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Terms of Use

Terms of Use | Merriam-Webster

Terms of Use


Online Services Usage Agreement ("Terms of Use")
For All Merriam-Webster Web Sites, Services and Applications

Advertising-Supported and Subscription, Consumer and Institutional

Effective March 10, 2017

These Terms of Use govern your use of all online and any other electronic services, including mobile application services, provided by or made available through Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (“Merriam-Webster”), and its affiliates, that may be available from time to time (collectively, the "Services"), unless other terms and conditions expressly govern the Services. Use of the Services on and after the effective date of these Terms of Use is acceptance of these Terms of Use.

THESE TERMS OF USE CONTAIN DISCLAIMERS OF WARRANTIES AND LIABILITY, A CHOICE OF LAW, BINDING ARBITRATION CLAUSE AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. THESE PROVISIONS AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE ANY DISPUTE WITH MERRIAM-WEBSTER. PLEASE READ THEM.

Merriam-Webster offers three types of access to its Services: (1) advertising-supported; (2) individual and family consumer subscriptions; and (3) institutional subscriptions. Section 1 of these Terms of Use applies to all individuals who use our Services – advertising-supported and subscription-based. Section 2 applies only to individuals with consumer subscriptions. Section 3 applies only to individuals who are Authorized Users under institutional subscriptions. Section 4 - legal notices – applies to everyone.

Section 1. Terms of Use for Everyone

General: Your use of the Services constitutes your agreement to these Terms of Use. If you do not agree with these Terms of Use, please do not use the Services. Merriam-Webster reserves the right to change, modify, add, or remove portions of these Terms of Use at any time. Merriam-Webster will notify you of any changes by posting them on the Services or through other reasonable means of notice. Please check this page periodically for any modifications. Your use of any of the Services following the posting of changes constitutes your acceptance of the changes.

Ownership: The content on the Services is the property of Merriam-Webster and its affiliated companies or licensors, and is protected by international copyright, patent, and trademark laws.

Advertising: Advertisements, promotions, and marketing messages may appear on the Services from time to time, unless you or your institution has a subscription-based Service.

Use of Content: You may display, reproduce, print or download content on the Services only for your personal, non-commercial use. If you are a teacher, scholar or student, you may copy reasonable portions of the content for lesson plans, interactive whiteboards, reports, dissertations, presentations, school newspapers and for similar nonprofit educational purposes to the extent permitted by applicable law. In each case, however, you may not remove or alter any copyright, trademark, service mark or other proprietary notices or legends. You may not publish, distribute, retransmit, sell or provide access to the content on the Services, except as permitted under applicable law or as described in these Terms of Use. Merriam-Webster works to ensure that all the content on its Services is in compliance with applicable U.S. copyright laws. However, in the case of works on the Services authored by parties other than Merriam-Webster, you may wish to check on their copyright status before downloading them if you are in another country.  You may not use data mining, robots, screen scraping, or similar data gathering and extraction tools on the Services, except with our express written permission.  You may not decompile, reverse engineer or disassemble any software or other products or processes accessible through the Services, insert any code or product or manipulate the content of the Services in any way that affects the user's experience.

If you want to reproduce or use content for any purpose or in any manner other than as described above, you will need Merriam-Webster’s permission. Requests should be directed to this syndication form.

User Generated Content:  This section applies to the extent we have enabled posting of user-submitted comments, audio, video, text or other materials in the Services or otherwise allow you to send information or materials through the Services (collectively, “UGC”).

You are responsible for your own UGC and are responsible for the consequences of sending it through the Services. You must not do the following things: send or post UGC that is copyrighted, unless you are the copyright owner or have the permission of the copyright owner to post it; send or post UGC that reveals trade secrets, unless you own them or have the permission of the owner; send or post UGC that infringes on any other intellectual property rights of others or on the privacy or publicity rights of others or is otherwise unlawful; send or post UGC that is obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any other person or entity; send or post a sexually-explicit image; send or post advertisements or solicitations of business; send or post chain letters or the like; or impersonate another person.

By sending or posting UGC, you warrant and represent that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content, and use of your UGC by Merriam-Webster will not infringe or violate the rights of any third party. By sending UGC, you automatically grant to Merriam-Webster a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, edit, translate, distribute, perform, and display it alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology, whether now known or hereafter developed, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of sublicensees. You retain the right to reuse your UGC as submitted to Merriam-Webster.

You may not use the Services or other communication mechanisms to sell, to trade, or for other commercial purposes. You may not send UGC through the Services that violates the rights of any third party or contains a virus or other harmful component. Nor may you use language or engage in any activity that is threatening, abusive, vulgar, discourteous, disruptive, or unlawful.

Please be aware that once you post UGC, there is the potential for the general public to read your words, even years from now. Merriam-Webster suggests that you exercise caution when posting UGC on the Services and that you not disclose personal identifiable information like your location, medical record number, financial information, etc.

The opinions and/or views expressed in UGC represent the thoughts of individuals, and not those necessarily of Merriam-Webster or any of its affiliated companies or any of their respective directors, officers, attorneys, employees, or members of their board of directors. Accordingly, notwithstanding anything else in these Terms of Use, Merriam-Webster should not be seen as endorsing any UGC in any way.  Merriam-Webster, its affiliated companies, any of their respective directors, officers, attorneys, employees, and/or members of their board of directors shall not be liable for any UGC posted or sent by users of the Services.

Merriam-Webster does not have any obligation to monitor, edit or delete UGC, but may do so in its sole discretion. UGC including, but not limited to, the following may be deleted or edited by Merriam-Webster:

  • Abusive or hurtful UGC about a commentor or another participant;
  • Off-topic and redundant UGC (this includes promotion of events, groups, pages, Web sites, organizations and programs not related to or affiliated with Merriam-Webster);
  • UGC that uses foul or hateful language;
  • Personal attacks or defamatory statements or comments;
  • UGC that violate the privacy of our users;
  • UGC that is obscene, threatening, harassing, deceptive or fraudulent;
  • UGC directed at children under the age of 13;
  • UGC that may infringe any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other intellectual or proprietary right of any party or individual; and
  • UGC that violates applicable laws or regulations.

By submitting UGC, you understand and acknowledge that this information is available to the public, and that we may use this information for internal and external promotional purposes. Please note that other visitors of the Services may use your posted UGC beyond the control of Merriam-Webster. If you do not wish to have the UGC you have made available via the Services used, published, copied and/or reprinted, please do not post UGC on the Services.

Linking to the Services: For details on how to link to the Services, click here. Please contact Merriam-Webster when you link to the Services, so that Merriam-Webster can better understand how its content is being accessed and so that you can be contacted when changes are made to the Services that could invalidate your links. Any linking to the Services will be at your own risk and expense.

By linking to the Services, you agree that you will not:

  • imply in any way, by manner of presentation of the link or otherwise, that Merriam-Webster endorses your site, products or services, or that you are affiliated with Merriam-Webster in any way;
  • frame Merriam-Webster content, surround it with your own advertising or identity, or charge a fee for any link to the Services;
  • link to the Services from any Web page or Web site containing libelous, obscene or criminal material, or material that infringes, violates, or advocates the infringement or violation of any third party rights; or
  • host, publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute any content on the Services except as permitted in these Terms of Use or as specifically permitted by Merriam-Webster.

Mobile Application Services: You may download certain mobile applications from either Merriam-Webster Web sites or third party app stores.  All of these Terms of Use apply to the maximum extent relevant to your use of such Merriam-Webster mobile applications. Prices for our mobile applications may change at any time, and the Services do not provide price protection or refunds in the event of a price reduction or promotional offering.

Use of your Data. Please see our Privacy Policy for details about how we use and process the data we collect from our Services.

Disclaimer of Warranties: THE SERVICES AND ALL INFORMATION, PRODUCTS, AND OTHER CONTENT INCLUDED IN OR ACCESSIBLE FROM THE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" AND WITHOUT WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND (EXPRESS, IMPLIED, AND STATUTORY, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE), ALL OF WHICH MERRIAM-WEBSTER EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

Limitation of Liability: IN NO EVENT SHALL MERRIAM-WEBSTER, ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, SHAREHOLDERS, PARENTS, SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS AND LICENSORS, OR CONTENT PROVIDERS BE LIABLE: (i) FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO THE USE, INABILITY TO USE, PERFORMANCE OR NONPERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICES, EVEN IF MERRIAM-WEBSTER WAS PREVIOUSLY ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH DAMAGES ARISE IN CONTRACT, TORT, UNDER STATUTE, IN EQUITY, AT LAW, OR OTHERWISE; AND (ii) FOR ANY DAMAGES, LOSSES AND/OR CAUSES OF ACTION EXCEEDING ONE THOUSAND U.S. DOLLARS (US $1,000) IN THE AGGREGATE.

SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF CERTAIN DAMAGES, SO SOME OF THE ABOVE LIMITATIONS AND EXCLUSIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

Indemnification: To the fullest extent permitted by law, you agree to indemnify and hold Merriam-Webster, its directors, officers, shareholders, parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, and licensors harmless from and against all losses, expenses, damages, and costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, arising out of (i) the information or material you submit, including, but not limited to, liability for violations of copyrights, trademark rights, trade secret rights, or any other intellectual property rights, or the privacy or publicity rights of others, or liability for information or material you provide that is obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any other person or entity, or is fraudulent or deceptive, (ii) your use or unauthorized copying of the Services or any of their content, or (iii) your violation of these Terms of Use or any applicable laws or regulations.

Governing Law: You agree that all matters relating to your access to or use of the Services and these Terms of Use, including all disputes, will be governed by the laws of the United States and the State of Delaware, without giving effect to any principles of conflicts of laws, including the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.

BINDING ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER

This section applies to any dispute EXCEPT DISPUTES RELATING TO THE ENFORCEMENT OR VALIDITY OF MERRIAM-WEBSTER’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. The term “dispute” means any dispute, action, or other controversy between you and Merriam-Webster or its directors, officers, shareholders, parents, subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, licensors or content providers concerning the Services or this Agreement, whether in contract, warranty, tort, statute, regulation, ordinance, or any other legal or equitable basis. “Dispute” will be given the broadest possible meaning allowable under law.

Binding arbitration. Any dispute will be conducted exclusively by binding arbitration governed by the U.S. Federal Arbitration Act. You are giving up the right to litigate (or participate in as a party or class member) all disputes in court before a judge or jury. Instead, all disputes will be resolved before a neutral arbitrator, whose decision will be final and binding. Any court with jurisdiction over the parties may enforce the arbitrator’s award.

Class action waiver. Any proceedings to resolve or litigate any dispute in any forum will be conducted solely on an individual basis. Neither you nor Merriam-Webster will seek to have any dispute heard as a class action, private attorney general action, or in any other proceeding in which either party acts or proposes to act in a representative capacity. No arbitration or proceeding will be combined with another without the prior written consent of all parties to all affected arbitrations or proceedings.

Arbitration procedure. Any arbitration will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”) under its Commercial Arbitration Rules. If you are a resident of the United States, arbitration will take place at any reasonable location convenient for you.  For residents outside the United States, arbitration shall be initiated in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America, and you and Merriam-Webster agree to submit to the personal jurisdiction of the federal or state courts located there, in order to compel arbitration, stay proceedings pending arbitration, or confirm, modify, vacate or enter judgment on the award entered by the arbitrator.  The arbitrator’s award shall conform with these Terms of Use, including without limitation the Limitation of Liability set forth above.

Claims or disputes must be filed within one year. To the extent permitted by law, any claim or dispute must be filed within one year.   The one-year period begins when the arbitration notice first could be filed. If such a claim or dispute is not filed within one year, it shall be permanently barred.

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Not Advice. Information contained in the Services is not intended to be medical, legal, tax, financial or other advice and should not be considered medical, legal, tax, financial or other advice, nor is it intended to replace consultation with a qualified physician, attorney or other professional.

Severability. If any provision of these Terms of Use shall be unlawful, void or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from these Terms of Use and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions.

Survival. The provisions of these Terms of Use which by their nature should survive the termination of these Terms of Use shall survive such termination.

Waiver. No waiver of any provision of these Terms of Use shall be deemed a further or continuing waiver of such provision or any other provision, and your or our failure to assert any right or provision under these Terms of Use shall not constitute a waiver of such right or provision.

Entire Agreement. These Terms of Use constitute the entire agreement between Merriam-Webster and you, superseding any prior or contemporaneous communications and proposals (whether oral, written or electronic).

Section 2. Additional Terms of Use for Consumer Subscriptions

Security of Subscription: Some of the Services are available only by subscription (the "Subscription Services"). Your right to use the Subscription Services for which you have subscribed is personal to you or members of your immediate family residing with you.  If you are authorized only by an Institutional Subscriber (such as your employer, a school or library) to access and use any of the Subscription Services, your right to use the Subscription Services is not transferable to your family members; the Institutional Subscription-specific Terms of Use for individuals who benefit from an Institutional Subscription are at Section 3 below. You are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of your credentials for access to the Subscription Services (e.g., your username and password) and for complying with any guidelines prescribed by Merriam-Webster from time to time to prevent unauthorized access to the Subscription Services. You agree to immediately notify Merriam-Webster of any unauthorized use of your password or any other breach of security. Merriam-Webster reserves the right to perform one-way encryption of passwords for account maintenance purposes.

Notice to Parents and Guardians: By granting your child permission to use the Subscription Services, you agree to these Terms of Use on behalf of your child. You are responsible for monitoring and supervising your child's use of the Subscription Service in question. If your child is using the Subscription Service and is either under 16 or does not have your permission, please contact us immediately so that we can disable his or her access. If you have questions about whether the Subscription Service is appropriate for your child, please review contact us.

Subscriber Agreement: Please click here to subscribe and accept the subscription-specific Terms of Use.

Section 3. Additional Terms of Use for Individuals Who Are Authorized Users of Institutional Subscriptions

  • These additional terms apply to individuals who are Authorized Users of Institutional Subscriptions. Institutional Subscribers may be a business (“Business”), government agency (“Agency”), school and related facilities (“School”), college or university (“University”) or public library (“Library”).  “Authorized Users” are the following: (i) employees, agents or representatives in the case of Businesses and Agencies; (ii) students of Subscriber, its faculty members, administrators, and employed staff in the case of Schools; (iii) full or part-time students of Subscriber, its faculty members, administrators and employed staff in the case of Universities; and (iv) patrons, employees, agents or representatives in the case of Libraries.
  • Remote Access. Only Authorized Users are permitted to access the Services remotely.  Authorized Users are (a) in the case of Schools:  its students, its faculty members, administrators, and employed staff; (b) in the case of Universities:  its  full or part-time students, its faculty members, administrators and employed staff; (c) in the case of Businesses and Government Agencies:  employees, agents and representatives; and (d) in the case of a National, State or Public Library,  its Library patrons, Library customers, and Library users, employees, agents and representatives.  Only these individual persons are permitted to access the Services remotely.  Schools, Universities, Businesses and Government Agencies who are members of a National, State or Public Library are not Authorized Users under a Library’s license agreement with Merriam-Webster.

Section 4. Legal Notices

Copyrights

All contents of the Services are © Merriam-Webster, Incorporated or its licensors. All rights reserved. Merriam-Webster Online (www.Merriam-Webster.com) is copyrighted 2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Included within the Services are:

  • Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Merriam-Webster Online Thesaurus copyright © 2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Word of the Day copyright © 1995-2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition copyright © 2008 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Merriam-Webster's Intermediate Thesaurus copyright © 2004 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Merriam-Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary copyright © 1998 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
  • Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary copyright © 2005 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

All rights reserved.

No part of the work embodied in Merriam-Webster's pages on the World Wide Web and covered by the copyrights hereon may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means — graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, taping, or information storage and retrieval systems — except as provided in these Terms of Use without the written permission of the publisher.

Requests for permission to use or reproduce should be mailed to: Permissions Editor, Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, P.O. Box 281, Springfield, MA 01102

  • Produced in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

Merriam-Webster claims no compilation copyright in images or materials that are subject to the GNU Free Documentation License or similar licenses.

Photographs and illustrations are copyrighted by their respective owners, as noted in the credits.

Trademarks

A MERRIAM-WEBSTER, MERRIAM-WEBSTER, COLLEGIATE, WEBSTER'S COLLEGIATE, WEBSTER'S UNABRIDGED, WEBSTER'S THIRD NEW INTERNATIONAL AND DESIGN, MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY AND DESIGN, and CIRCLE WITH NW MONOGRAM AND WEBSTER'S, are trademarks of Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Any other marks that appear throughout the Services belong to Merriam-Webster, its affiliates, or third-party trademark owners. Except as permitted by applicable laws, you are prohibited from using any of the marks appearing on the Services without express written consent from the respective trademark owners.

Copyright Infringement Claims

If you believe that any copyright infringement exists on any of the Services, please use the following process to notify Merriam-Webster. We will act expeditiously to remove infringing material once informed. All claims of copyright infringement should be in writing and should be directed to our Designated Agent below:

Permissions Editor — Copyright Infringement
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
47 Federal Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01105
Fax: 413/731-5979
Phone: 413/734-3134
Email: Permissions Editor

Your notice must contain the following information:

  1. Your physical or electronic signature (as either the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed or as a person authorized to act on behalf of such owner).
  2. Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single claim, a representative list of such works at that online site.
  3. Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled and information reasonably sufficient to permit Merriam-Webster to locate the material.
  4. Information reasonably sufficient to permit Merriam-Webster to contact you, such as an address, telephone number and, if available, an electronic mail address.
  5. A statement that you believe in good faith that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent or the law.
  6. A statement that the information in the notice is accurate and that, under penalty of perjury, you are the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed or are authorized to act on behalf of such owner.

Merriam-Webster has a policy of terminating in appropriate circumstances the subscriptions of users who are infringers of copyrights held by others. If your material is removed or access to it is disabled and you believe in good faith that a claim has been wrongly made against you, you may submit a counter-notification to Merriam-Webster. Your counter-notification must be in writing and sent to:

Permissions Editor — Copyright Infringement
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated
47 Federal Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01105
Fax: 413/731-5979
Phone: 413/734-3134
Email: Permissions Editor

Your counter-notification must contain the following information:

  1. Your physical or electronic signature.
  2. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the location at which the material appeared before it was removed or access to it was disabled.
  3. A statement under penalty of perjury that you have a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled.
  4. Your name, address, and telephone number, and a statement that you consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which you are located, or if you are outside of the United States, for any judicial district in which Merriam-Webster may be found, and that you will accept service of process from the person who notified Merriam-Webster of the alleged infringement or an agent of such person.

Content-Specific Notices

Please see the notices here regarding specific content that may be found on our Services.