A New Look for the Dictionary

For, we've developed a state-of-the-art online dictionary, and we're happy to announce a major improvement that will make it even more useful for language learners. The Dictionary is already the world's fastest, using predictive technology to display the appropriate definition before you've even finished typing the word. And we've enriched the dictionary with extra features like millions of example sentences and lighthearted explanations for vocabulary words. Now we've made the definitions themselves better organized and easier to navigate.

We undertook a complete overhaul of our dictionary definitions in order to ensure that whenever a word has more than one meaning, similar senses are grouped together and the order of senses is most useful for vocabulary learners. We've also improved the display, so you can now more easily navigate from meaning to meaning on the page, using different color-coded labels for parts of speech.

Let's say you want to look up a word with many different senses, spanning different parts of speech, like plumb. Before, you would have found a definition page that looked like this:

Though this gives you the whole picture of what plumb can mean, all the senses are lumped together in one long entry. Now check out our new treatment of the word:

You can see how the definition has been broken out into separate groups, the first of which consists of meanings related to the "exactly vertical" position of a plumb line. Then the second one provides meanings for measuring depth, both literally and figuratively. Finally, the third group encompasses special uses of plumb as an adverb. Vocabulary learners thus get the most useful meanings first but can still appreciate the full range of possible senses extending from significant to peripheral.

Another value of the new look for the dictionary pages is offering a better understanding of how the different meanings of a word relate to each other. Take a look at the new and improved entry for rack, for instance. You can see how a verb sense, like "work on a rack," relates to the relevant noun sense, "framework for holding objects." A different verb sense, "torture on the rack," connects to the noun meaning an instrument of torture, as it should. Now you won't have rack your brains figuring out which verb corresponds with which noun!

We hope you like the changes we've made to the Dictionary, and we'll continue to look for ways to make our vocabulary offerings more engaging, entertaining, and enlightening.

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Comments from our users:

Sunday November 13th 2011, 3:45 AM
Comment by: Hasan M.
Thanks for changing the look. I have a suggestion to improve the look of the game 'The Challenge'. If the meaning of the word is shown in Bold or any other highlighted font then it will be easier for us to grab the point quickly.
Sunday November 13th 2011, 8:19 AM
Comment by: Priyam (Ahmedabad, India)
I really like the new look.
Sunday November 13th 2011, 12:08 PM
Comment by: Pradeep D.
The improvements are good.
I wish to provide a suggestion: In "the Challenge" we currently need 2 clicks to move to the next question. Could you please "please" make it one click. I understand that we are presented an opportunity to learn other words or the same word before proceeding to the next question which is what makes it two clicks. But believe me single click will take this user experience to a new high..

Maybe you can use the space below the column where "This is a progress question." kind of info is presented, to let us learn others words or the last word after a timeout on the last question thus making it two clicks! I am sure you can figure out a way to make it one click. This is just a suggestion. Thanks for listening!
Sunday November 13th 2011, 12:10 PM
Comment by: Pradeep D.
Sorry a typo..
You can use the space below the column where "This is a progress question" kind of info is presented, to let us learn the last word.. maybe after a timeout on the last question thus making it one click!
Tuesday November 15th 2011, 9:03 PM
Comment by: Thomas G. (OH)
I should think that a plumb line doesn't necesarily have a ball attached as it's weight. All my experiences have been with a taper with the pointed end facing down to exact the mark of plumb, thus helping with construction to square the vertical walls with the horizontal floor.
I do like the "new look" of the revised dictionary, it will be enjoyable to explore the in-depth
meanings of a word.
Wednesday November 16th 2011, 2:43 AM
Comment by: Alex Y. (CA)
Thank you for building such a great site! The new look is very elegant and the site is easy to use.

A few suggestions to think about:
1. It would be nice to put a little overlay on the award badges to indicate how many times award was given. For example, if one learns 5 'W' words the badge would have a little 5 in the corner of the picture.
(Probably not very important for adults, but very important for kids)
2. I can't see all of my friends on the 'friends' list, while they can see me. It would be great to have an explanation in 'help' on how to setup it up correctly.
3. It would be great to have an option to use a space key to move to the next word.
4. Please package access to this site in an iPhone/iPod application.
5. Clarify if a word comes from the 'current list' or a group of user's lists. In either way it would be great to configure system to use words from one or more (all?) of user's lists.
6. It would be great to allow a user to configure a delay, when a challenge question was not answered correctly to prevent 'wild' clicking by your school-aged users. This way they will slow down and read the definition :)
Wednesday November 16th 2011, 6:55 AM
Comment by: Martin S.
Wonderful site, I must say. I'm very impressed. However, why is there no way to contact you (except through these public comments), and why is there no way to suggest words that you should add to the dictionary? Community interaction is just healthy and will make this site really pop.
Wednesday November 16th 2011, 7:07 AM
Comment by: Pradeep D.
> It would be great to have an option to use a space key to move to the next word.

I too second this opinion, which will make it just one click per question. Easiest solution I see as of now. I might even suggest to extend this idea to have keyboard shortcuts - like 1,2,3,4 represents the selection of 4 options to a given question.

Given that we spend lot of time on the website learning new words, lesser the strain on the fingers better at avoiding RSI.

Please please implement this feature request!
Sunday November 20th 2011, 6:23 AM
Comment by: Desalegn B.
What an amazing dictionary. I really love you guys.
Sunday November 20th 2011, 11:43 PM
Comment by: Denis Z.
This is the best website. Well-thought approach in learning new words is great. I like it very much.

Could you please add "listen" button on top of the challenge card.
To me I can learn pronunciation of a word while I already know the meaning of the word.
Monday November 21st 2011, 2:23 PM
Comment by: Golu (Hyderabad India)
This new look is a major improvement over the previous one. UI is improved a lot, the topper shown on the right pane is extremely helpful and its speed has also improved.
Wednesday November 23rd 2011, 2:46 PM
Comment by: Maria A.
My first language is Spanish and I am very happy using your website it has help me tremendously to improve my vocabulary and also to prepare myself to take the GRE. Thank you so much.
Thursday February 9th 2012, 12:39 PM
Comment by: Michael S.
This is a genius algorithm. > than

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