from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To speak to.
  • transitive verb To make a formal speech to.
  • transitive verb To direct (a spoken or written message) to the attention of.
  • transitive verb To mark with a destination.
  • transitive verb To direct the efforts or attention of (oneself).
  • transitive verb To begin to deal with.
  • transitive verb To dispatch or consign (a ship, for example) to an agent or factor.
  • transitive verb Sports To adjust and aim the club at (a golf ball) in preparing for a stroke.
  • noun A description of the location of a person or organization, as written or printed on mail as directions for delivery.
  • noun The location at which a particular organization or person may be found or reached.
  • noun A name or a sequence of characters that designates an e-mail account or a specific site on the Internet or other network.
  • noun A name or number used in information storage or retrieval assigned to or identifying a specific memory location.
  • noun A formal speech or written communication.
  • noun Courteous attentions.
  • noun The manner or bearing of a person, especially in conversation.
  • noun Skill, deftness, or grace in dealing with people or situations.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Power of properly directing or guiding one's own action or conduct; skilful management; dexterity; adroitness: as, he managed the affair with address.
  • noun Direction or guidance of speech; the act or manner of speaking to persons; personal bearing in intercourse; accost: as, Sir is a title of address; he is a man of good address. Hence The attention paid by a lover to his mistress; courtship; plural (more commonly), the acts of courtship; the attentions of a lover: as, to pay one's addresses to a lady.
  • noun An utterance of thought addressed by speech to an audience, or transmitted in writing to a person or body of persons; usually, an expression of views or sentiments on some matter of direct concern or interest to the person or persons addressed; a speech or discourse suited to an occasion or to circumstances: as, to deliver an address on the events of the day; an address of congratulation; the address of Parliament in reply to the queen's speech.
  • noun A formal request addressed to the executive by one or both branches of a legislative body, requesting it to do a particular thing.
  • noun A direction for guidance, as to a person's abode; hence, the place at which a person resides, or the name and place of destination, with any other details, necessary for the direction of a letter or package: as, what is your present address? the address or superscription on a letter.
  • noun In equity pleading, the technical description in a bill of the court whose remedial power is sought.
  • noun In com., the act of despatching or consigning, as a ship, to an agent at the port of destination.
  • noun Formerly used in the sense of preparation, or the state of preparing or being prepared, and in various applications arising therefrom, as an appliance, array or dress, etc.
  • Primarily, to make direct or straight; straighten, or straighten up; hence, to bring into line or order, as troops (see dress); make right in general; arrange, redress, as wrongs, etc.
  • N. E. D. To direct in a course or to an end; impart a direction to, as toward an object or a destination; aim, as a missile; apply directly, as action.
  • To direct the energy or force of; subject to the effort of doing; apply to the accomplishment of: used reflexively, with to: as, he addressed himself to the work in hand.
  • To direct to the ear or attention, as speech or writing; utter directly or by direct transmission, as to a person or persons: as, to address a warning to a friend, or a petition to the legislature.
  • To direct speech or writing to; aim at the hearing or attention of; speak or write to: as, to address an assembly; he addressed his constituents by letter.
  • To apply in speech; subject to hearing or notice: used reflexively, with to: as, he addressed himself to the chairman.
  • To direct for transmission; put a direction or superscription on: as, to address a letter or parcel to a person at his residence; to address newspapers or circulars.
  • To direct attentions to in courtship; pay court to as a lover.
  • To prepare; make ready: often with to or for.
  • Hence To clothe or array; dress; adorn; trim.
  • In com., to consign or intrust to the care of another, as agent or factor: as, the ship was addressed to a merchant in Baltimore.
  • To direct speech; speak.
  • To make an address or appeal.
  • To make preparations; get ready.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To prepare one's self.
  • intransitive verb obsolete To direct speech.
  • noun obsolete Act of preparing one's self.
  • noun Act of addressing one's self to a person; verbal application.
  • noun A formal communication, either written or spoken; a discourse; a speech; a formal application to any one; a petition; a formal statement on some subject or special occasion.
  • noun Direction or superscription of a letter, or the name, title, and place of residence of the person addressed.
  • noun Manner of speaking to another; delivery.
  • noun Attention in the way one's addresses to a lady.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English adressen, to direct, from Old French adresser, from Vulgar Latin *addīrēctiāre : Latin ad-, ad- + Vulgar Latin *dīrēctiāre, to straighten (from Latin dīrēctus, past participle of dīrigere, to direct; see direct).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English adressen ("to raise erect, adorn"), from Old French adrecier ("to straighten, address"), (French adresser), from a- (Latin ad ("to")) + drecier, (French dresser ("to straighten, arrange")) < Latin directus ("straight or right"), from the verb dīrigĕre, itself from regĕre ("to govern, to rule").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word address.


  • WORDS ACCENTED ON THE LAST SYLLABLE: address _address'_ adept _adept'_ adult _adult'_ ally _ally'_ commandant _commandänt '(ä as in arm) _ contour _contour'_ dessert _dessert'_ dilate _dilate'_ excise _eksiz'_ finance _finance'_ grimace _grimace'_ importune _importune'_ occult _occult'_ pretence _pretence'_ research _research'_ robust _robust'_ romance _romance'_ tirade _tirade'_

    Practical Grammar and Composition Thomas Wood

  • * Set the reply to address function replyto ($address) $this - > replyto = trim ($address); 2009

  • * Sets an bcc address to send to function bcc ($address, $realname = '') if (! trim ($address)) return; 2009

  • * Sets an cc address to send to function cc ($address, $realname = '') if (! trim ($address)) return; 2009

  • * Set the reply to address function replyto ($address) $this - > replyto = trim ($address); 2009

  • * Sets an cc address to send to function cc ($address, $realname = '') if (! trim ($address)) return; 2009

  • * Set the from address function from ($address) $this - > from = trim ($address); 2009

  • * Sets an bcc address to send to function bcc ($address, $realname = '') if (! trim ($address)) return; 2009

  • * Sets an email address to send to function to ($address, $realname = '') global $config; if (! trim ($address)) return; 2009

  • * Set the from address function from ($address) $this - > from = trim ($address); 2009


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  • In an address of = concerning, aimed at, with/in reference to

    In an address to = In a speech addressing (someone)

    May 1, 2011

  • I've never heard 'in an address of'.

    May 1, 2011

  • Hi bilby and all!!

    Type "in an address of" in W♥rdnik search bar and see for yourself. "In an address of" does not seem to mean "in an adversion to" but rather "addressing, in/with/having regard to, etc." For example: "Many such claims were already made in an address of bilby". How do you think?

    May 2, 2011

  • This, I think, has been taken incorrectly from context. In the examples listed, the "address" is a speech. For instance, "in an address of President Obama" - the address/speech belongs to Obama. It's not an idiomatic phrase, just a use of "address" meaning "speech."

    Since the inversion of the possessive seems strange to our ears, many people add a redundant 's on the end - "in an address of President Obama's" - does anyone know if this is generally accepted?

    May 2, 2011

  • " 'S" as a genitive affix added to the end of the proper noun in question , blafferty, is a solecism unless you mean not to put a full stop to the expression. As for example: ❝ an address of President Obama's secretary (or competence), etc.❞, ("competence" here refers to the content of the address which someone else than the President might have delivered). Are you sure you have chosen the right preposision in the phrase "on the end"? If you are, would you explain it to me why?

    My suggestion anent "in an address of" is logically possible, but in this way "an" is logically preferable to be omitted.

    "I never speak in address of people in absentia".

    May 3, 2011

  • Well, I am aware that the redundant 's is technically incorrect - I was wondering if people see it as commonly accepted. I seem to hear it a lot and I assume that the reason is that in English we generally use the 's form for possessives instead of the prepositional phrase, so it sounds strange to people's ears - they are over-correcting, I guess.

    Generally if the preposition 'of' would refer to the content like in the example you use here, "... in an address of the President's competence," the ambiguity leads most (in my experience) to re-phrase it to make it clear: "... in an address regarding the President's competency." Do others agree?

    Prepositions in English are so fickle and high-maintenance. Their meanings seem so vague but their usage is so specific.

    As for "on the end," it is correct if I am referring to the word, as in "Obama had an 's on the end." If I were referring to the end of the sentence, the appropriate preposition would be at - "the sentence had an 's at the end."

    May 3, 2011

  • I am sorry, blafferty. In no way do I regard "on" as the proper preposition in this case. I shall take the liberty to assume that you either tend to rely on literalism in the choice of prepositions, or you simply labour under misconceptions at times. But, I assure you that we can properly use "at" after "add's" object, as in "Occasionally, we can hear some people add " 's" at the end of the word". In that example I shall say it is a thought wiser to interchange the prep. "to" that "add" conventionally takes, with "at" since it conveys a better sense of joining the genitive morpheme to the word. But taking "on" in here would make my hair stand on end; it would even do so in "Obama had an 's on the end." It's not a surface! In the end, I would like to say I have never read in any reputable or reference book the use you aver. I can adduce examples in favour of my contention.

    (The English used the U.S.A is defiled beyond believe).


    May 3, 2011

  • wtf

    May 3, 2011

  • "The English used the U.S.A is defiled beyond believe"

    What kind of semi-literate nonsense is this, pray tell?

    May 3, 2011

  • Um, wow. Nope. I'm sure a google search for the phrase "on the end of the word" will bring up plenty of examples, and surely some of them will be "undefiled beyond believe," hahaha. Perhaps if you go to on your questions about this somewhat tricky English preposition will be answered.

    May 3, 2011

  • Perhaps Deyan was being facetious with that phrase, sionnach.

    May 4, 2011

  • Yes, it will, as the Google reflects indiscriminatingly everything that there is to be found. Likewise, apropos, you may type "suggest me to" in W♥rdnik and see how unreliable it is when it comes to examples' quality and such. Many also say and write "on the law books" instead of "in the law books", and both can be found in either searches.

    To further my point I have drawn some relevant examples from reference books:

    "At the end of one letter were a number of dots which he..." p 410 A Dictionary of Modern English Usage-- H.W. Fowler

    "An affix (see above) at the end of a word or stem to make a derivative, as -cy, -ship..." p 622 A Dictionary of Modern English Usage-- H. W. Fowler

    "...are voiceless at the end of a word." p 32 The Grammar of Words-- Geert Booij (OXFORD TEXTBOOK IN LINGUISTICS)

    "At the end of the derivation we have computed..." p 157 The Grammar of Words-- Geert Booij (OXFORD TEXTBOOK IN LINGUISTICS)

    "... inflectional -s at the end of makes indicates..." p 44

    The Oxford English Grammar

    "Though having the plural inflection at the end, these..." p 105 The Oxford English Grammar

    "Usually they are attached at the end as enclitics: she's..." p 399 The Oxford English Grammar


    Sionnach, I promise you, you will make a fool of yourself and find your master as soon as you are specific; apropos of which I pray thee be so.

    May 4, 2011

  • lol - that sionnach, always making a fool of himself

    May 4, 2011

  • *subsequently addresses a letter addressed to Nathaniel Hawthorne about a lengthy address in his work about a dress with a letter sewn onto it*

    May 4, 2011

  • Word of The Fay

    May 4, 2011

  • "Sionnach, I promise you, you will make a fool of yourself and find your master as soon as you are specific; apropos of which I pray thee be so."

    Does this sound like a threat to anyone else?

    May 4, 2011

  • I guess it would if only I could understand what's going on.

    May 4, 2011

  • I'm with you there, Pro.

    Deyan, I could list as many examples the other way, but maybe we can just agree to disagree. I would prefer to say "let's agree that it can be either way," but clearly you are immovable.

    May 4, 2011

  • Would it be misconstrued--as a rape 2nd degree probably, since I gather it's the mood-- if I ask at least two references of you in order for the agreement's justification not to be at odds? It is not about whether I am immovable or intransigent for no reason, but it's rather about the immovable facts of which I am well cognisant and took the trouble to apprise you of. And after all, along with a modicum of non-jejune interplay with my replies, I am pointed at as the one who is trying to abuse you... to abuse you with facts‽

    It sounds like gauche instigation on your part, blafferty.


    May 4, 2011

  • *yawns*


    May 4, 2011

  • I see no instigation, nor cries of rape, although I've never heard of 2nd degree rape. But yes, I am glad to provide examples.

    "She models how to add the -ing chunk on the end of the word to make the word dreaming." -Linda J. Dorn, Cathy French, Tammy Jones, _Apprenticeship in literacy: transitions across reading and writing_

    "If a word begins with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u), then you just put AY on the end of the word, without taking the first letter away." -Ursula Dubosarsky, _The Word Snoop_

    " ... final vowel will frequently occur on the end of the word, depending on the overall word form" -Robert M. W. Dixon, Aleksandra I︠U︡rʹevna Aĭkhenvalʹd, _Word: a cross-linguistic typology_

    "... rhythmic balance in long words, the predominant Biblical stress on the end of the word was possible when ..." -Benjamin Harshav, _Language in time of revolution_

    "(In the case of simplex words stress is on the end of the word, on the penultimate vowel or on the antepenultimate vowel of the word)" -William Z. Shetter, Inge Van der Cruysse-Van Antwerpen, _Contemporary explorations in the culture of the Low Countries: Volume 9_

    "So called, because the force is on the end of the word" -Walter K. Fobes, _Elocution simplified: with an appendix on lisping, stammering_

    I like the fact that your examples are from books about English grammar, but I'm curious - are you drawing this opinion from some reference - i.e. have you seen a rule that indicates one over the other?

    May 4, 2011

  • I appreciate the trouble that has been taken at last, blafferty; although I see only one material that can pass as a reference and no page numbers in the list. Some of the books are for kids, the others treat of extraneous matters which have nothing to do with English as a subject or speciality.

    Here are some of the cardinal rules:

    At is one-dimensional. We use it when we see something as a point in space or position at a point.

    On is two-dimensional. We use it for a surface.

    In is three-dimensional. We use it when we see something as all around.


    May 5, 2011

  • Oh, I didn't know you had a criteria for the examples. It would have saved time and space if you had said so. I cut off the page numbers, but I can edit them back in if you'd like.

    Please cite where your "cardinal rules" are from.

    May 5, 2011

  • This criterion is not a matter of my whim, but of convention.

    No, I wouldn't. Everything is fine as it is.

    Eastwood, John. Oxford Guide to English Grammar. p 291

    I am a neophyte here on Wordnik, what is all this about?


    May 5, 2011

  • Since your examples were mere quotes of the phrase from text, no matter what the source, instead of quotes regarding the actual rules you were citing, I thought you were just interested in seeing the phrase in documented use. It's a common usage of the preposition, that's all I was trying to show. I feel I've been a pretty good sport, considering your rude comment about the language used in my country.

    Hm, I'm not finding the rules you cite. I can't search by page (I don't have the book) - are the rules phrased as a direct quote? If not, can you quote them? The rules as you write them seem overly simplified, like something I might teach a student initially, to give them a basic grasp of what the words mean. In reality, they are much more complicated. For instance, a common phrase is "on Saturday, I will go to the market." Saturday is certainly not a surface, do you see what I mean?

    Would you consider it rude of me to ask if you are a second language English speaker?

    Wordnik is a place for people who love words, phrases, and language in general. Often the discussions are playful, but all here are interested in learning and sharing knowledge.

    May 5, 2011

  • I (have) cited only the relevant point like prepositions of place.

    The Saturday in "on Saturday" is not a place hence a surface.

    I may send screen shots to your Email if you would like.

    At is one-dimensional. We use it when we see something as a point in space.

    On is two-dimensional. We use it for a surface.

    In is three-dimensional. We use it when we see something as all around.

    Eastwood, John. Oxford Guide to English Grammar. p 291


    May 5, 2011

  • He concluded his address in a snit, at seven on the dot.

    May 5, 2011

  • Please see the preposition section at on for other usages.

    May 5, 2011

  • ✤✪✥✢❉❆✲❀✾✻✷✱✢✥❀✤✪✥✢❉❆✲❃❀✾✻✷✱✢✥❀✤✪✥✢❉✤✪✥✢❉❆✲❃❀✾✱✢✥


    May 6, 2011

  • o mind this site is going poppy

    March 9, 2012