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aardvark a large mammal with a long snout, long ears, a long tail, and almost no hair. Aardvarks are active at night, when they use their powerful claws to dig open ant or termite nests. They catch their food with long, sticky tongues. Aardvarks live in southern and central Africa. Although they are sometimes called anteaters, aardvarks are not closely related to any other kind of mammal.
abalone a large sea snail that has several shiny colors on the inside of its shell. Abalone are mollusks. People eat abalone meat and make decorations from the shells.
accent a mark (' or `). Accents are used to show what parts of a word are to be said with more stress. [1/5 definitions]
accident reasons or causes that are not planned by anyone. [1/2 definitions]
acne a skin condition that makes pimples appear on the face, back, or chest. It happens when oil glands in the skin are blocked.
action verb a verb that shows its subject performing some action. "Run," "eat," "fly," and "sing" are examples of action verbs.
address this information written or printed on things that are mailed. [1/6 definitions]
Adriatic Sea the part of the Mediterranean Sea that lies between Italy on the west and the Balkan Peninsula on the east. Some of the countries on the Balkan Peninsula that lie on the Adriatic Sea are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia.
adverb a word that describes or modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb. Adverbs are also used to modify a whole sentence.
advertisement a public notice that tells people about products, services, or things that are happening.
aerobics (used with a singular or plural verb) a form of exercise that works the heart and lungs to help the body use oxygen better. Running, swimming, biking, or dance are forms of aerobics.
affirmative action a policy to make sure certain groups of people are given a fair chance for jobs and education. In particular, this policy is for minority groups and women who were not given these opportunities in the past. Regulations made by the U.S. government support affirmative action.
affix an element of meaning that is added to a word to change its meaning or function; prefix or suffix. The prefix "pre-" and the suffix "-ness" are both affixes. [1/2 definitions]
ain't (informal) a contraction of "am not," "is not," "are not," "have not," or "has not."
algae organisms that live mainly in the water and make their food through photosynthesis. Algae are different from plants in that they have no true leaves, roots, or stems. Seaweeds are algae. "Algae" is a plural noun; the singular form is "alga."
algebra a form of mathematics used to solve problems in which some of the numbers are not known. In an algebra problem, letters stand for the unknown numbers.
allergy a condition in which a person's body has an unusual reaction to certain things. An allergy can cause itching, coughing, sneezing, or trouble breathing. Allergies to animal hair, pollen, and certain foods are among the most common.
alligator a large reptile with short legs, a long body and tail, and a long, wide snout. Alligators are protected by thick skin with many hard bumps. They live in rivers, lakes, swamps, and other bodies of water in the southeast United States and in China. They usually eat insects, fish, turtles, snakes, birds, and other water animals, but have been known to attack small land mammals. They are closely related to crocodiles. Chinese alligators are endangered because their habitat is being changed by people.
alpaca an animal with long legs and a long neck. Alpacas live in the mountains of South America. They are mammals closely related to llamas and to camels. Alpacas are raised for their long, soft wool.
Alsatian the British word for German shepherd, a breed of large brown or black dogs that are often used as guard dogs and as guide dogs for blind people.
Amazon a member of a race of tall, strong, and fierce female warriors who are written about in Greek mythology. [1/2 definitions]