There’s social networking, social web browsing, and now a social dictionary. Before actually visiting Word Source, I couldn’t imagine how you could possibly make a dictionary social, but they did and I actually like it. I said good-bye to my paper dictionary a while ago. With a computer nearly always accessible, I’ve used Dictionary.com for specific definitions, Google’s define feature, or even OneLook which has a reverse lookup feature.
Word Source has a pretty simple interface that’s easy on the eyes. They offer both a dictionary and a thesaurus, and of course some “social” elements which make it unique. After you type in a word to define, it will pull up the list of definitions, but you’ll also notice some options like uploading a photo that would associate with the word, or the option to tag a word. You’ll also notice a thumbs up or thumbs down which you can click to rate a word. I’m not quite sure what the purpose of rating a word is, but the option is there.
They’ve also thrown in some fun (and education) with two different games; Hangman and Jumble. You can play either of those games with the word that you looked up, or a random word (fun). After you’ve guessed the word, you can click the word to define it (educational).
Because there is the social element, if you’re wanting to add a picture or tag a word, you’ll need to create an account. By creating an account you can upload a photo for any word in the dictionary. Their example is genius. Yes, you can add your picture to the word genius and tell everyone to go look it up. They’re even bribing you to be social. By uploading photos, you earn point that you can swap for different rewards, profile badges, and monthly prizes.
The thumbs up/ thumbs down feature that i mentioned is part of their Word Source Live where they show some stats on the word like how many people like or dislike the word, how many people have tagged it, how many people have trouble spelling the word, and other generally useless stats that are still kinda fun.
I just bookmarked Word Source and also created a keyword search for it. Remember, both Firefox and Opera offer this feature which not many people take advantage of. In Firefox, right click in the Word Source search field and select “Add a Keyword for this Search…” In Opera, it works similarly by right-clicking and then clicking ‘Create Search…” It takes just a minute to set-up, and then when you need to define something, you’ll be able to do it right from your address bar. My keyword search is simply “s” and then the word I want to define.
While it’s a simple idea, I like it and at some point someone was bound to do this. There’s social everything else, so why not a Dictionary?