Dictionary and thesaurus utilities help to find the meanings of words and suggest a list of words according to similarity of meaning on your computer screen. They are handy and helpful for daily use without the need to flip through a thick and heavy dictionary or thesaurus.
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I've been using WordWeb for a while now and have seen enough to say this will be one of the rare utilities I review that ends up staying on my PC. WordWeb is an enhanced dictionary and thesaurus. I say "enhanced" because it does some tricky extra things like showing only the relevant synonyms and related words according to whether they are noun, verb, adjective or adverb. It can also find words by pattern match or dictionary adjacency.
Usage is simple; just select a word in any document and click the WordWeb tray icon. Immediately you'll get a pop-up with the word's meaning and synonyms. Additional features like "Wikipedia", "Wiktionary" and "WordWeb Online" can only be accessed if you're online. I recommend that it is best that you explore these amazing features yourself. Overall, it works efficiently and elegantly to help you find the just right word to use in your written reports. WordWeb is free for personal use and a Pro version with an enhanced dictionary costs a mere $29 and is well worth buying.
An equally attractive alternative to WordWeb is TheSage from Sequence Publishing. Like WordWeb, it's a comprehensive dictionary with over 140,000 references together with a powerful thesaurus. It differs in that it is free even for commercial use and offers a couple of features missing from the free version of WordWeb such as anagram solving and wildcard word matches.
On the minus side, WordWeb allows you to find meanings and synonyms in any application just by double clicking the word, with TheSage you have to cut and paste it into the application after you've launched it from its task bar icon.
If you just want a thesaurus consider Mobysaurus. It's much more comprehensive than the thesaurus in either WordWeb and TheSage but lacks a separate dictionary. However, for wordsmiths it's a must-have product. Mobysaurus is yet another outstanding free utility from the guys at DonationCoder. If you use Mobysaurus, do the right thing and support DonationCoder generously.
Other freeware products to be reviewed:
- Lingoes (http://www.lingoes.net/)
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Portable version is available by choosing the Advanced Options during install. The online version is available at http://www.wordwebonline.com/
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