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October 3, 2008

No More Definition Links in Google Search?

One of the easiest ways to find definitions for words and idioms was to do a Google search and then click on the words from Google's blue bar. Google linked to dictionary.com until 2005, when it switched to the more comprehensive answers.com. Unfortunately, the feature is no longer available and users will have to find other ways to get definitions.


Here are some other ways to find definitions using Google:

1. search for [define word] and you'll get a short definition for your word, most likely from WordNet. To get other definitions from different glossaries and dictionaries, click on "web definitions for...". Example: define cup.


2. a shortcut for finding a list of definitions from the web is to use the define: operator. Just search for define:cup and you'll get a lot of definitions from a variety of source, but not all of them are authoritative.

3. subscribe to the Merriam-Webster OneBox to add a special search result with definitions.


According to Search Engine Land, Answers.com got 20-25% of its traffic from the Google definition links in 2007 and there wasn't any paid deal between Google and Answers.com. The only other important search engine that shows definition links is Yahoo, but it doesn't use a third-party service.

{ via Google Blogoscoped }

Update: The feature is back. Maybe it was just a technical glitch.

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