name = Wiktionary
caption = Screenshot of wiktionary.org home page
url = http://www.wiktionary.org/
commercial = No
language = Multi-lingual (over 150)
registration = Optional
Jimmy Walesand the Wikimedia community
launch date =
December 12, 2002
current status = active
slogan = the free dictionary
alexa = ~1200
portmanteauof " wiki" and " dictionary") is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. Unlike standard dictionaries, it is written collaboratively by volunteers using wiki software, allowing articles to be changed by almost anyone with access to the Web site.
Like its sister project
Wikipedia, Wiktionary is run by the Wikimedia Foundation. Because Wiktionary is not limited by print space considerations, most of Wiktionary's language editions provide definitions and translations of words from many languages, and some editions offer additional information typically found in Thesauruses and lexicons. Additionally, the English Wiktionary includes Wikisaurus, a category that serves as a thesaurus, including lists of slangwords,See "" for information on the structure of Wikisaurus entries. An example of a well-formatted entry would be "".] and the Simple English Wiktionary, compiled using the Basic Englishsubset of the English language.
History and development
Wiktionary was brought online on
December 12, 2002following a proposal by Daniel Alston.Fact|date=July 2007 On March 29, 2004the first non-English Wiktionaries were initiated in French and Polish. Wiktionaries in numerous other languages have since been started. Wiktionary was hosted on a temporary URL (wiktionary.wikipedia.org) until May 1, 2004when it switched to the current full URL. [ Wiktionary's current URL is [http://www.wiktionary.org/ www.wiktionary.org] .] As of November 2006, Wiktionary features over 1.5 million entries across its 171 language editions. The largest of the language editions is the English Wiktionary, with over 958,000 entries. English Wiktionary was surpassed in early 2006 by the French Wiktionary, only to regain the top position in September 2006. French later overtook English again, but in August 2008, English Wiktionary overtook French again. During September 2008, the French and English Wiktionaries traded top position twice more. French is currently the second largest with over 937,000 entries. Eight Wiktionary language editions now contain over 100,000 entries each.
"'Despite Wiktionary's large number of entries, most of the entries and many of the definitions at the project's largest language editions were created by bots that found creative ways to generate entries or (rarely) automatically imported thousands of entries from previously-published dictionaries. Seven of the 18 bots registered at the English WiktionaryThe [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Special:Listusers user list] at the English Wiktionary identifies accounts that have been given "bot status".] created 163,000 of the entries there. [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=TheDaveBot&dbname=enwiktionary_p TheDaveBot] , [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=TheCheatBot&dbname=enwiktionary_p TheCheatBot] , [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=Websterbot&dbname=enwiktionary_p Websterbot] , [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=PastBot&dbname=enwiktionary_p PastBot] , [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=NanshuBot&dbname=enwiktionary_p NanshuBot] ] Only 259 entries remain (each containing many definitions) on Wiktionary from the original import by Websterbot from public domain sources; the majority of those imports have been split out to thousands of proper entries manually. Another one of these bots, "ThirdPersBot," was responsible for the addition of a number of third-person conjugations that would not receive their own entries in standard dictionaries; for instance, it defined "smoulders" as the "third-person singular simple present form of smoulder." Excluding these 163,000 entries, the English Wiktionary would have about 137,000 entries, including terms unique to languages other than English, making it smaller than most monolingual print dictionaries. The "
Oxford English Dictionary", for instance, has 615,000 headwords, while "Merriam-Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged" has 475,000 entries (with many additional embedded headwords). It should be noted, though, that more detailed now exist to more clearly distinguish genuine entries from minor (small) entries.
The English Wiktionary, however does not rely on bots to the extent that somewhat smaller editions do. The French and Vietnamese Wiktionaries, for example, imported large sections of the
Free Vietnamese Dictionary Project(FVDP), which provides free content bilingual dictionaries to and from Vietnamese.Hồ Ngọc Đức, [http://www.informatik.uni-leipzig.de/~duc/Dict/ Free Vietnamese Dictionary Project] . at the Vietnamese Wiktionary.] These imported entries make up virtually all of the Vietnamese edition's offering. Like the English edition, the French Wiktionary has imported the approximately 20,000 entries in the Unihan database of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters. The French Wiktionary grew rapidly in 2006 thanks in large part to bots copying many entries from old, freely-licensed dictionaries, such as the eighth edition of the " Dictionnaire de l'Académie française" (1935, around 35,000 words), and using bots to add words from other Wiktionary editions with French translations. The Russian edition grew by nearly 80,000 entries as "LXbot" added boilerplate entries (with headings, but without definitions) for words in English and German. [http://tools.wikimedia.de/~interiot/cgi-bin/count_edits?user=LXbot&dbname=ruwiktionary_p LXbot] ]
Most of Wiktionary currently uses a textual logo designed by Brion Vibber, a
MediaWikideveloper."n coat of arms.
Critical reception of Wiktionary has been mixed. Jill Lepore wrote in the article "Noah’s Ark" for "The New Yorker," (November 6, 2006) [The full article is not available on-line. cite news
author = Jill Lepore | title = Noah's Ark
url = http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/11/06/061106fa_fact_lepore
format = Abstract | publisher = The New Yorker
date=6 November 2006 | accessdate = 2007-04-21 ]
There’s no show of hands at "Wiktionary". There’s not even an editorial staff. "Be your own lexicographer!" might be "Wiktionary’s" motto. Who needs experts? Why pay good money for a dictionary written by lexicographers when we can cobble one together ourselves?
"Wiktionary" isn’t so much republican or democratic as Maoist. And it’s only as good as the copyright-expired books from which it pilfers. If you look up the word "Webster" in the "Wiktionary", you will be redirected to this handy tip:
Noah Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, 1911 (published by Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA) is a public domain dictionary, as is a 1913 edition, that can be used to empower "Wiktionary" with more definitions.
But, hey, at least they got his first name right.
Keir Graff’s review for "Booklist" was less critical:
Is there a place for Wiktionary? Undoubtedly. The industry and enthusiasm of its many creators are proof that there’s a market. And it’s wonderful to have another strong source to use when searching the odd terms that pop up in today’s fast-changing world and the online environment. But as with so many Web sources (including this column), it’s best used by sophisticated users in conjunction with more reputable sources.
References in other publications are fleeting and part of larger discussions of Wikipedia, not progressing beyond a definition, although David Brooks in "The Nashua Telegraph" described it as "wild and woolly". [David Brooks, "Online, interactive encyclopedia not just for geeks anymore, because everyone seems to need it now, more than ever!" "The Nashua Telegraph" (August 4, 2004)] ("" is defined as "confused" and "unrestrained."cite web|url=http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/wooly|title=wooly|work=Wiktionary] ) One of the impediments to independent coverage of Wiktionary is the continuing confusion that it is merely an extension of Wikipedia. [In this citation, the author refers to Wiktionary as part of the Wikipedia site: cite news
author = Adapted from an article by Naomi DeTullio
title = Wikis for Librarians
url = http://www.netls.org/NewContent/NewsAndPictures/NEWSLETTERS/NEWS2006/142final.pdf
format = PDF newsletter | work = NETLS News #142 | publisher = Northeast Texas Library System
page = 15 |date=2006 (1st Quarter) | accessdate = 2007-04-21 ] In 2005, "
PC Magazine" rated Wiktionary as one of the Internet's "Top 101 Web Sites,"cite web|url=http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1786207,00.asp|publisher=PC Magazine|work=Top 101 Web Sites|title=Wiktionary|date= 2005-04-06|accessdate=2005-12-16] although little information was given about the site.
OmegaWiki, a translating multilingual dictionary based on an extension of MediaWiki.
* [http://www.wiktionary.org/ Wiktionary front page]
** [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Main_Page English Wiktionary]
* [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Wiktionary:Multilingual_statistics Wiktionary's Multilingual Statistics]
* [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/List_of_Wiktionaries Wikimedia's page on Wiktionary] (including list of all existing Wiktionaries)
* [http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Wiktionary Pages about Wiktionary in Meta] .
* [http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/reference/wiktionarywidget.html The Wiktionary Widget] for the
Mac OS XDashboard which pulls up Wiktionary articles.
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.