As usual, there’s a simple solution for this. There happens to be two great dictionaries online and they’re both wikis (another Internet word). If you aren’t aware, a wiki is a collaborative website which can be directly edited using only a web browser, often by anyone with access to it. But, why would there be two?
In this article, I’m going to cover the Wikipedia Dictionary and Urban Dictionary. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each and offer a comparison of the two. You’ll soon see just how different two collaborative websites can become.
Wiktionary is an online dictionary similar to the very popular Wikipedia encyclopedia. In fact, it is one of the 8 Sister Wikis from Wikipedia We Should Be Aware About. Wiktionary is home to hundred of thousands of articles/entries and is completely editable by the online community. Entries can be viewed in dozens of different languages.
What makes the Wikipedia Dictionary – or Wiktionary (and Wikipedia for that matter) – so unique is how precise it is. You would think that a website in which anyone could alter content would be pretty crazy and entertaining at best, but that isn’t the case here.
Wiktionary, part of Wikimedia, has a strong-willed core group of users known as Wikipedians monitoring the site at all times. These are volunteers that willingly monitor the site to ensure its integrity. Anytime a page is altered with slanderous or inaccurate material it is immediately fixed within seconds or minutes.
With the Wikipedia Dictionary, you can find a definition for most any Internet terminology and slang in Wiktionary, but it isn’t necessarily for that purpose. Definitions are very precise and the appearance of the site is that of an ordinary dictionary. Being able to alter it on-the-fly, however, keeps it up-do-date and extremely accurate.
“Urban Dictionary is the dictionary you wrote.” It is similar to Wiktionary in that it can technically be edited by anyone, but it has one colossal difference.
Urban Dictionary isn’t monitored for accuracy or vulgarity by anyone, at least it seems. In fact, a lot of the content on Urban Dictionary is NSFW (not safe for work). I call it the Freedom of Speech Dictionary.
What’s great about the site is how amazingly accurate it still is. Any word, slang, or term you could think of is probably there, and if it isn’t you’re free to add a definition yourself.
The site gives its viewers the opportunity to vote definitions up or down, which helps the most useful/helpful definitions rise to the top. You can have a lot of fun while viewing Urban Dictionary but still find what you’re looking for.
Looking to start a new saying or meme? Add it to Urban Dictionary.
Wiktionary vs. Urban Dictionary
While both sites generally serve the same purpose, it is amazing how different their governance is.
The Wikipedia Dictionary is popular because it is a credible source and the information is kept neat and accurate. Urban Dictionary is popular because its words/phrases are creatively put together and managed by the community only in the form of votes.
Do both systems work even though they’re different? Yes, they each serve a purpose and should be used as such.
You can find the definition of almost any word or phrase in existence by using these sites in conjunction with one another. They are a reflection of Internet culture and collaborative tools whose reach cannot be measured.
What do you think of the Wikipedia Dictionary and the Urban Dictionary? Can they even really be compared to one another? Hit me with your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below!