How to search the dictionary


When you click on Search in the menu, you will be able to access the main search function for the dictionary. Here you can enter search terms into the Search box. Clicking the Search button will then search the dictionary for the words that you enter.


Explanation of search result ordering



The search results are weighted so that entries which a person is more likely to be interested in will rise to the top of the search results. For example, if “salt” is found in a headword, that entry will rise to the top. But if “salt” is found in the definition of an entry, it will sink lower in search results.
The weighting is as follows:

  1. headwords
  2. complex forms of headwords e.g., compound words, derived forms, phrases, etc.
  3. variant forms of headwords
  4. definitions of headwords
  5. semantic domains, i.e., areas of meanings of headwords
  6. singular or plural forms of headwords
  7. example sentences

If you get too many search results, you can limit your search by using the drop-down boxes for Language, or Part of Speech.


Searching for partial words

You can search on parts of words. If your search consists of three characters or less the search will not proceed (due to the possibility of getting too many results) and you will receive the message:


Because of the brevity of your search term, partial search was omitted.
Click here to include searching through partial words.

If you actually do want to search on such a brief item, click on the message and your search will proceed.


Highlighting of search results

When search results are displayed your search term will be highlighted in light blue. This enables you to see at a glance the results that contain your search term.


Search results are links

When search results are displayed, you will notice that most items are links. If you hover your mouse over a link it will be highlighted with an underline and your mouse pointer will change to a pointed-finger. You can then click on the link. If the link is a:

  • Vernacular or glossing language word, then clicking will display all dictionary entries that contain the word or words that you clicked on.
  • Semantic Domain, then clicking will display all dictionary entries that have the same Semantic Domain category. (See below for Thesaurus searches)


Doing Thesaurus searches (Not all dictionaries have this feature)

Sometimes it is useful to find words that are similar in meaning. This is hard to do in a normal printed dictionary. But it is really easy with Webonary. This is because all the words in the Dictionary are categorized into areas of meaning. Linguists call these areas of meaning Semantic Domains. To find words that belong to the same semantic domain do the following:

  • First enter a word as a starting point.
  • Examine the search results for the word you typed. Notice that the the word is listed with one or more semantic domains. These semantic domains are shown like this: (sem. domains: Child)
  • Click on the semantic domain name that you are interested in and Webonary will return all the words in the dictionary that are related to that semantic domain.