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, you
can 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 hit
Enter (or select a word that shows up in the autocomplete preview)
to see the related words.
You can order, filter, and explore the
words that come back in a variety of creative ways.
Here's a video
goes over some of the basics.
What are some examples?
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 different
words and expressions covering every topic under the sun.
Try exploring a favorite topic for a while and you'll be surprised
how 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, including
alphabetically, by length, by popularity, by modernness, by formality, and by other
aspects of style. Click the
box that says "Closest meaning first..." to see them all.
(Here's a short video about sorting and filtering
with OneLook Thesaurus
Filtering the results
You can refine your search by clicking on the "Advanced filters" button
on the results page. This lets you narrow down your results to match
a certain starting letter, number of letters, number of syllables, related
concept, 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 synonyms
or 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 adjacent
concepts. Not all of the results will make sense at first, but they're all
connected with your search in some way. We'd rather give you too many options than
too few. If you're unsure of a word, we urge you to click on
it to check its definitions and usage examples before using it in your Oscars
acceptance 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 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.
Other ways to access this service:
- Drag this link to your browser's bookmarks bar for a convenient button that goes to the thesaurus:
- 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 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. The definitions come from Wiktionary
, and WordNet
Here are some known problems
with 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'll
find profanity and other vulgar expressions if you use OneLook frequently.
(We take an unflinching look at how words have actually been used; scrubbing out
hurtful wordswould be a disservice to everyone.)
Some of the thesaurus results come from a statistical analysis of the
words in a large collection of books written in the past two
centuries. 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 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 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
The sunburst logo (🔆) is the emoji symbol for "high
brightness", which we aspire to create with OneLook. (The
graphic came from the open-source Twemoji