General English


  • noun
    (written as word)
    a separate item of language, which is used with others to form speech or writing which can be understood
  • noun
    (written as word)
    a separate item of data on a computer, formed of a group of bits, stored in a single location in a memory


  • (written as Word)
    A common word processing program.
  • (written as word)
    The fundamental unit of storage for a given computer architecture. It represents the maximum number of bits that can be held in its registers and be processed at one time. A word for computers with a 32-bit data bus is 32 bits, or 4 bytes. A word for computers with a 256-bit data bus is 256 bits, or 32 bytes, and so on. Also called computer word.


  • exclamation an all-purpose term of agreement, solidarity, greeting, etc. (inspired by ‘word of honour’ or ‘the good word’), which appeared first in black street culture of the late 1980s and subsequently in rap lyrics, where it was used as a form of punctuation. Someone asking ‘word up?’ is making the informal greeting ‘How are you today and what’s happening, my friend?’ In the UK The Word was adopted first as the title of a radio programme on the station Kiss FM and then for a controversial TV youth programme of the early 1990s.

Origin & History of “word!”

Word and verb are closely related. both go back ultimately to the Indo-European base *wer- ‘speak, say’, which also produced Greek rhḗtōr ‘public speaker’ (source of English rhetoric), Latvian vārds ‘word’, and Lithuanian vardas ‘name’. Its prehistoric Germanic descendant was *wordam, which has given German wort, Dutch woord, Swedish and Danish ord, and English word.