Sunday, August 28, 2011

Data: WordNet - A Lexical Database of English

Many students use different vocabulary building tools for preparation of competitive exams like GRE. One of the most important tool involved in learning words is a dictionary. WordWeb is one of those famous dictionaries. Similarly there are other tools like Visual Thesaurus which provide an interactive visualization of words.

One of the main reason of success of these software is the underlying database used. Both wordweb and Visual Thesaurus use WordNet Database. This database is owned and maintained by Cognitive Science Laboratory of Princeton University. It is released under a BSD license. It can be browsed online here or can downloaded for free here. This is a very well organized database which along with regular synonym and antonym relations, also shows other relations like part-whole or is-a-type-of.

For offline use (like Wordweb) we can use the downloaded database. For online use, there are number of APIs through which we can access the database directly from the Princeton Servers. The List of APIs for accessing the dictionary online can be found at

More information about the database can be found on WordNet Home page