A Reverse Dictionary for Everyone
A Reverse Dictionary For Everyone
by (Jack) Harold McLaughlin, Ph.D.
“That’s nice you say, but what is it?” No! It’s not a thesaurus or even a dictionary. It’s for anyone, or everyone who knows what they want to say but just can’t find the correct word to say it – no matter how hard they search the misty reaches of their vocabulary. With this on line gem, you merely define a concept, type it into the search block and – EUREKA – a list of possible definitions appear than can number in the hundreds. Don’t get too excited though as after the first 10 or 20 the words don’t seem to fit.
Excited? Good! The on line address is: www.onelook.com/reverse-dictionary.shtml
I put it to the test and entered, “Earth or stone embankment protecting soldiers from enemy fire.” The first word of more than 600 hundred was “parapet.” My American Heritage Dictionary said that is correct.
My second test was, “Buildings external angle or corner.” The first and tenth words respectively were “Quoin and cornerstone.” Right again! I also clicked on the program’s “Translations dot” and got the following definitions: noun: the keystone of an arch noun: expandable metal or wooden wedge used by printers to lock up a form within a chase noun: (architecture) solid exterior angle of a building; especially one formed by a cornerstone. That feature also allowed translation into eight languages. I clicked on Dutch and it translated but I couldn’t read a word of it. No surprise there.
Another feature is to search each word in your statement individually. You’ll get a lot of responses but not all of them will be useful.
The program also allows searching for the beginning of words such as buil* or word ending such as *rner. Adding the star symbol at the end of a partial word means that it searches for all words beginning with the letters preceding the star. Adding the star before a partial word searches for all words with the letters following the star.
This is a great program for those of us who have reached the age where the dark reaches of our minds sometimes remain dark especially when we need those reaches the most. It’s well worth keeping on your computer’s, “Favorite places.” It may save your sanity.