Friday, August 23, 2013

New dictionary service

We've talked about using the Google Dictionary in this blog before.  It's incredibly useful. Do a query like: 

     [ define water ] 

and you'll get a great definition.  (For old-timers, you haven't needed the : after the word "define" for a while now.  Time to stop using it!) 

But we've recently updated this feature on desktop AND mobile to give better, richer information about your word.  

Try this: 

     [ define mellifluous ]  

BUT... notice the big downward-pointing chevron?  Click on THAT and you'll see a bunch of newer information including an etymology and a word-usage graph.  

The word usage data comes from the NGram corpus (English words in books going back to the 1800s), and the etymological information comes from Oxford.  

Now... If you tap the microphone when doing this search, you’ll hear answers spoken back when you ask questions like “What’s the definition of fortuitous?” and “What are synonyms for fortuitous?” Or  "What is the etymology of water?"  

You can also translate to one of many different languages, including translations of ALL the word senses.  

DEFINITELY worth knowing about. 

Search on. 


  1. Thanks Dr. Russell for sharing. It is worth knowing.

    One question. In mobile the answer is the same that in desktop? I tried in Mexico (in english) and the answer is different.

    For Water, answer shows: Noun, Verb and Synonyms. And it is better and more complete than before even without the Ngram and translate services.

  2. I believe that it doesn't work in Mexico... yet. We're rolling it out. Give it some time!

    1. Thanks Dr. Russell for your answer. I use Google in English so the desktop part works exactly as in your post. The mobile part maybe is a little different for the moment and even so it is better than before.

      In Spanish, yes it is different and it is like you say, this is new and rolling it out.

      Each day we have more information and it is easier to find in Google products and of course in your blog.

      Have a great weekend

  3. also in italy is not working

  4. I switched from to on tablet and it worked fine.

  5. Rosemary's correct: Switching to regular US will get it to work. You can also try the trick to get US Google in your area.