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The 10 Best Online Dictionaries

The 10 Best Online Dictionaries

The best online dictionaries are spread across the wild, wild, web, using a variety of methods to create something that helps you understand words in manners that are either extremely reliable or wholly unique. Here are ten of the very best online dictionaries.

1. Wiktionary

Wiktionary-logo_wpstyle-en_with_transparency

    Founded on the same ideology as encyclopedia project Wikipedia, Wiktionary is another testament to what internet users can create together. It has many of the same downsides as Wikipedia, though, mainly that anyone can edit a page. That ultimately leaves accuracy a bit of a question mark. But, like Wikipedia, Wiktionary has a community of editors determined to make Wiktionary as accurate as possible. Don’t treat this as the be-all end-all source, but it could be one of the best online dictionaries for your needs if used responsibly.

    2. Google Dictionary

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    google-dictionary-oxford

      Google Dictionary has a lot of different languages with features like voice pronunciation, definitions, example sentences, related phrases, related phrases and more. It’s among the most expansive and maybe best online dictionaries, and comes with some very solid brand recognition.

      3. Dictionary.com

      Dictionary.com

        The site with the best domain name of all online dictionaries is also one of the most useful. It’s partnered with Ask.com, but don’t hold that association against it. It offers definitions, pronunciations, word origins and world history. It also is responsible for one of the best mobile dictionary apps, hands down.

        4. The Free Dictionary

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        the free dictionary

          The Free Dictionary offers you the ability to search via words, characters or text. It gives you multiple definitions, a thesaurus, intransitive verbs and voice pronunciations, along with a translator that works with common language like French, German and Greek. It’s not particularly fancy, but you may not be looking for fancy. Overall, The Free Dictionary is among the best online dictionaries.

          5. Merriam-Webster Online

          merriamwebster

            One of the most respected print dictionaries also has a website for your convenience. It’s made up of a typical dictionary, a thesaurus, a Spanish to English translation and a medical dictionary. It’s features are relatively sparse but if you’re looking for online dictionaries with good pedigrees Merriam-Webster Online should be of interest to you.

            6. Cambridge Dictionary Online

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            Cambridge

              The Cambridge Dictionary is another well-respected print dictionary with a lot of history behind it that has a web counterpart. The online version is made up of four dictionaries: the Cambridge Dictionary of American English, the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary, the Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs and the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. It’s a big website that you might want to explore if you’re looking for one of the more serious online dictionaries.

              7. Visuwords

              visuwords

                This online graphical dictionary creates diagrams between words and concepts to help you understand how they associate. It’s a really unique concept, so if you’re looking for unique Visuwords is one of the best online dictionaries.

                8. Wordia

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                wordia-19c17jb

                  Wordia is a fun option for young people to learn vocabulary, made up of word-based learning games along with an interactive video vocabulary. Not something for someone past a middle-school reading level in English, but it has potential for either children or people learning English as a second language.

                  9. NetLingo

                  netlingo

                    Not sure what some of the multitude of acronyms you see online stand for? NetLingo is one of the best online dictionaries that will explain what LOL, FWIW, and more obscure internet lingo mean, if you’re not familiar. I’m in my mid-twenties, and this is still an invaluable resource for me, with all the new terms that pop up every day.

                    10. Urban Dictionary

                    urban

                      Laugh if you want, but the Urban Dictionary is a valuable tool if you come across some slang you’re not familiar with. If that’s what you need to learn, this is one of the online dictionaries you’ll benefit most from. Just be wary about going on too many random searches…

                      Featured photo credit: jwyg via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                      7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

                      7 Natural Memory Boosters That Actually Work for All Ages

                      Forgot a name? Misplaced your keys? Taking longer to find the right words? Don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do to improve your memory.

                      You’re probably expecting us to reveal 7 little known and newly discovered herbs from the forests of the Amazon, the peaks of the Himalayas and the Arctic tundra. No such luck.

                      Despite Americans spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha, Periwinkle, Bacopa, Vitamin B’s, Omega 3’s and memory boosting supplement cocktails, there is very little scientific evidence they actually work. [1]

                      Instead, we’re going to offer you 7 completely natural memory boosters, backed up by scientific research. It may take a little more effort than a magic memory pill, but the benefits will transcend your memory and improve your overall quality of life as well, making you more fit, energetic, happy and sharp.

                      How Do We Remember?

                      The first process in remembering is creating a memory.

                      This is where our brain sends a signal, associated with a thought, event or piece of information our mind is processing, over our brains neural pathways, called synapses.

                      Think of our neural pathways like roads and information like trucks. The better the roads, the more trucks can be driven.

                      The second step in remembering is memory consolidation.

                      Consolidation is when the brain takes that thought, event or piece of information and actually stores it in the brain. So now we’re talking about taking delivery of the trucks and storing its contents in the warehouse.

                      Consolidation helps us store information and label it properly, so its organized and easy to retrieve when needed.

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                      The last step is memory retrieval.

                      That’s the step whereby we try to retrieve the information stored in our brains. You know when you have the name of someone on the tip of your tongue.

                      You have the information; it’s been stored, but you just can’t find it. Our memory recall is typically better the stronger the memory is and the more often we’ve used it.

                      Memory decline is a normal part of aging. However, new scientific research is discovering many new ways for us to improve memory creation, consolidation and retrieval–no matter our age.

                      7 Natural Memory Boosters

                      So how to work on memory and boost your brain power? Here’re 7 brain boosters backed by science that you should try:

                      1. Aerobic Exercise

                      Aerobic activity is about as close as we get to a magic pill for our memories. Exercise helps your brain create new capillaries and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which creates new brain cells and connections. To put it in plain english, aerobic activity changes our brains and helps it grow.

                      Studies have shown that exercising increases the size of the hippocampus and improves memory. In fact, even if you start exercising as an older adult, you can reverse cognitive decline by 1 to 2 years and protects against further decreases in the size of the hippocampus, which is essential for memory. [2]

                      In another study, reviewed by Dr. Ian Robertson of the University of Dublin, they looked at a group of people of 60 years and older, who engaged in “active walking” for four months.

                      They compared them with another group of people who only stretched over the same period of time. After testing both groups before and after the 4 month period, the walkers improved their memory and attention considerably more than the stretching group.

                      So which exercises are best and how much do we have to exercise?

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                      Turns out, it doesn’t really matter whether you run, swim, row or bike. What does matter is that you push yourself beyond your current abilities, keep doing more, keep getting better. Set yourself short term goals and keep pushing the goal posts.

                      2. Sleep

                      You need your sleep. The deeper the better. Sleep helps improve your procedural memory (how to do things, like how do I navigate my iPhone) and declarative memory (facts, like what’s my password). [3]

                      Even short naps from 6 to 45 minutes have been shown to improve your memory. In one Harvard study, college students memorized pairs of unrelated words, memorized a maze and copied a complex form. All were tested on their work. Half were then allowed to take a 45 minute nap. They were then retested. Those who took a nap, got a boost in their performance. [4]

                      Another study showed that getting REM (deep) sleep can increase your memory and mental performance by 33% to 73%. Getting a deep sleep helps the brain consolidate memories through dreams and “associative processing”. However, the study also revealed that heart rate variability in deep sleep also contributed significantly to increased memory performance. [5]

                      3. MIND Diet

                      Healthy eating, particularly more dark colored fruit, vegetables and oily fish has been shown to improve memory and stave off cognitive decline.

                      The MIND diet is proven to reduce the risk of dementia. It’s a mix of the popular Mediterranean diet and the low blood pressure DASH diet. [6]

                      The study kept track of the diets of almost 1,000 older adults. They were followed for an average of 4½ years.

                      The study concluded that “people whose diets were most strongly in line with the MIND diet had brains that functioned as if they were 7½ years younger than those whose diets least resembled this eating style.”

                      The study also showed that people who followed the MIND diet in the study reduced their chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease in half.

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                      So what does the MIND diet consist of? Lots of vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, berries, beans, fish, poultry, olive oil, whole grains and wine.

                      4. Relax

                      We all know that stress is bad for our health. It can raise our blood pressure, impact our immune system and interrupt our sleep. Stress also impairs our memory.

                      When our body gets stressed, it releases cortisol into our blood stream, which can cause short and long term physical changes to the brain. While cortisol has sometimes been shown to cause increases in short term memory, it can actually decrease our long term recall memory.

                      To help reduce the stress in your life, try relaxing with meditation, yoga or breathing exercises. Unplug–even for just a few hours. Stop checking your emails, social accounts and news. Release some endorphins with some exercise.

                      Bottom line, the more anxious and stressed we are, the less clearly we think, the poorer our memory works.

                      5. Continuous Learning

                      The mind is like a muscle. The more you challenge it, the stronger it gets. The more you learn, the more you can learn.

                      Research shows that learning can actually change the physical makeup of your brain. Not too long ago, we used to think that you were born with a fixed amount of brain cells, which declined with age. New research now shows that we can actually increase the number of brain cells we have throughout our life.

                      Aside from staying physically active, learning new skills and studying can actually keep our brains healthier. Consider taking a continuing education class, studying a new language, learning a new instrument, playing new card games. [7]

                      Studies show that the more complex the task, the more benefits for your mind. Simply showing up to class is not enough. You need to be actively engaged. Anything that forces you to focus and learn something new and get out of a rote routine will help you sharpen your mind and boost your memory.

                      6. Stay Social

                      The more deep and meaningful social connections you maintain, the more you protect your brain. Bottom line, the more friends you have, the more people you work with, the more you’re forced to use your brain.

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                      Social isolation and loneliness are significant risks of dementia. Without interacting with others, our brains wilt. Isolation and loneliness lead to depression, physical and mental decline. [8]

                      In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, seniors with a full social calendar did better on memory, reasoning, and processing speed tests. [9]

                      What to do?

                      Party! Seriously, get together with friends as often as possible. Have family dinners. Choose social activities or sports like tennis, golf, cards or go for walks with a friend. Bottom line have fun, build meaningful social relationships and stay connected. Not only will it make your mind sharper and your memory better, you’ll be happier, too!

                      7. Wakeful Rest

                      This one is getting harder and harder to do. In a world where we can’t sit on a bus, go up an elevator or go to the bathroom without our phones, doing absolutely nothing to distract our minds is becoming increasingly difficult.

                      But, the results are in. Doing nothing is great for your memory. Quietly resting for 10 minutes, after you learn something will help you remember and help you create more detailed memories. [10]

                      What we do minutes after we learn something new has a significant impact on how well we retain the new information. In another study, it didn’t matter what you did after you learned something new, as long as you weren’t distracted by outside factors. In other words, you could be thinking of your day, making a grocery list, or thinking of a story. In either case, wakeful rest for a period of 10 minutes helped the brain process and consolidate your memories so that you were better able to recall the information at a later date. [11]

                      Conclusion

                      You don’t have to spend a dime on cocktails and supplements promising a quick boost to your memory power. There is very little conclusive scientific evidence suggesting supplements will help improve the memories of healthy individuals–not for Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B, fish oils, Vitamin D, Folate or other supplements claiming they a secret formula.

                      There are far cheaper and more effective ways to boost your memory: exercise, rest, eat well, learn, love, laugh and relax. Who wouldn’t want that prescription?

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                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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