What word or phrase does your mother always say?


[land] /lænd/
any part of the earth's surface not covered by a body of water; the part of the earth's surface occupied by continents and islands:
Land was sighted from the crow's nest.
an area of ground with reference to its nature or composition:
arable land.
an area of ground with specific boundaries:
to buy land on which to build a house.
rural or farming areas, as contrasted with urban areas:
They left the land for the city.
  1. any part of the earth's surface that can be owned as property, and everything annexed to it, whether by nature or by the human hand.
  2. any legal interest held in land.
Economics. natural resources as a factor of production.
a part of the surface of the earth marked off by natural or political boundaries or the like; a region or country:
They came from many lands.
the people of a region or country.
Audio. the flat surface between the grooves of a phonograph record.
a realm or domain:
the land of the living.
a surface between furrows, as on a millstone or on the interior of a rifle barrel.
Scot. a tenement house.
verb (used with object)
to bring to or set on land:
to land passengers or goods from a ship; to land an airplane.
to bring into or cause to arrive in a particular place, position, or condition:
His behavior will land him in jail.
Informal. to catch or capture; gain; win:
to land a job.
Angling. to bring (a fish) to land, or into a boat, etc., as with a hook or a net.
verb (used without object)
to come to land or shore:
The boat lands at Cherbourg.
to go or come ashore from a ship or boat.
to alight upon a surface, as the ground, a body of water, or the like:
to land on both feet.
to hit or strike the ground, as from a height:
The ball landed at the far side of the court.
to strike and come to rest on a surface or in something:
The golf ball landed in the lake.
to come to rest or arrive in a particular place, position, or condition (sometimes followed by up):
to land in trouble; to land up 40 miles from home.
Verb phrases
land on, Informal. to reprimand; criticize:
His mother landed on him for coming home so late.
land on one's feet. foot (def 40).
see how the land lies, to investigate in advance; inform oneself of the facts of a situation before acting:
You should see how the land lies before making a formal proposal.
Compare lay of the land.
Origin of land
before 900; Middle English (noun and v.), Old English (noun); cognate with Dutch, German, Old Norse, Gothic land; akin to Irish lann, Welsh llan church (orig. enclosure), Breton lann heath. See lawn1
Related forms
landlike, adjective
reland, verb
underland, noun


[land] /lænd/
Edwin Herbert, 1909–91, U.S. inventor and businessman: created the Polaroid camera.


a combining form of land:
hinterland; lowland. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for land
  • Water that can't infiltrate the surface runs off the land instead, exacerbating erosion.
  • As the sediment dissolves, caves and air pockets develop underneath the land surface.
  • Currently the government pays farmers around here to allow their land to lie fallow.
  • Army is testing a new technology for land mine detection that is based on the use of sound waves.
  • TO protect the purity of drinking water, water companies usually try to keep the public off the land around their reservoirs.
  • Whether the ancestors to modern snakes lost their limbs at sea or on land has been the subject of debate for over a century.
  • One of the great arguments against biofuels is the wisdom, if not the morality, of using land to produce fuel instead of food.
  • land-use conversion regulations have also been tightened in an effort to reduce unrest provoked by unfair seizures of land.
  • Most land speed racers are purpose-built vehicles with little other utility.
  • Online archives of educational experiences may help graduates land jobs.
British Dictionary definitions for land


the solid part of the surface of the earth as distinct from seas, lakes, etc related adjective terrestrial
  1. ground, esp with reference to its use, quality, etc
  2. (in combination): land-grabber
rural or agricultural areas as contrasted with urban ones
farming as an occupation or way of life
  1. any tract of ground capable of being owned as property, together with any buildings on it, extending above and below the surface
  2. any hereditament, tenement, or other interest; realty
  1. a country, region, or area
  2. the people of a country, etc
a realm, sphere, or domain
(economics) the factor of production consisting of all natural resources
the unindented part of a grooved surface, esp one of the ridges inside a rifle bore
how the land lies, the prevailing conditions or state of affairs
to transfer (something) or go from a ship or boat to the shore: land the cargo
(intransitive) to come to or touch shore
to come down or bring (something) down to earth after a flight or jump
to come or bring to some point, condition, or state
(transitive) (angling) to retrieve (a hooked fish) from the water
(transitive) (informal) to win or obtain: to land a job
(transitive) (informal) to deliver (a blow)
See also lands, land up, land with
Derived Forms
landless, adjective
landlessness, noun
Word Origin
Old English; compare Old Norse, Gothic land, Old High German lant


Edwin Herbert. 1909–91, US inventor of the Polaroid Land camera


noun (pl) Länder (ˈlɛndər)
  1. any of the federal states of Germany
  2. any of the provinces of Austria
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for land

Old English land, lond, "ground, soil," also "definite portion of the earth's surface, home region of a person or a people, territory marked by political boundaries," from Proto-Germanic *landom (cf. Old Norse, Old Frisian Dutch, German, Gothic land), from PIE *lendh- "land, heath" (cf. Old Irish land, Middle Welsh llan "an open space," Welsh llan "enclosure, church," Breton lann "heath," source of French lande; Old Church Slavonic ledina "waste land, heath," Czech lada "fallow land").

Etymological evidence and Gothic use indicates the original sense was "a definite portion of the earth's surface owned by an individual or home of a nation." Meaning early extended to "solid surface of the earth," which had been the sense of the root of Modern English earth. Original sense of land in English is now mostly found under country. To take the lay of the land is a nautical expression. In the American English exclamation land's sakes (1846) land is a euphemism for Lord.


"to bring to land," early 13c., from land (n.). Originally of ships; of fish, in the angling sense, from 1610s; hence figurative sense of "to obtain" (a job, etc.), first recorded 1854. Of aircraft, attested from 1916. Related: Landed; landing.

"to make contact, to hit home" (of a blow, etc.), by 1881, perhaps altered from lend in a playful sense, or else an extension of land (v.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with land
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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