Monday, October 02, 2006


Q. I need to extract some industrial-strength words for freezing or frozen from an unabridged dictionary, but I don't even know where to begin.

A. That very same problem is what inspired me to produce my Word Parts Dictionary. Section II of that work is a reverse dictionary. You can look up concepts such as freezing and see if there are any word parts that bear that meaning.

You'll find the combining forms cheima-, crymo-, cryo-, frigo-, gelo-, kryo-, pago-, psychro-, and rhigo-, along with the base forms alg- and glac-.

Armed with those word parts, you can now look in the appropriate places in an unabridged dictionary and extract words such as cheimaphilic, crymophilic, cryogenic, frigorific, gelation, kryometer, pagophagia, psychrometer, rhigosis, algid, and glaciation.

And if you have an unabridged dictionary on disk or on line, you can run a wildcard search and find those word parts even if they don't begin a word.

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