WordReference API

Discussion in 'Comments and Suggestions' started by mkellogg, May 27, 2011.

  1. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Hi everybody,

    I'm happy to announce that we are releasing the WordReference API today. This API is designed to give developers free access to WordReference's own dictionaries.

    For those of you who do not know what an API is, it is simply a way for computer programs and other websites to access WordReference's dictionary data.

    I am looking forward to seeing the different tools and games that developers around the world create using the dictionaries.

    Developers, please feel free to write me through the Contact Us form at the bottom of this page if you have any questions.


    PS. The API only gives access to WordReference's own dictionaries, and not those licensed from Oxford or any other publisher. Some of these dictionaries such as the Spanish one are currently not very complete. You can expect most of them to be much more comprehensive by September of this year.
  2. swift

    swift Senior Member

    Spanish – Costa Rica (Valle Central)
    Excellent news!!

    Parece que ahora tendré una aplicación práctica para mis cursos de programación. :D Gracias Mike.
  3. falcon9202 Member

    San Francisco!
    English, San Francisco
    Many, many thanks!
  4. kindatrans New Member

    Can SOAP web service be expected too? :)
  5. rubik_ New Member

    I think WordReference is amazing, but I have a complaint about the API.
    I'm a Python programmer and I want to use JSON because it is easier to parse and thus faster. When I try the API from my browser it looks great, but when I do it programmatically:

    import urllib2

    I get some endless HTML code which contains Javascript. I've understood that I have to execute the Javascript to have the JSON, but it is unthinkable! I can't include a JS engine in my project and it would be too difficult.

    Here is the project:

    The best solution would be to directly receive the JSON, like all other sites' APIs.
    I'm going to give up if you can't fix that.

  6. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Hi Rubik,

    The JSON version of the API should only return JSON, and no HTML or JavaScript. If you are getting anything other than JSON, it is probably an error message.

    Try putting api.wordreference.com/{my-user-id}/json/enit/keys into your web browser and you will (or should) see nothing but JSON.

    Write me through the Contact Us link at the bottom of this page if you continue to have problems.

  7. rubik_ New Member

    Yes, when I visit that page with my browser I see nothing but JSON.
    The problem persists when I try to do it programmatically (with Python).

    I sent you a feedback through the "Contact Us" form.

  8. rigardi New Member

    Argentine Spanish
    plan to do a SOAP service?


    piensan hacer un servicio SOAP?
  9. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Sorry, we have no plans to introduce a SOAP service anytime soon.
  10. weenajimenez New Member


    Wonderful API, but what about synonyms dictionaries or conjugation?. I think those are very, very interesting for many developers. :)
  11. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    We have synonyms for English, but the rest is off limits since we don't have the permission of the publishers. We can only offer the API for content owned by WordReference.
  12. jfbouverat New Member

    Hi everyone,

    First of all, Mike, many thanks for sharing your API. Excellent job.

    However I am a little bit puzzled.

    I call WR API with jquery :
    url: '://api.wordreference.com/{appid}/json/enfr/house',
    dataType: 'jsonp',
    success: function(data){
    //handle data

    This works well, except that I receive ALL the data in original->Compounds ...

    I would like to present only the Principal Translations but I cannot get the data structure for :

    "term0" : { "PrincipalTranslations" : {

    Although the URL '://api.wordreference.com/{appid}/json/enfr/house' entered directly in the browser return the data structure as it should.

    Does anyone has already successfully experienced WR API call with JQuery ?

  13. jfbouverat New Member


    After reading some documentations, it appears that it *might* be the original data sent by the JSONP server to the callback function. In this case it wouldn't be due to the client implementation. Do you confirm ?

    Following code works fine but with the same jsonp data than described above.

    //handle data

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  14. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US

    I'm fairly certain that the JSONP that is returned validates as correct JSON/JSONP. If what we send to you validates, then I would think any problem would be on the client side.
  15. jfbouverat New Member

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for your prompt answer.

    What is returned by the API is perfectly correct JSON.

    My only concern is that the data structure does only contain "original': { "compound": {

    Even Principal Translations are included in this structure. That means that I cannot differentiate principal and compounds. For some common words It can return an array of 70 translations.

    May I send you, elsewhere than on the forum, the JSON string returned when I use a JSONP data structure ?
  16. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Send it to me through the Contact Us form. The link is at the bottom of this page. I'll take a look.
  17. jfbouverat New Member

    Hi Mike,

    You and your developer solved my problem within a couple of hours after my first post. Very professional service !

    If you don't mind I will post on this thread when my IOS App, Read the World, will fully implement WordReference.

    Thanks again.

  18. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Glad we got that fixed. I actually created a thread for Apps using the WR API, though nobody has used it yet. Please post your link there.
  19. jfbouverat New Member


    Is it still in the plans to implement a spanish->english dictionary ?
    Any timing ?

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2012
  20. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Spanish-English? We are about half done with it now, so I would hope to have it in the next three to four months.

  21. memoday New Member

    Hi Mike,

    I would like to use your API with a drupal website? Do you have any idea how can I retrieve data into my Drupal Views search? Any idea? Thanks in advance!
  22. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Sorry, I don't know anything about Drupal. If you get something working, let me know and I can tell others.

  23. memoday New Member

    Thanks Mike! I will see and sure I will post it here once I have a clue. Thanks!
  24. sirdavidoff New Member

    Mike, I'm getting an HTML error page when I try to access the API through my Rails app. The generated page includes the following stack trace:

    Weirdly it works through my browser, though. Any ideas?
  25. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    sirdavidoff, we've made a change to the security that should allow you through. If not, write me through the Contact Us form at the bottom of this page.

  26. sirdavidoff New Member

    Thanks for the prompt action Mike, it's working now.
  27. compton New Member

    UK, English
    Hi Mike, just wanted to say thanks for releasing this great API! I'm using it for a new feature for my little vocab quiz (it's mostly for my own use but the occasional visitor stumbles upon it) that will allow people to create their own wordlists to use in the quiz. The new bit is not yet finished; when it is I'll share it on the other thread you have mentioned.

    Out of curiosity, do you have any figures for how many words are available in each of the supported languages?
  28. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Hi compton,

    Glad you have found the API useful.

    Term counts? These counts are constantly changing and I don't keep track. In general, we have over 100k for the English to xx side of the dictionaries and less on the reverse.

  29. compton New Member

    UK, English
    OK thanks for the info! It really was just a question of curiosity, to get an idea if some languages had bigger dictionaries than others.
  30. talktojp New Member

    Portuguese - Brazil
    Is it possible search for English word definitions using the WR API?
  31. edward1529 Senior Member

    United States--English
    Without the use of the API after the appearance of a word in the dictionary, how are we now supposed to know how to pronounce a word that is unfamiliar to us?
  32. sataniccrow New Member

    If you are looking for a thesaurus, you should go checking this link http://www.wordreference.com/docs/api.aspx

    In particolar this:

    We are happy to announce support for the WordReference English Thesaurus in the API. The URL structure is the same as for all other dictionaries, simply put "/thesaurus/" where you would normally put the four-letter dictionary code.
  33. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    I think you might be confusing API with IPA. ;)

    The WR application programming interface (API) allows software developers to write code for websites, smartphones, etc. that can access WR dictionary content.

    Symbols from the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) serve to document pronunciation. With our recent dictionary changes, we have a new page layout and the IPA symbols in our dictionary entries have moved, but they are still there. In addition, we have recordings of native pronunciation for some words in some languages. For example, at the top of the English->French entry for the word "think," you'll see the following:
    IPA symbols are also included on the tab for Collins content, if available.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2012
  34. lboraz New Member

    how am i supposed to get the phonetic through the api? The returned json object does not contain any information about pronunciation. I'm using version 0.8 which is supposed to be the latest version of the api
  35. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    I'm sorry, but phonetic information isn't available through the API.
  36. Sliver New Member

    Hi, I'm a Research Fellow of the Italian National Research Council.
    I'm working on a scientific paper for building lexicon using cross lingual approach and i need an automatic translator to validate some results.
    This api works fine for me, but i have a lot of term to translate and limitation of 600 terms per hour is a problem for me.
    is there a way to unlock the limitation of my api key just only for the time to obtain results? I can do an official request from my institution if needed.

    best regards
  37. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Sliver, I'm not sure how good our API would be as an automatic translator. Machine translation would probably be better.

    Anyway, write me through the Contact Us link below and I will see what I can do.

  38. _mk_ New Member

    Are definitions for English language words available through the API? I know that thesaurus is supported, but is it possible to retrieve word definitions using the API?
  39. jann

    jann co-mod'

    English - USA
    Welcome _mk_. :)

    I don't believe the English definitions dictionary is supported. Here's what you can read on the API page:
    Here is what Mike (the owner of WordReference) said in post #1 above:
    The API is available to access ©WordReference content only... but the English definitions dictionary is licensed from Collins, as mentioned in the copyright statement in small font at the top of every entry (e.g., welcome).
  40. _mk_ New Member

    Thank you jann.
  41. pangus New Member


    Is the Spanish-English API complete? Only there seems to be some missing translations. Should I be reporting these somewhere or is this still a work-in-progress?

    The gaps mostly seem to be for compounds but not all of them. Here are some that don't have a Spanish translation in the API but do on the website.

    be bored with sth
    hey there
    for hire
    be on(be switched on)
    dying for(desperately in need of)
    sick of(wearyof, exasperated by)
    shake off(evade sb following)
  42. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US

    Thanks for reporting this. I found the problem and will update the service with the changes in the next couple of days.

  43. pangus New Member

    Thanks Mike, Spanish seem to be sorted.

    I am seeing something similar in Arabic. Try 'hi there' and 'be tired of'. They appear in the compounds for 'hi' and 'tired' but they don't when you request them specifically.

  44. mkellogg Administrator

    South Florida
    English - US
    Pangus, write me through Contact Us wth the exact URLs that you are using and I'll take a look.
  45. blackjackpsp New Member

    I want to interface wordreference synonyms dictionary to protegè, a tool to create ontology. My goal is to make semantic search using synonyms of a search word that I would get by querying the API Wordreference same. Thank you all for your attention and I apologize for the inconvenience.
  46. twoodfin New Member

    Fled, Lint and Tig words are not being verified in the API. The word game spells a name and then queries API to see if it is a real word. Now these words are coming up as not real words. Kindly tell me if this is API issue. I started a new database of words, so app uses WordReference API and if no match, it goes to custom database and if no match then it says "no match."

Share This Page