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Dictionaries, Thesauri, and Usage Resources

Common Errors in English Usage

Paul Brians' book: 'Common Errors in English Usage' is available in most good book stores (ISBN 1-887902-89-9), or you can access the online version available from the home page: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/index.html.

Everest Dictionary

The Everest Dictionary is compiled and maintained by Romanian software developer Daniel Vladutu, and is distributed as freeware.

The Everest dictionary is actually a collection of dictionaries, for multiple languages. Apart from the English standard dictionary, English database dictionaries include specialist dictionaries for antonyms, acronyms, holonyms, hypernyms and synonyms.

The interface and right-click menu from the system tray take a little getting used to, and there are a number of online resources that are easier to use, but - as an offline, portable specialist dictionary resource - the Everest Dictionary is extremely useful.

The Everest Dictionary can be downloaded from:
http://www.free-soft.ro/index-en.html. A list of mirror sites and dictionary database download sites is available at: http://www.free-soft.ro/download.html.


The UltraLingua dictionary/thesaurus is more suitable for those whose jobs are primarily related to writing and/or editing.

UltraLingua includes technical terms and slang, idiomatic expressions, pronunciation guides, a power search mode that allows wildcards and basic regular expression searching, the ability to search for usage examples on the Web, automatic verb conjugation, and in-built grammar references.

UltraLingua also allows you to customise the dictionary by adding your own entries.

Additional information and a trial version download are available from: http://www.ultralingua.com/en/dictionary/english-win.html

UltraLingua costs about US$30.

UltraLingua also has a Web service available at: http://www.ultralingua.net/


WordWeb is a nice dictionary/thesaurus tool that provides a wide range of definitions, synonyms, and related words.

WordWeb is extremely simple to use, and is suitable for all styles of writing. WordWeb is a useful tool for all writers and editors, but is most suitable to those for whom writing is a secondary task.

The WordWeb dictionary/thesaurus tool is provided as freeware from: http://wordweb.info/free/

A Pro version is available from the site and includes word finding, anagram, editing, vocabulary building, usage examples, usage tagging, and customisation features. WordWeb Pro costs AU$29 (without add-ins).

Online Dictionary and Thesaurus Resources

Bartleby.com: Great Books Online provides searchable access to a number of dictionaries and thesauri, as well as a large number of other reference and literary resources.

Search individual references from the home page: http://www.bartleby.com/. You can browse individual references, search all references at the same time, or filter your search to specific types of references, from: http://www.bartleby.com/reference/.

iTools provides a search interface to multiple dictionaries and thesauri at: http://www.itools.com/lang/. This page also includes a search interface to specialist terminology online resources.

The Cambridge Dictionaries Online at: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/ cover British, American, and Australian English, and include idioms and phrasal verbs.

Dictionary.net at http://www.dictionary.net/ is a great, easy-to-use online resource. Search any word to bring up definitions, antonyms, quotes, usage examples, rhymes, and idioms. Thanks to Serge for the recommendation.

Links to other subject-specific dictionaries and thesauri can be found from:
alldictionaries.com: http://www.alldictionaries.com/

Macquarie Dictionary and Thesaurus

While all dictionaries, thesauri, and other references are valuable for finding meanings and alternative words, the spelling (often American English) may not be consistent with Australian English.

Australian organisations often standardise on the Macquarie dictionary for spelling. The Macquarie dictionary/thesaurus maintains an online service at: http://www.macquariedictionary.com.au/ (subscription: AU$19.95).

Macquarie also has drag-and-drop-for-definition versions of its dictionary (AU$49.95) and thesaurus (AU$29.95) for sale from their Web site.

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