By Deane Barker on November 23, 2007

definr – incredibly fast dictionary: This dictionary seems pre-occupied with speed. I was thinking, “Um, who cares? Who goes to a dictionary for speed?”

Then I tried it, and it really is crazy fast. It’s like the results are there before you hit the Enter key. It’s kind of eerie.

But, still, who goes to a dictionary for speed? File under “oddly interesting.”



  1. I actually thought this was amazing. I use online dictionaries many times a day. I have a firefox bookmark set up so I can type “d word” in the address bar and it’ll bring up the page for “word”. I actually wrote to (the Merriem-Webster site) to complain about how A) their dictionary page didn’t load with the cursor in the text box in which you enter words and B) it was too slow so I was switching to So, to answer your question, I’m the kind of person that goes to a dictionary for speed.

    Definr definitely looks interesting, though I felt like the “remove the ‘e’ from ‘er’ at the end of a word” domain naming scheme should’ve died a horrible death about 2 years ago. I’m guessing it works on the page by loading a tree of definitions based on what you’ve typed so far, ajax style. It’s hard to tell because they’ve obfuscated their javascript enough that it’s a pain in the ass to look through it. Loading a definition via url is still way faster than or, but it’s not nearly as fast as being on the page and checking a word:

  2. Thanks for the comments on Definr! We’re going for speed first, and we’ve been totally successful with that. When we first got on Digg’s front page we didn’t have caching turned on in the word server, so word lookups started taking almost a second each! Not good. Fortunately, we turned caching back on after the first hour and lookups dropped down to 14ms. :)

    The number one term looked up was ‘definr’ and ‘digg’ was 6th.

    Chris, the javascript is actually not obfuscated intentionally; it’s compressed with . The script is pretty plain and just loads the word completions and definitions from the server, which is where all the action happens.

    Thanks for trying out Definr, Deane! We’re going to add about 800,000 definitions from a variety of sources in the next few weeks, which will put us at about 1.1 million keywords. Check back then!

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