How-To Geek

Understand Words Using DictionarySearch

Personally, I used to look up words with fervor in the belief that it would make me seem incredibly clever in standard conversation. When I didn’t see an immediate payoff, the effort of physically opening up a dictionary and finding the word didn’t seem worth the trouble.

Now, of course, most of us have the wonderful wide world of the web to eliminate the trouble of opening books. But manually opening a new tab, navigating to a dictionary, and then looking up the word is still way more than I want to have to do. Thank science, though, others saw my apparently common combination of desire to learn and laziness as a beacon, and decided to help.

DictionarySearch allows you to right click a word or phrase and look it up. To install the application, simply click the Add to Firefox button.


Then Install Now.


And Restart your browser.


You should get that funny old message that a new add-on has been installed. Close that.


And now, when you right click a term, you have the option of a Dictionary or Google search, which opens up conveniently in a new tab.


If you have a particular preference for a dictionary, it is possible to change dictionaries by clicking Tools, Addons.


And selecting the options for DictionarySearch.


You’ll then be taken to the following menu.


To some, this window may seem a little imposing, but it’s actually quite easy to customize. Say you’re a snob. Change the text to something to your liking, but make sure you end it in a dollar sign in quotation marks, as this represents the user selected text (the bit you highlight).


Then simply paste the html address for into the URL box like so, once again followed by the $ sign, this time not in quotation marks.


And it will now be searchable when you right click too.


And you’ll be taken straight to your definition.


Not that we doubt your understanding of elephants. But just in case you didn’t know what one was, you’ll now be able to avoid the presence of a proverbial one in the room.

Download DictionarySearch from Mozilla Addons

Daniel Gilbert is a geek from down under that really likes Firefox and audio recording.

  • Published 07/3/09

Comments (8)

  1. shoreke

    Highlight and right click a word in your Firefox browser and it does the same thing. And you don’t have to install extra software.

  2. WOFall

    Or you could use Opera, which has had this functionality built in for a while. In fact, I believe IE also has something similar as of IE8. TBH I really don’t think you should have to install add-ons for something like this.

  3. Twolane

    I can’t get it to work.

  4. Tony Patriarche

    Great idea. I am always having trouble finding a dictionary via Google. I didn’t know there was a feature built into FireFox, but this sounds very flexible, which I like.

  5. Ray

    From google all you have to do is type “define:” followed by the word you wanna look up. For example if you wanted the definition for the word elephant you would just type define:elephant. It also works from the search box on the top right corner of your browser.

  6. Jim

    SWEET!! Instead of a second dictionary, I set up for a Wikipedia search. Now all it takes is a right click and I can select a Google search, a dictionary look-up, or a Wikipedia search.

    Photo here –

    @Twolane – It didn’t work for me until I added the first dictionary – the first set of fields when I clicked “Options” was blank.

  7. David

    In IE8 I have Google as my default search engine and The Free Dictionary as my only other search engine. That way I can highlight a word and chose to “Search with Google” or select “All Acellerators” and “Search with the The Free Dictionary”. Still one more click than I would like but it works well enough.

  8. Bob Johnson

    I want to have this Dictionary Search feature in Microsoft Word with this kind of access. Is it possible?

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