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

hatch 1 (hăch)
Share:
n.
1.
a. An opening, as in the deck of a ship, in the roof or floor of a building, or in an aircraft.
b. The cover for such an opening.
c. A hatchway.
2. A door that opens upward on the rear of an automobile; a hatchback.
3. A floodgate.
Idiom:
down the hatch Slang
Drink up. Often used as a toast.

[Middle English, small door, from Old English hæc, hæcc.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
hatch 2 (hăch)
Share:
v. hatched, hatch·ing, hatch·es
v.intr.
1. To emerge from an egg or other structure that surrounds and protects an embryo.
2. To emerge from a cocoon or chrysalis.
3. To emerge from the water when transforming from an aquatic larval or pupal form to a winged form, as a mayfly or caddisfly.
v.tr.
1. To produce (young) from an egg or eggs.
2. To cause (an egg or eggs) to produce young.
3. To devise or originate, especially in secret: hatch an assassination plot.
n.
1.
a. The act or an instance of hatching from an egg or similar structure.
b. The act or an instance of emerging from a cocoon or chrysalis.
c. The act or an instance of emerging from the water when transforming from an aquatic larval or pupal form to a winged form.
2.
a. A group of young organisms, especially birds, that hatch at one time; a brood.
b. A group of adult insects that emerge at one time.
c. A group of winged insects, as mayflies or caddisflies, that emerge at one time from a body of water.

[Middle English hacchen, from Old English *hæccan.]

hatcher n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
hatch 3 (hăch)
Share:
tr.v. hatched, hatch·ing, hatch·es
To shade by drawing or etching fine parallel or crossed lines on.
n.
A fine line used in hatching.

[Middle English hachen, to engrave, carve, from Old French hacher, hachier, to crosshatch, cut up; see HASH1.]

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.