Thanks for that onelook.com, Marla. There's a word I use because I found it a long time ago in my early reporting years back in 1989. It's "h'm" as an interjection denoting pondering over a question. I loved it and started using it and have ever since. Then I went to the dictionary to find it again because I noticed I'm the only one using it, and I couldn't find it. I checked your merriam-webster.com and it wasn't there. I panicked wondering if I was the only one using a word I actually found in a dictionary I don't remember and can no longer find it to prove to anyone thus. Suddenly, in onelook.com I found it listed 3 times and realized it's true "English" with the "correct" definition and everything. I was soooo relieved. I'm good afterall. Thank God! H'm, that's great.
Not to take the wind from your sails, Michael, but not all dictionaries can be trusted. You've got to consider the source. Like Brenda and Irene talk about below, Merriam-Webster is a very conservative, last-to-change kind of dictionary. But they're a very reliable source. Things like Wikipedia and Wiktionary, are quite the opposite. Anybody can contribute to those. You just can't trust them. If you'll notice, they usually don't give you the history of the word, the etymology.
You can always trust dictionaries like Merriam-Webster, Random House, Oxford, and Cambridge.
Understood, Marla; thanks. Believe me, back in 1989 it wasn't Wikipedia or wiktionary I was looking at. It was, I thought, Websters or probably Random House but most probably the huge unabridged one. I was in a firm and found it there. "Oxford" however, is the TRUE English dictionary I was talking about. The others are American. It depends on whether you want English or settle for American. Being the perfectionist Virgo that i am, I'd probably stay with "formal" if at all possible. American has swayed me much. I understand the difference. My sails are still in the wind, baby; thanks so much. You're a gem.
Onelook is my favorite. It allows wildcard searches! M-W is my default, but it's pretty conservative. I'm thinking about switching to a dictionary that recognizes email and website. Those ARE coming; M-W will probably be the last to embrace them. It was the last to make babysitter one word!
That's why I loved the Random House when I got it way back in 1987. It seemed to have the updated technical terms that some of the other dictionaries were missing. My proofer and I were constantly amazed and thrilled with the latitude of entries in that dictionary. Of course, at that time, we never dreamed we'd be accessing dictionaries on the Internet! What a different world now!
Drugstore.com is the one I use for drugs which are changing constantly and seems as though P.D.R.'s are non-existent. Check it out and get familiar with it. Once you get there, go to the alphabetized letters and choose one. Then, there's probably a 75% chance that your drug is there. If not, you can also search from that site and you can also e-mail them and they'll get back to you within 24 hours. I did that once also. I'll probably learn a lot more from this site than I can give, but let me put my 2-cents worth in here now. Thanks all.