Aussie Educator


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dictionary [n.]

[pl. dictionaries] a book that lists the words of a language and gives their meaning, or their equivalent in a different language.
- ORIGIN from Latin dictionarium manuale or dictionarius liber ‘manual or book of words’

thesaurus [n.]

[pl. thesauri or thesauruses] a book that lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts.
- ORIGIN Greek thesauros ‘storehouse, treasure’
Oxford Dictionaries

This page looks at Australian and benchmark dictionaries, biographical and children’s dictionaries, dictionary history, non-verbal, reverse and rhyming dictionaries, dictionary software and unusual dictionaries. A final section looks at thesauruses, particularly Roget’s Thesaurus.

As with all material available from the internet, you should check the source carefully. Expert sources should prove reliable, but be cautious with other sources.

Some dictionaries are on Specialist Pages, e.g. Indigenous Australia, Other Languages.


Australian Dictionaries & Related Material

Benchmark Dictionaries

Biographical Dictionaries

Children’s Dictionaries

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General Sites

  • 1 000 Dictionaries
    Dictionaries, glossaries and encyclopaedias.
  • Updated ! A Complete Multilingual WordNet List by Language
    ‘WordNet is a lexical database that groups words into sets of synonyms called synsets, providing short definitions and usage examples …. WordNet can thus be seen as a combination of dictionary and thesaurus’. An example is the WordNet for English language.
  • Babylon
    ‘Type the term you are searching for or browse Babylon’s rich database of free online dictionaries and glossaries. Over 1 300 glossaries and dictionaries in more than 50 languages’.
    Recommended !
  • Updated ! Education Dictionaries and Definitions
    Annotated links from the University of Notre Dame Library [Aust.].
    You now need to be able to log in to access some links from this site.
  • Encyberpedia
    Links to dictionaries, thesauri, glossaries, encyclopaedias and languages. Multiple topics.
  • English Pronouncing Dictionary
    ‘An English Pronouncing Dictionary with Instant Sound’. Mouse over it to hear it spoken as often as you want. Each word individually pre-recorded and no synthetic speech. American and British spellings provided. Pronunciation is Standard British English’.
  • Freethesaurus
    30 000+ words with over 2 500 000 synonyms. Mobysaurus. There are plug-ins for Firefox and IE.
  • Index of Online Dictionaries
  • Updated ! Information Please
    Stated to be the largest free reference site on the web.
  • Updated ! OneLook® Dictionaries
    Searches through many dictionaries and glossaries to find your answer.
  • Memidex
    Free online dictionary/thesaurus with some unique features, including more extensive cross-referencing, complete inflections, simple interface, and frequent updates.
  • The Free Dictionary
    Use an alphabetical check or a subject heading to find words.
  • Visual Dictionary Online
    ‘Filled with stunning illustrations labelled with accurate terminology in up to six languages, it is the ideal language-learning and vocabulary dictionary’.
  • Wordnet
    Princeton. Enter a word to find other words that make antonyms, homonyms, synonyms, etc..
  • Wordnik
    ‘Our goal is to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English’.
  • Updated ! Wordsmyth
    Educational dictionary-thesaurus that lets you look up definitions of given words and search using “broad” or “spelled like” methods.
  • Updated ! WordWeb
    ‘Comprehensive English thesaurus and dictionary, and can be used to look up words from within most programs’. Multiple features.
  • YourDictionary
    English dictionary, Thesaurus, foreign language and specialist dictionary listings such as Construction to Grammar and History to Multimedia, language tools, puzzles and activities.

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History of Dictionaries

Non-Verbal Dictionaries

Includes Sign Language, symbols, … .

  • Auslan Signbank
    ‘Interactive dictionary of Auslan [Australian Sign Language]’. Sign search, fingerspelling and number signs.
    Recommended !
  • ASL Dictionary
    American Sign Language. ‘Both animated and text definitions’.
  • Auslan Signbank Dictionary
    ‘Just type an English word in the “Enter keywords” box above and then click on “Search Keywords” or just press Enter on your keyboard. You will then be taken to the sign [or signs] that are linked to that English word’.
  • Body Language Dictionary
    ‘Definitions of Body Language terms from A-Z’.
  • Non Verbal Dictionary
    Access an online dictionary here.
    ‘More than 2 500 Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to graphic characteristics. The signs range from ideograms carved in mammoth teeth by Cro-Magnon men, to hobo signs and subway graffiti’.

Reverse Dictionaries

  • Reverse Dictionary
    ‘Lets you go from a concept/idea/definition to words and phrases used to describe that concept’.
  • OneLook®
    ‘Lets you describe a concept and get back a lot of words and phrases related to it’.

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Rhyming Dictionaries

Software, Dictionary

  • eThesaurus Free Edition
    ‘The most comprehensive synonym dictionary available for iOS, and all data is stored on your device, so you don’t need an Internet data connection to use it’.
  • Free Thesaurus Software
    Annotated listing of free dictionary and thesaurus software.
  • The Cancer Dictionary
    ‘Free dictionary containing definitions of cancer related terms. Now you will know what doctors and medical personnel related to cancer are talking about’.
  • The Sage
    ‘Integrates a complete dictionary and a multifaceted thesaurus of the English language into a single and powerful language reference system’.
  • XTerm Medical Dictionary
    ‘Endeavours to offer high quality, and free of any charge, medical information to those individuals involved in learning and practising human medicine’.

Unusual Dictionaries

  • Devil’s Dictionary
    ‘Since the material here represents the view of one individual and was written in the early years of the 20th century, there will no doubt be material here that you will find offensive’
    Be careful.
  • MB Free Psychic Dictionary
    ‘Our first attempt at gathering a vast and extensive collection of all terms related to Psychism’.
  • Pseudodictionary
    ‘The place where words you’ve made up can become part of an actual online dictionary ! - slang, webspeak, colloquialisms, … ’.
  • Strange & Unusual References
    Web and print versions of dictionaries of 1 letter words, all consonant words and all vowel words. Links to other unusual dictionaries and book recommendations.
  • Urban Dictionary
    ‘The definitions on Urban Dictionary are meant to be those of slang or subculture words, phrases, and phenomena not found in standard dictionaries and tend to have the newest words’.
  • Updated ! Visuwords
    ‘Online graphical dictionary’. A graphical linkage system using definitions, interpretations and thesauri type links.

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  • Art & Architecture Thesaurus®
    Online. ‘Structured vocabularies that can be used to improve access to information about art, architecture, and material culture’.
  • Australian Thesaurus of Education Descriptors
    ACER. ‘The definitive reference on Australian terminology in the area of education. It reflects terminology used to describe research and practice in Australian education’. A similar listing is found at The National Education Directory of Australia.
  • Biocomplexity Thesaurus
    Amalgamation of 5 previous thesauri in the Biological, Ecological and Environmental area. Check the Search Tips link to ensure full understanding of how the search mechanism works.
  • Free Thesaurus
    ‘A comprehensive online thesaurus of synonyms, antonyms, and related words. The thesaurus contains more than 145 800 unique entries from three top sources’.
  • Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names®
    ‘Names and associated information about places. Places in TGN include administrative political entities [e.g., cities, nations] and physical features [e.g., mountains, rivers]. Current and historical places are included’.
  • Lexical Freenet
    Described as a “connected thesaurus”. Find words that are similar in a variety of ways.
  • Merriam-Webster Online Search
    Select Thesaurus from the available options.
  • NASA Thesaurus
    Free download in two parts [PDF]. Select from the STI Tools menu.
  • Updated ! Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus
    Check the different way it does a thesaurus search.

Roget’s Thesaurus

  • Schools Online Thesaurus
    ‘Controlled vocabulary of terms used in Australian and New Zealand schools. It encompasses all subject areas as well as terms describing educational and administrative processes’.
  • Thesaurus
    Thesaurus, dictionary, articles, language resources, word of the day, tools, translator.
  • Updated !
    ‘Offers a thesaurus dictionary online where your only task is to enter a word you find yourself unnecessarily overusing. Will quickly provide an array of possible synonyms that can be used to enhance writing’.
  • Wordsmyth
    ‘Integrated English Dictionary and Thesaurus in electronic form’.

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