Look up a word

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Here are some online dictionaries and other resources for word lovers!




http://www.merriam-webster.com/ (also has a thesaurus)

http://www.dict.org/bin/Dict (also has a thesaurus)





http://www.bartleby.com (includes many other reference sources as well)

How do you look up a word if you don't know how it's spelled?

A dictionary can tell us many things about a word, including how to spell it correctly. However, sometimes it is hard to find the word if you don't know how it is spelled, especially if you don't know how it begins.

Teachers advise students to make their best guess and look it up. If the first guess doesn't work, try another way. The old saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," is helpful here. A good guess may at least get you to the right page of the dictionary, where you may find the word if you look around. After a few tries, it is time to get help. You can ask someone who is good at spelling to help you, or you can look to other resources.

There are books called Misspellers' Dictionary or Bad Spellers' Dictionary, which list words according to how they sound and then show their correct spellings. These are nice to have in a classroom or at home, if you often have trouble with spelling. Some people use a thesaurus to help in this situation. For example, if you can't remember how to spell "gigantic," you could look for "big" in the thesaurus and find your word listed with its synonyms. Another source of help could be an online dictionary. If you enter an incorrect spelling into one of these, it will suggest several words to help you find the word you want.

If you often run into this problem, take some time to memorize how different sounds can be spelled in English. This will help you to improve your guesses. For example, the sound "f" can also be spelled "ph", or even "gh" if it is in the middle or end of a word. The soft sound of "s" can be spelled "c", or "ps". The vowels (a, e, i, o, u, y) are easy to guess wrong, so if one doesn't work, try another, or try two together (ea, ei, ou). The more time you spend looking at words in the dictionary, the more you will get used to how different sounds are spelled, and the easier spelling will become.