How to search the Dictionary & Thesaurus
Select Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Both by clicking the appropriate button.
Enter the word you are looking for in the box above.
Click the "Go" button or press the "Enter" key.
A screen will appear giving the complete entry for the top hit, along with the number of other hits and a link to a listing of all results. If you have searched in both the Dictionary and Thesaurus, the top hit is from the Dictionary, and there are links to all results in each of the Dictionary and the Thesaurus.
If you are looking up a word which has an accent, key it into the the search panel without the accent. If the word is in the dictionary, it should appear in the results. For example, if you are looking up the word appliqué, just key in 'applique'.
English has many compounds. The presence or absence of a hyphen or space can affect the search results. If you are having trouble finding the word you're after, you can try the following:
Did you mean...?
Fuzzy searching can help when you aren't sure how to spell a word. With fuzzy searching turned on, you can key in how you think the word might be spelt or even what it sounds like. For example, if you search for exma or exama you will get the hit eczema. If you search for dipthong, you will get diphthong, and if you search for fayshel, you will get facial.
To turn on spelling help, tick the 'Did you mean?' box above the search bar. You will only need to do this once as this feature will remain on until you log out.
- A question mark, ?, matches zero or more characters.
For example, searching for bush? will find bush, bushel, bush lemon, etc.
- A question mark followed by a number, ?n, matches zero to n characters.
For example, searching for col?2r will find collar and colour.
- A hash, #, matches exactly one character.
For example, searching for wom#n will find woman and women. Searching for hon### will find all 6-letter words beginning with 'hon'.
Note: The Wildcard search works more effectively when the Fuzzy search box is not ticked.
Why are some words in red?
The item that appears in red text in a dictionary entry matches the form of a word you have searched for. If that word is the headword, then that will be in red. For example, if you search on the term ‘eye’ then the headword ‘eye’ will appear in red.
The left-hand section lists entries where the term appears either as the headword (eye), as part of the headword (apple of the eye), as part of a phrase definition (blink -- in the blink of an eye), or as a variant. When you click on any of these results, ‘eye’ will show in red to highlight its position, making it easier to locate within an entry.
Similarly, in the thesaurus, the red text helps you find a word within the strings of synonyms. After clicking in the left-hand section on the keyword that best suits the sense you are after, the red text highlights the position of your search term.
Add a word
If you can't find a word or phrase but think it should be in the Macquarie Dictionary, you can send it to us for consideration.
Many thanks to all those who have contributed so far. These are valuable contributions to our knowledge of Australian English.