Language Tools

Acronym Finder

Mountain Data Systems, a Web site development company, offers this database of "common acronyms and abbreviations about computers, technology, telecommunications, and the military...." Enter an acronym and the site provides possible full-word translations (e.g., DIMM is Dual In-line Memory Module or Defense Integrated Material Management), but it does not offer complete definitions.


The publisher of Oxford dictionaries enables searching select dictionaries and thesauri for free. Dictionaries available appear to be the Oxford Paperback Dictionary and Thesaurus, Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (queries limited to names), and the Oxford Dictionary of First Names. It seems that only the indexed term (definition, personal name, or quoted individual) is searchable.

Bartlett's Familiar Quotations

Online reference service offers the 10th edition (1919) of John Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. It contains over 11,000 quotations. Conduct a keyword search to find famous quotations. A special feature--see Quotations in the top pull-down menu--at the site lets you query several collections of quotations, including Bartlett's, The Columbia World of Quotations, Simpson's Contemporary Quotations and Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. Research Centre

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, London, offers a free database of online reference works. Find quotations, a thesaurus, literature and art.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge University Press offers several of its fine dictionaries for free. Search the Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, Cambridge Learner's Dictionary and Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Also find the Cambridge Klett Compact, French-English and Spanish-English versions.

ComputerUser High-Tech Dictionary

Part of the larger Web site, this dictionary defines computer and technical terms. You can browse the dictionary or search it.

Deciphering Medspeak

The Medical Library Association maintains this Web site/publication for understanding medical terms and prescription shorthand. It provides plain English definitions for select medical terminology. It also explains some of the abbreviations or symbols you might find in medical writing or prescriptions.


This database is the online version of the European Employment and Industrial Relations Glossaries, which define industrial relations concepts within the member states of the European Union. The glossaries cover Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Search by keyword. You may limit results by country.

Another resource at the site, the European industrial relations dictionary, is a collection of the most commonly used terms in employment and industrial relations at EU level.

Enterprise Architecture Glossary Of Terms

Lead by the federal Chief Architects Forum, the Wiki is a work-in-progress for developing working draft definitions of 175 enterprise architecture terms. You will find several definitions already available, but they might be somewhat difficult to read. After following the link for a definition, scan the page for both the "business definition" and "technical definition." You might also find additional definitions or comments farther down the page.

Everybody's Law Dictionary

Nolo Press, legal software and book publisher offers this easy-to-use law dictionary.  Nolo also offers a version of their dictionary as a Free iPhone App - download it here.

Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing (FOLDOC)

London's Imperial College, Department of Computing offers this database of definitions of computing terms. Many definitions include source information, but the sources are not always conventional. It is also useful for finding the meaning of computer-related acronyms.


Warwick Bone, an Australian who taught business management and English to Chinese students, provides directory access to special glossaries and dictionaries on the Web. Arranged like the Open Directory Project, visitors may browse subject categories for dictionaries. Glossarist also offers a search engine, which queries the annotated listings at the site, and not the definitions appearing in the hundreds of dictionaries listed here.

Glossary for Chemists of Terms Used in Toxicology

The National Library of Medicine provides a glossary of definitions and explanatory notes for over 1200 terms frequently used in the multidisciplinary field of toxicology. Compiled for chemists, the glossary contains medical and other specialized terms that those in the field would recognize and understand. The glossary also contains appendices, which provide abbreviations used in toxicology, abbreviations of international bodies and literature sources.

Glossary of Health Care and Health Care Management Terms

Hosted by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, the Glossary defines medical and health-related terms. Arranged alphabetically, many definitions include source information.

Glossary of Online Privacy Terms

The Better Business Bureau makes available a glossary of terms related to privacy issues. It provides short definitions to terms such as "cookie," "encryption" or "opt-in." It also offers a straight-forward explanation of the fair information practices principles.

Glossary: Chemistry of Everyday Life

Frederick A. Senese, associate professor of chemistry at Frostburg State University maintains a glossary of chemical terms. It includes .wav files for listening to the pronunciation of select terms and links to more information about some terms appearing in the definitions.

Google Translate

Google helps users translate words, phrases and pages in over 100 languages.  Learn more about their service in this instructional video.

The site offers a database of facts and information taken from almanacs, an encyclopedia and dictionary. It's an excellent source of historical and current general knowledge. Dictionary

This portion of the larger Investopedia Web site provides a searchable dictionary of more than 4,000 financial terms and acronyms. Definitions include related terms, if relevant. You can also browse the dictionary alphabetically. A free site, researchers should expect to encounter slightly distracting, pop-up or blinking advertisements.

The Language of Money

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited offers this searchable financial dictionary. Use English spellings (e.g., securitisation, not securitization) to search for terms or browse the publication alphabetically. Definitions include hyperlinked terms and cross-references and are easy to understand.

Medi Lexicon

Formerly Pharma-Lexicon, Medi Lexicon is a "dictionary of over 70,000 medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical and healthcare acronyms and abbreviations." It also provides search options for finding pharmaceutical companies, medical terms, medical articles, drugs, medical books and more. In the main navigational menu, Medi Lexicon refers visitors to hand-picked sites offering medical information and covering such topics as asthma, breast cancer, gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, psychiatry and prostate cancer. Many of the search results take users to other Web sites, but because they open in another browser window, it's easy to see when this happens.

MedicineNet Medical Dictionary

MedicineNet, a network of U.S. board certified physicians and health professionals, offers this index of medical terms. Medical professionals write and edit this resource.

Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary

InteliHealth Inc. offers the 1997 edition of the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary. An advanced search feature lets you look up medical terms by name, function, usage, or other criteria.

Merriam-Webster Online

Search Merriam-Webster's well-known dictionary. For each definition, find a link to the same word in the thesaurus.


The site offers a dictionary of Internet terminology. Definitions are easy to read and include examples when relevant.

Neuroscience Glossary

The University of Alberta sponsors this resource, which provides plain English definitions for words and concepts related to the brain and nervous system.

The Numa Dictionary of Derivatives Acronyms

Numa Financial Systems Ltd. offers this acronyms dictionary of financial derivatives.

OneLook Dictionary Search

This site enables search multiple online dictionaries. It also allows for wildcard searching. A browse feature lets you see the various dictionaries it queries, which include many specialty and foreign language dictionaries.

Phrase Thesaurus

Note: Access requires a paid subscription. Enter one or two words to find phrases that use it.

Roget's International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, an online book project, offers Roget's International Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Search or browse this resource to find thesaurus entries.

Strunk's Elements of Style

Project Bartleby, by Columbia University, offers the 1st edition (1918) of Elements of Style.

Terms of Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers a dictionary of definitions of environmental terms. Also available is a list of abbreviations and acronyms.

Users enter a word in order to retrieve synonyms or related concepts.

Webopedia Online Computer Dictionary

Formerly the Lycos Tech Glossary, this handy site defines technical terms. What is a smurf attack? Why does my Web hosting service want to ping me? What is POTS and how does it differ from DSL? Find the answers using this dictionary.

Whatis?com Computer Dictionary

Formerly dictionary of technical terms, this site now sports a search feature that retrieves definitions of technical terms from other valuable Web sites, in addition to its own. Whatis?com also offers technical advice, including tips, responses to questions, and white papers.