Free Rice Again, plus Māori.

Back in 2007, I posted about Free Rice, explaining it thus: “They give you a word with four possible definitions; pick the right one and they donate ten grains of rice to a hungry person through an aid agency.” Well, Lars (the original one) was kind and/or cruel enough to post a comment letting everyone know “This still works, and now has levels up to 60. […] The challenge is on!” I immediately got sucked back in, spending way too much time on it: I got 132 in a row right before guessing wrong on “ragi,” and I managed to get up to level 59 before leaving it alone for long enough it (mercifully) forgot who I was and wanted to start me at level 1 again, at which point I closed the tab. (One nice feature: when you guess wrong, it will give you the same word again soon enough you’ll probably remember the correct definition.) At any rate, give it a try; it’s still fun, and it still feeds people.

And in trying to find out about one of the wildly obscure words, I discovered the online Māori Dictionary, which is wonderful: you can click on a button and hear the words said aloud, and their About page says “In 2009 the sounds of all the native birds were added to the dictionary.” What a great thing to put online!


  1. Yes, the Māori Dictionary is brilliant.

    the sounds of all the native birds are a thing all over NZ. As you arrive at the airports, the sounds are played in the walkways for your arrival. You can buy greetings cards that play the sounds.

    The place (sadly) you can’t hear the native birds is in the bush: it’s mostly Silent Spring, because of the human-imported rodents/mammals.

  2. Lars (the original one) says

    Not that I would wish anybody to get sucked into anything more, but there are now lots of categories that you can test yourself in. But they have much fewer than the 60 levels of English vocab.

    And in a lesson about the ways things are connected now, you can’t actually create an account on this version (FreeRice v2) because the CaptCha v1 service is no longer supported. (You might be able to log in with Facebook, but friends don’t let friends give Zuckerberg more data than he already has). You can make an account on the new FreeRice Beta (link on the create account page) which seems to have the same categories and levels, but does not show your current level anywhere I have been able to spot it.

  3. Regrettably the site is not responsive. That is, no one has updated it to show properly in mobile devices. It looks like a computer screen in miniature.

  4. A different Māori dictionary:

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