Reverse Dictionary

First of all, for those interested, I was able to write 725 words last night on my NaNoWriMo project, not quite the 1,000 I was shooting for, but still OK. I was able to start a new scene and to introduce a possible new supporting character. Right now I am dragging the protagonist through the mud in order to create some conflict. I’m still not really sure what the ending of the story will be or where it is going. It should be interesting even if it goes nowhere. After all, I’m doing NaNoWriMo more for the journey than the destination.

Also, thanks to everyone who visited the blog yesterday. You set a single day record of 101 visits, destroying the previous single day record of 82 visits. I hope those new here found something interesting and will return and I hope all of you regulars continue to visit.

I found a really cool website today via the excellent site Cool Tools. The link I found is to what they call a Reverse Dictionary. The idea is that you know the concept of something, but you can’t think of the word for it. For example, say you what the word for a “thing you wear on your head”. You type that into the prompt and it gives you results such as “hat”, “veil”, etc. Obviously this is a simplistic example but you can see where it could come in handy for a writer. The search isn’t but is significantly better than scanning a dictionary or thesaurus.

I sometimes have trouble in every day life remembering even the most common of words. For example, I will be talking with friends and will stop mid-sentence and say something like, “what do you call a guy who paints for a living?” and they would answer, “um, a painter?” and I would say “oh yeah.” Well, this site would help with that. If only I could have this site installed in my head.

7 thoughts on “Reverse Dictionary

  1. “…have trouble in every day life remembering even the most common of words…”
    You mean that happens to you too?!
    I’ve been looking for this forever. I forgot the word for the “cart for carrying heavy loads without sides”, since i remembered only the visual description, and I found it, been looking for it for two months. Pathetic!
    Anyways, thanks for the link.

  2. I am exactly the same, Struggling Writer. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person like this. Sometimes I have to resort to drawing a shape in the air and saying: “You know, the…” draws squiggly thing with finger. And my husband looks at me as if I’m insane.

    I’ve bookmarked this dictionary, it will really come in handy. Thank you for the link!

  3. The reverse dictionary reminds me of Terry Pratchett, who often gives this sort of treatment of cliches in his Discworld series: That’s faster than a thing that’s really, well, fast. Not a direct quote. His are much funnier, I just don’t happen to be in the humidity-controlled basement where I keep the Pratchett at the moment.

    Congrats on getting to 100 views per day, strugglingwriter. My best is still 56. I try to keep conversations going on a couple of sites with other bloggers like yourself, but outreach has suffered because of NaNoWriMo. Actually since NaNoWriMo started the number of visitors to my site have declined precipitously. Perhaps the people who normally visit are also under the gun, obsessing over plots and word counts.

  4. I use the reverse dictionary quite a bit but it doesn’t always kick up anything useful. In fact, sometimes the results are quite funny!

    People never seem to understand that it’s possible for a writer to be stuck for words, do they? We’re supposed to have the entire dictionary on the tips of our tongues the whole time and yet, like you, there are days when even the simplest words just won’t come to me. Funnily enough, it never happens with swear words though! 😉

  5. OMG–that’s exactly the kind of site I needed a couple of days ago! I’m definitely adding it to my bookmarks, thank you.

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