I have talked about dictionaries in the past, so you might know that I have a certain fascination with them. One of the best things about the interwebs is the ability to access information about just practically anything in a very short time. If someone mentions some sort of literary reference in a chat, one quick jump to Wikipedia and I can instantly be up to speed. Or if someone uses a word I can’t remember or don’t know the definition of, I can pop over to dictionary.com and quickly discover the missing piece of information.
But just how quickly? I timed the following process for five different words:
- open a new tab in firefox
- enter dictionary.reference.com in the address bar (the address autocompletes, so I’m only type di, down arrow, enter).
- enter the word and wait for the definition
Enter ninjawords.com. Average time per lookup using the above method is 3 seconds. There are no ads. The instant step 2 is done and I start typing, the text box has focus and in under a second after hitting enter the definition is displayed. Beautiful. Plus, I can separate multiple words by commas and get more than one definition at a time, saving me from repeating steps 1 and 2.
Unlike dictionary.com, ninjawords uses Wiktionary. So no longer do I have the research potential of seeing the Indo-European roots of words and there is always the potential for vandalism to seep in and corrupt a particular definition, though that has a low probability. If I need definitions with authority, I can always resort to dictionary.com. If I need them with speed for use in fast-paced settings (like in the middle of an IM session), I can use ninjawords.