leak_like_a_sieve: OneLook Thesaurus (2024)

How do I use OneLook's thesaurus / reverse dictionary?

OneLook lets you find any kind of word for any kind of writing.Like a traditional thesaurus, youcan use it to find synonyms and antonyms, but it's far more flexible.Describe what you're looking for with a single word, a few words, or even a whole sentence. Type in your description and hitEnter (or select a word that shows up in the autocomplete preview)to see the related words. You can order, filter, and explore thewords that come back in a variety of creative ways.Here's a video whichgoes over some of the basics.

What are some examples?

Example searches
🔆 Find a word by describing it barrel maker
before the flood
museum guide
search for food
urge to travel
what a milliner makes
tried twice for the same crime
when cancer spreads through the body
🔆 Explore synonyms and related conceptsfancy
industrial revolution
🔆 Get a list of words in some category ("type of...")type of bird of prey
type of soft cheese
type of light bulb
🔆 Find more words similar to some examples (comma-separated list)squishy,spongy,gooey
ice cream,pie,cookies
🔆 Answer basic identification questionscapital of Vietnam
longest river in the world
original host of Jeopardy
🔆 Solve crossword puzzle clues, or find words if you only know some of the letters.
(Use pattern:description syntax)
??lon:synthetic fabric
c*:board game

Exploring the results

Click on any result to see definitions and usage examples tailored to your search,as well as links to follow-up searches and additional usage information when available.OneLook knows about more than 2 million differentwords and expressions covering every topic under the sun.Try exploring a favorite topic for a while and you'll be surprisedhow much new stuff there is to learn!

Ordering the results

Your results will initially appear with the most closely related word shown first,the second-most closely shown second, and so on.You can re-order the results in a variety of different ways, includingalphabetically, by length, by popularity, by modernness, by formality, and by otheraspects of style. Click thebox that says "Closest meaning first..." to see them all.(Here's a short video about sorting and filteringwith OneLook Thesaurus.)

Filtering the results

You can refine your search by clicking on the "Advanced filters" buttonon the results page. This lets you narrow down your results to matcha certain starting letter, number of letters, number of syllables, relatedconcept, meter, vowel sound, or number of syllables. Read more details on filters if you're interested in how they work.

I'm only looking for synonyms! What's with all of these weird results?

For some kinds of searches only the first result or the first few results are truly synonymsor good substitutions for your search word.We highlight these results in yellow.Beyond that, the results are meant to inspire you to consider similar words and adjacentconcepts. Not all of the results will make sense at first, but they're allconnected with your search in some way. We'd rather give you too many options thantoo few. If you're unsure of a word, we urge you to click onit to check its definitions and usage examples before using it in your Oscarsacceptance speech or honors thesis.

What are letter 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 howpatterns work:

  • 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 *birdyou'll get all the terms that end with "bird"; if you enter *lueb*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 letteror symbol. The queryl?b?n?n,for example, will find the word "Lebanon".

  • The number-sign (#) matches any English consonant.For example, the querytra#t finds the word "tract" but not "trait".

  • The at-sign (@) matches any English vowel (including "y").For example, the queryabo@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 wordsthat contain a "y" somewhere, such as "happy" and "rhyme".

  • NEW! Use double-slashes (//) beforea 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 theright 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 querysp???-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 lookupsby putting a colon (:) after a pattern and then typing a description of the word, as in ??lon:synthetic fabric and the other examples above.

Other ways to access this service:

  • Drag this link to your browser's bookmarks bar for a convenient button that goes to the thesaurus: OneLook
  • Enter onelook.com/word into your browser's address bar to go directly to the OneLook Thesaurus entry for word.
  • We offer a OneLook Thesaurus iPhone/iPad app for a low subscription fee, with a two-week free trial. This gives you OneLook at your fingertips, and several cool app-only features, while helping us maintain the service for all!
  • 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 the core features of this site.

Is this available in any language other than English?

The same interface is now available in Spanish at OneLook Tesauroas 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" sectionon that page. The definitions come from Wiktionary,Wikipedia, and WordNet.Here are some known problemswith the current system.
Much gratitude to Gultchin et al for the algorithm behind the "Most funny-sounding" sort order.

Profanity and problematic word associations

If you're using this site with children, be forewarned you'llfind profanity and other vulgar expressions if you use OneLook frequently.(We take an unflinching look at how words have actually been used; scrubbing outhurtful wordswould be a disservice to everyone.)

Some of the thesaurus results come from a statistical analysis of thewords in a large collection of books written in the past twocenturies. A handful of times we've found that this analysis can leadus to suggest word associations that reflect racist or harmfulstereotypes present in this source material. If you see one of these,please know that we do not endorse what the word association implies.In egregious cases we will remove it from the site if youreport it to us via the feedback link below.


No personally identifying information is ever collected on this siteor by any add-ons or apps associated with OneLook. OneLook Thesaurus sendsyour search query securely to the Datamuse API, which keeps a log file ofthe queries made to the service in the last 24 hours. The log file is deletedafter 24 hours and we do not retain any long-term information about yourIP 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.

The sunburst logo (🔆) is the emoji symbol for "highbrightness", which we aspire to create with OneLook. (Thegraphic came from the open-source Twemojiproject.)

leak_like_a_sieve: OneLook Thesaurus (2024)
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