How do I use OneLook's thesaurus / reverse dictionary?
This tool lets you describe a concept and get
back a list of words and phrases related to that concept.
Your description can be anything at all: a single word, a few words,
or even a whole sentence. Type in your description and hit
Enter (or select a word that shows up in the autocomplete preview)
to see the related words.
What are some examples?
What are patterns?
If you know some letters in the word you're looking for, you can enter a pattern
instead of, or in addition to, a description. Here are how
- The asterisk (*) matches any number of letters.
That means that you can use it as a placeholder for any part of a word or phrase.
For example, if you enter blueb* you'll get all the terms that start with "blueb"; if you enter
you'll get all the terms that end with "bird"; if you enter
you'll get all the terms that contain the sequence "lueb",
and so forth. An asterisk can match zero letters, too.
The question mark (?) matches exactly one letter.
That means that you can use it as a placeholder for a single letter
or symbol. The query l?b?n?n,
for example, will find the word "Lebanon".
The number-sign (#) matches any English consonant.
For example, the query tra#t finds the word "tract" but not "trait".
The at-sign (@) matches any English vowel (including "y").
For example, the query abo@t finds the word "about" but not "abort".
NEW! The comma (,) lets you combine multiple patterns into one.
For example, the query ?????,*y* finds 5-letter words
that contain a "y" somewhere, such as "happy" and "rhyme".
NEW! Use double-slashes (//) before
a group of letters to unscramble them (that is, find anagrams.)
For example, the query //soulbeat will find "absolute"
and "bales out",
and re//teeprsn will find "represent" and "repenters".
You can use another double-slash to end the group and put letters you're sure of to the
right of it. For example, the query //blabrcs//e will find "scrabble".
Question marks can signify unknown letters as usual; for example, //we???
returns 5-letter words that contain a W and an E, such as "water" and "awake".
NEW! A minus sign (-) followed by some letters at the end of a pattern means "exclude these letters". For example, the query sp???-ei finds 5-letter words that start with "sp" but do not contain an "e"or an "i", such as "spoon" and "spray".
NEW! A plus sign (+) followed by some letters at the end of a pattern means "restrict to these letters". For example, the query *+ban finds "banana".
- On OneLook's main search or directly on OneLook Thesaurus, you can combine patterns and thesaurus lookups
by putting a colon (:) after a pattern and then typing
a description of the word, as in
??lon:synthetic fabric and the other examples above.
I'm only looking for synonyms! What's with all these weird results?
For some kinds of searches only the
first result or the first few results are likely to be useful.
We highlight the most directly related results in yellow
Beyond that, they're meant to inspire you to consider related
concepts. Not all of the results will make sense at first, but
we'd rather give you too many options than too few.
We urge you to click on
a word to check its definition before using it in your Oscars
acceptance speech or honors thesis.
Your search can be refined in various ways using
that appear in the "Filter by..." menu on the results page.
Other ways to access this service:
- Drag this link to your browser's link bar for a convenient button that goes to the thesaurus:
- If you use Google Docs, the thesaurus is integrated into the free OneLook Thesaurus Google Docs Add-On as the "Synonyms" button. (Wildcard patterns are not yet suppoerted by this add-on.)
- If you regularly use the main OneLook site, you can put colon (:) into any OneLook search box,
followed by a description, to go directly to the thesaurus.
- If you're a developer, the Datamuse API gives you access to most of the
functionality of this site.
Is this available in any language other than English?
The same interface is now available in Spanish at OneLook Tesauro
as a beta version. More languages are coming!
How does it work?
We use a souped-up version of our own Datamuse API
which in turn uses several lingustic resources described in the "Data sources" section
on that page.
Here are some known problems
with the current system.
Problematic word associations
Some of the results come from a statistical analysis
of the words in a large collection of books written in the past
century. A handful of times we've found that this analysis can lead
us to suggest word associations that reflect racist or
harmful stereotypes present in the source material.
If you see one of these, please know that we do not endorse the
association itself, and we'll seek to remove it from the site
if you report it to us via the feedback link below.
No personally identifying information is ever collected on this site
or by any add-ons or apps associated with OneLook. OneLook Thesaurus sends
your search query securely to the Datamuse API, which keeps a log file of
the queries made to the service in the last 24 hours. The log file is deleted
after 24 hours and we do not retain any long-term information about your
IP address or invididual queries.
Who's behind this site and where can I send my
comments and complaints feedback?
OneLook is a service of Datamuse
You can send us feedback here