This month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, drawing from my “Grab Bag of Delectable and Occasionally Edifying Interwebby Wonderments.”
Don’t you sometimes stop and gasp in awe at the ridiculously vast repertoire of facts, fictions and fabulosities available to us on the internet? A seemingly endless feast of information just waiting to catapult itself into our brains at the click of a link.
There are hundreds and hundreds of online dictionaries, and great whacks of specialty dictionaries on all kinds of subjects, including architecture, astrology, medical terms and music. There’s even a Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, a collection of words and phrases invented by artist and director John Koenig to describe feelings for which we don’t have names.
With all that bounty, it can be challenging to decide where to turn, so today I thought I’d share a few of the sites I’ve stumbled across that may (or may not) be new to you and which you may (or may not) find as delicious as I do.
Alpha Dictionary Language Directory: According to Alpha there are approximately 7,106 known languages, only 300 of which have online dictionaries. I’m not saying that someone out there is slacking, but come on, you dictionary coders, coffee break is over.
In the meantime the Alpha Directory has enough language dictionaries to make you swoon with delight, hundreds of them. If you’re desperate for cake and need to ask for it in Farsi or Finnish, Cheyenne or Croatian, Malay or Masaba, this site has your back. Your poor, sad cakeless back.
Visiuwords – This is an online graphical dictionary, not to be mistaken for a visual dictionary (see below). When you enter a word into the Visiuwords search box, it produces diagrams of the word and its various meanings, as well as its associations with other words and concepts, resulting what the authors describe as a “neural net.”
I’m doing a hideous job of describing it, but I promise you it’s very cool. Go type the word hideous and see what I mean. (Remember to hover your cursor over the coloured blobs so the magnified text boxes pop up so you can actually read the text.)
Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary Online – I have two hard copy visual dictionaries at home, but sometimes I find myself needing/wanting to figure out the word for something when I’m
too lazy to get off my rump out and about. For example, I might be wondering of a morning what the bit between a spider’s head and thorax is called, because I know bloody well it isn’t called a neck. I might be astonishingly lazy out and about, but I’m not that silly. All I need to do is summon the Visual Dictionary on my handy dandy laptop or cellphone and boom! Now I know. It’s a cephalothorax. My spider friends are going to be so impressed.
And finally, a list of favourite dictionaries wouldn’t be complete without at least a mention of the Dictionary of Symbols and Symbol.com, two yummy collections off all manner of graphic signs and symbols. Alchemical symbols, hobo signs, religious iconography, Celtic symbols, wingdings.–a little something for every curious mind.
How about you? Do you have any favourite online dictionaries you’d like to share in the comments?