It’s amazing how many new words have appeared within our vocabulary over time(meaning the general population as a whole, not you specifically). Many of the slang and jargon types of words never end up in dictionaries for obvious reasons, so where is someone to go when they hear a word that isn’t defined in the dictionary and they don’t know what it means? Today we’re taking a look at several different dictionaries available on the web that cover all of the words, idioms and phrases that don’t make it into Webster’s Dictionary. Up first is Urban Dictionary…
Urban Dictionary (link)
In the footer of the Urban Dictionary website, there’s a warning that reads “Urban Dictionary is not appropriate for all audiences.” We’ll start out by mentioning that first because there is some content on there that may offend you, or may not be appropriate for children. With that said, Urban Dictionary does have all kinds of “useful” information on it if you’re looking for specific definitions of different slang words.
Navigating Urban Dictionary
If there’s a particular word you’re looking for, you can just enter it in the search box or click the letter that it starts with on the alphabet listed across the top of the page. If you’re visiting just for fun, there’s a “random” link which you can click on to see a slang word displayed and the definition of it. They also have a word of the day each day, like on April 15th, tax day in the United States, one of words was IRS redefined as “Income Removal System” instead of “Internal Revenue Service.”
Some of the words I came across while clicking the “random link”:
- Office Ghost – an employee who maintains a position at a company despite the fact that all of his job duties have been reassigned to other employees. This could be by the ghost’s own design or due to restructuring within the department.”
- Subwoofing – the often inconsiderate action of playing a car stereo at full blast simply to annoy those around you
- Shoulder Surfing – to look over the shoulder(s) of a person with whom you are currently engaged in conversation to see if you can find someone ‘better’ to talk to.
Voting up/down words
All of the words on Urban Dictionary are user-submitted. Users can vote up or down definitions of words depending on whether they felt the definition somebody wrote was accurate or not.
Anybody can contribute, but they do have editors that look over what has been submitted to make sure people aren’t spamming or using a specific name of someone in a definition. Part of the submission process includes adding a definition, providing an example, and then tagging the entry.
Double-Tongued Dictionary (link)
Double-Tongued Dictionary focuses on slang, jargon, and “new words.” In the about section on the site they say, “this site strives to record terms and expressions that are absent from, or are poorly covered in, mainstream dictionaries. Unlike Urban Dictionary, Double-Tongued Dictionary doesn’t really include many words that people would find offensive.
Navigating Double-Tongued Dictionary
You can perform a search on the site using the search box on the right side of the page. You can also click on the “categories” link at the top of the page to view all of their categories. Like Urban Dictionary, they too have a word that they highlight each day which you can receive via RSS or email. Examples of slang or jargon types of words that I came across while visiting the site:
- door buster – a discounted item of limited quantity intended to bring customers into a store
- chillax – to relax, take it easy, chill out
- suicide lane – a center lane used for passing or turning on a three-lane road or highway
By clicking on “categories” you’ll also find that they include words from other countries. For some countries, the list of words is very limited. For each word, you’ll also find a list of citations of where the definition came from.
People are able to comment on each of the words and no sign-up is required.
Adding words to Double-Tongued Dictionary requires submitting an email to the editor. They look at several criteria to determine if your submission can be included. The editor actually edited “The Official Dictionary of Unofficial English”.
Idiom Site (link)
This is a fun site to visit to find out what some of the idioms mean that you hear. Some of the idioms they include you’ve heard over and over, but others you probably haven’t. To start, we’ll first define an idiom which is a manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language. When someone says “break a leg,” do they really mean to go break your leg? Of course not! Most people know that the saying is associated with good luck but not everybody has heard the saying before and might be confused when they hear it for the first time.
Navigating Idiom Site
Navigating this site is super simple because right on the landing page they have the alphabet listed out so that you can click on a letter to view words. Examples of idioms include:
- apple of my eye
- baker’s dozen
- double whammy
- excuse my french
- gung ho
- hold your horses
Sumbitting an Idiom
Anybody can submit an idiom by clicking here. All you have to include is the idiom itself, and then a description of it. Just because you submit one doesn’t mean it’ll be included, but the editors will at least look at it.