To look up an entry in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, use the search window above. For best results, after typing in the word, click on the “Search” button instead of using the “enter” key.

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you type them in the search bar. For best results with compound words, place a quotation mark before the compound word in the search window.

guide to the dictionary



The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. Annual surveys have gauged the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists



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



The articles in our blog examine new words, revised definitions, interesting images from the fifth edition, discussions of usage, and more.


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

Find out more!



Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at

click (klĭk)
1. A brief, sharp sound: the click of a door latch.
2. A mechanical device, such as a pawl, that snaps into position.
3. Computers
a. An instance of pressing down and releasing a button on a mouse or other input device.
b. An instance of selecting an item in a website or app by clicking or tapping on a mouse, touchscreen, or other input device.
4. Linguistics Any of various implosive stops, such as that of English tsk, produced by raising the back of the tongue to make contact with the palate and simultaneously closing the lips or touching the teeth or alveolar ridge with the tip and sides of the tongue, and found as phonemic consonants especially in the languages of the Khoikhoi and the San, and in some Bantu languages. Also called suction stop. See Usage Note at !Kung.
v. clicked, click·ing, clicks
v. intr.
1. To produce a click or series of clicks.
2. Computers
a. To press and release a button on a mouse or other input device.
b. To select an item in a webpage or app by clicking or tapping a mouse, touchscreen, or other input device.
3. Slang
a. To have good social or working relations; hit it off: The director and producer clicked at the very start of the play.
b. To become clear; fall into place: The answer finally clicked, and I finished the crossword.
c. To be a great success: The play clicked on Broadway.
v. tr.
1. To cause to click, as by striking together: clicked his heels.
2. Computers
a. To press down and release (a button on an input device): clicked the left button on the mouse.
b. To press down and release a button on (an input device): clicked the mouse.
c. To select (an item in a webpage or app) by clicking or tapping a mouse, touchscreen, or other input device: To open the file, click the icon.


The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

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.