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This section explains what the additional information is and how you can find it and make use of it. The section has nine main topics. Here is the list:

1.  The Right Meaning

2.  Reading the Figures

3. Word Parts and Meanings

4. Mix-ups in Meanings

5. The Right Synonym

6. Usage Notes

7. Parts of Speech

8. Word Histories

9.  More than the Most

The Right Meaning

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As you know, many words in the dictionary have more than one meaning. Usually, when they do not have more than four or five definitions, it is not hard to find the one you want, either by using the context or by substituting the suitable definition for the new word.

For example, look at the two sentences below and the main entry under them:

I have an appointment in the principal's office at ten o'clock tomorrow morning.

The appointments of the ballroom will be blue and gold.

ap-point-ment n. 1 Selection for, or a placing in, an office or position not filled by election. 2 Such an office or position. 3 The person chosen. 4 An agreement to meet someone at a certain place and time. 5 (usually pi.) Furniture or equipment.

You know at once that appointment in the first sentence is explained by definition 4 because of the place and time mentioned right in the sentence. You also know that only definition 5 fits appointments in the second sentence because nothing in the other definitions can be described as having those colors.

Suppose, however, that you need to find exactly the right meaning in a very long main entry, one with fifteen, twenty, or even more definitions. This is harder. It takes more careful attention to context and more thinking than are needed to get the right meaning for appointment.

Would you expect a common word like good to make one of these long entries? It does. It has eighteen numbered definitions and ten definitions of idioms—twenty-eight altogether. Here are all of them:

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good [good] adj. bet-ter, best, n. 1 adj. Having the proper qualities; admirable. 2 adj. Skillful: a good pianist. 3 adj. Kind: a good turn. 4 adj. Well-behaved; polite: a good child. 5 adj. Proper; desirable: good manners. 6 adj. Favorable: a good opinion. 7 adj. Pleasant; agreeable: good company. 8 adj. Beneficial; helpful: good advice. 9 n. Benefit; advantage: for the good of mankind. 10 adj. Genuine; valid: a good excuse. 11 adj. Above the average in quality, degree, or kind: good food; a really good fur coat. 12 adj. Unspoiled; fresh: good meat. 13 adj. In a sound or satisfactory condition: good eyesight; a good chair. 14 adj. Satisfactory or appropriate, as for a particular purpose: good weather for flying. 15 adj. Great or fairly great in amount, extent, etc.: a good share. 16 adj. Thorough; sufficient: a good spanking. 17 adj. Full: a good mile away. 18 n. A thing that is

good. — as good as Almost; nearly; practi­cally. — for good For the last time; perma­nently. — good and informal Very; extremely: This chilli is good and hot. — good for 1 Ca­pable of lasting or remaining valid or in operation (for a certain period of time). 2 informal Able or willing to pay, give, or produce (something). — make good 1 To be successful. 2 To replace; repay. 3 To fulfill (a promise, threat, etc.). 4 To prove. — to the good To the credit, profit, or advantage of someone or something.

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When you read through all the definitions, you find three or four with very broad and general meanings. These would fit in many contexts, but they don't tell you anything exact—desirable, favorable or pleasant, above average, and proper. Most of the other definitions show certain ways of being desir­able, favorable, or proper on a particular occasion or in some set of special circum­stances. Good weather for flying will not seem good to the farmer who wants rain; he would rather have a good rain.

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