Dictionary Skills: Merriam-Websters Learner’s Dictionary

While I understand it digresses from learning Korean, I certainly have developed an interest in dictionaries (and the structures a computational linguist would use).

If you strip away all the advertising, the Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary entry for “apple” looks like this:

The Merriam-Websters Dictionary API is available free for non-commercial use, with certain limitations.

Their Developers center describes how to access their API.

XML: http://www.dictionaryapi.com/api/v1/references/learners/xml/apple?key=%5BYOUR KEY GOES HERE]

It provides a list of the XML tags learners-tag-description and a sample XML response.



Further information can be found in the OED Guide. While I knew about headwords, entry words, parts of speech, definition, synonyms, and cross references, there were other parts of dictionary entries I did not know before reading this article.

Learning Korean has turned into a sub-project of creating my own mini dictionary of Korean words I am learning. I find I need things like HEADWORDS and homonym numbers, alphabetizing letter (in both English and Korean), and cross references.  Not to mention parts of speech, categories, and sources.

For my purposes, all I would want is the English definition for my Korean words I am learning.  However, looking into the data returned is an interesting peek under the hood of how dictionaries are put together.


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