use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

a·gree·ment (ə-grēmənt)
Share:
n.
1.
a. The act of agreeing: When did the agreement take place?
b. Harmony of opinion; accord: Since we are all in agreement, let's proceed.
2. An arrangement between parties, usually resulting from a discussion, regarding a course of action.
3. Law
a. A properly executed and legally binding contract.
b. The writing or document embodying this contract.
4. Grammar Correspondence in gender, number, case, or person between words.

Synonyms: agreement, bargain, compact2, covenant, deal1, pact
These nouns denote an understanding between parties specifying what is expected of each: made an agreement that I would replace any of the items I lost or damaged; kept my end of the bargain and mowed the lawn; made a compact to correspond regularly; vows that constituted a covenant between the marriage partners; made a deal that if her parents got a new dog, she would walk it; a solemn pact to support each other in times of trouble.

Our Living Language Sometimes vernacular varieties of English do not conform to the standard pattern of subject-verb agreement, such as in the constructions She walk, People goes, and Pat and Terry likes the new movie. The standard pattern requires an -s ending on present-tense verbs with third-person singular subjects (such as the teacher or he/she/it) and no ending on verbs with any other kind of subject. Speakers who do not follow this pattern smooth out this irregularity by using -s endings for all persons and numbers (I/you/she/we/they walks) or by using no inflection at all (I/you/she/we/they go). The regularization of agreement patterns is not confined to today's vernacular dialect speakers. Subject-verb agreement has become progressively simpler throughout the development of English. In older varieties of English, all verbs took endings for person and number in both present and past tense. Vernacular speakers who use patterns such as she go or the students walks are carrying on the historic tradition of simplifying agreement patterns. See Note at be.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.