Bloggers, wordsmiths, and writers of all hues live in a sea of words. Thanks to the web, we also live most of the time in our browsers. Looking up words for their meanings and definitions is no big deal. A glut of free online dictionaries has made it a matter of a selection and click. Helping you further are right-click context menu searches, browser add-ons and extensions. Just like any other browser, Chrome has its own legion of extensions that help us look up words and meanings as we browse.
The Chrome Web Store is where we are headed. Now let’s pick up seven extensions that make word searching not only easy, but also fun and educational.
This dictionary extension has probably seen the most downloads. On a webpage, you can double click on any word and see its complete definition displayed in a bubble. The extension supports multiple languages and also can translate a foreign word to your default language. Clicking on the reference link takes you to the Google Dictionary page where you can see more web definitions on the word. You can set language and other choices from the Options menu of the extension.
If you want a word meaning with a right click, install the Context Menu Button for Google Dictionary.
This dictionary extension sources word meanings from Wiktionary, but what’s more revealing is the Dictionary Lookup Options page which tells you all about the handiness of this browser helper. The Content section allows you to streamline the information that you want to get with a click of the mouse. The meanings are displayed in a clean and minimal inline box. You can set the extension to show other info like usage examples, audio pronunciation and synonyms. You can also lookup manually-entered queries using a shortcut which displays a small lookup box.
You can search for a dictionary meaning by clicking the address bar icon and entering the word in the field box. Quickrr also lets you lookup Google Dictionary, Google Image Search, and Wikipedia for the word. This extension could benefit from a richer display of meanings as it seems a bit too simplistic.
To enhance your vocabulary, it pays to use words in sentences and also visualize them with the help of real world images. This extension solves part of the recommendation by sourcing relevant images from Flickr and inserting them into the three online dictionaries it supports – Google Dictionary, Google Search (using the define: operator), and the Urban Dictionary. You can set it to search for ‘Safe’ images from the extension’s Options.
If you are talking about Urban Dictionary and if you want to look up the usage of a slang or a colloquial word, then this handy extension is just the thing to have in your Chrome browser. Click on the icon and enter the word. You will be taken to the page with the meaning in a trice.
If you are in any way interested in the English language then this phrase comparison extension is a must install. This extension is for the grammar buffs who would like to see which among two phrases is a better fit. You can compare two phrases and also contextualize them to see their usage in real world sentences.
So far, we have catered to the English buffs. As this is a tech website, you could also do a bit with the Codec dictionary. It’s a dictionary for multimedia geeks who want to look up words like DivX, colorspace, transcode etc. I have found it to be useful on more than one occasion. All the definitions are under 300 characters.
Remembering the meanings of all words that we are bombarded with every day may be a problem. Looking up their meanings and their usage context certainly is not with the help of these educational extensions. Do you have one installed in your Chrome extension gallery?