I love words. I do. I use the dictionary many times each day to verify definitions, check spellings and discover new words. Before switching to Answers.com I used Dictionary.com. I may have found something still better: Wordnik.com.
Wordnik is much more than an online dictionary: it’s a wiki, aggregator, and word search engine all in one. You can see related words, read examples of the word used in context, listen to pronunciations, discover new words serendipitously, peruse Flickr photos related to the word, study the etymology, look at usage statistics, and see current tweets that use the word. You can also get dictionary definitions, as expected.
Wordnik is in early beta development. There is a lot of potential for it to be a powerful lexicographic tool! I still revert to Answers.com when I can’t find what I’m looking for at Wordnik, but I’m sure those occurrences will become less frequent as Wordnik improves.
Wordnik tweets, too. 🙂 (@wordnik)
Online dictionaries replicate almost all the problems of print, except for searchability. And when you improve searchability, you actually take away the one advantage of print, which is serendipity. Serendipity is when you find things you weren’t looking for because finding what you are looking for is so damned difficult.