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These are answers to the most frequently asked questions about Cambridge Dictionary. If you have a question which isn't in this list, or if the answer given does not satisfy you, please contact us with your question.

How are words added to the dictionary?

We have a team of lexicographers who are always on the lookout for new words appearing in the English language. They look at the Cambridge English Corpus to check the frequency of the word, and where it is used (in newspapers, in casual conversation, in academic texts, etc.). If the word is used in many different contexts over a period of time, the lexicographers add it to the dictionary. If the lexicographers think that a new word might be ephemeral, they keep a record of it to review at a later date.

Do you have an online thesaurus?

There are thesaurus clouds at many of the definitions in the dictionary. These contain not only synonyms, but also related words and phrases. The words in the cloud are bigger or smaller depending on how frequently they are used. You can click on the bar that says 'Thesaurus: synonyms and related words' to reveal or hide the thesaurus cloud.

How can I find out a word's pronunciation?

In most entries in the dictionary, you will see two orange speaker icons under the word; one British and one American. You can click on them to hear the pronunciation of the word. If you cannot play the audio, try updating your browser or installing Adobe® Flash. In addition, all entries in the dictionary include phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet.

What do the phonetic symbols mean?

Phonetic symbols represent the sounds of words (for example, the pronunciation of words is /wɜːdz/). You can see a full list of phonetic symbols used in our dictionaries, with examples of their pronunciation.

What do the codes in the dictionary entries mean?

You can see a full list of grammar codes used in our dictionaries, with explanations of what they mean.

What do sb and sth in entries mean?

sb means somebody, and sth means something.

What do the A1, B2, C1, etc. labels mean?

These symbols show the English Profile level of a word, phrase or meaning. For example, a word that has a B1 symbol is a word that intermediate learners of English usually know.

A1 Beginner

A2 Elementary

B1 Intermediate

B2 Upper-Intermediate

C1 Advanced

C2 Proficiency

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lend a helping hand

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