Some people love words. They are delighted by the appropriate thunder of the word “cacophony,” or amused by the ironic spelling of the word “phonetic,” or tickled by just how difficult it is to remember how to correctly spell “mnemonic.” So where do lovers of language gather on the web? We’ve hunted down the top sites for logophiles and listed them below. Be sure to leave your favorites in the comments.
Wordie calls itself a site “like Flickr, but without the photos,” which is an apt description. The web site is a social network for word lovers who list, discuss, share, and keep track of their favorite words. So far their 5,000 members have listed over 275,000 words. The current favorite? “Schadenfreude,” an unfortunate word that describes taking satisfaction or pleasure in the misfortune of another.
My Favorite Word
As the name would imply, My Favorite Word is a directory of people’s favorite words. It’s run by the people behind The Word Detective, a newspaper column about words. According to the site, My Favorite Word is eventually going to be turned into a book.
Word Spy is a site devoted to “lexpionage,” or “the sleuthing of new words and phrases.” Word Spy only lists words that have appeared in multiple reliable sources — newspapers, magazines, web sites — and cites those sources. One recent new word is “mobisode” meaning, “A short program, or the edited highlights from a longer program, designed to be watched on a small, mobile screen such as a digital media player or a mobile phone,” which has appeared in well-respected publications like The Toronto Sun and The New York Times. Word Spy is a very useful site for getting the skinny on new words that have entered the English vernacular via popular media. On more than one occasion I’ve turned to Word Spy for a definition of a word I’d never heard before.
Ananasblau is a new site for listing neologisms, which is just a fancy way of saying new words (or new uses for existing words). In a way, it’s a lot like Word Spy, but instead of dealing with words that have entered the language via trusted sources, anyone can add a new word to the site. It’s very new and hasn’t been used much (though a few spammers seem to have located it). Appropriately, the name of the site itself is a neologism, apparently meaning “a funny color between blue, yellow and green,” according to the site.
Dictionary.com Word of the Day
Every day Dictionary.com publishes a Word of the Day. I like to think I have a fairly large vocabulary, though more often than not Dictionary.com’s word of the day is a word that I have yet to come across. Today’s word is “mendacious,” while yesterday it was “pronunciamento,” which I’d have sworn wasn’t English (but it is, and comes from the Spanish word “pronunciamiento,” according to the site). Dictionary.com and its sister site Thesaurus.com should also be on this list.
Speaking of dictionaries, the wiki-based Wiktionary from the Wikimedia Project, is a free, and community-based dictionary project that contains over 539,000 words in their English-language edition. They operate similar wiki dictionaries for many other languages as well, some with over 100,000 entries.
Scrabble and Scrabulous
It’s not all work, work, work for logophiles. We know how to relax and kick back with a nice… word game. The best word game of all time? Well, that’d be Scrabble (in my humble opinion). The best place to play Scrabble online is not at the official site, but at the third-party Scrabulous web site — which doesn’t appear to be officially licensed, so enjoy it while you can. Less enjoyable than real Scrabble (mostly due to the annoyingly random letter distribution) but perhaps more active is Yahoo!’s Literati.
Competitive word games not your thing? How about wrapping your brain around a daily word search? If those aren’t hard enough for you, you can try your hand at creating your own with the Make Your Own Word Search page at ArmoredPenguin.com. You can also make your own word scramble and crossword puzzle.
More Word Games
Shockwave.com has a whole selection of fun, often downloadable word games, including an officially licensed version of Scrabble, and a fun game called Super Text Twist. The aforementioned Yahoo! Games also has a great selection of word games to choose from.