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friday favorite: reverse dictionary


So one day I was searching for that phrase on the tip of my tongue, but that I could not place.  You know that feeling– ohhhhh that perfect word!  What was it??!! 

Lo!  Here to save the day is OneLook’s Reverse Dictionary.  You type in the phrase or definition, and the computer spits out the word of your choice, including things that fit your category. 

Here are some phrases I’ve requested and a random assortment of results I liked:

  • “a saying” – adage, sentiment
  • orange food – saffron, pumpkin, yam, peach
  • killing of women – femicide, gynaecide, matricide, ovicide

The dictionary is still in beta mode (version 1.1) and has much work to be done.  If you type in a phrase, you still need to know what you’re trying to say, since the responses are not really a thesaurus of words.  Instead, they are related somehow, and you have to figure out which one best suits what you are trying to express.  I also found that I couldn’t type in something expecting what I thought were obvious answers (typed in “the way things are” and expected “norm” but it didn’t show up).

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