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Use Dictionary.com To Find Word Meanings Online



What is Dictionary.com?

Dictionary.com is one of those sites that anyone who searches on the Web on a regular basis should have bookmarked. You can search Websters dictionary, a Spanish dictionary, the Oxford English dictionary, a Latin dictionary - well, just about any kind of dictionary you can think of. Dictionary.com is a huge reference search service, and could be thought of as a dictionary meta search engine.

Dictionary.com Home Page

The Dictionary.com home page is a bit crowded and it doesn't have the most user-friendly of designs. But don't let that throw you off-there's some serious dictionary search power here.

The main thing you need to worry about is the search query box, and that's right at the top of the page. You have the choice of searching through dictionaries (I counted at least 15, probably more, dictionaries that Dictionary.com pulls its results from), a thesaurus, an encyclopedia, and the Web. We'll look at each of these separately.

Find Definitions with Dictionary.com

I searched for definitions of the word immmortal and was asked if I meant to say "immortal", a great feature for anyone who's looking for the definition of a word but can't really spell it. The correct spelling, immortal, was soon found.

Search results in Dictionary.com for word definitions all have pronunciation keys so you can hear how the word sounds when spoken (especially useful when searching for words in a different language). The dictionary source from which the result has been pulled is displayed at the bottom of each search result.

Free Online Thesaurus with Dictionary.com

Switch the radio buttons under the search bar on the main page of Dictionary.com to Thesaurus (or just point your browser to Thesaurus.com) and you'll be able to find synonyms for pretty much any word you can think of. My search for good returned 432 entries, far more than I could ever use. The search results not only give you synonyms, but you can also view the definition, antonyms, and parts of speech.

Free Online Encyclopedia with Dictionary.com

Part of Dictionary.com's stable of reference search services, you can either just switch the radio button to Encyclopedia as we did with the Thesaurus, or navigate to Encyclopedia. Articles are retrieved by title; that is, if your search term is in the title of the encyclopedia article, it will be in your search results. My search for good returned around 400 results; click on the link (there's no annotation, unfortunately) and you'll be brought to a precis of the encyclopedia article, with a link to the original source, which seems to be ONLY Wikipedia.

Dictionary.com Extras-Word of the Day, Style Guide, Translator, etc.

There are so many really cool features at Dictionary.com that I'm only going to pick a few.Here are the ones that I really liked:
  • Word of the Day: For serious wordophiles. You can also sign up to get the word of the day by email or RSS feed.
  • Style Guide: Wow, do I ever wish I had this in college. Dictionary's Style Guide is an extremely comprehensive resource. A must-have bookmark for any student.
  • Translator: You can just copy and paste whole chunks of text here, and then choose from what to what language you'd like it to be translated from the drop-down menu.

Why Should I Use Dictionary.com?

While Dictionary.com is not going to win any site design awards, it more than makes up for that with the depth of its dictionary search power. Anyone who's looking to retrieve more than one dictionary source at a time will find that Dictionary.com is an invaluable resource. In addition, it's thesaurus tool is VERY useful (and fast!), and Dictionary.com's various extra features (as detailed above) are well worth a bookmark. Dictionary.com is a great dictionary search engine that should be on every student and Internet researcher's list of useful sites.

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