Artur Janc’s lingro is a very nifty piece of software that provides clickable word definitions for any webpage. The About page says:

lingro was conceived in August 2005, when Artur decided to practice his Spanish by reading Harry Potter y la piedra filosofal. As a competent but non-expert speaker, he found that looking up new vocabulary took much more time than the reading itself. Frustrated with the how slow existing online dictionaries were, he wrote a program to help him translate and learn words in their original context.

You just enter the URL of the website you want to read in the box, click, and presto, you can get the meaning of any word that’s in the built-in dictionary. So far it translates between English, Spanish,
German, French, Italian, and Polish; Artur says “All of the dictionaries are based on open content sources (such as Wiktionary) and are community-editable, so we’re hoping to keep increasing the size and quality of the dictionaries through user contributions.”


  1. I’ve been using WordChamp for this for about a year. I haven’t looked at lingro yet, but the good thing about WordChamp (besides that it’s free) is that users can supply definitions to words that aren’t in the program’s dictionary.

  2. does a similar thing for Japanese; of course the nature of Japanese text means that it doesn’t always get the word boundaries right…

  3. I’m glad you like the site 😉
    E.J., I agree — it’s very important to let users add words to the dictionaries. In fact, Lingro was designed to allow the community to not only add words and translations, but also to modify existing ones. The translations/definitions we have all come from freely available sources (most notably Wiktionary), and our users’ contributions are released under Creative Commons licenses meaning that they can be distributed and used by anyone: individuals, schools, makers of software for PDAs, etc.
    The idea is that by combining a useful language learning resource with the ability to quickly add translations we’ll be able to build a comprehensive set of free dictionaries to benefit the language learning community.

  4. OT, I know, but:
    Five Additional Words Added to Old-Persian Lexicon
    UPDATE: Newly Discovered Achaemenid Kharg Inscription May Add Five New Words to Old Persian Lexicon
    (One’s a name, three are only partially legible, and one has unknown meaning. And it may be a fake, anyway.)

  5. Thanks! But this slightly dampened my excitement:
    Inscription’s authenticity doubtful
    Moradi-Ghiasabadi urged that the object should first be examined for authenticity.
    He cited some points which throw doubt on the genuineness of the inscription: careless and fast writing — which is not commonly observed in previously discovered Achaemenid inscriptions — slight layers of sediment on the edges and insides of the letters, multi-typography style of the inscription, unknown words and the use of strange motifs resembling the Sasanid Imperial crown in an allegedly Achaemenid artefact.

Speak Your Mind