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  • “O they have lived long on the alms-basket of words. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus: thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon. ”
    • William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost (c. 1595-6), Act V, scene 1, line 42. The word appears in Beaumont and Fletcher—Mad Lover, Act I. Also in Complaynt of Scotland, written before Shakespeare was born.

In language, a word is the smallest free form that may be uttered in isolation with semantic or pragmatic content (with literal or practical meaning).