A Guide to Dictionary Word Forms – The Language Professional

A Guide to Dictionary Word Forms

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​Have you ever ​what symbols like 'n.[u]', 'v.[t.]', ​'conj.' ​and ​'det.'​​​​​​​ mean in the dictionary? ​Well, these symbols describe word forms. In this article,​ you'll discover all the common dictionary word forms and how you can use them in your language learning.

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​Quick start:

​SIMPLE GUIDE - start here if:
- you don't know much about this topic
- you just want to know the main points


​​​DETAILED GUIDE - start here if:
- you already know about this topic
- you want to know more about this topic

Simple Guide

n. / v. / adj. / adv.

n. / v. / adj. / adv. - Word order

​Detailed Guide

​n.[c.] / n.[u.] / n.[s.] / n.[pl.]

v.[m.] / ​v.[t.] / v.[i.]

​conj. / det.

​Ready to test your knowledge?

​​Here are some dictionary ​definitions of words ​with the meanings removed.

1. Try to answer the questions below using just the word firms.

2. ​If you need help, check the word meanings below the questions.

auspicious  - adj. - /ɔːˈspɪʃəs/

flummox- v. [t.] - /ˈflʌməks/

​henceforth - ​adv. - /​ˌhensˈfɔːrθ/

​lollygag - v. [​i.] - /​ˈlɒliɡæɡ/

pincer  - n. [c.] - /ˈpɪnsə/

​trepidation  - n. [u.] - /​ˌtrepɪˈdeɪʃən/

​And here are the definitions again, with their meanings.

auspicious  - adj. - /ɔːˈspɪʃəs/
if something is auspicious, you believe it will bring luck, hope or success

flummox- v. [t.] - /ˈflʌməks/
to confuse someone completely

​henceforth - ​adv. - /​ˌhensˈfɔːrθ/
​from now (very formal and a little old-fashioned)

​lollygag - v. [​i.] - /​ˈlɒliɡæɡ/
to​ spend time without any aim or purpose

pincer  - n. [c.] - /ˈpɪnsə/
the 'hand' of an animal such as a crab

​trepidation  - n. [u.] - /​ˌtrepɪˈdeɪʃən/
​fear or anxiety that something that might happen

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