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).

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

PURCHASE THE DICTIONARY

The online searchable American Heritage Dictionary includes definitions, pronunciations, etymologies, and feature notes. You can purchase the dictionary as an iOS or an Android app—or buy the deluxe printed edition.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

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

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

Additional information is available in an expanded form 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!

mod·el (mŏdl)
Share:
n.
1. A small object, usually built to scale, that represents in detail another, often larger object.
2.
a. A preliminary work or construction that serves as a plan from which a final product is to be made: a clay model ready for casting.
b. Such a work or construction used in testing or perfecting a final product: a test model of a solar-powered vehicle.
3. A schematic description or representation of something, especially a system or phenomenon, that accounts for its properties and is used to study its characteristics: a model of generative grammar; a model of an atom; an economic model.
4. A style or design of an item: My car is last year's model.
5. One serving as an example to be imitated or compared: a model of decorum. See Synonyms at ideal.
6.
a. One that serves as the subject for an artist, especially a person employed to pose for a painter, sculptor, or photographer.
b. One that serves as the basis for a fictional character or place.
7. A person employed to display merchandise, such as clothing or cosmetics.
8. Zoology An animal whose appearance is copied by a mimic.
adj.
1. Being, serving as, or used as a model.
2. Worthy of imitation: a model child.
v. mod·eled, mod·el·ing, mod·els also mod·elled or mod·el·ling
v.tr.
1. To make or construct a descriptive or representational model of: computer programs that model climate change.
2. To plan, construct, or fashion in imitation of a model: modeled his legal career after that of his mentor.
3.
a. To make by shaping a plastic substance: modeled a bust from clay.
b. To form (clay, for example) into a shape.
4. To display by wearing or posing in: model clothes.
5. In painting, drawing, and photography, to give a three-dimensional appearance to, as by shading or highlighting.
6. Psychology
a. To exhibit (a behavior) in such a way as to promote the establishment of similar patterns of behavior in another: The therapist modeled socially appropriate conversation.
b. To repeat (a behavior observed in another): The child was modeling her mother's nurturing behavior.
v.intr.
1. To make a model.
2. To work or serve as a model, as in wearing clothes for display or serving as the subject of an artist.
Phrasal Verb:
model (oneself) on (or after)
To copy the example of (another); imitate.

[French modèle, from Italian modello, diminutive of modo, form, from Latin modus, measure, standard; see med- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

model·er n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Have a promotional code?

GET YOUR FREE APP!

Put the entire dictionary at your fingertips—anywhere, anytime!

BUY THE iOS or ANDROID APP

dictionary-app

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.