Type of site
Reference (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.)
Available inEnglish
OwnerWordnik Society, Inc.
Created byWordnik Society Inc.
Users81,556 (as of 20 January 2012)
LaunchedJune 2009; 14 years ago (2009-06)

Wordnik, a nonprofit organization, is an online English dictionary and language resource that provides dictionary and thesaurus content.[1] Some of the content is based on print dictionaries such as the Century Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, WordNet, and GCIDE. Wordnik has collected a corpus of billions of words which it uses to display example sentences, allowing it to provide information on a much larger set of words than a typical dictionary. Wordnik uses as many real examples as possible when defining a word.[1][2]

Wiktionary, the free open dictionary project, is one major source of words and citations used by Wordnik.


Wordnik.com was launched as a closed beta in February 2008[3][4] and opened to all in June 2009.[5] Cofounders of the site are CEO Erin McKean, editorial director Grant Barrett, and chief computational lexicographer Orion Montoya, and head of engineering Anthony Tam.[6][4] McKean, Barrett, and Montoya all formerly worked in the US Dictionaries Department of Oxford University Press.[4][7][8] The startup company was originally headquartered in San Mateo, California.[9]

In September 2009, Wordnik purchased the social language site Wordie.org. All Wordie.org accounts and data were subsequently transferred to Wordnik.[10]

Wordnik's material is sourced from the Internet by automatic programs. It then shows readers the information regarding a certain word without any editorial influence.[2] Wordnik does not allow for user-contributed definitions, but seems to assert that it may allow for this in the future.[1]

In January 2011, McKean relaunched the company as Reverb Technologies, Inc. in Palo Alto, with Wordnik co-founder Anthony Tam.[11][12][13][14]

Under the name Reverb, they kept operating Wordnik.com, but also expanded its technology to other services and products, including "Reverb for Publishers" which was a plug-in for blogs to find related articles.[11]

The company began a Kickstarter campaign in 2015 with the purpose of finding and adding a million words to Wordnik that had not yet been included in major English dictionaries.[15]


As of 14 January 2012, Wordnik Zeitgeist reports that,[16]

Wordnik is billions of words, 971,860,842 example sentences, 6,925,967 unique words, 231,628 comments, 178,718 tags, 121,432 pronunciations, 77,736 favorites and 1,022,649 words in 32,703 lists created by 81,138 Wordniks.

— Wordnik Zeitgeist

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Wordnik". Wordnik.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  2. ^ a b Eisenberg, Anne (2011-12-31). "Wordnik's Online Dictionary: No Arbiters, Please". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. ^ "Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! | Wordnik". blog.wordnik.com. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  4. ^ a b c "Erin McKean launches Wordnik – the revolutionary online dictionary". TED Blog. 2009-06-08.
  5. ^ "Old-School Word Nerds Meet The Digital Age". CBS News. 2009-06-08.
  6. ^ "I Went From Working on Dictionaries to Tech". 2018-03-14. Retrieved 2018-06-23. In 2008 McKean founded Wordnik, the world's largest online English dictionary (in terms of the number of words)
  7. ^ "Online dictionary is lexicography's answer to the Swiss Army knife". Calgary Herald. 2009-06-12.
  8. ^ Ali, Rafat (2009-07-08). "Online Dictionary Site Wordnik Gets $3.7 Million Funding". Washington Post.
  9. ^ "Xconomy: The Web's Last Word on Words". Xconomy. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  10. ^ "Wordnik & Wordie: Moving Day!". Official Wordnik Blog. 2009-11-11.
  11. ^ a b "Xconomy: If You Like Jennifer Aniston, You Won't Like This Article About Reverb". Xconomy. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  12. ^ "Reverb Technologies". MongoDB. Retrieved 2018-06-23. Reverb Technologies Vice President of Engineering and Technical Co-founder Tony Tam
  13. ^ "APIs with Swagger : An Interview with Reverb's Tony Tam". InfoQ. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  14. ^ "Reverb Technologies Inc - Palo Alto, CA - Company Page". www.dandb.com. Retrieved 2018-06-23. Founded: 2011. Location: Palo Alto, CA 94301. Contacts: Erin McKean. Employees: 5.
  15. ^ "Let's Add a Million Missing Words to the Dictionary". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  16. ^ "Wordnik Zeitgeist". Wornik, Inc. Archived from the original on 2011-01-09. Retrieved 2012-01-14.