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Word-definition items (cards) in SRS

What is a watercourse?
= a channel through which water flows

watercourse ['wo: t..(r) ko:(r)s]

You can use word-definition items to learn English vocabulary. In these items, the question field contains a question about the meaning of a word. The answer field contains the word’s definition and (usually) its phonetic transcription.

The definition is taken from an English dictionary. In our collections, we write phonetic transcriptions in the ASCII Phonetic Alphabet, because it uses letter and symbols which you can find on your computer’s keyboard.


What is a Marilyn Monroe look-alike?
A look-alike of a famous person is a person who has a very similar appearance to the famous person.

look-alike ['luk .. laik]
What is rubbery meat?
rubbery ['r^ b.. ri:]

Meat or other food that is rubbery is difficult to chew.
What is a septuagenarian?
septuagenarian [sep tu: .. dZ.. 'ne..r i: ..n]
= a person who is between the ages of 70 and 79
What is a "spic"?
an offensive word for a Hispanic person
What is a mood disorder?
a mental disease, such as paranoia or depression
['mu:d dis 'o:(r) d..(r)]
In a company, what is "petty cash"?
Petty cash is money that is kept in the office of a company, for making small payments in cash when necessary (for example, for office supplies).

How to repeat

  1. Read the word in the question field.
  2. Think about the word’s meaning and pronunciation. You don’t have to say the definition in the answer field!
  3. Read the definition in the answer field. See if you understand the word correctly and whether your pronunciation was correct.
  4. Choose a grade.

When to use

You may want to use a word-definition item instead of a definition-word item when you want to understand a word, but you don’t want to use it in your own sentences. Nowadays we don’t use word-definition (or definition-word) items very much. We prefer sentence items.