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What is a reverse dictionary?

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Quick Answer

A reverse dictionary provides a listing of concepts to help users find appropriate words. A reverse dictionary is useful when an individual does not know the word for what he is seeking to describe.

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Standard dictionaries are not helpful if the user does not know the word he is looking for. Reverse dictionaries solve this problem. When using a reverse dictionary, a person should use descriptive, specific words related to a concept. For example, "doctor specializing in eye disease" leads to "ophthalmologist." Online reverse dictionaries usually include a definition with the words suggested for each concept, but print reverse dictionaries do not.

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