Answers on has got to be one of my most visited sites. (Yahoo! Answers is another, but I’ll save that for later.) It is the site that Google uses for definitions and I use it often for spell checks.* I guess I find it easier to type a word in the search bar, press return and then click on the “definition” link in the upper right corner of the search results page than to designate Answers as my search engine of choice and type in the word there. This may be, because subsequent use of the search bar would then require another click to switch back to another engine.

In any case, today after I finished reading an article (this one) on the NYTimes site, I noticed the following below the piece:

To find reference information about the words used in this article, hold down the ALT key and click on any word, phrase or name. A new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry.

So I placed my cursor on a word, pressed the ALT key and clicked with my mouse. Voila. A window popped up with information from Answers about the word. (I have a pop-up blocker and this still came up so it’s of a different variety. You are also given the option of having it come up in a separate tab or window in the browser.) Cool feature.

Alternatively, of course there is always the option of using the ConQuery extension on Firefox and adding the relevant Answers plugin from MyCroft. That’s also my preferred way for locating addresses on Google Maps without having to retype them. But I like these little pop-up windows since they’re smaller, come up quickly and are easy to close.

[*] I have found that simply relying on the number of search results for a term is not a good indicator of correct spelling given the number of misspelled words out there.

2 Responses to “Answers on”

  1. Jim Gibbon Says:

    Hmm, I can’t seem to get the ALT key trick to work on my Mac (and it does say ALT over “option,” so I thought this might be cross-platform).

    This reminds me of the tip in Gizmodo via LifeHacker about using Apple’s built-in dictionary. By pressing and holding Apple+Control+D in a cocoa app like Sarafi (sorry, not Firefox) or Mail, you’ll get a definition for any word you hover over. No additional reference material, but it could still be helpful in some situations.

  2. Steph Says:

    Wow, I didn’t even know about! You’re so cool, eszter.