About Wordnik

What is Wordnik?

Wordnik is a new way to discover meaning. This page will give you a quick overview of what you can do, learn, and share with Wordnik.

Definitions

Wordnik shows definitions from multiple sources, so you can see as many different takes on a word's meaning as possible. For more information about the sources of our dictionary definitions, please see the Colophon page.

Wordnik doesn't yet allow user-contributed definitions. If you'd like to add a definition, you can log in and leave a comment.

Examples

At Wordnik, we believe, like Humpty Dumpty, that words mean what we want them to mean:

Humpty Dumpty

We try to show as many real examples as possible for each word. These examples are ranked by how useful we think they are in helping you understand the meaning of a particular word, especially words that may not have traditional dictionary definitions. For instance, we try to find examples like this one, at chartjunk:

Example sentence for chartjunk

Wordnik includes example sentences from major news media (such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today) and from books from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive, as well as from other sources across the web, including blogs.

What do we mean by “related words”? Our word relationships include synonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms, words used in the same context, a reverse dictionary, and tags. But what does all of that mean?

Here are the related words for tree:

Related Words for Tree

First up are synonyms, or words with the same or similar meaning, for instance, timber and sapling.

You'll also find hypernyms, otherwise known as superordinates, or words that are more generic or abstract than the given word. The prefix hyper- means "over, beyond, overmuch, above measure," so you can think of a hypernym as a sort of umbrella over more specific words. A hypernym for tree might be flora.

Hyponyms, or subordinates, are words that are more specific than the given word (the prefix hypo- means “under, beneath”). Simal, coralwood, kingwood, and willow are specific types of trees (hey, that would make a great list!).

Same context refers to words that might be used in a similar context, such as wood, grass, garden, and branch. (One could argue that branch is also a meronym, or "a term that names part of a larger whole," for tree.) We use the great resource WordNet for much of our hyponym and hypernym data.

The Reverse Dictionary section lists words that contain the given word in their definition.

Tags are created by logged-in Wordniks. Tags are anything you might use to label the given word (for instance, tree is tagged plant), and the Tagging section shows what words have been given the tag tree, including acacia, ash, and alder.

Lists

There are more than 30,000 lists on Wordnik! Any logged-in Wordnik can make one (or more, or many, many more) lists. Many words on Wordnik are included in multiple lists -- check out the word kerfuffle:

Lists including the word kerfuffle

When you're logged in you'll see your own lists on the right:

Logged-in user lists for kerfuffle

To add a word to your list click the box:

Adding words to a list

To view the full list, hover over the list name and click on the word "view":

Logged-in user lists for kerfuffle

Want more about Wordnik lists? Check out this blog post about lists. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook to keep up with our Lists of the Day.

Comments

Logged-in Wordniks can leave comments on word pages, list pages, and user profile pages. To link to another word page from within a comment, use single brackets (like so: [word]). Simple links and formatting are also permitted.

Comments are the place to add new examples of a word's use, short definitions of your own, or simply your own opinion about a word.

Images

All our images come from Flickr, under a Creative Commons license. We pull images via the tags and text that the creators of the images assigned to it, which means that some images may be only loosely or metaphorically connected to the word being looked up. For instance, these are some of the images that may appear at the word honor:

Images: honor

Audio

Wordnik includes audio pronunciations from the The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright © 2008, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Updated in 2008 and the Macmillan Dictionary -- Online English Dictionary and Thesaurus.

For more information about the sources of our dictionary definitions, please see the Colophon page.

Wordnik also includes sound effects for some words.

Logged-in Wordniks can record their own pronunciations for words on Wordnik. (To record a pronunciation, your computer must have a microphone.) First look for this link on the word page:

Audio: Link to Record a Pronunciation

Clicking that link will get you this dialogue:

Audio: Allow Recording

Once you've clicked "Allow", you'll see this box:

Audio: Begin Recording

Once you've recorded your pronunciation, you can listen to it by clicking the green dot (and leave a description of it) before you save:

Audio: Check Recording

We encourage you to leave as much information as possible about your recorded pronunciation. Feel free to leave description such as "This is how we say this word in Massachusetts" or "I've only heard this word pronounced this way".

Favorites

Logged-in Wordniks can mark words as Favorites. When you "Love" a word it will be added to your list of Favorite Words, and it will get some special hearts (which only the person who favorited the word will see):

Favorite word: sillyhow

Word of the Day

Our word of the day is available Monday through Friday on the Word of the Day page (and is also available via email). To subscribe to the Word of the Day email, you must be a registered Wordnik. Log in to your account and check the "Subscribe to the Word of the Day" box in your user profile.

Random Word

Clicking on "Random Word" from the header of any Wordnik page will take to you a random word page.

Random Word

Community

The Community page shows you what other Wordniks are doing with their lists, as well as recent activity, such as words that have been recently listed, the latest lists, and the most-commented-on lists and words. You can also find recently viewed words, the latest comments, recent pronunciations, and recent favorites.

Profile

Your Wordnik profile page is where you can keep track of your Wordnik activity, including your lists, favorite words, comments you've made, comments left for you by others, and your recent lookups. On your profile page you can also manage your email address and subscriptions to Word of the Day lists, and choose whether your profile is public (visible to everyone) or private (visible only to you).

Contact Us

Need to get in touch? You can reach us at feedback@wordnik.com

Or via postal mail at:

Wordnik

195 E. 4th Ave, 2nd Floor

San Mateo, CA 94401

More Information

To reach individual Wordniks, check out our team page.

For press information, check out our press page.

Here's a handy link to our media kit.