On-line Resources

Internet Dictionaries and General On-line Resources

Oxford English Dictionary, Online Edition. Accessible to the Rice community over the internet, and also available on CD-ROM in the language lab. The CD-ROM is great for doing serious searching of the various databases comprising the dictionary. For example, you can search for all the Arabic loanwords in the dictionary, or search for all instances of a word in all quotations between 1600-1800, and other specialized searches. There is a little handbook describing the online OED and its searching capacities in the language lab that you can check out with the CD-ROM. The OED is also available in book form, see under (Book) Dictionaries below.

Online Merriam Webster's Dictionary

Roget's Thesaurus. A wonderful resource. The classic synonym dictionary based on semantic groupings. Helps you find just the right word (le mot juste).

Webster's Thesaurus. Merriam Webster's version of an online Thesaurus.

Yourdictionary.com (formerly "A Web of On-line Dictionaries"). Allows a search for a word in multiple on-line dictionaries at once. Also does searches for foreign words. Very handy for brand-new or nonce loanwords adopted by writers in English from other languages they know.

A.Word.A.Day. A "Word Server" for those who are captivated by the music and magic of words. This server sends subscribers an email a day with an interesting word, its definition and etymology. As a bonus, it includes a useful quote (epigram). You can subscribe or just read the words on the web.

Word Play. A great web site with many links for word lovers. Slang lists, pun pages, palindromes, etymologies, anagrams--you name it.

World Wide Words. Another great site for word lovers. One section contains brief articles on particular word-topics including slang terms for money, origins of color words, language games of various kinds, etc. Other categories are newly-noted words in English ("The Word Hoard"), Usage Notes, observations on ongoing semantic changes, and other lexical explorations.

The Sesquipedalian. Stanford University's newsletter for language and linguistics. Includes tidbits on words and language, mainly focused on English.

Specialty Dictionaries

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition
American to British, British to American Dictionary
Dictionary of Acronyms, Symbols and Abbreviations (Scientific and Technical)
Dictionary of Difficult Words
A Prisoner's Dictionary: Prison-related terms, slang and jargon
Wordsmyth England Dictionary Thesaurus

Word Origins/Word Histories/Phrase Origins

Etymology, science of word histories
Etymology at wordorigins.org
Curious word origins
Word origin webzine
A Word a Day
The word mavens' word of the day
Oxford's word of the day
Online etymology look-up
Structure and Etymology of Medical Terms
Classical terms from medicine
Etymology of economics terms
Etymology of Classical Words from Mythology
Phrase Origins: Phrases, sayings, quotes, and cliches
Sayings and everyday expressions
Word and phrase origins
Phrase origins
Phrase origins, Scottish site author
Expressions with nautical origins
Words with classical sources
Online etymology game
The word detective
Etymologies and more
World wide words

Classical Roots and Affixes

Greek and Latin morphemes

Etymology of Personal and Place Names

History and etymology of first names
What does your name say about you?
Toponymy: etymology of American Indian place names
County names of New York State
Etymology of country names

History of English

History of English with links to texts of different periods
History of English
Merriam Webster's brief history of English
History of English, with loanwords
Oxford's short history of English
History of English Links, University of Toronto
History of English Links, Towson University
Humorous history of English


Spelling test!
English spelling irregularities
Ode to English spelling

Languages, Translation

Languages of the world
Multilingual translator
Sounds of the world's animals
Silbo, the whistling language
Spanish article on Silbo, with sound link
Whistled speech

General Links; Compilations of Links

Richard Lederer's Verbivore for Word Lovers
WordPlay: Fun with words
Mini-essays on language

Language Variation

Survey of current changes in American English, with dialect maps
Varieties of English around the world
Guide to Boston English
The Dialectizerr: Interactive dialect parody-maker
Amerispeak: Words and expressions of our family/ancestors

Slang, Jargon, and Other Special Varieties

Urban dictionary: current slang (interactive, add your own)
Drug slang
College slang
Internet words


Oxford's decade-by-decade look at new words of the 20th century
Cultural keywords of the 20th century
The newest neologisms, tracked quarterly by Oxford
New words through the decades1940-present
Word spy neologisms
Topical words
Turns of phrase: neologisms

Obscure but Interesting Words

Weird but wonderful words
Weird and obscure words

Artificial Languages

Tolkien: Languages of Arda site

Language Play, Word Play

Riddle: -gry words
Chiasms: reversal phrases
Logophilia weekly

About Dictionaries

Questions about dictionaries
The Word Watchers: Legendary lexicographers
How do you revise a dictionary?

Language Relationships and Classification

Where do languages come from?
Words for 'knowing' in Indo-European and other cognates

Lexical Semantics

Word Net
Antagonyms: words with contradictory meanings

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