Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Google Dictionary (and Wordnik too)

I'm constantly amazed at what one can find while poking around Google's apparently inexhaustible resources.

For example, although I use (and teach) the DEFINE: operator, I never knew about!

And over on Footle blog I found a couple of nice bookmarklets that give you instant access to the Dictionary.  Here's the one for English:


Just drag that link into your bookmarks toolbar to make it runnable.  (Go ahead and try it. If you don't like it, just right-click on the button and hit CUT.  That'll remove it from your bookmarks.)

To use, just highlight a word (try it here:  install, then highlight this word--lassitude--and then click on the gDefine bookmarklet).  Nice.

Here are a few other examples to get started.  Again, just drag these into the toolbar up above and you'll have this cross-language look-up / define ability.

gDefine (Spanish)

gDefine (German)

And bookmarklets for autotranslation from a selected term into your preferred language:

gTranslate (French->English)

And I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that you can also get this a very similar kind of information from  Wordnik. It doesn't do cross-language translation, but does give you another point of reference


-- Just as above, you can drag this link to your bookmarks bar, select a word or phrase on the page, and click. There's a cool extra feature...  just clicking on the bookmarklet without highlighting a word gives you a random word in Worknik (which is very entertaining for logophiles).

In my practice, I have them both in my bookmarks bar, and switch back and forth to see both sources (most recently used on "cardiomyopathy" and "efficacious" -- even though I know what both those words mean, it's interesting to see the differences in definition and use between Google and Wordnik).

Dictionary on!


  1. If you use Google Dictionary to look up words on webpages a lot, you should install this Chrome extension:
    It's even easier than a bookmarklet! It also searches other sources, like Wikipedia and wordnet, when the word is not in Google Dictionary. I use it all the time.

  2. Its awesome, now it is so easy to find Definitions and meanings with out any plugins. I find google's answers are more easy to understand. Thanks :-)