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The Reverse Dictionary: Tool to Become a Better Poet, Rapper, Writer, or Student

Updated on August 21, 2016

Tip-Of-The-Tongue Words

Does this look familiar?
Does this look familiar? | Source

Every poet, rapper, writer, student and person has been at that point where they know what they want to say, but they can't find the right words to say it. You know it's there, right on the tip of your tongue. If you're anything like me, finding the right word involves waiting for it to pop into my head, which can be frustrating if it's not there. Fortunately, we live in a world where students don't have to go to the library to research, poets don't have to publish their work in physical books, and nobody has to wait for the perfect word to come to them by chance. The point is the internet has made so many facets of our lives easier. Why wouldn't we use the power of the internet to make writing easier?

The Average Joe's Tool

Using tools called reverse dictionaries, anyone can find words by their definitions. For example, if I wanted to find the perfect word for "unpleasantly moist", all I would need to do is go to the Writers' Reverse Dictionary and type in the concept (unpleasantly moist) to get the results of "clammy," "dank," and "muggy". All of which are perfect matches.

The Poets' and Rappers' Rhyming Tool

While most of us don't have a need to rhyme in or our everyday writing, those who enjoy composing poems or raps do. Although there are many tools that allow you to go through all of a word's rhymes, only reverse dictionaries let you filter through the words that both rhyme and have the desired definition.

For example:

  • My cat, she likes to chase a mouse,
  • Especially one that’s in the _______

With the Writers' Reverse Dictionary, all I have to do is type in "where mice live" in the search bar and tell the site I want the results to rhyme with "mouse" to get "house". Amazing!

“The Reverse Dictionary” is based on a devilishly clever idea: instead of checking a word to learn what it means, you check a meaning to find its mot juste.

— New York Times
Writers' Reverse Dictionary
Writers' Reverse Dictionary | Source

Online Reverse Dictionaries

There are some notable online reverse dictionaries that I'd recommend to anyone. There are others, but these are the best. It's important to note that these dictionaries are very complex and sometimes make mistakes.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary

The OneLook Reverse Dictionary is the oldest and most popular online reverse dictionary. Unfortunately, it doesn't give you the definition, pronunciation, or synonyms of the word. It's notable because it's very fast, though.

Writers' Reverse Dictionary

The Writers' Reverse Dictionary is the best I've found. Along with a list of words, it gives you a their definitions. If you click on a word, you can get back its pronunciation and an extensive list of definitions and synonyms.

What Do You Think?

Will use a reverse dictionary in the future?

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Next time a word is on the tip of your tongue, beat the system and just look it up with a reverse dictionary.

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