Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Wordnik

Some Very Cool WebSites for #Readers & #Writers


Last month I published the post, What Are the “Best” WebSites for #Writers?

WebSites for Readers and Writers

Image Courtesy of Julie Elliott-Abshire ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/je1196-37948

They were mostly about various aspects of the art and craft of writing.

The sites I’ll feature today are more closely concerned with the Words writers use and readers absorb

The first is World Wide Words.

This from the site:

“The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.”

Next is Wordwizard.

From their site:

“At Wordwizard we’re interested in English, in particular the origins of English words or phrases, and English usage. But we’re also happy to discuss any interesting aspect of the English language with like-minded people, and try to help anyone with a tricky letter or other writing project.”

And, now, Word Spy:

“…this is the central premise of Word Spy — that you can understand the culture by examining its new words, by going out to what one linguist calls the “vibrant edges” of language. There you see that new words both reflect and illuminate not only the subcultures that coin them, but also our culture as a whole. New words give us insight into the way things are even as they act as linguistic harbingers (or canaries in the cultural coal mine), giving us a glimpse of (or a warning about) what’s to come.”

And, one of my favorites, the Online Etymology Dictionary:

“This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.”

Next is Wordnik:

“Wordnik is the world’s biggest online English, by number of words….Wordnik shows definitions from multiple sources, so you can see as many different takes on a word’s meaning as possible….We try to show as many real examples as possible for each word….Our word relationships include synonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms, words used in the same context, a reverse dictionary, and tags….There are more than 30,000 lists on Wordnik! Any logged-in Wordnik can make one (or more, or many, many more) lists.”

And, finally, The Sciolist—a links page (over 40) from the editor of the Online Etymology Dictionary.

ENJOY :-)
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“Wordnik Is Looking for a Million Missing Words—Can You Help?”


The title of this post was the subject line of an email I got yesterday. Wordnik

Wordnik is an online dictionary/thesaurus; and, if you didn’t know, a thesaurus is what shows you the synonyms of words. And, Wordnik also shows you a word’s etymology—its word-history

Or, in their own words, “…we’re the world’s biggest and friendliest English dictionary.”

Then, they told me:

“This is just a quick email to let you know that Wordnik launched a Kickstarter campaign today!”

Before I share about the Kickstarter campaign, I should let Wordnik tell you a bit more about itself:

“Every word at Wordnik gets its own full page, with as much data shown as possible: a standard definition (if one already exists), example sentences; synonyms, antonyms, and other related words; space for community-added tags, lists, and comments; images from Flickr and tweets from Twitter; and statistics on usage, including how many times a word has been favorited, listed, tagged, commented-upon, and, of course, whether or not it’s valid in Scrabble (and how many points it scores).”

And, here’s more about the Kickstarter campaign:

“We want to find a million words that haven’t been included in major English dictionaries and give them each a home on the Internet.

“At Wordnik we believe that every word of English deserves to be lookupable!

“The internet is, for all practical purposes, infinite. Wordnik can and should include every English word that’s ever been used.”

Why?

“Every word deserves a recorded place in our language’s history. We want to collect, preserve, and share every word of English, and provide a place where people can find, learn, annotate, comment on, and argue about every word.

“If you want to know more about a word—any word!—we want to help you find the information you need. If you’re curious about a word, why should you have to wait until someone else decides that a word is worth knowing?”

And, in case you need even more reason to go check out the Kickstarter campaign:

“We already have all these words in English! They exist right now in articles, books, blog posts, and even tweets. But they’ve never all been recorded in one place where they can be discovered and loved.

“Have you ever felt that the right word was out there, but you just couldn’t find it?

“Have you ever learned a weird word that made your whole day? Perhaps a word like thoil, which means ‘to be able to justify the expense of a purchase’? Or pandiculation, which means ‘yawning and stretching (as when first waking up)’?”

Here’s Wordnik’s Kickstarter link again :-)
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What *Is* The Right Word, Anyway?


Whether you’re a writer looking for the right word or a reader wondering what that particular word means, dictionaries can be handy.

Still, dictionaries have been mere snapshots of an ever-changing language

In the previous post, Dictionary Evangelist, there was an entertaining video of lexicographer, Erin McKean, who thought it was important to have a dictionary to which words could be continually added. Do checkout her creation, Wordnik, and add a few words :-)

I use a free program called WordWeb on my computer (which, sadly, is only for PCs) that lets me check spelling and meaning by highlighting any word in any program or web page and clicking a couple keys, voila!

And, if you want to trace the historical meanings and roots of words, even though many dictionaries have some of that, you might use an Etymology Dictionary.

Speaking of history, and staying with English, there is the famous dictionary of Samuel Johnson from 1755.

Going further into history and delving into the trials and challenges of lexicographers, spend some careful reading time with the Preface to Johnson’s 1755 dictionary.

Care to share any really strange words with us in the comments?

Have any words you’ve created that you’d like to see in the language?

Any words you think should be banned?
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Dictionary Evangelist


Ever used a dictionary?

Since most readers of this blog more than likely have some interest in reading, writing, or publishing, odds are you have looked into a dictionary :-)

So what are the people who make dictionaries called? Lexicographers << Whew! Quite a word

I’m going to share a video of a talk by lexicographer, Erin McKean. She’s a serious student of words and still manages to deliver a talk that’s humorous while being highly informative.

She feels that most dictionaries, paper or Web, act like traffic cops–deciding which words are acting “legal” enough to be in a dictionary.

She created an online dictionary, Wordnik, that you can actually add words to!!

She also writes for the Boston Globe.

This video is so much fun I think it might be illegal :-)

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