As David Whelan says in today’s post on his blog, Finding Legal Information, law is “powered by words.” David directs us to WolframAlpha’s word information function, which is pretty impressive. You tend to think of WolframAlpha as the home of mathematical and scientific data — at least I do. So it’s a welcome surprise to find that they do “dictionary” better than anyone else online at the moment. Look up a word and you get the definition, the proper places for hyphenation, pronunciation, word frequency (from 1539 to 2007 using Google’s one million books sample), synonyms, antonyms, narrower and broader terms, lexically close terms, and possible anagrams if any.
WolframAlpha has a page explaining this service and showing you how you can make use of it in Scrabble and, too, how you can explore the frequency of a word’s use more thoroughly.
So go and have some fun, maybe learn a thing or two, and add both David’s blog and WolframAlpha to your list of sites you’ll consult. One way to find out more about WolframAlpha, by the way, is to look at their page of examples of what it can do for you, which is arranged by topic area.