A Simple JavaScript To Get English Language Definition From A Dictionary

2009-05-19

English is not my first language so I use online dictionaries frequently as a part of my daily routine to clarify and learn unfamiliar words as I read through articles in the Internet.

I have been using http://www.ditionary.com for a long time and I had the plan to make this work easy by creating a small application to retrieve the definition with support of a web service. This morning suddenly a new idea hit me to use JavaScript to get the word in the first place and load the appropriate URL.

How Does This Work?

When a user enters a word in the http://www.dictionary.com interface it redirects the user to the following dynamic URL.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Target-Word

Target-Word is The word we are seeking the definition for

What this JavaScript does is it retrieves the desired word from the user via a prompt, generate the appropriate URL according to the above format and open the new URL in a new window or tab so the time taken (under normal circumstance) to, load the web site, type-in the word, wait till the site redirects you, is saved. Now time is only taken for a single server request/response.

How To Set This Up?

It’s simple, just add a new favorite (for IE) or bookmark (for FireFox) in your browser and paste following code as the URL (for IE) or Location (for FireFox):

javascript:(function(){var%20word=prompt(%22Enter Word:%22);if(word!=null){window.open(%22http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/%22+word);}})();

Add bookmark dialog box in firefox
Add bookmark dialog box in firefox

Now, when you open the favorite/bookmark, it will ask you for the word you want to look for and open the definition in a new window/tab.

Sample use of the script
Sample use of the script

It’s easier to use if you add the bookmark/favorite as a button into your bookmark/links toolbar

Bookmark button
Bookmark button


This small script helps me a lot daily so I hope this would help you too!

Was this post helpful to you? How can I improve? – Your comment is highly appreciated!

Cassian Menol Razeek

11 thoughts on “A Simple JavaScript To Get English Language Definition From A Dictionary

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