Tech Tip Tuesday: Wordnik

The one topic I often get asked to write and speak about is technology.  One of most popular presentations is my ‘Whole Lotta Tools in a Short Amounta Time” or variations of it.  It seems only fitting that the one thing I will post regularly about is technology.  I will provide tips on various software or applications, online tools, gadgets, short-cuts and how-tos.

I thought it would be fitting for my first Tech Tip Tuesday article to be about something near and dear to librarians: a dictionary.


There are a lot of online dictionaries.  Some are online versions of the old standbys such as the OED and Merriam-Webster; some are free, some are subscription based.  One of my favorites is Wordnik.  I am a word nerd.  I love words.  Wordnik was started by Erin McKean, another word-lover who gets to make a living working with words!  I was introduced to Erin through TED and TED talk: “Redefining the Dictionary“, which may also be where Wordnik was born.

Back to Wordnik itself.  There are lots of reasons to like Wordnik.  Here are a few:

  • gives definitions from more than one source
  • also has a thesaurus, with synonyms, antonyms, related words, and more
  • examples!  see how a word is being used in context
  • pronunciations (and you can record your own)
  • flickr images tagged with the word
  • twitter posts using the word
  • stats on the word, such as how often it has been looked up and what it’s basic scrabble score is
  • ‘used in phrase’ section
  • it’s a community dictionary (you can tag words, create lists, and comment on words)
  • translate a word into other languages
  • there’s a mobile Wordnik and extensions and plugins too
  • and more!

See for yourself what Wordnik can do:  Here is a search for “serendipity” @ Worknik:

Remember elementary school and all those vocabulary quizzes and homework assignments?  How I wish I had had Wordnik then; it makes learning vocabulary lists so much fun.  So go play (and learn).  I must warn you though…you might just become a Word Nerd!

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