The Editor’s Toolkit: OneLook Reverse Dictionary

typewriterquestions
Have you ever been stuck for a word?  The meaning is clear in your head, but you can’t grasp the word you want? I am sure you have said, it’s on the tip of my tongue. This happens to everyone at some point. As a writer, an editor, a student, or just in everyday writing — you get frustrated and start pulling out your hair.  This is where OneLook Reverse Dictionary can help you (and me, when I edit!)


How does it work?

OneLook explains it best, so I took this screenshot for you.

HowToUse OneLookReverse
How OneLook Reverse Dictionary works.


Editor’s Advice

Keep your search short to get the best results. OneLook indexes online dictionaries, thesauruses, encyclopedias, and other reference sites for your search term returning  conceptually similar words.  They suggest utilizing only the first few terms, since it comes back with hundreds sometimes, as seen in the screenshot below where I searched for urge to travel.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary
OneLook Reverse Dictionary search results on urge to travel”.

Pick the word you want, for example, Wanderlust. When you click on it, dictionary definitions from multiple sources will come up, including the  Online Etymology Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionaries, UltraLingua English Dictionary, Mnemonic Dictionary, and RhymeZone.

Wanderlust-OneLook
Wanderlust definitions


Categories

The list you get back is broken up into Categories: General, Art, Business, Computing, Medicine, Miscellaneous, Religion, Science, Slang, Sports, Tech, and Phrases. I really like the Phrases category.

broburn
Broburn Wanderlust. Serial BAPC.233. Photo courtesy of The Museum of Berkshire Aviation.

Doing this search, I learned a phrase that includes wanderlust is Broburn Wanderlust  which was a small, wooden, single-seat glider designed in the United Kingdom just after World War II. Only one was built in 1946, and it flew in 1947.

 

 

 

The Wanderlust is a single seat sailplane of wooden construction, with a cantilever shoulder-wing. The wing is covered with ply from the leading edge as far as the spar, aft of which it is fabric covered. Fitted along the whole span are aerofoil section flaps, which are split at about half span so that the outer section scan act as flaps or drooping ailerons. Accommodation in the cockpit is roomy and the pilot’s head is raised well above the wings and fuselage under a Perspex hood. A seat type parachute is provided, with a radio as possible additional equipment. Novel use has been made out of a cut motorcycle inner tube encased in canvas to provide an inflatable shock absorber. 

– The Museum of Berkshire Aviation

Be sure to check out the other Editor’s Toolkit posts including The Punctuation Guide, and the Hemingway App. Hope you will come back for what’s upcoming the rest of the week, as I highlight what else is in my Editor’s Toolkit.

Know of other useful writing apps that aren’t included here? Let me know about them on Twitter!

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