Definition Search in Google


If you are searching for a meaning of a word or a term, the Definitions feature of Google Search should come in handy.

Till now if I wanted to quickly lookup a meaning for a word say preposterous, I used to search in Google with this keyword


To see a definition for a word or phrase, simply type the word “define,” then a space, and then the word(s) you want defined. If Google has seen a definition for the word or phrase on the Web, it will retrieve that information and display it at the top of your search results.

You can also get a list of definitions by including the special operator “define:” with no space between it and the term you want defined.

However the feature doesn’t take the case of the keyword into consideration. For e.g.

  • define SIP returns with “a small drink”. I was looking for the definition of Session Initiation Protocol.
  • define LAMP returns with the definition of lamp, not the open source web platform

What I observed is that this feature doesn’t handle abbreviations properly and I jotted this down in Matt’s Smaller Issues Post.

Also note these 2 searches –

  1. define Google : Google, a popular search engine, is a tool for finding resources on the World Wide Web. Google scans web pages to find instances of the keywords you have entered in the search box.
  2. define Microsoft : NetMeeting, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.

Is Definitions search partial ? It doesn’t give a good definition of Microsoft 🙂 Wonder why ?

Also the definition search might not always return the right answer.

  • define donkey – the symbol of the Democratic Party; introduced in cartoons by Thomas Nast in 1874

Irrespective of these “glitches”, “Definition” search is a great feature. I have been using this from past 2 weeks and it does save a lot of time !

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ashish Mohta Jan 7, 2007 Link

    Good post.I wrote something similar too but urs is lot better.Images explains more

    I am adding your blog to my feed

  • Venu Jan 8, 2007 Link

    Thanks Ashish, I too got to know of you yesterday via blog-buzz, I saw that you had posted lot of stuff and today John confirmed you also contributed to that project 🙂