Redeeming Words for Whitaker’s

I may have been too harsh on Whitaker, in an earlier post, where I defined his dictionary as inferior alternative to Wiktionary. I still believe Wiktionary is the top Latin dictionary online, but here are a few redeeming qualities that Whitaker revealed upon closer inspections.

What I said:

What I found:

First, there are two online interfaces:

If you type a word into this interface, a new tab pops up, and you need to return to this page in order to search a new entry. It’s incredibly (ok, mildly) annoying. However, if you click the title, which is actually a link, you get this:

Which allows you to switch between Latin to English and English to Latin with a single click, and operates in one window with a search bar on the entry page so you don’t have to keep flipping back and forth.


There’s also the extra-web application, Latin WORDS (available for all platforms), which has the same features.

I’m not a fan of the extra window, but this interface is incredibly straightforward, and supposedly “more powerful” than the online resource. I’m doubtful, since the website would receive constant updates, but for my purposes it’s fine.

Whitaker’s still lacks (a) etymologies, (b) related terms, (c) conjugations and declensions, and (d) derived terms, but these features secure its position as a reliable English-to-Latin Thesaurus, and not ‘what we’re stuck with’ in the absence of something better.

However, a Wikisaurus is in the works, and when it arrives (if it’s a multi-lingual thesaurus, which is still be debated)–bye-bye Whitaker’s.


3 comments on “Redeeming Words for Whitaker’s

  1. John Citron says:

    I like The stand-alone Whitaker’s words app as opposed to the web interface. It’s easy to use, gives you more parsing control, and doesn’t have the annoying extra window. I also really like NUMEN . This is much more useful than words as it fully declines nouns and conjugates verbs. It’s English to Latin better than words also.

  2. Dirks says:

    Wiktionary may be the best Latin dictionary online, but WORDS has the advantage of running offline in a terminal. With WORDS, I can read Latin on an airplane without paying for wifi.

  3. Eric Alois says:

    I agree, Whitaker’s is such a piece of crap. Thank god there are better alternatives to that mess. Whitaker should never have bothered making it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s