dic*tion*ar*y: The American Heritage Word Wonder
Author: Scott Ramirez
Date: April, 1994
Keywords: dictionary software program review application word processing processor writing write
Text: I used to work on an Apple IIc, using AppleWorks or AppleWriter to produce whatever I had to write, relying on a Webster's Dictionary and any close victim to correct my spelling errors. Now I have access to a collection of word processors, most of which claim to check my spelling for me. My only problem is that I need to check more than the spelling...I sometimes need to check the meanings because I tend to spell the wrong word correctly or misuse a word completely. Also, in reading the definitions I sometimes find good alternates by browsing through a dictionary or thesaurus and following a series of related words to a word I had no knowledge of. The American Heritage Dictionary is great for these purposes. The dictionary is a stand-alone application that allows the user to type in a possibly misspelled word and find a correctly spelled word, complete with definition, thesaurus reference, and a list of closely spelled words. In addition, this application can produce anagrams (A word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word); do wild-card searches for words having a particular order of characters (to find a five-letter word ending in -eme, type ''??eme'' to get theme ); and the dictionary has a WordHunter option that allows the user to search for words with associated qualities, labels, and definitions, including Boolean operators for complex searches using AND, OR, and NOT. The program will NOT, however, search a document and check the spelling of each word. To use this application with a word processor the user is required to cut-and-paste any spelling or definition from the dictionary into their document. To use the dictionary one simply enters a word in the current word window and clicks on the Lookup or WordHunter buttons. If Lookup is selected, a list is then displayed containing a collection of closely spelled words; any alternative words are listed below in another window. Also, if the word is spelled correctly, the definition of the word is displayed and, if the thesaurus option is on, a list of synonyms are shown. If WordHunter is selected, a separate dialog window opens for your search criteria with a list of available search labels and several buttons for quick access to the Boolean operators. I found the dictionary to be quick and very useful. A Boolean search for words having [Aeronautical] AND [Aerospace] labels took six seconds on my Quadra 800 and returned twenty genuinely useful words. The more than 100,000 definitions provided are equivalent to what I found in Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and are presented in common dictionary format. The documentation provided is very clear and installation of the seven low density disks is a simple double click on a familiar Installer Icon and following the instructions to insert the appropriate numbered disk in your disk drive. Lastly, the user interface is Macintosh friendly, having nothing surprising for even the newest Mac user. System requirements: System 6.0.2 or later ...At least 1MB of RAM System 7: ...At least 2MB of RAM & 5MB of hard disk space. The American Heritage dictionary is available for $36 from: Mac Connection, 14 Mill Street, Marlow, NH 03456, 800-800-0002.
Copyright © april, 1994 by Scott Ramirez