ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS
This dictionary has abbreviations and acronyms by category, e.g. Computing, Academic & Science, Medical, Business, etc. It also has some international entries.
With more than 565,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder bills itself as “the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms.” You have to know the acronym to input into the search engine, as there isnt’ a directory as with Abbreviations.com. However, you can search for words or concepts by using the word in meaning (reverse lookup) option then typing in a phrase or list of words. This will return a list of all acronyms containing the phrase or words you enter.
Internet Acronym Server
Again, you have to know the acronym in advance to use the search engine. But you can’t go wrong with a site with the motto “Searching for the Meaning of L.I.F.E. since 1988.”
ASK AN EXPERT
Hundreds of experts available on various subjects, with links to their web sites, e-mail addresses or Q&A sections.
Dead or Alive
An up-to-date database of celebrities and public figures with their birth and death dates (if deceased).
National Obituary Archive
Contains obituaries from around the U.S., culled from newspapers and other sources. It also has a large directory of funeral homes. It’s not comprehensive, but it can provide some possible character background ideas.
This site searches obituaries from more than 400 U.S., Canadian & U.K. newspapers and the U.S. Social Security Death Index to provide the”most accurate and timely obituary information available,” but it only goes back to 2001. Searches are free, and recently published obituaries can be accessed at no charge, as can Social Security Death Index information. Obituaries from their archives can be accessed for a small fee.
Who’s Alive and Who’s Dead
Another site to help you find out whether a notable person is alive or dead.
BUSINESS & ECONOMIC
Accounting, Business Studies and Economics Dictionary
Lots of helpful definitions, listed alphabetically and not by subject.
The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary
All those lovely “office speak” terms we’ve all come to know and loathe.
CALCULATORS AND CONVERTERS
Blood Alcohol Content Calculator
You can input number of drinks, type, how long you’ve been drinking, and your weight, and find out if you’re impaired. Or if you want to know how much a it would take a character in a story to get drunk on a certain beverage, you can do that too.
Not a religious site, but a place to convert everything from radians to degrees and cycles to hertz. You can also found how much you’d weigh on another planet and what your name is in Morse Code.
World’s Favorite Currency Site
Refreshes its international currency exchange rates once per minute. Also has a converter.
Includes over 3,000 cliches which you can search by entering any word and seeing which phrases it returns. No definitions, just phrases.
2100 clichés, euphamisms, sayings and figures of speech complete with definitions and explanations.
A mini encyclopedia, organized by selected topics.
Canadian Encyclopedia Online
In both French and English, it includes articles relating to all things Canadian by subject.
Encyclopedia of the Orient
Focusing on the Middle East, it includes people, cities, terms, and maps.
CRIME AND LAW ENFORCEMENT
FBI Slang & Anecdotes
A page of a few terms.
Law Enforcement Jargon
An overview for English-speaking countries, with mostly acronyms and additional links
Spy Words, Terms and Codes
From 007 to ZOU-HOU-MAN (back door access to a protected target (as used by China's intelligence agencies).
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Yes, there is a glossary on this subject. It gives basic definitions to WMD terms like aflatoxin and Emergency Operations Plan.
DICTIONARIES, ENGLISH LANGUAGE
Includes English words and a translation tool for five other languages (Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish). It also has a neat Crossword Solver.
An online dictionary providing instant lookup and translations of word and phrase definitions, complete with images.
Primarily a dictionary, but it also contains a thesaurus and encyclopedia, so you can type in one word and just click on the appropriate tab and switch easily from defiinition to synonyms to detailed article.
Includes a dictionary, a thesaurus, a medical dictionary, and a English-Spanish dictionary.
Think of it as a dictionary search engine. It searches through 900 online dictionaries
All Refer Reference & Encyclopedia Resource
Articles by subject, with a gazetteer and yellow pages directory.
Look up any word or phrase for the best definition or explanation on four million topics. There’s a mobile edition, too, specially formatted for PDAs, accessed at mobile.answers.com.
Because it’s based on the 1911 version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, it’s free. Nice place to look for historical information.
The online presence of the venerable print series, you can get a few free articles, as well as beginning blurbs for all articles, but to get the full articles, you’ll either have to register for a free trial of the full paid subscription. Also includes a free dictionary and thesaurus.
Articles on subjects related to their online collections.
How Stuff Works
An encyclopedia of, well, how stuff works. Everything from “How Spontaneous Human Combustion Works” to “How Cryonics Works” to “How DNA Computers Work.”
A free collaborative project written collaboratively by thousands of volunteers around the world. It can be a good starting point, but don’t rely on it as accurate. There have been many published reports of inaccuracies and people faking stories or doctoring other people’s entries out of spite or a political agenda.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND TRANSLATION
American Sign Language
With pictures and instructions
Various “to” and “from” translations for English, Chinese, French, Dutch, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Russian, and Spanish. As for what a “Babel Fish” is -- go read Hitchhiker’s Galaxy to the Galaxy. Or better yet, listen to the outstanding radio series by the same name.
Dictionaries on the Web
Links to various foreign-language dictionaries including some unusual ones like Afrikanns, Albanian, and Esperanto.
Look up words in a simple French English Dictionary containing about 75,000 terms.
Close to 5,000 Hawaiian-English and English-Hawaiian words. These are most of the frequently used words and definitions (in the Hawaiian language, most words have multiple meanings and sometimes hidden meanings).
Internet Public Library Multi-Language Translations Links
Contains further links to English-to-other-language translation sites for American-British, French-English, Gaelic-English, German-English, Greek-English, Italian-English, Japanese-English, Latin-English, Polish-English, Russian-English, Spanish-English
Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid
Search by stem or beginning letter. Also has an English-Latin translator.
Latin Quotes and Phrases
An alphabetical listing of genuine Latin phrases translated into English and some whimsical ones, as well.
SDL Multi-Language Basic Translations
Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portugese, Russian
Smart Link Multi-Language Translations from
Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portugese, Russian, Spanish,
Tiscali Multi-Language Reference
Includes word translations, phrases, grammar, and pronunciation in French, Italian, German, Spanish.
William Whitaker’s Words
A Latin to English and English to Latin translation tool.
Word Reference.com Multi-Language Word Reference
English, French, Italian, and Spanish
World Lingo Multi-Language Translations
Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portugese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
This has links to more than 2500 dictionaries in over 300 languages from Abenaki to Zulu.
Since subscribing to the Oxford English Dictionary (http://www.oed.com/) is a bit pricey at $300 a year, maybe you can be happy with this free resource, which includes articles on grammar, including a jargon buster of terminology.
Common Errors, Punctuation, Lessons, Parts of Speech
This site began in 1990 as a spin-off of an SAT tutoring program by an experienced teacher who was learning computer programming. Style and Usage, Capitalizing, Abbreviations, Punctuation, Letter Writing, Common Mistakes and Choices
University of Ottawa
Quick and basic overview of punctuation, pronouns, verbs, modifiers, clauses, and more fun stuff.
Cornell Legal Research Encyclopedia
More a listing of annotated links than a dictionary, but helpful in that regard.
You can search by term or beginning letter.
Legal terms defined, sorted by alphabet
Do you need to know the meaning of sprinkling trust, toxic tort or some equally puzzling legal term? Look it up here.
Glossary of Poetic Terms
Compiled by Dr. Kip Wheeler for his classes at Carson-Newman College.
A work in progress, but a good starting point for entries on certain historical authors and titles. Although there is a subscription component, many articles are free.
Literary Terms and Definitions
MAPS, PLACE NAMES & SATELLITE IMAGERY
GlobeExplorer Image Atlas
GlobeXplorer offers a comprehensive suite of shrink-wrapped, off-the-shelf earth imagery products. Designed for customers who need local professional imagery (such as full-size TIFF images) to create their own custom maps or graphics. The site also includes some free before-and-after satellite shots of disaster areas like Hurricane Katrina.
Google Earth is a downloadable software program, with both free and paid versions. The free version will get you basic archived (not real-time) satellite maps of any section of the world, zooming in or out, per your choice by grabbing the image with your mouse, keyboard or trackball to move around. You can turn on various layers of mapping information such as roads, shopping and services, geographic features, 3D buildings, gas, and food and lodging, among others. Google Earth Plus gives you real-time GPS tracking and track/waypoint import, for uploading data from select GPS devices. Google Pro is geared toward businesses and government, with collaborative components and a host of other tools. Google also a new free View the Sky feature.
Type in an address or search string in the search box and get a map and/or directions. You can also get a satellite view (archived, not live) of your target. (Requires pop-ups.)
Much like Google Maps, type in your search address and get maps and directions. Mapquest doesn’t have satellite views at the present time.
Microsoft TerraServer USA
The TerraServer-USA Web site is one of the world's largest online databases, providing free public access to a vast data store of maps (including topography maps) and aerial photographs of the United States. Inludes the latitude and longitude of your destination.
NOAA Satellite and Information Service
The Satellite Services Division of the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) provides real time access to satellite data and products for the public and government, focusing on weather-related issues like hurricanes, fires, or snow, depending upon time of year.
Satellite maps, although not with the same level of zooming in you can get with some of the other web sites
This is a subscription service of the same type of database Microsoft uses on the Microsoft TerraServer above, with the addition of the ability to purchase prints in a variety of sizes and paper types including glossy, matte, laminated, waterproof, and canvas.
United Nations Cartograhic Section
Includes traditional cartographic maps of various regions of the world, with a separate listing by country; you can also check out the latest deployment maps of peacekeeping operations and a map of the world was it was in 1945.
USGS Aerial Photos
PhotoFinder provides access to two USGS photography collections; National Aerial Photography Program (cloud-free aerial photographs covering the conterminous U.S. over five-to-seven year cycles) and National High Altitude Photography (cquired from an altitude of 40,000 feet).
Yahoo’s entry into the map-finding genre of web sites, it includes pretty much the same as the others, although you can get a live-traffic overlay.
An instant ZIP code search followed with U.S. census data that can be searched by ZIP code or city name.
Cancer Web Medical Dictionary
Alphabetical listing, somewhat technical.
A huge database of prescription drugs, their uses, side effects, and contrindications.
Heymans Institute of Pharmacology Glossary of Medical Terms
Alphabetical listing in English, with a definition and translations into other languages.
A large database of disease and conditions and drugs and supplements.
Medicine Net Medical Dictionary
Definitions in layman’s terms.
Medical dictionary, ICD-9 (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems) codes, pharmaceutical companies, medical abbreviations, hospitals and associations. Plus medical news and other searches.
Medline Medical Encyclopedia
Alphabetical listing with links to articles about specific terms, conditions, and diseases.
An alphabetical dictionary.
Department of Defense Military Terms
Alphabetical with brief defintions. There’s also a link for military aconyms and abbreviations.
100 Unbelievably Useful Reference Sites You’ve Never Heard Of
I’d head of some of these, but there are plenty of unusual ones to discover.
Alan Cooper’s Homonyms
A listing of those fun words that non-English speakers love to hate, words that are pronounced the same, but spelled differently and with different meanings.
Amherst College Writing Center’s “Writing Better”
A handbook for students on the subject, although Chapter 2 is particularly fun, with a listing of frequently-misused words, “Words or Word Usages that Make You Look Stupid Even if You're Not.”
Ellery Queen Novels
A resource for everything related to the Ellery Queen novels.
Dedicated to helping you read fiction book series in order. Easily find out which book is next with a custom list based on your favorite series.
A searchable directory of glossaries and topical dictionaries. Looking for a Glossary of Japanese Arts Terms? Dictionary of Family Law Terms? Tetley's Glossary of Maritime Law? Divorce Dictionary? You’ll find links to those and more here. Sites in English and other languages.
Internet Movie Database
Look up movies, actors, directors, and other personalities who have appeared on television and film.
Just what it says -- a place to look up words and get pictures and descriptions of whatever that word represents. You can search alphabetically or by selected subjects.
VoyCabulary makes the words on any webpage into links, so you can look them up with just a click in a dictionary of your choice.
MYTHOLOGY AND THE OCCULT
encyclopedia of mythology, folklore, and religion. The mythology section is divided into geographical regions and the folklore section is divided into general, Arthurian, and international. Also includes a bestiary, legendary heroes, image gallery, and genealogical tables.
Over 900 articles on subject such as Atlantis, Stonehenge, ESP, Druidism, Voodoo, etc.
You can search by graphic index using shape, lines, and symmetry choices, or by word index.
Behind the Name
A random name generator which uses your input of gender, surname, and choice of ethnic origins of first name
A database of surnames
Last Name Meanings
Find the ethnic origin and meaning of last names
Random Name Generator
The random name generator uses data from the US Census to randomly generate male and female names.
Social Security Administration
Lists of popular baby names historically
Think Baby Names
PEOPLE & COMPANY SEARCHES
PI Mall Phone Searches
A list of links to web sites that include databases where you can look up names by phone number and sometimes postal address
PI Mall Skip Trace Portal
Lots of links of sites where you can find almost anyone through a variety of means
Yahoo! People Search
Yahoo’s free white pages including a searchable database to access updated phone and address information
Yahoo! Yellow Pages
Yahoo’s free yellow pages to look up businesses
Meta-Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Terms, terms, and more terms, by Dr. Garth Kemerling who also has a history of philosophy and other articles on his web site, http://www.philosophypages.com/.
To look up or not to look up? That is the question.
Origins of Phrases
Origins of everyday phrases, organized by topic.
An alphabetical listing of common phrases and their origins from “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” to “Zig Zag.”
Quotations by author and topic, but no source attributions.
Quotations by author and subject, no attributions.
One of the one of the oldest quotation sites on the Web, it has quotations by author and subject and attributions. You can also sign up for a Quotation of the Day e-mail.
Lots of quotations by topic. Note, however, in the disclaimer, that some quotes on this site were submitted by visitors, and thus be forewarned of the possibility of inaccurate wordings and attributions.
Quotations by topic and author, with source attributions.
REFERENCE BOOKS ON CRIME (PRINT)
Michigan State University Criminal Justice Library Reference Tools
Although In Reference to Murder uses mostly Internet Links, this link has a nice annotated listing of print reference works related to the subject of criminal justice. It would be hard to find these at your local library, but any local academic library might have some of them, and many libraries could order some of the titles via interlibrary loan.
This resource has gathered together online copies of classic reference works now in the public domain. You can search through the Columbia Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia of Modern History, Columbia Gazetteer, World Factbook, earlier editions of the American Heritage Dictionary and Roget’s Thesaurus, Bullfinch’s Mythology, the 1918 version of Strunk’s The Elements of Style, Roberts Rules of Order, several poetry tomes, essay and fiction collections, and lots more.
Freality Online Encyclopedias
A page of search boxes for selected Web research sites and lots of links to other sites.
From the folks who have been printing annual almanacs since 1947, it includes a search box for its own alamanc, a world atlas and map library, a Columbia Encyclopedia search, a listing of country profiles, a dictionary and thesaurus and lots of time wasters, like quizzes.
Internet Public Library
The IPL is a product of the University of Michigan and Drexel University. It is growing all the time and includes a lot of references, as you might expect from the online equivalent of a reference library. It includes basic research tools such as almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedias, catalogs of book, magazine, and newspaper sites (but doesn’t include online texts here), and special-subject areas with links to helpful resources on topics like Law, Government, and Political Science.
Another page of search boxes for Web sites including encyclopedia, newspapers, bios, quotations, legal dictionaries, telephone codes, and reverse lookup using phone numbers.
Published by StartSpot Mediaworks, Inc. in the Northwestern University/Evanston Research Park, Library Spot, it includes the usual suspects among its reference work links, but also has links to libraries online (public, academic, film, state etc.).
In addition to having news updates and lots of news site links, it includes links to other reference books on various subjects and some net tools.
A multidisciplinary web directory of reference resources that can be search and browsed alphabetically and by category.
You can type in a word and not only find its rhymes, but also synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and search for that word in Shakespeare and quotation databases.
Although the online rhyming dictionary is free, you can also download a paid version for Microsoft Word that installs in its tools menu.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL
Some of the databases on this site are for academics and are subscription-only, but the basic chemical database is free, if you want to look up substances like, say, arsenic.
Information on the U.S. Space Program and others around the world, as well.
Encyclopedia of Plants and Gardening
Extensive database on the subject, all free. Helpful if you’re looking for more information on poisonous plants.
Encyclopedia of Psychology
Lots of articles on environmental behavior relations, such as addiction and criminal justice. Also articles on paradigms and theories, people and history, publications, and organizations.
Herbal Encyclopedia Index
Alphabetical dictionary of herbs.
NetLingo has thousands of definitions that explain the online world of business, technology, and communication.
A free online dictionary of computer and technology terms, which tries to not just define computer terms, but explain them as well.
Wiley Encyclopedia of Life Sciences
More than 4,000 specially commissioned and peer-reviewed articles. NOTE: The abstracts, brief blurb definitions, are free, but the full-size articles are a subscription service.
Correctional Officer’s Guide to Prison Slang
Compiled by By Lt. Avery & P. Anderson CoIII of the Tesas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division.
Dictionary of English slang and colloquialisms of the U.K.
Want to know what it means to be airlocked in Ireland? Or off one’s chump in Britain? If you’re writing British crime fiction, this is a good place to go in helping with realistic dialogue terms.
A selection of common U.S. English idiomatic terms.
Taken mostly from both The Mafia Handbook by Douglas Le Vien, Jr. and Juliet Papa/
Online Slang Dictionary
This is a reader-submitted dictionary, so keep that in mind. Actually, that might help to “keep it real” (yes, it’s in there). It’s also got a limited slang-related thesaurus (in case you need other ways to say “he blew his nose”).
An online dictionary of English slang and terms
A combination of words the site compiled and reader-submitted entries. Search by alphabet.
Slang Around the World
From the folks who provided the Dictionary of English slang above, this includes links to Australian, New Zealand, South African, other foreign slang, black slang and rap, gay/lesbian, and links to other slang sites.
Southern Slang Dictionary
A limited list, but should be helpful for those of y’all who weren’t born south of the Mason-Dixon line.
Street Drug Slang Dictionary
Very helpful if you’re writing crime fiction that deals with drug use and drug trafficking.
Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang
An alphabetical list of terms.
Another reader-submitted dictionary. You can add their RSS feed or an auto-updating Urban Word of the Day to your web site.
Used primarily by journalists, you can access the stylebook online by subscription. However, the web site includes an “Ask the Editor” site which is free where you can learn the answers to questions such as “Are there guidelines about compounds with the word "maker"? Policymaker is one word, but chip-maker is hyphenated,” etc.
The American Psychological Association has established a style that it uses in all of the books and journals that it publishes. Many others working in the social and behavioral sciences have adopted this style as their standard as well. It has free style tips on subjects like “Removing Bias in Language.”
Chicago Manual of Style
Although if you want complete articles, you’ll have to subscribe or just go out and buy the book, the site does include a Q&A of grammatical issues, and guidelines intended to help authors prepare manuscripts for submission to our press which can help with other document submissions, as well. There’s also a quick citation guide.
Useful for bibliographies, this site offers examples from the major style guides as how to cite online sources.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, 1918 Version
Although not completely useful due to the language changes that have taken place over the past century, if you’re writing a historical story or novel, this could be helpful. There are, of course, some aspects of the style handbook that haven’t changed, such as the one editors love to hammer into writers’ heads, “Omit needless words.”
THESAURUS RESOURCES, ENGLISH LANGUAGE
A link to the 1995 edition online.
An online synonyms thesaurus reference resource. To use Synonyms.net, simply type a word in the search box and click the 'Search' button. A list of synonyms for the different word senses will be returned followed with images.
WORLD COUNTRY AND CITY DATA
A free searchable index for World Factbook database articles on countries and world leaders. The factbook itself is located via the link, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/, and includes country profiles listed alphabetically, with flags of the world and reference maps.
You can search by region of the world or country name and get a map and a summary of that country’s history, economics, etc., in free blurb format. If you want the full articles, you’ll have to subscribe.
A free database with facts and figures for each country. It includes the top ranks and bottom rankings for selected categories for each.
World Desk Reference
A nice database of information for each country, including information about defense and crime.