How many times have you had a word on the tip of your tongue but it won’t come to you? As a writer, I have to find new words and synonyms all the time. The worst thing you can do is keep on repeating the same words through a manuscript. But sometimes it is harder than one thinks to find new ways of saying the same thing. It can also be difficult putting an action into words. Sometimes even us writers just draw a blank when it comes to “that perfect word”.
I am in the middle of editing one of my manuscripts and I cringe at how many times I have overused certain pet words. Yes I use a dictionary and yes I use a thesaurus but sometimes even these great reference tools are not enough. What about those times when you can’t think of the exact word but you can describe what you are trying to say. Then what? A dictionary nor thesaurus won’t cut it at these times.
Well recently, I found the perfect tool to solve my word issues. I came upon it quite by chance and it was a fortunate chance indeed. Realising I needed an updated dictionary and thesaurus, I thought I would search for one in the App store (Apple) that I could download onto my iPod Touch. So I entered a search term for dictionary & thesaurus. There was a whole list of various dictionary&thesaurus combinations but one app stood out to me…
Never having heard of a reverse dictionary, I opened it up and read the description:
Reverse Dictionary is a great way to explore words, definitions and concepts.
Have you ever had a word on the tip of your tongue but just couldn’t get it out? Then this app is for you! Reverse Dictionary can also help you expand your vocabulary in many ways.
For example, you can:
• Find a word if you only know its definition or a phrase describing the idea
e.g. 1000 years, museum guide, search for food, plastic thing over end of shoelace, ceremony to crown a king…
• Find related terms
e.g. baseball, clouds, coffee…
• Generate a list of words related to a category
e.g. large birds, green fruit, outdoor sport…
• Solve crossword puzzle clues, or find words if you only know some of the letters
e.g. ??lon:synthetic fabric, pi??apple:fruit…
Special thanks to OneLook® for providing data services.
This app is free, and will remain free so enjoy!
– quoted from iTunes App Store
I couldn’t believe my luck. This is exactly the application I had been searching for. It took me less than 10 seconds to download it. I have been using this application for about 2 weeks and it has changed my world! Now if I want to say something is green I have a whole list to choose from to describe green. The application also works a bit like a word association game. If you type in a phrase, it comes up with all the synonyms associated to the words in that phrase as well as the actual phrase.
Wildcards can also be used in the search terms to customize the results…
Find words that start with bl and have a meaning related to snow >
Find words and phrases that start with blue >
Find any words related to snow >
(These are just some of the more specialized ways you can use Reverse Dictionary. All info quoted from the App’s store’s app.)
The great thing about this application is that it also contains a number of full dictionaries and thesauruses. So if you have found a word but you want an expanded meaning of it then you just click on the “more definitions” and it will take you to a list of dictionaries and thesauruses: Everything from Dictionary.com to the Oxford Dictionary. There are also a couple of useful dictionaries for fiction authors: Rhymezone, Mnemonic Dictionary, Idioms and the Urban Dictionary and for Word Nerds – The Online Entymology Dictionary.
The good news is that this application is available in both Apple and Android.
Apple: Reverse Dictionary
Android: Reverse Dictionary
(For those without a smartphone/ipod: Reverse Dictionary – Desktop Version)
All downloads are FREE.
So if it’s on the tip of your tongue and you just can’t find the exact right word… If your manuscript is covered in red pen from your editor with large “Please find another word!” all over it… Don’t waste time. Download the Reverse Dictionary. This little app will change the way you write and make your editing life super-simple. Your editor will love you and your manuscript will shine.
- another post about finding the perfect word (lishacauthen.wordpress.com)
- Of Dictionaries and the Thesaurus (khfenner.wordpress.com)
- How to Upgrade Your Writing With OneLook (maketecheasier.com)
- Free Resources for Writers, Dictionaries (socyberty.com)
- 16 Websites to Super Charge Your English Vocabulary (dumblittleman.com)
- A Tip of the Slung (proofthat.wordpress.com)
- Open Thread for Night Owls: Word choices both perfect and flawed (dailykos.com)
- Awesome! (3twistedsisters.wordpress.com)
- Editing you’re manuscritp. Ewe did write? (Editing and writing tips) (ksbowers.wordpress.com)
- Wordy: The Logophile’s Primer Reference Dictionary (iphone.appstorm.net)
- Words, Words, Words… (herecomesthesunn.wordpress.com)
- What you say is who you are (syllableinthecity.wordpress.com)