For practical reasons (to avoid ambiguity and hesitation) I have decided to discard the hyphen in hyphenated words and to treat them as a single word. Thus if you should type "absent-minded", "run-of-the-mill" or "state-of-the-art" (i.e. with the hyphens) you will not get an answer but if you type "absentminded", "runofthemill" or "stateoftheart" (yes, without the hyphens) you would. Over the course of time hyphenated words tend to lose their hyphens anyway.
In general where there are differences between the American and British spellings I have kept to the British spelling rather than the American one (question of habit). So look under -our instead of -or (eg. "colour" not "color"), -re instead of -er (eg. "meagre" not "meager") and -ae instead of -e- (eg. "aesthetic" not "esthetic").
Verbs that can end in either -ize or -ise: Look for them under -ize as they won't appear under -ise (eg. "criticize" not "criticise"). The -ize form is acceptable both in British English and American English and is now considered to be the world English spelling for such verbs.
Apart from the spelling, I make no distinction between words of American or British origin or usage. As long as the New York Times, the CNN, the BBC or The Times newspaper from London uses it, it is good enough for inclusion in this dictionary. After all, the legitimacy of an English word is the extent of its usage, not of its geographical origin, I hope you will agree. And since the CNN and the BBC are read all over the world, the words, though restricted initially, have taken a life of their own beyond their boundaries.
This dictionary is case-sensitive i.e. you have to type in capital letters the first letter of countries, days of the week, months of the year, languages, races, etc. (eg. "Sunday" not "sunday"). Same for acronyms eg. "BFF" not "bff"). On the other hand if you type ordinary words with a capital letter (eg. Mother instead of mother) you will not get any result.
Please note that scientific, medical and technical terms are beyond the scope of this dictionary. Make sure that the word you are looking for is correctly typed. Typing condamn instead of condemn, insouscient instead of insouciant or berzerk instead of berserk will not get you an answer.
A word on common idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs. I try to include as many of them as possible (see the word "take" or "keep" to see what I mean) as their meanings are not at all obvious. Oh by the way, do you know what the idiomatic expression "a chip on the shoulder" means? if you don't, not to worry, you're not the only one. Watch this: German guy confused by "a chip on the shoulder" idiom. Sorry, my German friends, no offence intended.
In fact idiomatic expressions, when translated literally by machine translating programmes, often give hilarious results (such as "play it by ear" being translated literally into Spanish as "jugar por el oido"!) To give another example, the idiomatic expression "to have your work cut out" as in the sentence "With all this traffic jam, you will have your work cut out to get there by noon" is translated literally by the machine as "Dengan semua kesesakan lalu lintas ini, anda akan mempunyai kerja anda memotong ke sana menjelang tengah hari" which is quite nonsensical. Well, I suppose that's the main difference between human and machine translations, one sees the context and the other doesn't (or can't).
Finally please note that this English-Malay dictionary is just my humble effort to help. It does not make any claims to be an authoritative piece of work. Please do not quote from it or use it to settle your private or public debates as it is not meant for that purpose.
Grateful thanks to Ian D. Miller, a volunteer with allexperts.com for online help with the php script in its initial stages. - Webmaster