Wolfram|Alpha’s Got the “Write” Stuff

July 29, 2009
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The Wolfram|Alpha Team
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Wolfram|Alpha is a great resource for writers. It has an enormous words and linguistics database that writers can use for such things as word definitions, origins, synonyms, hyphenation, and Soundex lookups.

Type “word contest”, and Wolfram|Alpha will retrieve the word data for the English word “contest”. The results tell you many definitions of the word, that its first known recorded use was in 1603, that it rhymes with “conquest”, and a wealth of other data on just that word.

Contest

Wolfram|Alpha also features tools that can calculate and find anagrams, word patterns, and transliterations. You can also search for words with specific letter strings. For example, enter “words ending in ation” and Wolfram|Alpha will show you all 1148 words in its dictionary that fit this criteria.

Wolfram|Alpha returns word strings ending in "ation"

What are some ways you have integrated Wolfram|Alpha into your writing process? Share your examples in this thread at the Wolfram|Alpha Community.

14 Comments

Great!

This will be handy!

Posted by Abdullah July 29, 2009 at 7:29 pm Reply

Wolfram|Alpha clearly knows the word “remora”:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=word+remora

However, when I enter “words ending in mora,” “remora” doesn’t appear in the results list:

http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=words+ending+in+mora

Please explain why this is happening.

Posted by Kevin P. July 30, 2009 at 9:42 am Reply

    Wolfram Alpha most likely has words parsed into their morphemes and cross-indexed, and finds suffix lists via that rather than performing a true literal string comparison search – which would thus imply that “re” & “mora” is not a correct reduction of its morphemes, in contrast to the other words which do show up as having a suffix of “mora”.

    Posted by Jack July 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm Reply

      I don’t think so. Both “words ending in twork” and “words ending it work” both find the word “network.” Yet “words ending in ora” still doesn’t give me “remora.” I hypothesized that “remora” is excluded because it is uncommon. However, a list of “words ending with ora” includes “anaphora.” Google searches for “anaphora” and “remora” yield 552,000 and 1,200,000 results respectively. (On the other hand, Google Chrome thinks that “remora” in this text box is a misspelled word while “anaphora” is acceptable. Go figure.)

      Posted by Kevin P. July 30, 2009 at 1:48 pm Reply

Single word Anagrams works like a charm, however multiple words are not handled:

eleven plus two = twelve plus one
William Shakespeare = I am a weakish speller
More @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anagram

Posted by Srikanth Ramu July 30, 2009 at 2:31 pm Reply

Please consider adding plural forms of words. eg “plural of cat” should return “cats”; “plural of cactus” should return “cactii”; etc.

Posted by SimonMcF July 30, 2009 at 9:23 pm Reply

Kind of a shame that “verbs rhyming with duck” does not compute … just joking, but it would help if you can search a subset of words, such as “adjectives ending in nous” or “synonyms for excellent and ending in ous”

Posted by Ari July 30, 2009 at 10:06 pm Reply

Lets try posting this again.

Writing is not all words, its also understanding sentence structure for rewriting.
I would love W/A able to do NPL parsing like the following:

SentenceParse["Jack runs up the hill towards Jill"]
returning:
1. Part of Speech at word, clause, and etc.. and syntax level
2. diagram of structure of the sentence, as a classic tree (as a mma code!)

Posted by Andrew Meit July 31, 2009 at 7:54 am Reply

One Question: Which database does W/A use for the origin of the words.
http://www34.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=and&a=*C.and-_*Word-
The word “and”‘s first recorded use is 1900? That’s very unlikely.

Posted by Simon August 10, 2009 at 11:22 am Reply

    Simon,

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are checking it out!

    Thank you!

    Posted by The PR Team August 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm Reply

Then there’s the community center – where folks could teach and take classes, cook together, eat together – and essentially plan whatever they dream up. I think the internet is useful for keeping everyone organized. A

Posted by CHI straightener August 14, 2009 at 2:09 am Reply

This is really nice, but there’s something I think you should consider as an addition: allowing the entry of, for instance, “words starting with c and ending with a”, instead of doing something like “words ending with a” and then look for something that starts with c.
Because what Wolfram Alpha does is consider words that start with “c and ending with a” which by itself is a set of words.
Thanks in advance :)

Posted by J August 18, 2009 at 10:37 am Reply

    J,

    Thank you for the suggestion! Our team will look into this further.

    Posted by The PR Team August 18, 2009 at 1:39 pm Reply

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