Sunday, August 01, 2010

Google's Dictionary Changes Again

Google's built-in dictionary has undergone a few transformations over the years and has just undergone another major change. Previously, Google's  dictionary  was found on the blue bar on the right hand side of the Google results page where Google would link search words to definitions supplied by, and eventually to its own dictionary.

But recently, after the latest Google redesign of the results page, this dictionary link to search words has been removed completely along with the blue bar on the search results page where the link resided.

A dictionary is still available but now it just is a little harder to find.

There are actually two ways to access a dictionary from Google and they give different results.
  • Google Dictionary
    The more thorough dictionary which is available in multiple languages.  Google's Dictionary gives:
    • Definitons
    • Verbal Pronunciation
    • Synonyms
    • Related Phrases
    • Usage Examples
    • Definitions found on various websites
    • A Dropdown box for other languages

  • Define:genealogy
  • Using the Google searchbox, type the operator define: followed by the word you want to look up in the dictionary (with no spaces between define: and the word ). Google will give:
    • Related Phrases
    • Web Definitions

I find many words in my genealogy research that are not in common usage today and the Google defne operator is all I need.  Some examples:
  • Define:rod   (a measurement I found in an old will which described the size of a plot of land )
  • The rod is a unit of length equal to 5.5 yards, 5.0292 metres, 16.5 feet, or of a statute mile. A rod is the same length as a perch and a pole
  • Define:teamster  (an occupation of an ancestor in the 1870 census)
  • The driver of a team of horses doing hauling  
  • Define:apoplexy  (cause of death found in an 1890 obituary)
    Stroke: a sudden loss of consciousness resulting when the rupture or occlusion of a blood vessel leads to oxygen lack in the brain

When the define: operator does not give enough information, the thorough Google Dictionary is now available.  I've actually found no links to the Google Dictionary  from the Google website, so it is best to bookmark it.

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