On-line Dictionaries, Thesauri, Style Guides, etc

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'Gullible' isn't in any dictionary. Go ahead, look it up!
'Indecipherable' spelled backwards is indecipherable.

Free-of-charge and non-subscription (at least in part) on-line lookups or downloads relating to words and writing. English-language or translation to/from the various flavours of English.

Suggestions for additions are welcome - please post to the 'How about adding...?' Conversation below.

Last revised/updated: 27 May 2003


Dictionaries and Glossaries


This site also links to:

Fun & Games, Daily puzzles

Language Resources: Frequently Asked Questions, Grammar, usage & style, The Dictionary Forum

Other Dictionaries: French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish; more...

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  • http://dictionary.reference.com
  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

    Look up a definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, or usage point in the WWWebster Dictionary (the on-line version of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition)

  • Plain text version: http://www.m-w.com/mw/textonly/
  • Graphics version: http://www.m-w.com/
  • Yak-Yak English Wordfinder:

    Mis-spelled words no problem: no part of the word has to be correctly spelled. Type in an 'aproksimashan' and it yields 'approximation'.

  • http://www.yak-yak.com/Service/YYserv_en.shtml
  • Search Online Dictionaries:

    Extremely useful if the word itself or a particular sense of the word doesn't appear in a standard dictionary. How many dictionaries will tell you that a skyscraper was a small triangular sail at the very top of the mast on an old sailing-ship? How many have a definition for 'illeist'?

  • http://public.onelook.com/
  • http://www.1000dictionaries.com/index.html
  • Cambridge UK Dictionaries Online:

    At this site you can search the following dictionaries:

    Cambridge International Dictionary of English

    Cambridge Learner's Dictionary

    Cambridge Dictionary of American English

    Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms

    Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs

    Dictionnaire Cambridge Klett Compact

  • http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
  • An Online British English - American English Dictionary:

    'A fun, handy and useful reference for the Briton in America and the American in Britain. The definitions in this dictionary concentrate on the differences in American and British English, such as a different word for the same thing, or the same word used for different things. There are also discussions giving some perspectives on English, since many Americans are clueless about British mores and many Britons are ignorant of the American way of life.'

  • http://www.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionary/chapters/
  • British Slang for Americans:

  • http://www.effingpot.com/slang.html
  • Brief Definitions of Obscure Words:

    A list of over 14,000 English words, ranging from the merely uncommon to the extremely rare, nearly obsolete, and just plain nutty.

  • http://phrontistery.50megs.com/ihlstart.html
  • Speciality Dictionaries:

    Links to hundreds of different specialised glossaries and dictionaries. These are arranged in three large sections: Monolingual English Resources, German and Multilingual Resources, and General Translation-Related Sites.

  • http://www.jump.net/~fdietz/glossary.htm
  • Online Etymology Dictionary:

  • http://www.etymonline.com/
  • Web-based Computer Dictionaries:

    FOLDOC is the Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing. It has quite a
    comprehensive list of terms, including jargon and hacker slang.

  • http://www.foldoc.org/

  • Search or browse an IT-specific encyclopedia:
  • http://whatis.techtarget.com/

  • Or try Webopedia, 'the only online dictionary and search engine you need for computer and Internet technology'.
  • http://www.pcwebopedia.com/
  • The DICT protocol:

    A generic way to connect to several dictionaries, gazetteers etc including Webster 1913 (US English only, but very detailed) and WordNet (more modern and covering UK and US English, but not as in-depth).

  • http://www.dict.org/

  • For a list of links to information and clients for the DICT protocol, see
  • http://www.dict.org/links.html
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    WordNet is a lexical reference system which can be searched online or downloaded.

  • http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/~wn/
  • Or try a plain vanilla thesaurus:

  • http://www.thesaurus.com
  • Visual Thesaurus:

    The Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus is an exploration of sense relationships within the English language. By clicking on words, you follow a thread of meaning, creating a spatial map of linguistic associations. The Visual Thesaurus was built using ThinkmapT, a data-animation technology.

  • http://www.visualthesaurus.com/index.jsp
  • The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names:

    A structured vocabulary of more than 1,000,000 geographic names, including vernacular and historical names, coordinates, and place types, focusing on places important for the study of art and architecture.

  • http://www.getty.edu/research/tools/vocabulary/tgn/
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    The xrefer Showcase:

    The showcase features over 40 titles including encyclopedias, dictionaries, quotations and a range of subject-specific reference titles covering subjects such as art, business, literature and science. All the content within the xrefer showcase is integrated using xrefer's unique system of cross-referencing.

  • http://www.xrefer.com/search.jsp
  • Ask Oxford:
    Search: Dictionary - Thesaurus - Quotations - Dictionary of First Names
    Browse: Ask the Experts - Better Writing - World of Words - Games - Global English - Foreign Languages

  • http://www.askoxford.com/
  • Bibliomania Reference:

    Fully searchable copies of language reference books, including dictionaries (Websters), books of quotations (Grocotts), books of synonyms (Soules), a thesaurus (Rogets), dictionaries of literary sources (Brewers) and linguistics (Hobson Jobson), and non-literature reference books.

  • http://www.bibliomania.com/2/-/frameset.html
  • The Librarian's Index to the Internet:

    Motto: "Information You Can Trust". The Librarians' Index to the Internet is a searchable, annotated subject directory of more than 11,000 Internet resources selected and evaluated by librarians for their usefulness to users of public libraries. It is used by both librarians and the general public as a reliable and efficient guide to Internet resources.

  • http://lii.org/
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    Grammar, Punctuation, Style etc

    The Economist Style Guide:

    Good guide to British style

  • http://www.economist.com/library/StyleGuide/index.cfm
  • The Mayfield Handbook of Technical and Scientific Writing:

  • http://www.mhhe.com/mayfieldpub/tsw/toc.htm
  • Grammar, Punctuation, and Capitalization:

    A Handbook for Technical Writers and Editors

  • http://stipo.larc.nasa.gov/sp7084/sp7084cont.html
  • Guide to grammar and writing:

  • http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/
  • H W Fowler - The King's English:

    This reference work has remained a standard resource for commonsense rules of style and grammar.

  • http://www.bartleby.com/116/index.html
  • American Heritage® Book of English Usage (1996):

    A detailed look at grammar, style, diction, word formation, gender, social groups and scientific forms. An ideal reference work for anybody concerned about proper writing style.

  • http://www.bartleby.com/64/
  • The Columbia Guide to Standard American English (1993):

    This most extensive handbook of the language ever published features over 6,500 descriptive and prescriptive entires with 4,300 hyperlinked cross-references.

  • http://www.bartleby.com/68/a0.html
  • The Elements of Style. William Strunk, 1918

    A classic reference book.

  • http://www.bartleby.com/141/
  • Writing Links & Links for Writers:

    A compendium of many useful links.

  • http://www.internet-resources.com/writers/wrlinks-wordstuff.htm#wordstuff
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    Word Games, Puzzles, Conundrums, Trivia, etc.

    Rhymes, Synonyms, Definitions:

  • http://www.rhymezone.com/
  • Anagram Finder:

  • http://www.wordsmith.org/anagram/advanced.html
  • Acronym Finder::

  • http://www.acronymfinder.com/
  • Fun With Words:

    Pangrams, palindromes, eponyms, word oddities, etc.

  • http://rinkworks.com/words/
  • Word Trivia - Facts and Oddities of the English Language:

    Longest Words ~ Symmetry ~ Typewriter Words ~ Vowels ~ Syllables ~ Anagrams ~ Contained Words ~ Miscellaneous

  • http://users.tinyonline.co.uk/gswithenbank/wordtriv.htm
  • Partners In Rhyme:
    If you’d like to learn new words with zing,

    And enjoy a clean limerick's ring,

    With no humor missed,

    Then join our free list,

    And see what your e-mail will bring!

  • http://home.att.net/~doxite/partnersinrhyme/
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    Wurdz - Text editing and analysis:
    Wurdz, a small freeware download, shows you the frequency of words used, the word count, character count, unique words, percentage of unique words in the document, and a facility to find a particular word in a long document. Open Wurdz, paste in your text, and get all the information. Very useful.

  • http://adwt.com/pc/wurdz.htm
  • Many links to sites about words and writing:

  • http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Writing/links.html
  • World Wide Words:

    International English from a British viewpoint. Come here for definitive information on some of the most interesting, amusing and downright weird words and phrases in the English language.

  • http://www.worldwidewords.org/
  • The Phrase Finder - Meanings and origins of phrases and sayings:

    A list of the meanings and origins of over a thousand phrases, sayings,
    quotes and clichés in English. There's also a Discussion Forum, where you can discuss the meanings and origins of phrases or sayings with the people who know. Use the current forum to ask a question or
    search the archives of more than 15,000 postings.

  • http://phrases.shu.ac.uk/
  • English Kibbitzers:

    Help, for those for whom English is not their first language, with some of the finer points of good English. Also a fascinating read for native-born English speakers!

  • http://www.eisu.bham.ac.uk/Webmaterials/kibbitzers/indexes/indexchron.htm
  • Winners of the bad writing contest:

  • http://www.aldaily.com/bwc.htm
  • A Handbook of Rhetorical Devices:

  • http://www.virtualsalt.com/rhetoric.htm
  • Investigating International English From a British Viewpoint:

  • http://www.worldwidewords.org/index.htm
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    A comprehensive catalogue of language-related Internet resources. More than 2000 links to online language lessons, translating dictionaries, native literature, translation services, software, language schools, etc.

  • http://www.ilovelanguages.com/
  • Single-word translations:

    To/from English, Spanish, French, German, Italian

  • http://www.wordreference.com
  • More languages at:

  • http://www.langtolang.com/
  • Google Language Tools and Translation:

    English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese

  • http://www.google.com/language_tools
  • Pop-up Dictionary:

    This download translates and memorizes chosen words of many foreign
    languages. Create vocabularies and dictionaries and organize words in them, sort dictionaries by original word, translation or transcription, view slide show, customize text fields, fonts, colors, and encodings for many languages, such as Western European, Hebrew, Arabic etc. There are approximately 50 additional dictionaries for 22 languages. Download the shareware at

  • http://www.5star-shareware.com/Homehob/General/pop-dict.html

  • File Size: 5.16 MB - License: Free To Try - OS: Win95, 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP

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    Dictionnaire Cambridge Klett Compact:

    A fully-bilingual dictionary of English and French for intermediate to advanced learners.

  • http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
  • Technical French/English Dictionary:

    Canadian, so it does throw up a few oddities! One thing to add, it is a technical dictionary, so if you're looking for the French word for bread it'll be of no use whatsover, but if you're looking for the French term for a bread crumbing machine it'll help you.

  • http://www.granddictionnaire.com/_fs_global_01.htm
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    A Great German/English Dictionary:

  • http://dict.leo.org

  • If you fail to find something you are looking for there, you can search the forums and archives at
    , and if it isn't covered there, you can start a new forum thread. Looks like quite a few professional translators are active there at any one time.

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    Greek-English, English-Greek (and Ancient Greek):

    The Greek words are printed in both the Greek and the Roman alphabets.

  • http://kypros.org/cgi-bin/lexicon
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    Iranian Languages

    Lexicon of Iranian Languages:

  • http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/lil/lilframe.html
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    Latin Grammar, Dictionaries etc:

  • http://www.nd.edu/~archives/latgramm.htm
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    Hugh Young's Lexicon of Polari:

  • http://www2.prestel.co.uk/cello/Polari.htm
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    Digital Sanskrit Lexicon:

  • http://www.uni-koeln.de/phil-fak/indologie/tamil/mwd_search.html
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    A Scots Dictionary:

  • http://www.britannia.org/scotland/scotsdictionary/
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    The Peculiarities of the Welsh/English Dialect:

  • http://www.talktidy.com/index.html
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