use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

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

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. Annual surveys have gauged 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

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

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

scroll-icon

THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY BLOG

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

100-words-icon

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

Find out more!

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

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

-ee 1
Share:
suff.
1.
a. One that receives or benefits from a specified action: addressee.
b. One that possesses a specified thing: mortgagee.
2. One that performs a specified action: absentee.

[Middle English, from Old French -e, -ee, past participle suff., from Latin -ātus; see -ATE1.]

Usage Note: The suffix -ee has its origins in the French passive participle ending (feminine -ée). It was first used in English to refer to indirect objects and then to direct objects of transitive verbs, particularly in legal contexts (as in donee, lessee, or trustee) and in military and political jargon (draftee, trainee, or nominee). Typically the action of the verb happens to the person being described by the nouna draftee is a person who is drafted, not a person who drafts other people. Beginning around the mid-19th century, primarily in American English, the -ee suffix was extended to denote the subject of an intransitive verb, as in standee ("a person who stands") and returnee ("a person who returns"). The coining of new words ending in -ee continues to be common. A number of these coinages, such as honoree, deportee, and escapee, have become widely accepted. But many others are created on an ad-hoc basis and tend to have a comic effect. Thus, a firee is one who is fired from a job, a jokee is one who is the subject of a joke, and a roastee is one who is ridiculed at a roast. On rare occasions the suffix -ee has been applied to noun forms, giving us words like benefactee (from benefactor) and to transitive verbs where the subject refers to the agent of the action, such as attendee (one who attends a conference).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
-ee 2
Share:
suff.
1.
a. One resembling: goatee.
b. A particular, especially a diminutive kind of: bootee.
2. One connected with: bargee.

[Variant of -Y1.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
EE
Share:
abbr.
1. electrical engineer
2. electrical engineering

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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.

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.