Google now has a dictionary

Chris Caceres · December 4, 2009 · Short URL:

The search giant looking to be online dictionary king too?

If you go to, well, you'll find a new dictionary provided by Google.  The dictionary is pretty minimal and doesn't have many features, but it's there.  As probably most search-saavy users already know, Google offers a word definition service via the define:word search query.

Some reports across the Web argue Google's dictionary could possibly pose a threat to other online dictionaries like and, but with the simplicity of Google's dictionary, there's still a need for deeper services.  

Take for example this search I did for the word superstitious.  First of all when I searched for the definition of the word using a typical Google search "definition superstitious," Google's dictionary didn't show up at all in the search results.  Instead the results showed definitions from TheFreeDictionary,, and  It wasn't until I actually went to Google's dictionary site that I could check it out.  By the way, I didn't even know about the dictionary until the LATimes discovered it late yesterday evening.   

Finally getting to Google's dictionary, the results were thin.  See below.

Google offers a pronunciation, what language the word belongs to, a few sentence examples, and that the word is an adjective.  Not much else. 

Some features from other dictionary sites offer the whole package including a thesaurus, word origins, playable audio examples for proper pronunciation, and related forms of the word.  

A couple other things to note about Google's dictionary.  It ties in nicely to its translation service.  If you drop down the menu next to your search box where the word falls under, you'll find you can translate the definition into any of the 28 languages available.  The UI is pretty simple and easy to understand.  Also, below Google's definition, you'll find an option to show Web definitions, which result in all sorts of meanings to the word from across the Web, so you're not stuck with a simple English definition.  Instead you can also find the word is also the title to a horror book written in 1995 by R.L. Stine.  

If you search the word "dictionary" in a typical Google search, you'll find Google's dictionary comes up as result number three.  

At this moment, with Google's dictionary lacking in features like a thesaurus, and lack of showing up in a basic search query, other online dictionary services shouldn't fear much.

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