Bartleby: Extensive literature reference: includes American Heritage Dictionary, thesaurus and many other resources.

Ref.desk: enomously general reference; not just word-related




American Heritage Dictionary, + thesaurus, quotations, etc.

Mer.-Webster dictionaries, with thesaurus

Oxford English Dictionary: requires subscription. Your library card may allow access, if your local library subscribes. collects definitions from AHD, Websters, and a few others; includes thesaurus

Onelook: collects 845 dictionaries, both general and specialized. Ideal to find an obscure word, or to compare several definitions. (But overkill for a run-of-the-mill dictionary search.) Allows pattern-searches, if you don't know the exact spelling.


Obscure-word dictionaries

Tiscali Dictionary of Difficult Words

Worthless word for the day: Here lies fun obscuranta.

Grandiloquent Dictionary: fun for finding and defining obscure words.
(Note: this is not the same as Russell Rocke's 1972 book of the same name.)

Forthright's Phrontistery: obscure words over 14,000 of them!

Luciferous Logolepsy: dragging obscure words into the light of day


Specialty dictionaries

Slang: Dictionary of Slang (large, and on whole accurate); and Online Slang Dictionary (more attuned to US slang)

Drug: Drug Related Street Terms/Slang Words; and Street Terms: Drugs and the Drug Trade

Rhetoric terms: On-line rhetoric: comprehensive and throrough on terms of classical and renaissance rhetoric.

Food terms dictionary (with link to wine terms)

Lingo2word: the acronyms and emoticons used in the internet world.

Phrase Finder: Meanings and Origins of Phrases

Cliches: Cliches and Expressions Origins and Idiom Site. (former is bit easier to browse)


Glossary comparing British vs. US terms. Not comprehensive by any means, but decent.



Etymology On-line: extensive: about 17,000 words. significantly better than the etymologies in the standard dictionaries.