Google’s dictionary definitions are a handy way to make sure you’re using the right word in a pinch, but haven’t offered much else beyond proper spellings and definitions. Early Friday, Google elected to up its word game with an overhauled dictionary that goes beyond telling you what a word means.
Google’s dictionary definitions now include sample sentences to give you a sense of word usage, synonyms, and in some cases antonyms, and even an option to translate the word into another language. Two of the coolest additions include a timeline showing a word’s origins and how it has evolved over time. You can also find a separate graph charting the word’s usage popularity from 1800 to the present.
If you’ve never used Google’s word definitions, just type “define [word]” into Google’s search box and you’ll get a definition in no time, along with all the new goodies.
The new tools are also available on mobile. Anyone with a modern Android phone can fire up Google Now and say “define warhammer” to have the definition spoken back along with the new dictionary features displayed on screen. Other mobile users should be able to find the same feature through Google’s search app.
How much detail you get for each definition depends on the age of the word and how common it is. For example, Google provided numerous details for words such as attack, fortuitous, and preamble, but only definitions for searches such as ice hockey, warhammer, and football.You can also get Google to speak the definition to you on the desktop by using the search engine’s voice command feature on Google.com.
Some of the other features may also vary depending on the word. Word origins, for example, may not appear as a timeline. Instead, you might see a chart showing the origins of the word from other languages or simply get a listing of the origin and historical variations of the word clumped together in a paragraph.
Google didn’t specify whether the new feature was available to all users worldwide or not. But judging by the reaction to the new feature in the comments on Google+, this feature may only be available to U.S. English users for now.
If you do see the new feature, check it out. Google’s new dictionary definitions are a great addition for logophiles and anyone else who needs more information about a word beyond simply what it means.
This story, "Define awesome: Google beefs up dictionary in search" was originally published by TechHive.