How do I use OneLook's thesaurus / reverse dictionary feature?

This tool lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be anything at all: a single word, a few words, or even a whole sentence. Type in your description and hit Enter (or select a word that shows up in the autocomplete preview) to see the related words.

Why would I want to do this?

Here are some examples of how you might use this tool:

Example searches
· Find a word if you only know its definition barrel maker, before the flood, museum guide,
search for food, urge to travel,
being tried twice for the same crime,
when cancer spreads through the body,
· Explore synonyms and related concepts fancy, baseball, clouds, twisty, push
· Generate a list of words in some category large birds, soft cheese, green fruit
· Answer basic identification questions What is the capital of Vietnam
Who is Big Bird's friend on Sesame Street
What is the longest river in the world?
· Solve crossword puzzle clues, or find words if you only know some of the letters
  (Use pattern:clue syntax)
??lon:synthetic fabric, s?nt?:christmas, l*ch*:fruit, ??????:hit, c*:board game

Has this changed recently?

Yes! Here's a description of what's changed for version 2.0. If you're really fond of the old system, or if you have JavaScript disabled in your browser, you can still access version 1.0 here or click on the link that says "Try your query on the old system" that appears at the very bottom of the results page.

How does it work?

The reverse dictionary uses the Datamuse API, which in turn uses several lingustic resources described in the "Data sources" section on that page.

Yikes. Why are so many of my search results complete nonsense?

For some types of searches only the first result or the first few results are likely to be useful. We urge you to click on a word to check its definition before using it in your Oscars acceptance speech or honors thesis.

If you get back nothing but junk, try restating your query so that it's just two or three simple words. Some queries are very difficult for our system. That's because not every dictionary indexed by OneLook is used by the reverse dictionary, and our search algorithm still needs a lot of work. We're continually adding more references and improving the precision of the system.

Can I use this service from anywhere on OneLook?

Sure! Just type a colon (:) into any OneLook search box, followed by your concept. If you put a wildcard pattern before the colon, your results will be filtered by that pattern. (This is particularly useful for crossword puzzle help, as shown in the examples above.)

Is this available in any other languages besides English?

The same interface is now available in Spanish at (select the "Palabras relacionadas" button.)

Can I add this to my browser's search bar?

Certainly! Just follow these instructions.

Is there an API for retrieving these results programmatically?

Yes! Check out the Datamuse API.

How can I send you my statements that express my opinion comments?

You can send feedback here. home

Do you use Google Docs? Try the free OneLook Thesaurus Google Docs Add-On.