OneLook Reverse Dictionary: Find a word by typing in a description


For English students, learning vocabulary is one of the most difficult tasks. Students are constantly asking me for words since I try to keep them from relying too much on their L1. A nice tool to help students take control of their learning is the OneLook Reverse Dictionary. Students can look up words using a description or question and it will give them a list of words that may be what they are looking for. Here is how it works:


  1. Go to OneLook Reverse Dictionary and type in a description or question of the word you would like to know and click on ‘Find words’. (Try something like: the white stuff that falls from the sky)
  2. A list of words are given according to their relevance. Click on a word and list of definition links will appear. (In my example, snow was the first word on my list)
  3. Click on a definition link and the website will load with your definition. (I used Macmillan Dictionary and it gave me a nice definition along with the pronunciation and the word forms)

This is such a simple tool to use and when combined with a good definition website such as Macmillan Dictionary, it can be quite accessible for intermediate to advanced learners.

Have you used this with your students before? Did they find it helpful? Share your comments below, send me a Tweet at @nathanghall, or email me using the contact page on this website. Thank you.



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