How to Search the Dictionary

Dictionary searches allow you to search within the parts of an entry (such as headwords and forms, etymology or label, definition, quotations). You can also find Middle English words relevant to your area of interest (e.g., looking for definitions that include the Modern English word "love" will help find Middle English words related to various kinds of love).

A Dictionary search will retrieve dictionary entries that match your terms.

Dictionary search types

Entire entry
A search of the entire entry will retrieve all entries containing the word or phrase, text, author, date, etc.(or a combination of these) you specify; search items could appear in any of the parts of the entry (form section, definition, quotation, notes, etc.).
Headword (with alternate spellings) [Default]
A search within headword (with alternate spellings) searches for your word in all orthographic forms and alternative spellings recorded in the form section.
Headword (preferred spelling only)
Searching within headword (preferred spelling only) is a traditional dictionary lookup and matches your word exactly.
Definition and Notes
A definition and notes search will retrieve all entries in which the definitions contain the words, phrases or labels you specify. Definitions are in modern English, though they may include illustrative phrases in Middle English.
An etymology search will retrieve all entries whose etymological statements contain the specified search term(s), e.g., an etymon, cognates, dialect or modern equivalents, etc. It may be used to retrieve any part of the contents of an etymological statement.
Associated quotes and manuscripts
Searching within associated quotes and manuscripts will find entries that contain the search term anywhere within the quotations cited to illustrate a particular sense of the word and the abbreviated forms (or stencils) used to refer to the works in which the quotations are found.
Modern English
A modern English search will attempt to find an entry that has been linked with an OED entry using that headword. Note that not all MED entries have a related OED entry.