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Wrds is Words in Web 2.0
November 26, 2007 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Definr is an incredibly fast online dictionary. It joins other cool Web 2.0ish word applications, such as Wordie [prev.] with its hot words and great blog (see also their glossary of glossaries); the collective Madlibs-like idea generator that is Seedy; the TagCrowd word cloud creator; and, most importantly, the blog devoted solely to the word literally [prev.].
posted by blahblahblah (49 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
That last one is literally so pretentious that my head literally exploded and sprayed nice, big, literal chunks of brain all over my computer. Literally!
posted by ORthey at 7:28 AM on November 26, 2007


I had hoped that if a "web 2.0" site were to come along and have the spine to eschew the -r suffix, it would an online dictionary. The internet once again dashes my hopes.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:34 AM on November 26, 2007


website: (no matches)

Useful.
posted by DU at 7:38 AM on November 26, 2007


did not match "résumé": fail

(I hereby decree that if your application cannot handle latin extended character sets, much less UTF-8, it may only be considered Web 1.75)
posted by device55 at 7:41 AM on November 26, 2007


Doesn't know what thaumaturgy is....
posted by zeoslap at 7:42 AM on November 26, 2007


website: (no matches) ...etc...

But they have web site. The Definr source is WordNet, so you'll have to take up missing words with Princeton.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:43 AM on November 26, 2007


website: (no matches)

Useful.


Did you mean: web site, weblike
posted by metaplectic at 7:45 AM on November 26, 2007


Why do I need an 'incredibly fast' online dictionary?

I mean, if I have the time to type definr.com and go to the site, I have time to type "define: CTRL+V" into the Firefox's Google search bar.

Plus, you don't even get the actual definition, rather you get links to click for words with that prefix. Typing in "test" brings doesn't bring up the definion of test, but rather links for phrases that start with test.

So you have to go mouse, keyboard, mouse to use it.

So yeah, weaksauce.
posted by delmoi at 7:46 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


"...would [be] an online..."

Fucknugget! Why do I always screw up when I'm complaining about language abuse?
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:52 AM on November 26, 2007


Sure it may be fast when its searching on each character entered, as its entered... but it doesn't matter if words are missing and the definitions are lame.

If the program uses Javascript and XML I would expect it to have those definitions.
posted by jlweber at 7:59 AM on November 26, 2007


The second definition of "literally" in almost every dictionary I've checked is "figuratively."

Check yourself before you literally wreck yourself.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:01 AM on November 26, 2007


delmoi: Why do I need an 'incredibly fast' online dictionary?

Good question. My criticism (which I now see as related) is that once I type the word, I then have to remove my hands from the keyboard and use my mouse to click on the link.

Speed is relative, and contextual. The fact that it responds quickly is more than offset by the fact that it's still a fucking web page.
posted by lodurr at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2007


I know all the good domain names are taken, but this trend of misspelled words is tiresome. Can we go back to catchy acronyms?
posted by mmagin at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2007


I can't tell if it's faster than ninjawords, but I'd like to know.
posted by pokermonk at 8:11 AM on November 26, 2007


... oh, and, what's the big deal about tag clouds? Why do I care what other people are clicking on? I want to find what I'm looking for, not what other people are looking for. All tag clouds do is tell me what's popular. (Aside from providing a positive feedback loop, that is.)
posted by lodurr at 8:12 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


FWIW, definr's bookmarklet works in Safari (they only mention FF).

I don't think it will replace Mac's built in dictionary for me, though, since you can use it in any application.

Wordie, however, remains to e one of the coolest concepts for a site ever.
posted by vertigo25 at 8:20 AM on November 26, 2007


The second definition of "literally" in almost every dictionary I've checked is "figuratively."

You need a real fucking dictionary:
1. nonce-uses. a. By the letters (of a name). b. In letters or literature. Obs.

2. a. With reference to a report, translation, etc.: In the very words, word for word.

b. transf. With exact fidelity of representation.

3. a. In the literal sense. b. Used to indicate that the following word or phrase must be taken in its literal sense.
Now often improperly used to indicate that some conventional metaphorical or hyperbolical phrase is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense. (So, e.g., in quot. 1863.)
I applaud the efforts of reactionary prescriptivists — surely there is a quixotic nobility in their endless, hopeless struggle?

This message brought to you in part by the Friends of the Serial Comma — fighting the AP every step of the way!
posted by enn at 8:24 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Normally I get pretty worked up about linquistic prescriptivism. But as long as you know it's quixotic...
posted by lodurr at 8:29 AM on November 26, 2007


reactionary prescriptivists

Wait, you quote the OED and then mock prescriptivists? I don't get it - are you for or against prescritivism?

and are you now, or have you ever been, a communist?
posted by GuyZero at 8:31 AM on November 26, 2007


Now often improperly used to indicate that some conventional metaphorical or hyperbolical phrase is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense. (So, e.g., in quot. 1863.)

1863 counts as "now"? Also, this much previous example from the same entry:

1708 POPE Let. to H. Cromwell 18 Mar., Euery day with me is literally another yesterday for it is exactly the same.

I think if people having been using "literally" to mean "figuratively" for literally one month short of 300 years, we are in no immediate danger of Disastrous Language Collapse Syndrome if we continue.
posted by DU at 8:43 AM on November 26, 2007


I like it. My one design quibble: The logo is too big and takes up too much space. On my 1024x768 laptop screen, I have to scroll down to see the definition of the word I'm looking for.

Other than that, looks awesome.
posted by JDHarper at 8:43 AM on November 26, 2007


Why not take the time to enjoy a nice Slow Dictionary?
posted by metaplectic at 8:45 AM on November 26, 2007


It's really raining cats and dogs out there.
posted by Wood at 8:51 AM on November 26, 2007


Doesn't offer anything new, and is a bit tiresome to use with the typing then scrolling. I don't care how fast it is, good old "define:" on google is plenty fast enough for me.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:54 AM on November 26, 2007


Wordie's hot words feature is kinda interesting *coughno.39cough*. However, I'm a bit disappointed that Schadenfreude is on top of the list. Does the rest of the MeFi German-speaking brigade feel underwhelmed?
posted by ersatz at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2007


This really beg's the question's, "when will we stop using language's incorrectly?", and "is our childrens' learning?"
posted by blue_beetle at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2007


Wait, you quote the OED and then mock prescriptivists?

Heh, seriously. Thanks for the supporting evidence, DU.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:16 AM on November 26, 2007


You need a real fucking dictionary

The OED is a great dictionary, probably the greatest ever, but the Field-Fish section came out in 1896. It's not really the best resource for 20th-century usage, let alone 21st-century.

But yeah, serial commas rule.
posted by languagehat at 9:41 AM on November 26, 2007


... serial commas ...

I catch so much grief for using these. A writer I know accuses me of 'trying to be Henry James.' My wife just corrects me.
posted by lodurr at 9:49 AM on November 26, 2007


But yeah, serial commas rule.

It's me dream to one day go on an Oxford comma-induced killing rampage.

You seem like a good guy, languagehat. I would hate to have to take you down over this.
posted by GuyZero at 10:02 AM on November 26, 2007


I've spent decades inserting serial commas into (sometimes unwilling) texts; I will have no problem whatsoever inserting them into one or more of your vital organs. Be warned.
posted by languagehat at 10:05 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Serial commas do rule.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:11 AM on November 26, 2007


Serial commas often rule.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2007


I'll stick to typing in "webster [word]" into Firefox, I think. (Oh if only there was a free site that had the contents of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary.)
posted by chrominance at 10:46 AM on November 26, 2007


Since you brought up often, let me ask: off-ten or off-en?
posted by arcticwoman at 10:50 AM on November 26, 2007


Traditionally ("correctly") it's off-en, but so many people now say off-ten that it's given as an alternate spelling in up-to-date dictionaries. The history is complicated; the OED (March 2004 revision) has this to say:

"Often is less commonly used than oft until the 16th cent. Several orthoepists of the 16th and 17th centuries, including Hart, Bullokar, Robinson, Gil, and Hodges, give a pronunciation with medial -t-. Others, including Coles, Young, Strong, and Brown, record a pronunciation without -t-, which, despite its use in the 16th cent. by Elizabeth I, seems to have been avoided by careful speakers in the 17th cent. (see E. J. Dobson Eng. Pronunc. 1500-1700 (ed. 2, 1968) II. §405). Loss of t after f occurs in other cases; cf. SOFTEN v., and also RAFT n.1, HAFT n.1, etc. The pronunciation with -t- has frequently been considered to be hypercorrection in recent times: see for example H. W. Fowler Mod. Eng. Usage (1926), s.v."

The first edition of the OED, a century ago, gives only the pronunciation without the -t-.
posted by languagehat at 11:42 AM on November 26, 2007


I liked the Wordie: Errata blog - thanks, blahblahblah.

But as for dictionaries, I am a OneLook junkie - which was created by a Mefite, incidentally. At one time I knew who, but have forgotten, tsk.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:44 AM on November 26, 2007


This is a solution in search of a problem, and not even a great solution at that. The word match is quick, and whee, the definition comes up via AJAX, but I still have to (a) load your start page and (b) click on a matching word.

Mac OS 10.5 has its dictionary built into spotlight search. Global dictionary:

1. Hit command-space
2. Type word
3. There is no step 3
posted by mkultra at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2007


It's a neat idea, but it doesn't have a definition for 'antidisestablishmentarianism', and any dictionary that doesn't care about the offical national religion status of the Church of England in the nineteenth century, has no place in my book.
posted by quin at 12:08 PM on November 26, 2007


I use Wordweb at least once a day. Come across a word, point your cursor at it and control right click and the definition pops up. No typing at all, it's a free download and it knew what thaumaturgy was.
posted by gfrobe at 12:42 PM on November 26, 2007


But yeah, serial commas rule.

Whenever I'm trying to decide whether to use serial commas, I think of the lessons taught to me by my parents, languagehat and God.

...

D'oh!
posted by lord_wolf at 1:23 PM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Son, your Mother and I are very disappointed in you.
posted by languagehat at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2007


chrominance, there's a m-w plugin for Firefox.
posted by ersatz at 2:59 PM on November 26, 2007


Fails at the first hurdle of my dictionary tester: Paladin
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 PM on November 26, 2007


Paladin.

9833; 9833; Paladin 9833; 9833;
posted by blahblahblah at 5:22 PM on November 26, 2007


Damn, 9833; should have been the quarter note unicode symbol...
posted by blahblahblah at 5:23 PM on November 26, 2007


This is John, I built Wordie. Wanted to thank the people who visited Errata and suggested more glossaries (I posted an update).

fwiw, Wordie has good threads on both antidisestablishmentarianism and paladin, and a number of threads (1 2 3) on serial commas :-)
posted by johnny99 at 10:34 PM on November 26, 2007


Trust them to improve the thing when my back is turned... (or may be it was fault...)

Still, just always seems simpler just to google a word - brings up definition and copes with most of my misspellings
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:54 AM on November 27, 2007


I usually just google words too. Wordie isn't really intended as a dictionary, though you can use it as one. It's more a social network for word freaks. Definr is cool, but maybe makes more sense as a search extension--which they have.
posted by johnny99 at 2:49 PM on November 27, 2007


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