From: Bob Rankin
Subject: TOURBUS - 13 Sep 2005 - The Nerds of Words
Everyone knows that Nail-Biting Refreshes The Feet. Oops! I meant to say that The Best Things In Life Are Free. How did that come out so wrong? I must have had my brain hooked up to that anagram generator too long. In today's TOURBUS, we'll visit a bunch of sites that were created by the Nerds of Words.
Ready for linguistic diversion, frivolity and merriment? Read on and find out how to become the animation of the assemblage!
An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. For example, "Time Heals All Wounds" can be rearranged to form "Most Will Use A Handle". The Internet Anagram Server (aka "I, Rearrangement Servant") gives results in your browser, and has an Advanced interface which allows you to include or exclude certain words, specify minimum or maximum numbers of letters per word and a few other tweaks.
Anu Garg, creator of The Internet Anagram Server, also offers A.Word.A.Day, a newsletter for people who want to explore the world of words and share it with other wordlovers. For details on AWAD, see
Also notable, illustrious and famed in the anagram arena is Anagram Genius, which you can find at
Anagram Genius seems to be better at processing long input strings and generating phrase-like results. For example: "not over until the fat lady sings" = "Stringently deathful ovations"
If you're a fan of the Scrabble board game, you'll love this one. Enter the seven letters on your Scrabble rack, and this nifty tool will reveal, disclose and divulge all the words that can be composed from them. You can even specify specific beginning and ending letters, or ask for words of a certain length.
If you're having trouble getting a word in a crossword puzzle, then perhaps OneAcross can help. In addition to pattern dictionary searches, it can analyze the clue as well. OneAcross lets you enter either the length of the answer or an answer pattern, in which you use a question mark for unknown letters in the word. OneAcross also has a tool to help you solve cryptograms.
At Dictionary.com, you can look up a word in either a dictionary or Roget's Thesaurus (to find synonyms and antonyms). The site also offers Ask Doctor Dictionary (for questions about words or grammar), the Word of the Day, daily crosswords & word search puzzles, and a huge list of links to other online dictionaries, including hundreds of non-English ones.
WordWeb Pro is a downloadable program that I use all the time. It can be used to look up words from almost any Windows-based program, showing definitions, synonyms and related words. The feature I like best is searching for words matching a pattern, such as "ab*ly" which will return abashedly, abjectly, abnormally, absolutely, absurdly, and a superfluity of others.
The WriteExpress Online Rhyming Dictionary is a helpful resource for poets and songwriters. You can find Ending rhymes (blue/shoe), Last syllable rhymes (timber/harbor), Double rhymes (conviction/ prediction), Beginning rhymes (physics/fizzle), or First syllable rhymes (carrot/caring).
Need a synonym, antonym, or related word? Try this online tool:
Etymologic presents you with 10 randomly selected etymology (word origin) or word definition puzzles to solve. Some of the answers are improbable, incredible and hard to believe!
WordZap is a fast-paced addictive word game you can play over the Net or against the computer.
StoryFun is a variant of the Mad Libs word game, created by students at MIT who obviously don't have enough homework to do.
Play Hangman with several different twists: Celebrity Hangman, Hang Your Ex-Whatever, Hillbilly Hangman, and others.
Note: Some alert readers noted that the URL given in the last ACSM advertisement was not connecting. Lots of you have written and told me about the excellent deals and service you've gotten from them over the years, so I wanted to assure you they're still in business, and the address above is the correct site to reach them.
Test your online acumen with my Pop Quiz! Since it's a known fact that TOURBUS riders are smarter and better looking than the average Internetter, I'm sure you will pass with flying colors.
That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin