WikiLook Displays Dictionary Word Definitions Without Leaving The Website

3 Set/09

firefoxIf you want to look up the definition of a word in a web browser you usually have to open a second browser window or tab and open a web dictionary to do so. The Firefox add-on WikiLook optimizes the process by displaying word definitions that are listed in the Wiktionary dictionary directly on the active website containing the word that needs to be looked up.

Here is how the Firefox add-on works. Wikilook offers several methods of looking up words on web pages. The unobtrusive approach works by pressing the shift key and moving the mouse over a word that needs to be looked up in a dictionary.

dictionary look up

This will automatically open a small popup window next to the word or phrase that should be looked up in the dictionary. The word definition will stay on the screen until the left mouse button is pressed by the user which closes the popup window.

Word phrases can also be looked up in dictionaries. This is done by selecting the phrase with the left-mouse button before pressing shift and holding the mouse cursor over the phrase. This will then look up the selected phrase in the dictionary. It is possible to follow links that are displayed in the dictionary popup window. A left-click would open the page in the same tab. A middle-click or pressing Ctrl while left-clicking will open the link in a new tab instead.

WikiLook can also look up words in Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia. These look ups are initiated by pressing the Ctrl or Alt keys and right-clicking on a word or phrase that should be looked up. These functionality did not work properly on our Windows XP test system with Firefox 3.5.2 installed. It could be that another Firefox add-on interfered with this option though. If any of you who install the add-on can get this to work let us know.

The English pages of Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Uncyclopedia are used by default. Users who want to access dictionary definitions in other languages can change the English pages in the options easily to other language pages. The add-on comes with advanced settings that can only be accessed in the about:config menu. Easiest way to do so is to filter for wikilook in the configuration menu.


Most of the configuration settings define aspects of the popup window that is displaying the dictionary definitions.

Wikilook provides one of the most unobtrusive ways of looking up words in dictionaries saving users who do so regularly lots of time.

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