Energize Your Writing with Online Tools

If you’re a writer who regularly consults a dictionary or thesaurus (either your trusty old hard copy or through Microsoft Word), consider a few handy online tools to spark creativity and ideas.

VisuWords provides an especially engaging visual approach. For each term you enter, it delivers an interactive mind-map of synonyms and definitions. Much like an online map, you can zoom, click and drag to various areas.

Merriam-Webster has launched its new Visual Dictionary Online as a way to connect words with images. You begin with 15 themes – ranging from astronomy to sports – and browse diagrams, definitions and pronunciations for various topics within the subject. The hybrid encyclopedia and dictionary may not always apply to your topic, but it’s a useful general reference tool.

A couple of text-based alternatives include Ninjawords for dictionary entries or the OneLook Reverse Dictionary that finds related concepts and terms.

It’s difficult to find new twists for utilitarian reference tools, but these online alternatives are valuable for brainstorming or finding that tip-of-the-tongue word. 

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