Wordnik, a nonprofit organization, is an online English dictionary and language resource that provides dictionary and thesaurus content.[2] 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.[2][3]

Type of site
Reference (dictionary, thesaurus, etc.)
Available inEnglish
OwnerWordnik Society, Inc.
Created byWordnik Society Inc.
Alexa rank21,469 (as of October 2015)[1]
Users81,556 (as of 20 January 2012)
LaunchedJune 2009

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[4][5] and opened to all in June 2009.[6] Co-founders of the site are CEO Erin McKean, editorial director Grant Barrett, and chief computational lexicographer Orion Montoya, and head of engineering Anthony Tam.[7][5] McKean, Barrett, and Montoya all formerly worked in the US Dictionaries Department of Oxford University Press.[5][8][9] The startup company was originally headquartered in San Mateo, California. [10]

In September 2009, Wordnik purchased the social language site Wordie.org. All Wordie.org accounts and data were subsequently transferred to Wordnik.[11]

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.[3] Wordnik does not allow for user-contributed definitions but seems to assert that it may allow for this in the future.[2]

In January 2011, McKean relaunched the company as Reverb Technologies, Inc. in Palo Alto, with Wordnik co-founder Anthony Tam.[12][13][14][15]

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.[12]

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.[16]


As of 14 January 2012, Wordnik Zeitgeist reports that,[17]

See also


  1. "wordnik.com Site Info". Alexa Internet, Inc. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  2. "Wordnik". Wordnik.com. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  3. Eisenberg, Anne (2011-12-31). "Wordnik's Online Dictionary: No Arbiters, Please". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  4. "Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! | Wordnik". blog.wordnik.com. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  5. "Erin McKean launches Wordnik – the revolutionary online dictionary". TED Blog. 2009-06-08.
  6. "Old-School Word Nerds Meet The Digital Age". CBS News. 2009-06-08.
  7. "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)
  8. "Online dictionary is lexicography's answer to the Swiss Army knife". Calgary Herald. 2009-06-12.
  9. Ali, Rafat (2009-07-08). "Online Dictionary Site Wordnik Gets $3.7 Million Funding". Washington Post.
  10. "Xconomy: The Web's Last Word on Words". Xconomy. 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  11. "Wordnik & Wordie: Moving Day!". Official Wordnik Blog. 2009-11-11.
  12. "Xconomy: If You Like Jennifer Aniston, You Won't Like This Article About Reverb". Xconomy. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  13. "Reverb Technologies". MongoDB. Retrieved 2018-06-23. Reverb Technologies Vice President of Engineering and Technical Co-founder Tony Tam
  14. "APIs with Swagger : An Interview with Reverb's Tony Tam". InfoQ. Retrieved 2018-06-23.
  15. "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.
  16. "Let's Add a Million Missing Words to the Dictionary". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  17. "Wordnik Zeitgeist". Wornik, Inc. Retrieved 2012-01-14.
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