ProWritingAid Help 2019-10-07 00:00

When the Words Won't Come: Word Explorer

Do you love your thesaurus and your dictionary? Do your online thesaurus and dictionary of choice get plenty of daily use?

If you've formed a deep and abiding connection with both, you will love the Word Explorer in ProWritingAid's online editor. There are two ways you can access Word Explorer:

  • Go to the Menu drop-down at the top left of your online editor and select Word Explorer about half way down on the list.
  • Double click on a word in your text. A box will open up with some alternative vocabulary for that word as well a link to the word explorer in the bottom right corner.
  1. What is it?
  2. Let's look at some examples
  3. Some of the fun features
  4. Conclusion

What is it?

It's a dictionary/thesaurus/word crunching machine. You feed it words, and it spits out nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs as offerings to the God of Words, or to pacify your muse.

OK, you say, that sounds an awful lot like a regular thesaurus/dictionary. And here's where it gets interesting:

You can look at any word 14 different ways.

Yes, it's true. Here's the list of ways you can check out any given word:

  • Dictionary
  • Reverse Dictionary (this shows you words with your given word in their definition)
  • Thesaurus
  • Lists (lists of dated terms, ironic terms, often used terms)
  • Alliteration (adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs with the same letter or sound at the beginning or adjacent to your given word)
  • Clichés (to help you avoid them)
  • Spelling (good to know if you write frequently in American, British, and Australian English)
  • Rhymes
  • Pronunciation
  • Collocations (adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs that come before or after your given word)
  • Common Phrases (2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-word phrases using your given word)
  • Commonly Possessed By (words that can own your given word)
  • Anagrams (in case you need help)
  • Examples (From books and quotes using your given word)

Let's look at some examples

One of the most common words that's so vague, yet sometimes hard to not use, is pretty. Let's see what it looks like in the Word Explorer.

Imagine if you were writing a medieval novel. In that instance, you should know that pretty would mean "cunning, clever, skillful." And that's just a look at the adjectives' definition. There are definitions for adverbs, nouns, and verbs. Did you know pretty could be a verb?

Some of the fun features

Reverse Dictionary lets you see what words have "pretty" in their definitions. Were you aware that hobblebush and steel use "pretty"? Neither was I.

Here's where Word Explorer is überfun.

Have you ever gotten stuck on what rhymes with orange? It's a hard one. Word Explorer offers some interesting rhymes that anyone could work with.

One final feature if you want to stretch your writing muscles…

Collocations are common adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs that came either before or after your given word. Let's go back to pretty for an example.

Some of these verbs are obvious like get, look, and feel, but some are just extraordinary enough to work them into your current work in progress:

  • Bleed pretty
  • Convulse pretty

Do either of these stir your imagination?


Next time you're working on a blog post or a scene in your work-in-progress and you need words that alliterate with hobnob, turn to ProWritingAid's Word Explorer.

Seriously, you'll find what you're looking for there.

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