We started the Definicious project to increase access to rich dictionary information. Definicious goes beyond what is currently available in any other app by offering more words, examples, definitions, relationships, usage information, and wordplay.

As we embarked on this project, we realized that many commercial dictionary apps cling to their legacy in print, where physical page space was limited. As a result, we instead opted to create a truly unabridged dictionary.

Informational texts can provide definitions, but context is sometimes missing. We know that language is defined by how it’s actually spoken and written. As such, Definicious is filled with over a million real world examples from Pulitzer Prize winning and other notable books throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The fictional and non-fictional literary examples show how authors – not informational texts – use words. When a user looks up a word in Definicious, they might see it as it is used in Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Freakonomics.

Building on the excellent definitions written by the crowd-sourced editors at Wiktionary, IDEA’s lexicographic team wrote more than 1,300 short, digestible definitions for all common words, including “who,” “what,” and “the.” For words that also have Wikipedia entries, we include a snippet of the article as well.

To power the app, our team created the IDEA Linguabase, a database of word relationships built on an analysis of various published and open source dictionaries and thesauri, an artificial intelligence analysis of a large corpus of published content, and original lexicographic work. Our app offers relationships for over 100,000 terms and presents over 5 million interrelationships. These include close relationships, such as synonyms, as well as broader associations and thousands of interesting lists, such as types of balls, types of insects, words for nausea, and kinds of needlework. Additionally, the app has extensive information on word families (e.g., “jump,” “jumping”) and common usage (“beautiful woman” vs. “handsome man”), revealing words that commonly appear before or after a word in real use.

Definicious goes beyond the traditional reference text by allowing users to explore interesting facts about words and wordplay, such as common letter patterns and phonetics/rhymes. These include curiosities like anagrams, as well as words that share elements with other words, such as the way which “earthworm” and “earthquake” start with the same five letters or “insect” and “intersect” end with the same four.

The app is presented in a clean, simple user interface that allows for quick lookups, and that enables users to easily tap from word to word, learn more, save their favorites, and share definitions.

We know that language is dirty. The IDEA Linguabase is based on real usage of English throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, though some references date back to the 16th century. Throughout the centuries, English has been used in vulgarities and slurs. Moreover, words that have a neutral meaning in one era can take on an offensive meaning in another.  Definicious is delivered with a scrubbed dictionary that is family-friendly and safe for schools. To keep things clean, we have removed all profanity and outright offensive terms. The full dictionary that includes vulgarities can be unlocked for free with an Apple ID password.

Coming late 2016.