Wordnik’s Word Pages: now with 86.5% more resplendence

We’re happy to announce today a new look for the (millions and millions of) Wordnik word pages:

The new pages are cleaner, easier to navigate and read, more colorful, and have been shown in controlled, double-blind experiments to increase the love of words, writing and speaking skills, and vocabulary retention by up to 115% in test subjects*.

New features include an expanded Related Word (thesaurus) section, with a new “Reverse Dictionary” section:

screenshot of related words at "better"

Word pages now include list previews, so you can easily see information about the lists that include the word you’ve looked up:

We’ll be rolling out more improvements and more new features across all of Wordnik.com over the next few weeks. As always, you can send us your thoughts via feedback@wordnik.com or by leaving a comment here.

[*test subjects may or may not have been Wordnik employees and their families.]

Spring News from Wordnik

in just-spring

Photo by, and licensed (CC BY-NC 2.0) from, cuellar.

Spring is always a time for new growth, and we’re certainly growing here at Wordnik!

Some new stuff we think you’d like:

  • We now have a beta mobile site at http://m.wordnik.com, optimized for small-screen devices.
  • We have more new (and better!) example sentences, from new sources, with more on the way soon.
  • Check out our improved word frequency charts!
  • The Wordnik Word of the Day is now available as a daily email. You can sign up for it now by logging in to Wordnik and editing your preferences.
  • Our new autoexpanding comment areas make it easier to write and edit comments of more than a few lines (for when you have a lot to say about a particular word).
  • You’ll find improved definition data from the GNU Webster’s 1913 dictionary, available both on the site and through the API.
  • Developers, check out the New API calls for retrieving examples, related words (synonyms, antonyms, and the like), phrases, and definitions by part of speech. Support for JSONP is now available as well.
  • Our corpus is now using mongodb under the hood, providing improved performance now, and interesting feature possibilities down the road.
  • And just for fun, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to play SECRET WORD WEDNESDAY! Guess the SECRET WORD OF THE DAY, and win Wordnik stickers!

Hungry for more? Email us at feedback@wordnik.com and let us know what you’d like to see!

Also — for all you developers out there, keep an eye out for details of Wordnik’s first developer contest! We’ll be making an announcement this Friday …

Announcing: “Secret Word Wednesday”

We’re trying something new here on Wednesday at Wordnik — “Secret Word Wednesday.” It’ll work like this:

  • We’ll choose a secret word.
  • We won’t tell you what it is. (That’s why it’s SECRET.)
  • We’ll tweet clues to the word (follow us at @wordnik).
  • When you think you know the SECRET WORD, tweet it! Use @wordnik so we can find your tweet.
  • If your guess is correct, we’ll re-tweet it, and ask you to email us so we can send you Wordnik stickers and other cool stuff!

And of course it wouldn’t be a SECRET WORD if it didn’t have a special extra … when you think you’ve found the secret word of the day, check the audio pronunciations for confirmation.


Photo by, and licensed (C BY-NC-ND 2.0) from, heather.

P.S. The secret word today is NOT “Door.”



Photo by, and licensed (C BY-NC-SA 2.0) from, kkseema.

At Wordnik, we love all the words (that’s what the heart in the logo means, after all) but there are some words that are especial favorites (that’s what the favorite function is for, after all) … and quite a few of those words are cricketing terms. Only a couple of Wordniks can honestly claim to be true cricket fans (Krishna and Kumanan) but none of us can resist the lure of words like googly (“A googly is a ball delivered by a bowler that looks as if it ought to break from left to right across the bat of a right-handed batsman.”) and Dilscoop (” … [the] stroke “Dilscoop” [ invented by Tilakaratne Dilshan] which involves going down on one knee and scooping the ball over his head in area behind the wicketkeeper.”) Not to mention the best phrase in all of sports: silly mid-off. (Which is the same as the silly mid-on, just on the other side of the pitch. Make sense? No? Well, it doesn’t matter.)

Cricket words are so compelling, in fact, that Wordnik has three different lists devoted to cricket! They are: Sportie: Cricket, i don’t like cricket — i love it, and Cricket! That last link is to an open list — feel free to add your own favorite cricket terms to it!

Is there some other topic that you think has better words than cricket? You can always sign in to Wordnik and create your own list of great words to share …

Are your words smart enough?

it's love

Today, at the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference, we’ll be announcing an initiative to create a new standard for getting and publishing information about words.

We’re calling it “smartwords”, and it will be an open standard — meaning anyone can publish data sets or develop applications using it. Smartwords will be context-aware and real-time … but also lightweight, easy-to-use, and versatile. We’re developing this standard with help from our first smartwords partners, including The New York Times, Forbes, The Huffington Post, O’Reilly, Vook, Scribd, ibis reader, and the Internet Archive.

With smartwords, you’ll be able to access not just traditional “dictionary-style” information, but also metadata, such as how frequently a word is used, where words are used, and who uses particular words. You’ll also be able to publish information about words — if you create a word, you can put a flag in the ground and claim it for your own — and smartwords will enable cool social features, like sharing and tagging.

What would a world with smarter words look like?

— You’re reading a new popular-science bestseller and your reader shows you quick definitions of the most difficult words, set right in the text … based on knowing what books you’ve already read and what words you’ve already seen!

— You’re a consumer and you have a few sources you trust for information (like, say, the New York Times). When you’re reading something from a different source, you can set your ereader to highlight what you’re reading to link you to good definitions (or similar content) in your trusted sources. (Instant fact-check!)

— You’re reading a great new novel and you see a great quote you’d like to pass along — you highlight it and share it on Facebook or Twitter.

The question is: if every word became a smart word, what would you ask it and what would it tell you?

We’ll be releasing version 1 of the smartwords standard in Summer 2010. With this new standard, we should able to do fantastic things with smartwords — and we want to hear from you about the kinds of information you would like to access and the kinds of applications you would like to build. Visit us at smartwords.wordnik.com to learn more!

(There’s more information in this nice writeup about smartwords from the Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog.)

Wordnik & Wordie: Moving Day!

So we’ve unpacked all the Wordie boxes and all the data is moved in and put away nicely, so everything should be ready for Wordniks and Wordies to live together in peace and harmony.

If you’re a Wordie, in the vast majority of the cases your Wordnik username is the same as your Wordie username — to start using Wordnik, all you have to do is reset your password with this link. All your tags, lists, comments, and coolness will magically show up on Wordnik under your username.

A few Wordies and Wordniks had the same usernames — great minds think alike — so we staged a few contests of luck and skill to determine which person grabbed the prize. If your username was affected, you’ll get an email soon with your new username and a link to reset your password. (Again, all your data will show up on Wordnik under your new username.)

If we were pretty sure you were the same person on Wordie and Wordnik (same username, same or suspiciously similar email addresses) we merged the accounts. (Log in with your Wordnik password.) If it was merely a case of mistaken identity and you are now living with a stranger, let us know ASAP!

This was a BIG undertaking (kind of like docking the space shuttle, only without the triumphant classical-music soundtrack), so if you notice any wonkiness, please let us know. We’ll be doing a bit more polishing and dusting over the next couple of days to make extra-double-sure that everything is where it’s supposed to be and does what it is supposed to do!