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50 Coolest Online Tools for Word Nerds

by Staff Writers

By Katheryn Rivas

Learning and using new words can be one of the great pleasures of language. While university courses can help you to build your vocabulary, seeking out words, wordplay, and information is essential to becoming a true word nerd. These online tools can help you along, making it simple to learn new words, find out where they came from and just plain play with words.

General

Check out these sites to build vocab, learn about words or make up your own.

  1. Word Finder: Whether you’re doing a crossword puzzle or just trying to remember a word, this tool can help.
     
  2. Save the Words: Help save an endangered word through this site by adopting one of your own.
     
  3. Wordnik: This site lets you look up words and find definitions, etymologies, pronunciations and more.
     
  4. Vocabulary.com: Use the tools on this site to build an impressive vocabulary.
     
  5. Wordle: Generate word clouds from words that you enter into this site–a great way to display the words you love or make graphics for a site.
     
  6. Word Spy: This site lists new vocabulary words for you every day, often ones you wouldn’t have heard before.
     
  7. A Word A Day: Make sure you’re constantly learning new words with this site that lists a new word each day.
     
  8. Mondo Facto: Here you’ll find tools to solve anagrams, crosswords and Scrabble, as well as a word visualizer, dictionary and word finder.
     
  9. Morpheme Machine: Combine morphemes to create your own words with this tool.
     

Word Fun

Have fun with your words using these tools.

  1. Crossword Clue Solver: If you’re struggling with a crossword puzzle, try out this helpful tool.
     
  2. Wordplays.com: From anagrams to Boggle, this site offers lots of fun ways to use words.
     
  3. Fun With Words: This site is full of ways to play games with words or read interesting articles about them.
     
  4. Word Games: Try out this site for hundreds of fun word games.
     
  5. Crossword Puzzles.com: Here, you’ll find links to more crosswords than you could possibly need.
     

Etymology

Find out more about where words you use came from with these resources.

  1. World Wide Words: Ask questions and read articles all about word origins on this site.
     
  2. Online Etymology Dictionary: Look up your favorite words on this site to learn more about where they come from.
     
  3. The Word Detective: Find monthly publications on this site about etymology, allowing you to ask questions and have fun with words.
     
  4. Behind the Name: Learn where common and uncommon names alike came from using this site.
     
  5. Word Origins: This blog posts regularly about word origins and language history.
     
  6. Word Wizard: Find out more about the origins of English words on this site.
     

Pronunciation

You can ensure you don’t look silly pronouncing words incorrectly by using these helpful online tools.

  1. Pronounce Extension: Try this extension for Firefox to learn how to pronounce pretty much anything.
     
  2. HowJSay: This tool will help you pronounce any word you enter in.
     
  3. Forvo: Want to know how to pronounce words in numerous languages? This amazing tool will help you with everything from Japanese to Polish.
     
  4. Inogolo: This site will help you ensure you’re pronouncing proper names correctly.
     
  5. HearNames.com: Make sure you’re pronouncing coworkers’ and classmates’ names correctly with this tool.
     

Reference

Look up a word you don’t know or find weird words using these tools.

  1. Definr: This cute dictionary tool makes it easy to find definitions both classic and modern.
     
  2. Visuwords: Try out this online graphical dictionary to get your words delivered in style.
     
  3. Visual Dictionary: See pictures of the topics you’re looking up with this helpful dictionary.
     
  4. Open Dictionary: This dictionary embraces an open concept, allowing users to add new words.
     
  5. Google Dictionary: Google’s dictionary is helpful in showing you how words are being used at this moment, in news stories and posts from around the world.
     
  6. Visual Thesaurus: Check out this site to get your thesaurus results delivered in a cool, visual fashion.
     
  7. Specialist Online Dictionary: Find a collection of specialized jargon dictionaries here for things like politics, religion and more.
     
  8. RhymeZone: Whether you’re writing a poem, a song or just want to know what rhymes, this tool can help.
     
  9. International House of Logorrhea: Here, you’ll find a collection of weird and rarely used English words.
     

Slang and Shortened Words

If you want to be hip to new slang or acronyms, try out these tools.

  1. Urban Dictionary: You’ll be able to look up just about any slang term in this dictionary. Be aware; however, not all entries are safe for work.
     
  2. What Does That Mean?: Find buzzwords, idioms, slang and more on this site.
     
  3. Online Slang Dictionary: Look up slang terms so you can be hip and in-the-know with this site.
     
  4. Abbreviations.com: Not sure what the heck that abbreviation means? This tool can help.
     
  5. Acronym Finder: How many different things can CIA stand for? Try out this site for a complete listing.
     

Grammar and Writing Help

Get help using words correctly in your writing with these sites.

  1. After the Deadline: Download this Firefox extension to get grammar and spelling help in your browser.
     
  2. Cliche Finder: Is your writing full of more cliches than you can shake a stick at? This tool can help you to eliminate them.
     
  3. English Glossary of Grammar Terms: Learn what all those annoying grammar terms actually mean so you can apply them to your writing from this site.
     
  4. Guide to Grammar and Writing: Try out some of the grammar tips and tools offered on this site to improve your writing.
     
  5. Confusing Words: This site lists and lets you search through thousands of words in English that can have confusing spellings or meanings.
     

Foreign Language

These tools are great for learning or understanding another language.

  1. LangLadder: This Firefox extension can help you study a new language every day.
     
  2. LangID: Not sure what language a sentence is in? This tool can help.
     
  3. Busuu: Join this site to start learning one of dozens of new languages.
     
  4. Babbel: Work with native speakers and bring your studies on the road with this site.
     
  5. Fox Lingo: This site can help you translate words and websites in 3,000 different languages.
     
  6. Lingro: Try out this cool dictionary to look up any foreign words you don’t know.