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mine 1 (mīn)
a. A hole or tunnel dug into the earth from which ore or minerals are extracted.
b. A surface excavation where the topmost or exposed layer of earth is removed for extracting its ore or minerals.
c. The site of such a hole, tunnel, or excavation, including its surface buildings and equipment.
2. A deposit of ore or minerals in the earth or on its surface.
3. An abundant supply or source of something valuable: This guidebook is a mine of information.
a. A tunnel dug under an enemy emplacement to destroy it by explosives, cause it to collapse, or gain access to it for an attack.
b. An explosive device used to destroy enemy personnel, shipping, fortifications, or equipment, often placed in a concealed position and designed to be detonated by contact, proximity, or a time fuse.
5. A burrow or tunnel made by an insect, especially one made in a leaf by a leaf miner.
v. mined, min·ing, mines
a. To extract (ore or minerals) from the earth.
b. To dig a mine in (the earth) to obtain ore or minerals.
a. To tunnel under (the earth or a surface feature).
b. To make (a tunnel) by digging.
3. To lay explosive mines in or under.
4. To attack, damage, or destroy by underhand means; subvert.
5. To delve into and make use of; exploit: mine the archives for detailed information.
a. To excavate the earth for the purpose of extracting ore or minerals.
b. To work in a mine.
2. To dig a tunnel under the earth, especially under an enemy emplacement or fortification.
3. To lay explosive mines.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *mīna, probably of Celtic origin.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
mine 2 (mīn)
pron. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
Used to indicate the one or ones belonging to me: The green gloves are mine. If you can't find your hat, take mine.
adj. A possessive form of I1.
Used instead of my before an initial vowel or the letter h.

[Middle English, from Old English mīn; see me-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

Our Living Language In Standard English, most possessive pronouns have different forms when used as nouns, or nominals, as in That book is yours, than when used as adjectives, as in That is your book. The two exceptions are his and its, which retain the same form in both usages. The nominal forms all end in -s except for mine. In some Southern US and New England vernacular dialects, all nominal possessive pronouns end in -n, just like mine, as in That book is hern (but not "That's hern book") and Those cookies are ourn. Although forms such as hisn and hern are highly socially stigmatized, from a strictly linguistic standpoint these forms reflect a natural phenomenon in the development of all languages and dialects: Irregular patterns tend to be regularized, thereby eliminating exceptions to language "rules." Further, hisn, hern, ourn, yourn, and theirn have a long history in English. They arose in the Middle English period (c. 1100-1500) by analogy with mine and thine, forms that are older than my and thy and that can be traced to Old English (c. 449-1100). Originally, my and thy were used before nouns beginning with consonant sounds, as in my book, while mine and thine were used before nouns beginning with vowel sounds, as in mine eyesas a and an still are. This distinction persisted into the 1700s. But as nominal pronouns, mine and thine remained unchanged. This invariant use of -n led to its use for all nominal possessive pronouns (except its, which is rarely used nominally, as in That book is its). In fact, these -n forms may be older than the current standard -s forms, which arose late in the Middle English period, by analogy to his. Most likely, hern, ourn, yourn, and theirn originated somewhere in the central area of southern England, since they can still be found throughout many parts of that region. In the United States, the forms appear to be increasingly confined to older speakers in relatively isolated areas, indicating that these features are at last fading from use. In some Southern-based vernacular dialects, particularly African American Vernacular English, the irregular standard English pattern for nominal possessive forms has been regularized by adding -s to mine, as in That book is mines. See Note at an1.

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.