10 Online Alterna-Dictionaries For Your Defining Pleasure


Earlier this year we were all ruffled because the Oxford English Dictionary had added a few new words. Excuse us, ‘words.’ But here at Flavorpill, we like to go the extra mile, which sometimes means exploring the land beyond the normal dictionaries. Or maybe it’s just that we kind of like words and cultural assignations? Maybe it’s that. Either way, we’ve compiled a list of some of the web’s best alterna-dictionaries, from the classic (The Urban Dictionary) to the hopelessly nerdy (The Literary Terms Dictionary) for when the good old OED just isn’t cutting it. Click through to check out a few of our favorite very special dictionaries for very special occasions, and get defining.

For the deeply disturbed and/or teenage: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Sample entry: ambedo n. a kind of melacholic trance in which you become completely absorbed in vivid sensory details—raindrops skittering down a window, tall trees leaning in the wind, clouds of cream swirling in your coffee—which leads to a dawning awareness of the haunting fragility of life, a mood whose only known cure is the vuvuzela.

For the dirty minded and/or desperate seekers of cool: The Urban Dictionary

Sample entry: Status Reunion When a group of friends from college or high school who haven’t talked to/seen each other in a long time all comment on a mutual friend’s Facebook status, usually about something they all agree on or feel strongly about.

It was great catching up with the class of ’87 on that status reunion last night. I’m glad we can all agree that the latest episode of “Breaking Bad” was the shit.

For the incurably pessimistic and/or majoring in Philosophy: The Devil’s Dictionary

Sample entry: Eloquence n. The art of orally persuading fools that white is the color that it appears to be. It includes the gift of making any color appear white.

For the metaphorically infirm and/or homeschooled: The Slang Dictionary

Sample entry: Chillax v. to chill and relax; “hang out”

For the nostalgic and/or jazz-obsessed: The Hipster’s Dictionary

Sample entry: Got your boots on Phrase. You know what it is all about, you are a hep cat, you are wise.

For the incurable suburban and/or aspiring hip hop snobs: The Rap Dictionary

Sample entry: Chronic flakes n. ashes from a marijuana cigarette. “What up Ren? Still droppin’ chronic flakes on yo ass” — Snoop Doggy Dog (The Chronic [1992]).

For those who speak another language altogether and/or band geeks: The Music Dictionary

Sample entry: In the repertory of the troubadours and Trouvères, a song dealing with a lover’s morning departure from his beloved after an illicit tryst.

For the bookish and/or theoretical: The Literary Terms Dictionary

Sample entry: Babuin A fanciful monster, silly creature, or a leering face drawn in the margins of a medieval manuscript. We get our modern word baboon from this French term for the little grotesque creatures that illuminators drew and doodled. Typically, the babuin is engaged in silly antics, such as playing or interacting with the letters on the page, chasing other babuins, or even engaging in copulatory and scatological activities.

For the glued to the couch and/or NYU students: The Dictionary of TV Tropes

Sample entry: Even Evil Has Standards One of the easiest ways to highlight just how bad something or someone evil is: have an otherwise-remorseless villain reject it.

For the irreverent and/or bored: The Dictionary of the Absurd

Sample entry: Logical Resembling a large piece of wood.