General Question

Yvening_Star's avatar

Where do smaller competing dictionary apps get their definitions from?

Asked by Yvening_Star (148 points ) December 21st, 2010

I was looking up a dictionary web app for my phone and was wondering, aside from the large dictionaries like Webster, where do the smaller dictionaries get their definitions from? Does the company have to create their own definition for each word or can they copy webster’s for example? Just curious.

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3 Answers

morphail's avatar

No, dictionaries aren’t allowed to copy each other unless they have permission. AIUI however, some older editions of Webster’s dictionaries are in the public domain and so other companies can use the content and call themselves “Webster’s”.

anartist's avatar

and [according to WSJ investigations] these smaller dictionaries are heavily subsidized by the companies putting serious user tracking software on their sites. I am now avoiding them.

laureth's avatar

Wiktionary is much like Wikipedia in where they get their content.

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