Even for (or rather, especially for) people like me who write often, a decent dictionary can be critical – not simply as a tool to check that you’ve spelled a word correctly, but also to continue to expand your vocabulary.
Of course, thanks to the internet you no longer have to leaf through a hefty tome of definitions to find the word you’re looking for – simply typing your word into your favorite dictionary web site will take you to the definition within a second, and even if you’ve spelled it wrong it will still intelligently take a guess at what word you meant.
However, as someone who uses a dictionary often, I’ve found my method of looking up words evolving further. I used to go to dictionary.com and search for the word. I later found out about Firefox’s address bar shortcuts, and discovered that I could simply type dict in the address bar, followed by the word I wanted to define.
However, upon discovering the nifty online dictionary NinjaWords, it has now become my main dictionary.
Why? Well, firstly because it’s fast. Really fast. It doesn’t reload the entire page to find your definition, it gives you the results inline. That saves about a second in itself, and makes the whole experience more instantaneous.
Secondly, it leaves a trail. Sometimes I’ll look up a word, then look up another, and look up another, and then decide that I preferred an earlier word. Rather than traipsing back through my history with the browser’s ‘back’ button, I can just scroll down and see my history, still complete with definitions. It even keeps a history of words you’ve looked up in previous sessions.
Thirdly, like so many things nowadays… there’s an app for it. Much as I am loathe to jump on Apple’s bandwagon, the iPhone app for NinjaWords is what it claims to be (and what ninjas are): smart, quick, and deadly accurate – and the biggest bonus of all is that it doesn’t require an internet connection to work.