There are around a quarter of a million words in the English language and that figure does not include technical terms, scientific words and slang. That’s just ordinary everyday language and if you include every word used by English speakers the number comes to over one million. How many do you know?
Most people know 35,000, a lot of people know 50,000 and a few know 75,000, but that is a long way short of the total. Even Scrabble champions only know around 100,000 words (of nine letters or less, of course).
It is not surprising then that as you browse the web you come across words that are unfamiliar on web pages. You may be reading an article or feature and a word is used that you are unsure of. Wouldn’t it be useful if you could get a dictionary definition?
Add a Chrome dictionary
You can add a handy dictionary to Google’s Chrome web browser that is very easy to use. Go to Google Dictionary (by Google) in the Chrome Web Store and install it in Chrome. Once it has been added, restart Chrome (a restart is not always necessary, but it is a good idea when adding extensions).
You can now double click any word on a web page and up pops a little box containing a brief definition of the word. You can even hear it spoken by clicking the speaker icon.
Another way to get a dictionary definition of a word is to click and drag over it to select it on the web page and then click the dictionary icon in the toolbar. This displays a drop-down panel in the top right corner of the browser that shows extended information about the selected word. There are often lots of useful links, such as the list of synonyms. You do know what a synonym is right? No? That’s why you need a dictionary!
At the bottom of the panel is a link to Extension Options. This enables you to choose how pop-up dictionary definitions are triggered, such as when a word is selected or double clicked. It can also store words you have looked up and to download your word history. That’s optional and most people will be happy with the default settings.
Google Dictionary is an essential extension for Chrome that everyone should have.
Add a Firefox dictionary
What about Firefox? As you might expect, there is an extension for that. In fact, there are several dictionary addons and it is difficult to decide which one to go for. A search for ‘dictionary’ at addons.mozilla.org will list them all.
Dictionary.com is perhaps the most obvious choice and the extensions works great on Firefox. Get the Dictionary.com Firefox extension and then just double click a word on a web page to see a pop-up box that contains a definition.
It looks good, is easy to use, and you will never again wonder what a word means when you see it on a web page.