An Interesting Spin on Definition Search

Wordnik Strives to Be a New Kind of Dictionary

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A new dictionary site called Wordnik was launched today, although even the creators had to settle for the "dictionary" description for lack of a better word. I would call it some kind of a definition search engine. It was founded by lexicographer Erin McKean.

Wordnik tweet from McKean

You may be thinking, why do we need another dictionary site when we have sites like Dictionary.com or Google (the "define:" search operator has long been my preferred method of retrieving definitions). To answer your question, Wordnik delivers more than just definitions.

It delivers a combination of definitions, examples, real time (via Twitter) results, related words, images, and a lot more all on one page. For example, if I search for "cup" I am presented with a list of seventeen straight definitions:

Cup Definitions

In the Examples section, I am presented with several different passages showing the use of the word "cup" in different sentences:

Cup Examples

Below that are the latest tweets with the word "cup," a related words area, images from Flickr, and a "fun and games" section, which tells me the word "cup" is worth 7 points in Scrabble.

Cup Tweets, Pics, etc.

Beyond these things are stats, tags, etymologies, pronunciations (including audio, which is very cool, and you can even record your own), and word families. Each main section allows you to expand it and get more results. For example, while I may only see a couple of tweets from the Real Time section, I can simply quick on the Real Time From Twitter heading and get a whole slew of recent tweets.

Worknik is currently in beta, and is actually open to other descriptions for the site beyond "dictionary" if you have any ideas. Users are also encouraged to contribute to the site, so it will continue to grow. Browsing it for a few minutes, I have to say it’s an interesting take on definitions. I may just have to add it to my search box menu in Firefox.

An Interesting Spin on Definition Search
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