It took me some time to wrap my head around Wolfram Alpha and the queries it uses to spout out those results. A bit of time with it helped me look beyond what earlier seemed like computational mumbo-jumbo, and see the really practical ways I could use Wolfram Alpha. It was love at third sight probably which made me write 10 Search Terms To Put Wolfram Alpha To Good Use Everyday.

The love has endured as I have continued to broaden my career as a blogger and a voracious consumer of the English language. So, if you read and write in English, come with me as we try to align a language and some computational logic to come up with data that could help us in our reading and writing.

## Word Definitions & The Story Behind It

In short, Wolfram Alpha gives you the common meaning, pronunciation, first known use, origin, inflected forms, and general usage of a word with examples. I wish it would also give me an audio of the pronunciation, but that’s a minor peeve when it gives me much more on a word. The word definitions also cover – synonyms, antonyms, similar terms, rhymes, and phrases. If you are the statistical sort, you can also view the frequency of its usage throughout history.

## Don’t Be At A Loss For Words

Wolfram Alpha is like a thesaurus, reverse lookup dictionary, anagram solver, and more. For instance, if I want a few words that end in a particular string of letters, I just type it in as above and the engine spews out quite a few that are available.

## How Long Will It Take Me To Read This Book?

Planning to borrow a book from the library? Type in the number of pages, words, or characters and see the time it will take you to finish reading the book. You can just as easily find the typing time and the costs if you are planning to write a novel or just a school assignment.

## Which Newspaper Should I Subscribe To?

The information is sometimes not current, and not very detailed. But you can use Wolfram Alpha to get a comparative estimate of circulation figures and maybe go for the one with the higher number of readers.

## When Was This Book First Published?

Type in the title of a book and Wolfram Alpha gives you some quick facts regarding the book’s original publication date and a few more assorted data. This could be a handy reference for librarians.

## Can I Understand This Book?

Readability index is a standard that measures reader’s comprehension of what is written. There are different types of readability measurement scales and readability tools. Wolfram Alpha is a quick one which gives you a few numbers according to two U.S. indices. You can try this out according to the format shown before picking up a heavy volume of a classic.

## Trace The Name Of A Book

Just can’t recall the name of a book? You can turn to this previous post of ours or give Wolfram Alpha a chance by typing in ‘books with the word’ followed by the word. Clicking on the titles reveals a bit more about the book.

## Who Is Robinson Crusoe?

Well, you will probably get more detailed info with a regular search engine, but Wolfram Alpha is not that bad when it comes to a brief description of a fictional character (or even a non-fictional one). Just type in the name and there it is.

## Cheating At Scrabble

Enter “Scrabble” in the search box (without the double quotes). Choose – use as a computation. Enter the word for which you want the tile score. You might get a screen as shown above. You also get possible words from the tiles you have. Wolfram Alpha gives you an extra hand if you don’t mind being called a cheat at the world’s most popular word game.

## Crosswords Decrypted

The same page which gives you the word definition also gives you the possible crossword puzzle clues. You can use it to make crossword puzzles of your own. Wolfram Alpha also does its permutation on a word and can be used as a handy anagram solver which gives you all the possible combinations with the word you type in. You can also find words if you know a few of the letters. This Wolfram Alpha page covers its use with puzzles.

You have to dive deep into Wolfram Alpha to really exploit it to the hilt. If you are a language worker, these are just the few ways you can use the computational engine. There are other uses of course, as outlined in our previous posts:

- 5 Weird & Wonderful Uses For Wolfram Alpha
- The True Power of the Wolfram Alpha Knowledge Engine
- Let Wolfram Alpha Create Your Password For You

But now tell us if you have this cool web app parked next to traditional search engines like Google and Bing. Tell us how you make use of Wolfram Alpha.

## 6 Comments -

## Leroy Jenkins

I think the “geekiest” thing I’ve used Wolfram Alpha for was calculating password entropy and strength. I use WA all the time. I’m a big fan.

## Deeeps

I use it see how my kid is doing healthwise (weight and height). Just enter “Boy 3 year 2 month”

## Manish Motwani

What an Idea.

## Chrisfry

Readability is disappointing as I couldn’t find it for any of the books I looked up

## Saikat Basu

Wolfram Alpha, in my knowledge returns results for books that are out of copyright and in the free domain.

## Rackmount LCD Monitor

I love searching with Wolfram|Alpha, but more than that I love playing with Wolfram|Alpha. To get a sense of the scope of what WA covers at this point. An excellent collection of tips for using Wolfram Alpha, Every one should make use of wolfram alpha and Google for their use. Wolfram alpha does what Google can’t where Google do what wolfram alpha can’t do. I would say that it is like an engine that answers some kinds of questions very well and others should be left to Google.