Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wordweb - A Resource For Teachers And Students That Has Become Truly International

Wordweb had it's origins back in 1993 when Antony Lewis was looking to find a module to help with a package he developed called Crossword Compiler. He developed Wordweb as a plugin module for the Crossword Compiler, but people began to ask him if it was possible for this module to be made stand-alone. He released the first version a couple of years later, and Wordweb has evolved on it's own since then.

Wordweb is a fully developed application that runs on all version of Windows from 98 onwards, although it is recommended to use Windows 2000 or later for the full feature set. The program runs as background process and is accessed by right-clicking on a word and pressing ctrl, or any other hotkey combination you wish. This brings up Wordweb's main dialog box with the word you highlighted selected and the dictionary definition as well as thesaurus links visible.

Wordweb contains more than 200,000 words in it's dictionary, and you can always add in more as you need to. It also allows for importing of dictionary module, or you can purchase extra dictionary modules from the site.

The thing that makes this package stand out from a lot of other packages that have sprung up in the years since Wordweb was released, is it's international english dictionary. No other dictionary has as much coverage of International English as Wordweb does. This package has specific words and definition for thousands of unique words in Irish, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and even Asian English.

It also gives those definitions in plain english, suitable for students or teachers for better explanation of what the words mean. Examples - The Australian term Cobber.

From Wordweb

Noun: cobber kóbu(r)

Usage: Austral, NZ

Australian term for a pal

Derived forms: cobbers

Type of: brother, buddy, chum, compadre, crony, paisano [US], pal, sidekick

Encyclopedia: Cobber

From AskOxford


• noun Austral./NZ informal a companion or friend.

— ORIGIN perhaps related to English dialect cob take a liking to.

As can be seen, Wordweb gives a lot more information than the Big dictionary, including thesaurus links, alternate terms, and plain english definitions.

For students needing to learn the different dialects of Australia or New Zealand, this package is well-suited due to it's inclusion of hundreds of region-specific words that simply are not properly referenced with the big online-only dictionaries. For a lot of Australia and New Zealand, broadband does not exist, so having a dictionary tool that sits on the desktop and does not need to access the internet is a big bonus for writing reports or doing research.

Plus, it does some beauty Crossword lookups and even anagrams too.

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