Improved Search: Wildcards and Lists

We’ve rolled out a handful of improvements to word search. There’s more on the way, but here’s a quick overview of two new features: wildcard searches and list search.

These can be used from our recently-added search results pages, which you can get to either from the ‘See all results for’ link at the bottom of the autocomplete results when you search from any page, or by going to directly.

The * wildcard matches any number of characters:*tacular

? matches any single character:

Or you can limit single-character wildcards to just vowels or just consonants with @ and # respectively:

Searching without wildcards returns results similar to what you see from autocomplete, but includes results from lists, tags, and related words:

Or you can specifically focus on lists and see more results:

Upcoming releases will allow regex-style searches and let you search other kinds of Wordnik content. If you’d like to see other search-related features, or have suggestions for how these should work, please let us know in the comments or through

Wordie Image Search

There is now an ‘image search’ link under each word, which when clicked performs a Yahoo! image search and displays the results inline. On your profile you can set Wordie to do this automatically, obviating the need for the click.

Or if you prefer to kick it old school, you can turn it off entirely. Click on ‘you’, then ‘edit personal preferences’, and you’ll see radio buttons that let you set image search to automatic, on demand, or not there at all.

One of Wordie’s charms, I’m told, is the emphasis on text über alles, so I made this optional and tried to keep it subtle. But it’s worth playing with, even if you are a textist. Yahoo! image search can be almost WeirdNetian in what it comes up with for more abstract terms, and for quotidian words it’s an excellent image browser. Especially, if I may say, when married to Wordie.

Wordie Mobile, New Feature Roundup

This weekend saw the arrival of Wordie Mobile, a version of the site optimized for phones and other small-screen devices. This makes it much easier to add a word to your lists if you’re at the library, or on the bus, or wherever: Just point your phone browser to Thanks to Crystalover at Twitter for inspiring this. Other new goodies launched in the last week or two:

  • Updated, more wordie-esque design for Errata. Obviously.
  • Paging for past comments. You can now scroll back through all 36,367 of them.
  • Ads on every page, every day! Ok, so that’s not exactly a feature, but, well, baby needs shoes.
  • You can now leave comments on tag pages, like so.
  • A new search page, which lets you search comments, lists, or, via the Gooble, everything at once.
  • More sort options for lists, and maybe some other little niceties like that; I’ve probably forgotten something.
There’s more good stuff on deck, though the pace of development may slow a bit as I focus on other projects. More on that soon.

Search Term Autocomplete

The search box now automatically fetches the first 10 words that match what you’ve entered, and updates the list as you type.

I’m finding this more useful than I expected it to be, personally. I’ve been using it as a sort of spell-checker. A whoopee-cushion, hand-buzzer sort of spell checker: it shows you how people have spelled things in Wordie, not how they’re actually spelled–and misspellings in Wordie are legion. But it’s interesting to see even the mistakes.

This suggests a slew of possible future features: actual spellcheck, improved search (comments search, in particular), integration with a proper dictionary. Things to looks forward to, someday.