As you are probably aware, our contemporary English content is now available through Lexico.com (https://www.lexico.com/en), and our old English dictionary site no longer exists.

As a result of this, this forum is now closed.

The English dictionary community team would like the opportunity to say a huge thanks to all of you who participated by posting questions and helping other community members.
We hope this forum was useful, and that you enjoyed being a part of it.

If you would like to get in touch with any OED-related queries, please write to
[email protected]

And if you would like to contribute suggestions to the OED, please do so by visiting: https://public.oed.com/contribute-to-the-oed/

Thank you very much indeed, and good bye!
The community team

How can I find the meaning of a word whose definition goes in circles?

English is not my first language and I'm learning it.

I have good dictionaries (like the 2 volume Oxford OED) but sometimes I wind up in a "going in circles" situation; for example:

  • while looking at the meaning of "to drive" (e.g. a nail) in my dictionary, I get this definition:
    "force by a blow or thrust (into)".
    But I don't exactly know what "to force" means. I look it up:
    to force = "drive violently or against resistance".
    Which leads me back to "drive", so that I still don't know what it means.

  • another example of going in a circle, while looking up "brink":
    brink = the verge of some state, action, event, time etc.
    I don't know what "verge" means so I look it up:
    verge = the brink of something towards which there is progress.

What should I do in these situations?
Someone recommended buying an Advanced learner's dictionary. Is it a good idea? Are there other things to try?

Thank you.

Answers

  • You could try https://oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com.

    I'm a native speaker of English who, for some reason, developed an interest in definitions of words, grammar, etc., and I find that the Oxford Learner's Dictionary website is sometimes actually more accurate in describing the meanings of words than the Oxford Dictionaries website.

Sign In or Register to comment.