Synonyms are words you use when you can’t spell the first one. Okay, that’s just a joke”¦or a quip”¦or a wisecrack”¦or a jest, jive, or jape. But I think you get my point.
Synonyms allow us never to be at a loss for words. If you know your synonyms, you are not only richer for it, but it also gives you the odds when it comes to word games like crosswords and Scrabble. We writers get to embellish our work with different words with the same meaning, because using a single word throughout sounds flat.
When it comes to the vocabulary, we all hit a wall sometimes. Thanks to the web and online synonym dictionaries we don’t need to pick up that hardbound heavy thesaurus anymore. Fill in the little field and these free thesauruses (synonym finders) spill out words by the dozen. Which are the better synonyms dictionary resources out there? We have covered a few of these word apps before, but here’s a consolidated list.
This site is personally one of my favorites and one of the top ones which give the highest number of results for a word. The site is the other face of Dictionary.com. Along with the synonyms on display, you can explore the sidebar for more hints and filters. You can also explore the word or its related words on Visual Thesaurus.
This word app lists synonyms, antonyms, and their definitions. The site is simple but with an occasional pop-up ad. The number of words listed is lesser than the previous app mentioned. The synonyms are arranged around the “˜meaning’ they are meant to convey.
This word site does a much better job of searching out synonyms and presenting a lot of related information around the results. The synonyms themselves are again hyperlinked. You have an audio help for the pronunciation; a dropdown to translate the word into another language; a word image; a Q&A box if you have a question about the word; a citation aid; and alternative search options which give you things like quotes ad abbreviations on the main word. You can also search for song lyrics which have the particular word.
When it comes to word apps, I think this is one of the neater ones. The Synonym Finder gives you hyperlinked words along with its definition and usage. You can also use the search box to get to the antonyms of a word and definitions too.
Thsrs is a “˜shorter’ thesaurus. As the play on the name suggests, the synonym finder gives you synonyms shorter than the word you’re looking up. Why? Blame it on Twitter where you have to fit everything into 140 characters or less without using any ugly abbreviations. The site also gives you a browser plug-in.
The BHT is one of the databases that Thsrs pings. The word index is again based on Princeton University’s WordNet database, the Carnegie Mellon Pronouncing Dictionary and suggestions from the user community. The word tool returns quite a large hyperlinked list which can be explored further. Right below you will get a dropdown which you can use to search out antonyms, rhymes, a related word, and synonyms.
The iThesaurus is a third party free iPhone app you can use to get to the BHT database from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
The Free Dictionary is a word tool that’s broader in scope than simple synonym finders. It includes many other word reference tools. The “˜Starts with’ and “˜Ends with’ options help to get complete lists of words if you the actual word slips past your memory. The Free Dictionary returns meanings, synonyms, antonyms, and related words supported with a host of other references that demonstrate usage.
Defineitfast.com aims to be the fastest dictionary in the Wild West of dictionary apps. Does it win the shootout? I ducked under the bar, but yes, the search is pretty fast. With the definitions, the results also give you synonyms, related words, and more specific words. All of these are hyperlinked again and allow you to look them up again. This app also uses Princeton University’s WordNet database.
Visualthesaurus.com is probably the trendsetter but it only allows a limited number of free searches. Enter Snappy Words. Words and their definitions and synonyms are displayed in a color coded graph where each color depicts a relation. Give the color codes a glance and you can easily make out the relationships between the visually displayed words. You can see the meanings and the synonyms also with a mouseover on the words.
This is a simple iGoogle gadget you can use on your personalized Google page. The synonym finder gives you access to more than 100,000 words.
Talking of Google, the Google search box itself is a quick synonym finder. As Ann explained in her post on 3 Google Tricks When You Don’t Know What to Search For, the Google ~ operator gives you related words and synonyms when you type it in the search box like this: ~word. Strangely, the word “˜synonym’ itself doesn’t have many similar words to describe it.
Which is your go to app when it comes to hunting down synonyms? Let us know.
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