Frequently Asked Questions
  1. There's an online dictionary that you don't include. Why?
    It could be any of the following reasons:

  2. Why can't I find a particular word?
    If you get no results for a particular word, it means it's not in any of the dictionaries we index. But that doesn't mean it's not a word.


  3. Why don't you show the definitions right on OneLook.com instead of making us click on links to read them?
    OneLook.com, like most Internet search services, provides a way to find and explore third-party content but does not incorporate it directly into the site. We're committed to respecting the intellectual property of the dictionary and glossary providers we index.

    For many words we show "Quick Definitions" and an encyclopedia article on the right-hand-side of the search results page. These are derived from various public domain and open source databases, and only serve as a starting point for understanding a word's meaning, but if you're in a hurry you need not leave our site to read them.

  4. I found some profanity on OneLook.
    OneLook is a search engine that indexes dictionary sites from across the Web, and as such it includes words from a wide variety of cultures, styles, and languages. OneLook does not offer a way to filter out profanity or sexually suggestive terms at this time. If you feel that such terms are inappropriate for your child to see, please do not use OneLook with your child. For a good online children's dictionary, try Wordsmyth or this Google search.

  5. How do wildcard patterns work?

    Sometimes you don't know what word you're looking for or how to spell it. Other times you only know a few letters. For these situations there are "wildcard" symbols available for finding words on OneLook.com.


    Advanced tips for using wildcard patterns:


  6. What does "crossword puzzle mode" mean?
    On the Customize page you can change the way the wildcards work when you search for words on OneLook.com. By default, the "?" wildcard matches any single character, including spaces and punctuation. If you're using OneLook.com to help with crossword puzzles, you may prefer to match only real letters with your question marks. You can do this by selecting "Letters only" on the Customize page.

    Enabling crossword puzzle mode has another effect useful to crossword puzzlers: every pattern search is assumed to allow optional spaces between letters. This allows you to find phrases that are run together (as they would appear in a crossword puzzle) without having to worry about where the spaces would go. For example, searching for "h?ttot?ot" will find "hot to trot" in this mode, and "a?ric??li??" will find "African lily".

  7. What are "Definitions from users"?
    You can add meanings to the "Quick definitions" section of any word. Just click on the link that says "Add a new definition" and a box will pop up asking you for the meaning and an optional usage example.

    Most submissions appear immediately on the site, but some are reviewed first. You can edit a definition you've submitted (or any other user-added definition) by clicking on it.

    All definitions added by users appear under the heading "Definitions from users" so that readers can easily distinguish between these and the more thoroughly vetted definitions above them. We're still experimenting with the design of this feature, so your feedback is appreciated!

  8. Mind if I write a script that makes tens of thousands of queries on OneLook.com?
    Please don't! It wastes bandwidth and slows things down for other users. If you're looking for a decent-sized downloadable word list, try WordNet, which offers that and much more. If you're working on a project for school or academic research, let us know and we might be able to help steer you in the right direction.

  9. Is there an XML interface to OneLook?
    Appending the parameter "&xml=1" to a OneLook word lookup request will format the results as an XML document, making it easier for developers to access the results programmatically. For example, this URL shows the results for the query "bluebird": http://www.onelook.com/?w=bluebird&xml=1. Please limit your usage of this API to a few thousand requests per day, or contact us if you have grander plans than that. Please note that only basic word lookups are supported by the XML interface at this time -- definition links and Quick Definitions, but not reverse dictionary lookups and wildcard searches.

  10. Why do you serve "pop-up" advertisements?
    We don't! Please read this.

  11. I have heard the following riddle:
    There are three words in the English language that end in gry. One is angry and one is hungry. Everyone knows what the third one means and what it stands for and everyone uses them everyday. And if you listened carefully, I've given you the third word.
    Why can't I find the third one?
    This riddle has been around many years and no one has a good answer for the riddle as written above. However, when stated differently, it has an answer thanks to Michael B Quinion. The Internet Public Library provides an extensive answer too.