When we talk on this blog about “making knowledge computable”, the knowledge in question is often mathematical or statistical in nature. But that’s not the only knowledge Wolfram|Alpha can compute. We’ve always had a solid backbone of dictionary-style information about words, but we’ve been steadily adding new features to that traditional output. Some of it should be quite useful, some of it is just for fun, and much of it takes advantage of Wolfram|Alpha’s ability to mash up algorithms and data from a wide variety of knowledge domains.
To celebrate National Dictionary Day (October 16)—which honors Noah Webster, often regarded as “the father of the modern dictionary”—you might like to take advantage of this classic word widget, which provides quick access to some of the more traditional areas of Wolfram|Alpha’s lexicographical data: definitions, pronunciations, synonyms, and more for most English words.
Or grab the next widget if you want to play around with a few of the “fun” features we’ve added, including the ability to compute anagrams and convert words to telephone keypad digits.
One of the menu items here, which lets you find city names containing a given word, is actually a subset of a much larger new feature. Whenever Wolfram|Alpha provides general data about a word, it now displays a sampling of other things in its knowledge base that contain that word—movie and book titles, given names and surnames, mountains, lakes, rivers, and more. You can also ask Wolfram|Alpha to do this directly with a query like “other uses of the word peace”.
Check out more handy word and linguistic widgets in the Gallery. You can easily embed them on your own blog, or share them with your social networks. In honor of Dictionary Day, share a fun fact about your favorite word in the comments section below.