other (“The camel is the ship of the desert” is a metaphor). adj metaphoric , metaphorical adv metaphorically
Metaphysicsstudy of principles of nature and thought (see list of branches of science)
metaphysicsthe study of the nature of existence and of the mind. adj metaphysical
Metapoliticsstudy of politics in theory or abstract (see list of branches of science)
Metapsychologystudy of nature of the mind (see list of branches of science)
Metasciencestudy of science (see list of branches of science)
Metathesiophobiafear of changes (see list of phobias)
mete(old) to measure (mete out punishment).
meteora shining body that can be seen moving across the sky, a shooting star.
meteoricrapid but often short-lasting (his meteoric rise to fame).
meteoritea meteor that falls to earth as a piece of rock.
Meteoriticsstudy of meteors (see list of branches of science)
meteorologicalhaving to do with meteorology (meteorological charts/meteorological changes).
Meteorologystudy of weather (see list of branches of science)
meteorologythe study or science of the earth’s weather. n meteorologist
Meteorophobiafear of meteors (see list of phobias)
meterCollective noun for percussionists (A meter of percussionists) (see list of collective nouns)
meter1an instrument for measuring things (a gas meter).
meter2also metre (British spelling) the basic measure of length in the metric system (measure the cloth in meters). abbreviation m.
meter3also metre (British spelling) the systematic arrangement of stressed and unstressed syllables that give poetic rhythm.
methanea flammable gas produced by decaying matter and used as a fuel.
methinks(old or hum) it seems to me (methinks he is not telling the truth).
method1 a way of doing something (he did not like their method of doing business). 2 an orderly way of arranging or doing things (a system lacking method).
methodicalorderly in following a plan or system (a methodical person me-thod-ic-al-ee/.
Methodista member of a Christian sect founded by John Wesley.
Methodologystudy or description of methods (see list of branches of science)
methyla substance from which wood-alcohol can be made.
methylated spiritsa type of alcohol unfit for drinking but used for burning, cleaning, etc (use methylated spirits to clean the glass).
Methyologystudy of alcohol (see list of branches of science)
Methyphobiafear of alcohol (see list of phobias)
meticulousextremely careful about details or small matters (prepare the accounts with meticulous attention).
metre British spelling for meter.
metric systema system of weights and measures in which each unit is divisible into ten parts (the metric system includes meters and centimeters).
metrical(of poetry) having a regular rhythm or meter.
Metricsstudy of versification (see list of branches of science)
Metrologystudy of weights and measures (see list of branches of science)
metronomean instrument that can be set to mark time correctly for a musician (a metronome on the piano).
Metrophobiafear or hatred of poetry (see list of phobias)
metropolis(fml or hum) a large city, especially the capital (the metropolis of New York).
metropolitanbelonging to a metropolis (the metropolitan area).
mettlespirit, courage (admire their mettle in trying again).
mew , miaow, meowthe cry of a cat. vb to make a high-pitched cry like a cat (hear a cat mewing).
mezzo-sopranoa female voice between soprano and contralto (a musical role for a mezzo-soprano).
miaowsee mew.
micepl of mouse.
Michaelmasthe feast of St Michael, September 29.
Microanatomystudy of microscopic tissues (see list of branches of science)
microbea tiny living creature, especially one causing disease (scientists examining microbes under microscopes).
Microbial ecologystudy of microbial environment (see list of branches of science)
Microbiologystudy of microscopic organisms (see list of branches of science)
Microbiophobiafear of microbes (see list of phobias)
microchipa very small piece of a material, usually silicon, which acts as a semi-conductor and forms the base on which an electronic circuit is printed.
Microclimatologystudy of local climates (see list of branches of science)
microcosma little world, a small copy (a fish tank that is a microcosm of life on the sea bed).
Micrologystudy of trivialities (see list of branches of science)
Micropalaeontologystudy of microscopic fossils (see list of branches of science)
Microphobiafear of small things (see list of phobias)
microphonein a telephone or radio, the instrument by which the sound of the voice is changed into electric waves, used to make sounds louder (the news reporter spoke into a microphone/the singer used a microphone so that everyone in the theater could hear).
Microphytologystudy of very small plant life (see list of branches of science)
microscopean instrument containing an arrangement of curved lenses by means of which very tiny objects can be seen larger and studied.
microscopic1 very small, tiny, seen only with the help of a microscope (microscopic bacteria). 2 (informal) tiny (a microscopic improvement).
Microscopystudy of minute objects (see list of branches of science)
microwavea microwave oven, an oven which cooks or heats up food very quickly using electromagnetic radiation. vb to cook or heat in a microwave.
midhaving to do with the middle, in the middle of (in mid-air, in mid-career).
middaynoon or the time about noon (lunch at midday).
middleequally distant from the ends or limits (the middle seat in the row). n the center, the middle part or point (stand in the middle of the circle).
Middle Agesthe period between AD 500 and AD 1500 in European history.
middle classthose who are well enough off to live in comfort, but are neither wealthy nor of noble birth. adj middle-class having to do with the middle class (political policies appealing more to middle-class voters than to the working class).
Middle EastAsian countries west of India and China.
middle-agedneither old nor young, between youthand old age (a middle-aged man and woman).
middlemana trader who buys goods in large quantities from the maker or producer and sells them again at a profit to store owners.
middleweighta boxer who fights in the class with a maximum weight of 160 lb (72.5 kg).
middling(informal) neither very good nor very bad, average (of middling ability).
midgeta very small person or thing.
midlandfar from the coasts or borders of a country.
midnight12 o’clock at night (go to bed at midnight).
midriffthe part of the body containing the muscles separating the stomach from the lungs (a sweater that left her midriff bare).
midshipmana naval rank between cadet and sublieutenant.
midstthe middle (he found himself in the midst of the battle).
midsummerthe middle of summer.
midtownthe part of a city between uptown and downtown.
midway1 halfway (their house is midway between the two towns). Also adv. 2 an area with sideshows at a fair.
midwife(pl midwives ) a person who assists a mother at the birth of a baby (the midwife delivered the baby).
midwiferythe knowledge or study of the work of a midwife.
midwinterthe middle of winter (the severe cold of midwinter).
might1 (past tense)of may1.
might2power, strength (crushed by the might of the enemy army).
mighty1 powerful, strong (a mighty blow/a mighty nation). 2 huge (a mighty oak tree). adv very (mighty fine).
migrainea severe headache, often accompanied by a feeling of sickness and visual disturbances.
migranta person or a bird that migrates. Also adj.
migrate1 to move your home from one land to another, to go from one place to another (tribes that migrated to find food). 2 (of birds) to move to another place at the season when its climate is suitable. n migration adj migratory (migratory birds, such as swallows).
mike(informal) a microphone.
mild1 gentle, merciful, not severe (a mild punishment milde-lee milde-ness/.
mildewa tiny but destructive growth that appears and spreads on leaves or on damp paper, leather, etc (mildew on old books).
milein the imperial system, a measure of length (= 1760 yards) (distances measured in miles).
mileage, milagedistance in miles (what mileage has the car done?).
milestone1 a stone by the roadside telling the distance in miles to places in the neighborhood. 2 a time at which you can consider the progress made (reach a milestone in her career).
militant1 fighting, warlike (a militant nation). 2 active in a campaign (militant members of the feminist movement). n militancy
militarismbelief in the use of armies or war in politics (the militarism of the country in invading others). n militarist adj militaristic
militaryhaving to do with soldiers or battles. n the army, soldiers (join the military).
militate1 to act or stand (against) (militating against injustice). 2 to act as a reason against (his criminal record militated against him/the recession militated against house sales).
militiaa reserve army, consisting of people trained in the use of arms, and called out in an emergency. n militiaman
milk1 the liquid produced by female mammals to feed their babies (a baby getting milk from its mother). 2 such milk produced by cows or goats and drunk by humans or made into butter and cheese (have bottles of milk delivered). vb to draw milk from (e.g. a cow).
milk shakea cold frothy drink made from milk shaken up with flavoring and ice cream.
milk toothone of a child’s first set of teeth (baby’s first milk tooth came through).
milkmaida woman who milks cows.
milkmana man who sells or delivers milk.
milky1 like milk (a milky liquid). 2 containing a lot of milk (a milky drink).
Milky Waya bright band across the night sky, made up of countless stars within our galaxy.
mill1 a machine for grinding corn, coffee, etc. 2 the building in which corn is ground into flour. 3 a factory (steel mills cotton mills). vb 1 to grind (mill corn). 2 to stamp a coin and cut grooves around its edge.
mill handa factory worker (mill hands no longer able to find work).
millennium(pl millennia or millenniums ) 1 a period of 1000 years. 2 according to the Christian Bible, the 1000 years for which Christ will reign on earth.
millera person who keeps a corn mill.
milleta grass bearing edible grain.
milligramthe thousandth part of a gram (measure the drug in milligrams).
millimeteralso millimetre (British spelling) the thousandth part of a meter.
millinera person who makes or sells ladies’ hats (the number of milliners has decreased with the decline in hat wearing).
millineryhats made or sold by a milliner.
million1 a thousand thousand (1,000,000). 2 (informal) a very great many (excuses by the million).
millionairea person who possesses a million or more dollars (lottery winners who are now millionaires).
millipedean insect with many feet.
millstone1 a heavy round stone used for grinding corn into flour. 2 a very heavy load or handicap (she has the millstone of a lazy husband).
millwheelthe large wheel, turned by water power, that drives the machinery inside a mill.
mime1 a play without words carried on by facial expressions, gestures, and actions. 2 using actions without language (we showed her by mime that we wanted to find a restaurant as we did not speak the language). vb 1 to mouth the words to a recorded song. 2 to act without speaking (he mimed that he wanted a drink).
mimic(mimicked , mimicking ) to imitate, especially in order to make fun of (she mimics his way of walking to amuse her classmates). n a person who imitates.
mimicryimitation (impressed by the performer’s mimicry of the prime minister).
mimosaa tree with sweet-smelling flowers.
minaretthe tower of a Muslim mosque.
minceto cut into very small pieces (mince up the beef). not to mince matters to speak the plain truth (not to mince matters, he’s a liar).
mincemeat1 minced meat. 2 currants, etc, chopped up small and mixed with spices (pies made with mincemeat for Christmas).
mind1 the power by which human beings understand, think, feel, will, etc (have a sharp mind/an adult with the mind of a child). 2 a person of great mental ability (one of the great minds of the century). 3 memory (unable to call his name to mind). vb 1 to take care of (mind the baby). 2 to take heed, to be careful (mind you don’t fall on the ice). 3 to object to (I do not mind if you leave early). mind your p’s and q’s to be careful what you say or do (mind your p’s and q’s when you visit his parents). mind your own business not to interfere in another’s affairs (he told his neighbor to mind her own business).
mindeddesirous, inclined (serious-minded).
mindfulnot forgetful, paying attention to (always mindful of possible dangers).
mindlessunthinking, stupid (a mindless act of violence).
mine1(possessive) belonging to me (the pen is mine).
mine21 a deep hole made in the earth so that minerals can be taken from beneath its surface (a coal mine/a gold mine). 2 a container filled with explosive charge to blow something up (military tanks blown up by enemy mines). 3 a person or place from which much may be obtained (a mine of information). vb 1 to make tunnels into and under the earth (the area is extensively mined). 2 to dig for in a mine (mining coal). 3 to place explosive mines in position (the enemy mined the beaches). 4 to blow up with mines (ships mined in the war).
minefield1 an area in which there are many mineral mines. 2 an area in which many explosive mines are placed. 3 something full of hidden dangers (her situation at work is a minefield).
minelayera ship that places mines in a minefield.
minera person who works in a mine (a coal-miner).
mineralan inorganic substance found naturally in the earth (coal and salt are minerals). adj having to do with minerals (the country’s mineral wealth).
mineral waterwater that comes from a natural spring and contains minerals, sometimes still and sometimes carbonated (a bottle of still mineral water).
Mineralogystudy of minerals (see list of branches of science)
mineralogythe study of minerals. n mineralogist
mine-sweepera ship that clears an area of mines.
mingle1 to mix together (comments that mingled praise with blame). 2 to mix with (police mingling with the crowds).
mini- prefix very small of its kind.
miniaturea very small painting (a miniature of the artist’s mother). adj very small, tiny (a miniature bottle of whiskey).
minimsee half-note.
minimizealso minimise (British spelling) 1 to make smaller or less. 2 to make seem less important (minimizing the problems).
minimumthe smallest amount possible (we want the minimum of fuss). Also adj. adj minimal
miniona slave-like follower or employee, a person who always does as his or her employer’s orders (the manager and his minions treated the rest of us badly).
minister1 a member of the clergy (the minister’s sermon). 2 (British spelling) a person in charge of a government department (Minister of Transport). 3 the principal representative of a government in another country. vb to give help, to serve (she ministers to his every need).
ministerialhaving to do with a minister (ministerial duties).
ministry1 the clergy (join the ministry). 2 a (British spelling) department of government in charge of a minister.
mink(pl mink) a small stoat-like animal valued for its fur (breed mink in captivity/a mink coat).
minnowa very small freshwater fish.
minor1 smaller, of less importance (minor issues). 2 (music) relating to a minor scale, key or interval (a minor key). n 1 a person below the age when you have full civil rights (he committed murder while still a minor). 2 (music) a minor key, interval, or scale (played in A minor).
minority1 the state of being below the age when you have full civil rights. 2 the smaller number in a group or assembly, less than half (a minority of people voted against the suggestion/the objectors were in the minority).
minstrel1 in olden times, a wandering singer and poet. 2 (old) a singer.
mintCollective noun for candies (A mint of candies) (see list of collective nouns)
mint11 a place where coins are made, especially by the government. 2 (informal) a large amount (he earns a mint). vb to make coins.
mint2a sweet-smelling herb whose leaves are used as flavoring in cooking (lamb flavored with mint).
minuet(old) 1 a slow, graceful dance. 2 music for this dance.
minus (preposition)1 less (ten minus three is seven). 2 (informal) not having (we are minus two members of staff). adj less than zero (a minus quantity). n the sign of subtraction (–).
minusculeextremely small.
minute11 the 60th part of an hour. 2 the 60th part of a degree. 3 a short time (I’ll be with you in a minute). 4 a written note or comment. 5 pl a short account of what was discussed and decided at a meeting. vb to make a written note of.
minute21 very small (minute quantities of the drug). 2 exact (minute attention to detail).
minutiaesmall details (get to the main point and ignore the minutiae).
minxa forward or impertinent girl (the minx told her grandmother to keep quiet).
miracle1 an extraordinary event believed by some to be brought about by the interference of God with the natural course of events. 2 any extraordinary event for which there is no known explanation (it is a miracle that the family can survive on that income).
miraculous1 caused by a miracle, marvelous (the miraculous cures of Christ). 2 amazing, extraordinary (his miraculous recovery). adv miraculously
mirageimaginary objects (e.g. water, trees) that appear real to a traveler because of certain atmospheric conditions, such as shimmer caused by heat (they thought they saw an oasis in the desert but it was a mirage).
mire(fml or lit) wet, muddy ground, mud (vehicles stuck in the mire).
mirrora looking-glass. vb to reflect as in a mirror.
mirthlaughter, merriment (collapse with mirth at the antics of the clown). adj mirthful , mirthless
misadventure(fml or old) an unlucky happening (death by misadventure).
misanthrope , misanthropist(formal) a person who hates humankind (a misanthrope who stays away from other people as much as possible). adj misanthropic n misanthropy
misapprehend(formal) to misunderstand (misapprehend their intentions). n misapprehension
misappropriate(formal) to put to a wrong use, to use dishonestly for yourself (misappropriating the firm’s money and running off with it).
misbehaveto behave badly. n misbehavior , also misbehaviour (British spelling)
miscalculateto work out an answer or likely result wrongly (miscalculating the cost of the journey). n miscalculation
miscarriagethe loss of a baby from the womb before it is able to survive. miscarriage of justice a mistaken finding by a court that an innocent person is guilty of a crime.
miscarryto have a miscarriage (the expectant mother miscarried).
miscellaneousmixed, of different kinds (a miscellaneous collection of old books).
miscellany(formal) a mixture, a collection of things of different kinds (a miscellany of old books).
mischance(formal) an unlucky happening (killed by mischance).
mischief1 (formal) harm done on purpose (the mischief done to their property by vandals). 2 children’s naughtiness (children punished for their mischief).
mischievous1 harmful, intended to cause trouble (mischievous gossip). 2 naughty (mischievous children). adv mischievously
misconceptiona mistaken idea, misunderstanding (she was under the misconception that he was unmarried).
misconductbad or wrong behavior (workers sacked for misconduct on duty).
misconstrue(formal) to give a wrong meaning or significance to (misconstruing his instructions). n misconstruction
miscreant(formal) a wicked person (miscreants sent to prison by the judge).
misdeed(formal) a wrongful action, a crime (punished for their misdeeds).
misdemeanoralso misdemeanour (British spelling) 1 an act that breaks the law, a petty crime (fined for a fairly minor misdemeanor). 2 an act of misbehavior (the child’s misdemeanor).
misdirectto give wrong instructions to (accused of misdirecting the jury). n misdirection
misera person who dislikes spending money (too much of a miser even to eat properly).
miserable1 very unhappy (a miserable child a miserable place to live). 3 low in quality or quantity (a miserable performance mi-zer-blee/.
miserlyvery mean (a miserly employer).
miserygreat unhappiness or suffering (the misery of their existence).
misfire1 (of guns) to fail to go off. 2 to fail (plans that misfired). Also n.
misfita person unsuited to his or her circumstances (as a shy person, he is a misfit in the sales industry).
misfortune1 bad luck (have the misfortune to have her car break down). 2 a piece of bad luck (suffer one misfortune after another).
misgivinga feeling of fear, doubt, or mistrust (last-minute misgivings about marrying someone whom he did not know well).
misguidedshowing bad judgment (a misguided attempt to help).
mishandle(formal) to manage badly (mishandling the situation).
mishapan unlucky event, usually not serious (he had a mishap parking the car).
misinform(formal) to give wrong information (we were misinformed about the time of the meeting).
misinterpretto give a wrong meaning to (misinterpreted what they were asked to do). n misinterpretation
misjudgeto judge wrongly, to form a wrong opinion (you are misjudging him—he is a very pleasant person).
mislay(pt, pp mislaid ) to put (something) down andforget where you have put it (mislaid the book that she was reading).
mislead(pt, pp misled ) to deceive, to give the wrong idea to (he tried to mislead the police by giving wrong evidence).
mismanageto manage badly (mismanaging his finances). n mismanagement
misnomera wrong or unsuitable name (“assistant” was a misnomer—she never did a thing to help me do the job).
misogynista man who hates women (he never married—he’s a misogynist.).
Misophobia fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs. (see list of phobias)
misplaceto put in a wrong place (misplace a book).
misprinta mistake in printing (correct the misprint before the book is published). vb misprint
mispronounceto pronounce wrongly (don’t mispronounce his name). n mispronunciation
misquoteto quote wrongly, to make mistakes in trying to repeat another’s words. n misquotation
misread(pt, pp misread ) to read wrongly (misread the instructions).
misrepresentto give an untrue account of another’s ideas or opinions (in court he misrepresented what I had said). n misrepresentation
misruleto rule or govern badly. Also n.
Missthe title put before the name of a girl or an unmarried woman.
miss11 to fail to hit, find, meet, catch, or notice (the batter missed the ball/he missed the bus). 2 to leave out (he missed a bit when he was painting). 3 to regret the loss or absence of (she missed her friend when he went abroad). n a failure to hit or catch.
miss2(pl misses ) (old) an unmarried woman, a girl.
missala Roman Catholic prayer book containing prayers, etc, for Mass.
misshapenbadly formed, deformed, ugly (misshapen oak trees).
missile1 any object thrown or fired from a gun to do harm. 2 an explosive flying weapon with its own engine, which can be aimed at distant objects (nuclear missiles).
missinglost (the missing letter/his son has gone missing).
mission1 persons sent to carry out a certain task (an American trade mission sent to the UK). 2 the task itself (the group’s mission was to blow up the enemy bridge). 3 your chief aim in life (her mission is to help people). 4 a group of persons sent to a foreign land to teach their religion. 5 the building(s) in which they live (the mission also provides medical services).
missionarya person who is sent to a foreign land to teach his or her religion. Also adj.
misspell(pt, pp misspelled or misspelt ) to spell wrongly (she misspelled his name). n misspelling
misspend(pt, pp misspent ) to spend wastefully or unprofitably (she misspent her dead mother’s savings).
mist1 rain in fine, tiny drops. 2 a cloud resting on the ground (cars having to drive slowly in the mist).
mistake1 to understand wrongly (she mistook what he said). 2 to confuse one person or thing with another (she mistook him for his brother). n an error.
mistakenin error, wrong (a mistaken interpretation of the situation).
mister1 an informal form of address for a man (hey, mister). 2 the official form of address used by a commanding officer to his officers in the US navy.
mistimeto time badly, to do something at a wrong time (they mistimed their arrival).
mistletoean evergreen plant with white berries (hang bunches of mistletoe at Christmas).
mistreatto treat badly.
mistress1 a woman having charge or control (of) (she is the mistress of the house). 2 (British spelling) short for schoolmistress a woman teacher. 3 a woman who is the lover of a man and sometimes maintained by him but not married to him (his wife does not know he has a mistress).
mistrustto suspect, to doubt. Also n.
misty1 darkened or clouded by mist (misty hills). 2 not clear (her eyes were misty with tears).
misunderstand(pt, pp misunderstood ) to take a wrong meaning from (they misunderstood his directions and got lost).
misunderstandinga disagreement, especially one due to failure to see another’s meaning or intention (they have not spoken to each other for years, and it was all because of a misunderstanding).
misuseto use in the wrong way, to use badly (the machine broke because they misused it). n improper or wrong use (his misuse of the firm’s money).
mite1 a type of very small insect. 2 a small child (a poor little mite dressed in rags). 3 a very small amount.
miteralso mitre (British spelling) 1 the tall pointed headgear worn by bishops. 2 a way of joining two boards meeting at right angles.
mitigate1 to make less serious, to excuse to some extent (the lawyer hoped that the fact that the accused murdered in self-defense would mitigate the offense). 2 to make less severe (a drug for mitigating the pain). n mitigation
mitt , mitten1 a type of glove that covers the hand but not the fingers and thumb. 2 a glove without separate places for the fingers (the little girl wore mittens and a matching hat).
mix1 to put together to form one (mix the butter and sugar). 2 to go together or blend successfully (oil and water do not mix). 3 to join in (with others) (she did not mix at the party).
mixed1 made up of different things or kinds (mixed feelings). 2 relating to people of different sexes (a mixed school/mixed doubles at tennis).
mixturethe result of mixing things or people together (a mixture of eggs, flour, and milk/a mixture of nationalities).
mnemonichelping the memory. n something easily remembered that helps you to remember something else (mnemonics to remind him how to spell certain words).
Mnemophobiafear of memories (see list of phobias)
moan1 to make a low sound expressing sorrow or pain (moaning in agony). 2 (informal) to complain (she’s always moaning about the weather). Also n.
moata trench, often filled with water, around a castle or fort.
moba disorderly crowd (football mobs). vb (mobbed , mobbing ) to crowd around in a disorderly way (the movie star was mobbed by photographers).
mobCollective noun for emus (A mob of emus) (see list of collective nouns)
mobCollective noun for gangsters (A mob of gangsters) (see list of collective nouns)
mobCollective noun for kangaroos (A mob of kangaroos) (see list of collective nouns)
mobCollective noun for Texans (A mob of Texans) (see list of collective nouns)
mobCollective noun for wallabies (A mob of wallabies) (see list of collective nouns)
mobCollective noun for wombats (A mob of wombats) (see list of collective nouns)
mobile1 that can be moved (a mobile library). 2 easily moved (mobile office units). 3 able to move easily, active (old people no longer mobile). n a decoration which hangs from the ceiling by threads or wire and which has attached to it several small objects which move when the surrounding air moves (a mobile made of plastic fish).
mobile phonesee cellphone.
mobilityability to move about (old people annoyed at their lack of mobility).
mobilizealso mobilise (British spelling) 1 to call upon to serve as soldiers (officers told to mobilize their men). 2 to organize for a particular reason (mobilizing supporters for the party rally). n mobilization , also mobilisation (British spelling)
moccasina shoe or slipper made of deerskin or sheepskin.
mock1 to make fun of (they mocked his attempts to improve himself). 2 to imitate in order to make appear foolish (the boys mocked the way the lame old man walked). adj false, not real (her bag was made of mock leather).
mock heroicimitating the grand style of writing when dealing with an unimportant subject.
mockery1 the act of mocking. 2 a person or thing mocked (make a mockery of his attempts).
mockingbirda type of thrush that imitates the song of other birds, etc.
mode1 (formal) the way of doing something (his mode of expressing himself). 2 (old) a fashion in clothing (Paris modes).
model1 a person or thing to be copied (use the essay as a model). 2 a copy, usually smaller, of a person or thing (models of aircraft). 3 a small copy of (e.g. a building or ship made from the plan to show what the finished object will look like) (show would-be buyers a model of the condo). 4 a living person who sits or stands still to let an artist draw him or her (act as a model for the art class). 5 a person who is employed to display clothes by wearing them (the models at the Paris fashion show). 6 an artificial figure used in display (shop-window models). adj worth copying, perfect (model behavior). vb 1 to give shape to (model the clay into a bowl). 2 to make a model of (model the head of the President in clay). 3 to wear clothes to show to possible buyers (model the new season’s fashions).
modema piece of equipment that links a computer to the telephone system so that information can be sent to other computers.
moderate1 not going to extremes (of moderate views). 2 within sensible limits (moderate prices). 3 average (someone of only moderate ability). vb 1 to prevent from going to extremes (moderate your demands). 2 to lessen (the storm is moderating). adv moderately
moderationavoidance of extremes, self-control (drink liquor in moderation).
modern1 belonging to the present day (modern language changes). 2 belonging to recent centuries (modern history). 3 up-to-date (parents who have modern ideas on education). n modernity
modernizealso modernise (British spelling) to bring up to date (modernizing machinery to keep ahead of the competition).
modest1 not having too high an opinion of yourself (a very modest young woman). 2 not boastful (modest about her success). 3 decent (always modest in her dress). 4 not very large (a modest increase in salary). adv modestly n modesty
modicum(formal) a small amount (not a modicum of truth in what he says).
modificationan alteration, a small change (minor modifications to the house plans).
modify1 to alter in part (modified the design). 2 to make less severe (modify his extreme views).
modish(formal) fashionable (a modish style of dress).
modulate1 to raise or lower the tone or pitch of the voice when speaking or singing (actors learning to modulate their voices). 2 in music, to change from one key to another. n modulation
module1 one of several parts that together form a larger structure. 2 a unit of a course of study.
mohair1 the silky hair of an Angora goat. 2 the wool or cloth made from it (a mohair sweater).
moistslightly wet, damp (clean it with a moist cloth/his moist brow).
moistento make damp (moistened a cloth to wipe the child’s face).
moisturedampness; wetness caused by tiny drops of water in the atmosphere (soil in need of moisture).
moisturizeralso moisturiser (British spelling) cream or lotion applied to treat dry skin.
molarone of the back teeth that grind food.
molassesalso treacle (British spelling) a thick sticky dark liquid left over when sugar is made from sugar cane.
mold1also mould (British spelling) 1 a shaped vessel into which hot molten metal is poured so that when it cools it has the same shape as the vessel. 2 a vessel used to food. vb 1 to form in a mold (the metal is molded into bars). 2 to work into a shape (mold the clay into a ball). 3 to shape or influence (mold a child’s character).
mold2also mould (British spelling) a fluffy growth consisting of tiny plants on stale food or damp surfaces.
molderalso moulder (British spelling) to rot away, to crumble (walls of the old house moldering away/talent left to molder away).
moldingalso moulding (British spelling) 1 anything given shape in a mold. 2 an ornamental pattern on a wall or ceiling or on a picture frame (a molding on the ceiling in the form of leaves).
moldy (British: mouldy)covered with mold. 2 (informal) of little value, unpleasant, dull (the child complained about getting a moldy old ten dollars for Christmas).
mole1a dark spot on the human skin (he had a mole on his shoulder).
mole21 a small furry burrowing animal (piles of earth on his lawn caused by moles). 2 a spy who works from within an organization, passing information to another organization.
molecularhaving to do with molecules (the molecular structure of the substance).
Molecular biologystudy of the molecular basis of biological activity in and between cells (see list of branches of science)
moleculethe smallest particle of a substance that can exist while still retaining the chemical qualities of that substance.
molehillthe heap of earth thrown up by a burrowing mole (molehills on the lawn).
moleskina strong ribbed cotton cloth.
molest1 to disturb or annoy (molested by members of the press). 2 to make a bodily, often sexual, attack upon. n molestation
Molinologystudy of mills and milling (see list of branches of science)
mollifyto make less angry, to calm down (mollified their mother by giving her flowers).
molluskalso mollusc (British spelling) a soft-bodied animal with a hard shell, as a snail, oyster, etc (edible mollusks).
mollycoddleto take too great care of (she mollycoddles her children).
moltalso moult (British spelling) to lose the hair or feathers, to fall off (dogs molting).
molten1 melted (molten metal). 2 made by having been melted (molten casts).
Molysmophobiafear of being contaminated with dirt or germs (see list of phobias)
Molysomophobiafear of dirt or contamination. (see list of phobias)
mom(informal) mother (short for mommy).
momenta very short time (it took only a moment).
momentarily1 for a moment (momentarily blinded by the bright light). 2 (informal) shortly (I’ll be with you momentarily).
momentarylasting only a moment (a momentary pause).
momentousvery important (a momentous discovery).
momentumthe force of a moving body (the rock gathered momentum as it rolled downhill).
Momilogystudy of mummies (see list of branches of science)
mommy(informal) a child’s word for mother.
monarcha single supreme ruler, a sovereign, a kingor queen (the ruling monarch).
monarchista person who believes in monarchy (some people would prefer a republic but he is a monarchist).
monarchya state or system of government in which power is, in appearance or reality, in the hands of a single ruler (Britain is a monarchy).
monasterya house for monks.
monastichaving to do with monks or monasteries (a monastic way of life).
Mondaythe second day of the week after Sunday.
monetaryhaving to do with money (monetary considerations).
moneymetal coins and printed banknotes used in making payments, buying, and selling.
moneyedrich (the moneyed classes).
moneylendera person who lives by lending money on condition that interest is paid to him or her for the time of the loan.
mongoose(pl mongooses ) a small weasel-like animal that kills snakes.
mongrelof mixed breed or race (a mongrel dog). n a dog of mixed breed.
monitor1 in school, a student who helps a teacher to keep order. 2 a device for checking electrical transmission without interfering with it. 3 an instrument that receives and shows continuous information about the working of something. 4 a screen for use with a computer. 5 a small screen in a television studio showing the picture that is being broadcast at any given time. vb to observe and check something regularly (monitor the patient’s condition).
monka man who, with the intention of devoting his life to prayer, joins a religious society and spends his life in a monastery.
monkey1 a long-tailed animal resembling a human being in shape. 2 (informal) a mischievous child (the little monkey tricked me). vb to play about (with) (somebody had monkeyed about with the computer).
monkey puzzlean evergreen tree whose branches are covered with short prickly leaves.
mono-prefix one.
monochromein one color, or in black and white (a monochrome monitor).
monoclea single eyeglass (the old colonel always wore a monocle).
monogamymarriage to one husband or wife only. n monogamist adj monogamous
monogramletters, especially initials, written one on top of another to make a single design (has his monogram on his T-shirt).
monolitha single standing stone as a pillar or ornament. adj monolithic
monologalso monologue (British spelling) a scene or play in which only one person speaks (the play closed with a monolog).
Monopathophobiafear of definite disease (see list of phobias)
Monophobiafear of solitude or being alone. (see list of phobias)
monoplanean airplane with only one pair of wings.
monopolizealso monopolise (British spelling) 1 to have or obtain complete possession or control of (they used to monopolize the ice-cream market there). 2 to take up the whole of (monopolizing the teacher’s attention).
monopoly1 complete control of the trade in a certain article by a single person or company (they had a monopoly of the car market once). 2 possession of or control over something that is not shared by others (she thinks that she has a monopoly on beauty).
monosyllablea word of one syllable (she was scarcely polite and spoke in monosyllables). adj monosyllabic
monotonea single unvarying tone of voice when speaking (an audience almost sent to sleep by the speaker’s monotone).
monotonous1 dull from lack of variety (a monotonous job). 2 in a monotone (a monotonous voice).
monotonydullness, lack of variety, sameness (the monotony of his existence).
monsoona south Asian wind, blowing from the southwest in summer and the northeast in winter, usually bringing heavy rain.
monster1 a huge frightening creature (a fairytale about sea monsters). 2 anything huge (the turnip was a monster/a monster turnip). 3 an unnaturally cruel or wicked person (a monster to treat his wife so badly).
monstrositysomething, usually large, that is very ugly (my aunt left us a monstrosity of a wardrobe).
monstrous1 huge (monstrous trucks rushing down the freeway). 2 unnaturally cruel or wicked (a monstrous crime).
montagea picture made by putting together many separate images.
monthone of the 12 periods of time into which the year is divided.
monthCollective noun for sundays (A month of sundays) (see list of collective nouns)
monthlyhappening once a month or every month (a monthly magazine). Also adv.
monumenta statue, stone, etc, set up in memory of a person or event (a monument to the soldiers killed in the war).
monumental1 huge (a onumental painting covering the whole wall). 2 outstanding (a monumental achievement).
mood1 a state of the mind and feelings, a person’s temper at a certain moment (he is in a bad mood). 2 a state of bad temper (she is in a mood). 3 in grammar, a verb form that tells whether the verb is used to express a command, desire, statement of fact, etc.
moodytending to change mood suddenly or often; often bad-tempered (moody people). adv moodily n moodiness
moon1 the heavenly body that moves around the earth and reflects the light of the sun. 2 any smaller heavenly body that moves around a larger one. vb (informal) to walk about in a dreamy way (mooning about waiting for her boyfriend to ring).
moonbeama ray of light from the moon.
moonlightthe light from the moon (a walk in the moonlight). adj moonlit
moonstonea precious stone, bluish-white in color.
Mooran Arab inhabitant of Morocco, or any part of northwest Africa. adj Moorish
moor1a large extent of poor land on which only coarse grass, heather, etc, will grow; a heath (the Yorkshire moors).
moor2to fasten a ship by ropes, cables, etc (moors his yacht at the local harbor).
mooragea place for mooring a ship (pay for a moorage near his house).
moorcock , moorfowlthe red grouse.
moorhenthe water-hen.
mooringmoorings1 the ropes, cables, etc, by which a ship is fastened (the moorings came loose). 2 the place where a ship is so fastened.
moorlanda moor, moors (an area of moorland).
moosethe elk, a type of deer found in North America.
moot(formal) to put forward for discussion.
moot pointa matter on which two or more opinions may be upheld, an undecided matter (it’s a moot point whose land it is).
mopstrips of coarse cloth, yarn, etc, fixed together to a handle and used for washing floors, etc. vb (mopped , mopping ) to clean with a mop, to wipe (mop the floor).
mopeto be gloomy or sad (a dog moping for its owner).
moral1 having to do with what is right or wrong in action (a moral problem). 2 living according to the rules of right conduct (a very moral person). n 1 the lesson to be learned from a story (Aesop’s fables had morals). 2 morals your beliefs as to what is right or wrong in action (he seems to have no morals). 3 standards of behavior (complain about the morals of the teenagers). adv morally
moralebelief in your ability to do what is asked of you; courage (he tried to boost the team’s morale by telling them how well they were playing).
moralista person who studies questions of right and wrong.
morality1 moral principles. 2 a particular system of moral principles (Christian morality). 3 the quality of an action, as estimated by a standard of right and wrong.
moralizealso moralise (British spelling) to discuss questions of morals (the minister used his sermon to moralize to his congregation).
morbid1 unhealthy, diseased (a morbid condition of the foot). 2 thinking too much about what is gloomy or disgusting (morbid curiosity mawr-bi-di-tee mawr-bid-lee/.
moregreater in amount, number, etc (ask for more money). Also n. adv 1 to a greater extent or degree (he has traveled more). 2 again (once more).
morguea mortuary.
Mormona member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. Also adj.
morn(lit) morning.
morningthe early part of the day (go to work in the morning).
morning starthe planet Venus when seen before sunrise.
moroccoa fine goatskin leather originally prepared in Morocco.
moron1 a feeble-minded person. 2 (informal) a very stupid person (you were a moron to drive without a license). adj moronic
morosegloomy and ill-natured (in a morose mood after he lost the chess match).
morphia , morphinea drug made from opium that causes sleep and lessens pain (addicted to morphia).
Morphologystudy of forms and the development of structures (see list of branches of science)
morsea signaling code in which dots and dashes (or short and long sounds or flashes) represent the letters of the alphabet (morse code).
morsela small piece, a bite (not able to eat another morsel).
mortal1 having to die (all humans are mortal). 2 causing death (a mortal blow). n a human being (mortals must die). adv mortally
mortality1 the state of being mortal (mortality is one of the few certain things in life). 2 the number who die from a certain cause (infant mortality is still high there).
mortar1 a bowl in which substances are crushed into powder (by a pestle) (she ground the spices in a mortar and pestle). 2 a gun with a short barrel. 3 a cement made of lime and sand and used in building.
mortar-boarda square-topped cap worn with an academic gown (wear a mortar-board for her graduation ceremony).
mortgagea legal arrangement by which a bank or other financial organization lends someone the money to buy a house on the understanding that they pay it back over a set number of years (take out a mortgage on their new house). vb to give control over property to another to obtain a loan (mortgaging the house to the buildings and loan).
mortifyto make ashamed (she was mortified when she discovered that she was wearing non-matching shoes). n mortification
mortisea hole cut in a piece of wood, etc, so that part of another piece (the tenon) may fit into it (a mortise lock).
mortuarya building in which dead bodies are kept until burial (the victim’s corpse was removed to the mortuary).
mosaicdesign made by placing together differently colored pieces of glass, stone, etc.
mosquea Muslim place of worship.
mosquito(pl mosquitoes ) a stinging insect that sometimes carries the germs of malaria (her leg swelled up when the mosquito bit her).
mossa tiny flowerless plant growing on walls and tree trunks and in damp places (stones covered in moss).
mossyovergrown with moss (mossy rocks).
mostgreatest in number, amount, etc (she got most votes/most people believed him). Also n. adv 1 in or to the greatest degree or extent (most importantly). 2 very (most accomplished).
motela hotel with special facilities for motorists (the motel had space for the cars next to the rooms).
moth1 a winged insect that flies by night (moths are like butterflies but not so brightly colored). 2 the clothes moth (moths had made holes in the clothing stored in the attic).
mother1 a female parent. 2 the female head of a convent of nuns. vb to care for, as would a mother (mothered the orphans).
mother tongueyour native language (English is his mother tongue).
motherhoodthe state of being a mother.
mother-in-law(pl mothers-in-law ) the mother of the person to whom you are married.
motherlylike a mother (a motherly kind of person).
mother-of-pearlthe hard pearl-like lining of certain shells (a jewel box lined with mother-of-pearl).
motifa repeated theme in an artistic or literary work.
motion1 act of moving (the motion of the boat made her feel sick). 2 a movement (with a motion of his hand). 3 an idea put to a meeting so that it can be voted on (he proposed the motion that fees be raised). vb to make a movement as a sign.
motion picturea series of still pictures captured on film which, when run through a projector are displayed as moving pictures; a movie (the motion picture industry).
motionlessunmoving (the bird lay unmoving on the ground).
motivateto give a reason or urge to act. n motivation
motivea reason for doing something. adj causing movement.
motoran engine that by changing power into motion drives a machine (the car needs a new motor). adj causing movement or motion (the accident affected his motor muscles/a motor nerve). vb to travel by motor car (he motors to work every day).
motorbikea bicycle driven by a motor. similarly motor-boat , motor car
motorista person who drives a motor car (a motorist driving without a license).
Motorphobiafear of automobiles (see list of phobias)
Mottephobiafear of moths (see list of phobias)
mottleto mark with spots or blotches (have a mottled complexion).
motto(pl mottoes ) 1 a wise saying that can be used as a rule of life (“Early to bed, early to rise” is his motto). 2 the word or words on a coat of arms. 3 a printed saying or joke (mottoes in Christmas crackers).
mound1 a low hill. 2 a heap of earth or stones.
mount1 (usually in names) a hill; a mountain (Mount Everest). 2 an animal, especially a horse, for riding (he chose a mount). 3 a card or paper surrounding a painting or photograph. vb 1 to go up, to climb (mount the ladder). 2 to get on to (mount the bus). 3 to place in position (mount the photograph). 4 to get on horseback (mount the chestnut horse).
mountain1 a high hill (the highest mountain in the United States). 2 a large heap (a mountain of garbage).
mountainCollective noun for debt (A mountain of debt) (see list of collective nouns)
mountain asha type of tree, the rowan.
mountaineera person who climbs mountains (mountaineers climbing Everest). n mountaineering
mountainous1 having many mountains (a mountainous region). 2 huge (a mountainous man).
mountedon horseback (mounted police).
mournto show sorrow, to feel grief, especially after a loss or death (mourning her dead sister moar-ner/.
mournfulsad, sorrowful (a mournful expression). adv mournfully
mourning1 sorrow, grief (her mourning for her dead sister) 2 black clothing worn as a sign of grief for another’s death (the widow was wearing mourning).
mouse(pl mice ) a small rodent animal found in houses or in the fields (have mice in the kitchen).
moustachesee mustache
mouth1 the opening in the face for eating and uttering sounds (she opened her mouth to scream). 2 the opening into anything hollow (the mouth of the jam jar). 3 the part of a river where it flows into the sea. vb to twist the mouth into different shapes (mouth the answer silently to him).
mouthfulthe amount placed in the mouth at one time (eat the cake in two mouthfuls).
mouthpiece1 the part of a musical instrument or pipe placed in the mouth. 2 a person who speaks for others.
movable, moveableable to be moved (movable property). npl property that can be moved, especially furniture.
move1 to cause to change place or position (move the chairs to the next room). 2 to go from one place to another. 3 to change houses. 4 to set in motion. 5 to stir up the feelings. 6 to rouse to action (she moved them to protest). 7 at a meeting, to put forward an idea to be voted on (he moved that they sell the building). n 1 a change of position or place. 2 an action (I wonder what his next move will be).
movement1 act of moving (police are watching his movements). 2 change of position (the sudden movement made the dog bark). 3 a number of people working for the same purpose (the women’s movement). 4 a complete part of a long musical work (the slow movement).
moviea cinema picture, a motion picture. npl: the movies a showing of a motion picture (let’s go to the movies).
movingstirring up the feelings (a moving story/the moving sight of the little girl in tears).
moving picturea cinema picture, a movie.
mow(pp mown ) 1 to cut (grass) (mowing the lawn). 2 to knock down, to kill in large numbers (a group of children mown down by a huge truck).
mowera person or machine that mows (a lawn mower).
Mr(pl Messrs a title used before a man’s name, especially in the address on an envelope.
Mrsa title used before a married woman’s name.
muchgreat in amount or quantity (not much money). n a great amount (he does not earn much). adv greatly.
muck(informal) wet filth, dirt. vb (informal) 1 to dirty. 2 to make a mess of (muck up the clean kitchen). 3 to spoil (muck up our plans). 4 to bungle (muck up the interview).
mucky(informal) filthy (children with mucky hands).
mucousproducing mucus, slimy.
mucous membranethe inner skin lining the nose, mouth, etc.
mucusthe shiny liquid coming from the mucous membrane of the nose (the mucus that comes from your nose when you have a cold).
mudsoft wet earth (cars stuck in the mud).
muddle1 to confuse (she felt a bit muddled about the directions). 2 to mix up (she muddled the dates). 3 to act without plan (muddling through the meeting). n confusion, disorder.
muddycovered with mud (muddy clothing). vb 1 to make dirty or muddy (dirt muddying water). 2 to make unclear.
mueslia breakfast cereal consisting of grains, nuts, and dried fruit.
muff1a cover of warm material (often fur) for both hands (gloves are usually worn now instead of muffs).
muff2(informal) 1 to fail to hold (muff a catch at cricket). 2 to do badly (given an opportunity to succeed but muffed it).
muffina small sweet bread roll usually eaten warm.
muffle1 to wrap up to keep warm (children muffled up in scarves and hats). 2 to deaden sound (a gag muffling his cries). 3 to make a sound less loud (muffle the sound of the car’s exhaust).
muffler1 a warm scarf. 2 a device that makes a sound less loud, especially in a car’s exhaust system.
mug1a drinking vessel with a handle and more or less straight sides (a mug of coffee).
mug2(mugged , mugging ) to attack and rob (I was mugged at knifepoint). n mugger
muggyunpleasantly warm and damp (muggy weather).
mulberry1 a tree bearing dark red edible berries. 2 a dark reddish-purple color.
mulethe offspring of an ass and a horse, supposedly famous for its stubbornness (used a mule to carry their load myoo-lish myoo-lish-ness/.
mullmull over to think carefully about (mull over your proposal).
mull2to heat, sweeten, and spice (wine, ale, etc) (have mulled wine at Christmas).
mulletan edible sea fish.
mullionan upright bar between the divisions of a window.
multi-prefix many.
multi-coloredof many colors (multi-colored summer shirts).
multilateral1 having many sides. 2 (formal) concerning more than two groups (a multilateral agreement).
multimedia1 using several different methods and media (a multimedia approach to advertising). 2 in computing, using sound and video images as well as data.
multiple1 having or affecting many parts (accident victims receive multiple injuries). 2 involving many things of the same kind (a multiple crash on the freeway). n a number that contains another an exact number of times (12 is a multiple of 4).
multiplexa building that contains several movie theaters.
multiplicationCollective noun for loafers (A multiplication of loafers) (see list of collective nouns)
multiplierthe number by which another is multiplied.
multiply1 to find the number obtained by adding a number to itself a certain number of times (if you multiply 4 by 3 you get 12). 2 to increase (their misfortunes seem to multiply/multiplied their chances of success).
multiplyingCollective noun for husbands (A multiplying of husbands) (see list of collective nouns)
multitude1 (old) a crowd (the leader spoke to the multitude). 2 a great number (a multitude of objections).
multitudinous(fml or hum) very many (his multitudinous relatives).
mum1keeping information to oneself; silent (he was told to keep mum about the accident).
mum2see mom.
mumbleto speak in a low, indistinct voice (he mumbled the answer so the teacher couldn’t hear).
mumbo-jumbomeaningless talk.
mummy1a human body kept from decay by being treated with certain drugs and wrapped tightly in cloth (Egyptian mummies). vb mummify
mummy2 see mommy.
mumpsan infectious disease that causes swelling of the neck and face (in bed with mumps).
munchto chew noisily, to crush with teeth (munch cookies/munch on an apple).
mundane1 (formal) having to do with this world (mundane, not spiritual, pleasure). 2 ordinary, with nothing exciting or unusual (a mundane job).
municipalhaving to do with a city or town (municipal buildings).
municipalitya city or town with certain powers of self-government.
munificent(formal) generous (a munificent gift of diamonds). n munificence
munitionsthe guns, shells, etc, used in making war (a munitions factory).
murala painting that is painted directly onto the walls of a building (a mural in the hospital corridor showing people being healed).
murderact of unlawfully and intentionally killing another (commit murder). Also vb. n murderer , murderess
murderCollective noun for crows (A murder of crows) (see list of collective nouns)
murderous1 used to committing murder (murderous thugs). 2 cruel, savage (a murderous attack).
Muriphobiafear of mice (see list of phobias)
murky1 dark, gloomy (a murky night). 2 vague or obscure (he has a murky past).
murmur1 a low, indistinct sound, as of running water (the murmur of the stream). 2 a soft low continuous sound (a murmur of voices in the next room). 3 a grumble (murmurs against his handling of the situation). vb 1 to make a low indistinct sound. 2 to talk in a low voice (he murmured something in his sleep). 3 to grumble (murmur about their lack of money).
murmurationCollective noun for starlings (A murmuration of starlings) (see list of collective nouns)
Murophobiafear of mice or rats (see list of phobias)
musclethe elastic fibers in the body that enable it to make movements (strain a muscle by lifting a heavy weight).
muscleCollective noun for marines (A muscle of marines) (see list of collective nouns)
Muscologystudy of mosses (see list of branches of science)
muscular1 having well-developed muscles, strong (a muscular young man). 2 having to do with muscles (muscular strain).
muse11 in legend, one of the nine goddesses of the arts and learning. 2 (formal) inspiration to write (e.g. poetry) (the muse deserted him).
muse2to think deeply about, to ponder (musing on the events of the day).
Museologystudy of museums (see list of branches of science)
museuma building in which objects of scientific, artistic, or literary interest are kept (the ancient tools in the museum).
museumCollective noun for art (A museum of art) (see list of collective nouns)
mushrooman edible plant with a soft whitish pulpy top (steak in mushroom sauce). vb to grow in size very rapidly (new supermarkets mushrooming).
music1 the art of arranging sounds to give melody or harmony (studying music). 2 the sounds so arranged when played, sung, or written down (orchestral music).
musical1 having to do with music. 2 pleasant-sounding (a musical voice). n a play or a movie that includes a lot of songs. adv musically
musiciana person who is skilled in music (the musicians in the orchestra).
Musicologystudy of music (see list of branches of science)
muska sweet-smelling substance obtained from the musk deer and used in making perfume.
musket(old) a hand-gun formerly carried by soldiers.
musketeer(old) a soldier armed with a musket.
muskrata large water-rat found in North America.
muskysmelling of musk (a perfume with a musky smell).
Muslima person who follows the religion of Islam. Also adj.
muslina fine thin cotton cloth.
Musophobia fear of mice (see list of phobias)
musquashthe fur of the muskrat.
musselan edible shellfish enclosed in a hinged shell (at the restaurant I had mussels as a first course).
mustto have to (I must go home now).
mustachealso moustache (British spelling) the hair growing on the upper lip (he had a black mustache).
mustanga wild horse native to the United States, descended from horses brought by the Spanish.
mustard1 a plant with hot-tasting seeds. 2 a type of seasoning made from these for flavoring food, especially meat (spread mustard on the beef sandwiches).
musterCollective noun for peacocks (A muster of peacocks) (see list of collective nouns)
musterCollective noun for storks (A muster of storks) (see list of collective nouns)
mustystale (a musty smell in the old house/the musty smell of old books).
mutable(formal) changeable (mutable attitudes).
mutationchange, alteration (new kinds of plants can sometimes be caused by mutation of the genes). n mutant
mutationCollective noun for thrushes (A mutation of thrushes) (see list of collective nouns)
mute1 silent (a mute appeal for mercy). 2 unable to speak (mute since birth). 3 not pronounced (a mute “l”). n 1 a dumb person. 2 an attachment that lessens or modifies the sound of a musical instrument.
muted1 having the sound altered by a mute. 2 subdued (muted enthusiasm). 3 soft in hue, shade, etc (muted colors).
mutilateto damage seriously by removing a part, especially a limb (the murderer mutilated the corpse). n mutilation
mutineera person who takes part in a mutiny.
mutinous1 taking part in a mutiny (the mutinous sailors). 2 obstinate and sulky, as if going to disobey (mutinous children objecting to the cancellation of the party).
mutinyrefusal to obey those in charge, especially a rising of people in the armed services against their officers (a mutiny of sailors protesting about poor food). Also vb.
mutterto speak in a low voice, without sounding the vowels clearly, especially when grumbling or insulting (mutter a complaint). Also n.
mutterCollective noun for mothers-in-law (A mutter of mothers-in-law) (see list of collective nouns)
muttonthe flesh of sheep as meat (roast mutton).
mutual1 given and received in the same degree by those concerned (mutual help myoo-chu-wa-lee/.
muzzle1 the mouth and nose of an animal (a black dog with a gray muzzle). 2 a cage or set of straps fastened on an animal’s mouth to prevent it biting (the dog was apt to attack people and so it was made to wear a muzzle). 3 the open end of a gun. vb 1 to put a muzzle on an animal’s mouth. 2 to prevent from speaking freely.
mybelonging to me (I cut my finger).
Mycologystudy of funguses (see list of branches of science)
Mycophobiafear or aversion to mushrooms (see list of phobias)
Mycrophobiafear of small things (see list of phobias)
Myctophobiafear of darkness (see list of phobias)
Myologystudy of muscles (see list of branches of science)
myopicshort-sighted (too myopic to recognize people across the street).
myriada very large number (a myriad of reasons). Also adj.
Myrmecologystudy of ants (see list of branches of science)
Myrmecophobiafear of ants (see list of phobias)
myrrh1 a tree from which is obtained a sweet-smelling gum. 2 the gum so obtained.
myrtlean evergreen shrub with sweet-smelling white flowers.
myself(used reflexively or for emphasis) me (I hurt myself).
Mysophobiafear of being contaminated with dirt or germs (see list of phobias)
mysteriousdifficult to understand or explain (the mysterious stranger mi-stee-ree-us-lee/.
mystery1 a religious truth that cannot be fully understood by the human mind. 2 anything difficult to understand or explain (his background was a mystery). 3 a secret way of doing something, known only to a few (the mysteries of whiskey-making).
mystichaving to do with religious mysteries or secrets (mystic rites). n a person who believes that through prayer or sympathy he or she has understood, in part, the mysteries of life and the existence of God.
mysticalmystic (mystical beliefs).
mysticismthe beliefs or practices of a mystic.
mystifyto puzzle, to bewilder (mystified by his odd behavior). n mystification
mystiquea mysterious quality.
myth1 a story about the gods or goddesses of ancient peoples, especially one containing their beliefs about the facts of nature. 2 something that is popularly thought to be true but is not (the myth that elephants have good memories).
mythicalexisting in myths or legends, imaginary (he wrote of mythical creatures such as dragons).
mythologista person who studies myths.
Mythologystudy of myths; fables; tales (see list of branches of science)
mythology1 a collection of myths (in Scandinavian mythology). 2 the study of myths. adj mythological
Mythophobiafear of myths, stories, or false statements (see list of phobias)
Myxophobiafear of slime (see list of phobias)
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