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.
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.