Answers on

by Eszter Hargittai on December 29, 2006 has got to be one of my most visited sites. (Yahoo! Answers is another, but I’ll save that for later.) It is the site that Google uses for definitions and I use it often for spell checks.* I guess I find it easier to type a word in the search bar, press return and then click on the “definition” link in the upper right corner of the search results page than to designate Answers as my search engine of choice and type in the word there. This may be, because subsequent use of the search bar would then require another click to switch back to another engine.

In any case, today after I finished reading an article (this one) on the NYTimes site, I noticed the following below the piece:

To find reference information about the words used in this article, hold down the ALT key and click on any word, phrase or name. A new window will open with a dictionary definition or encyclopedia entry.

So I placed my cursor on a word, pressed the ALT key and clicked with my mouse. Voila. A window popped up with information from Answers about the word. (I have a pop-up blocker and this still came up so it’s of a different variety. You are also given the option of having it come up in a separate tab or window in the browser.) Cool feature.

Alternatively, of course there is always the option of using the ConQuery extension on Firefox and adding the relevant Answers plugin from MyCroft. ConQuery is certainly my preferred way for locating addresses on Google Maps without having to retype them. But I like these little pop-up windows since they’re smaller, come up quickly and are easy to close.

[*] I have found that simply relying on the number of search results for a term is not a good indicator of correct spelling given the number of misspelled words out there.



aaron 12.30.06 at 7:51 am

unfortunately, at the moment, conquery is not compatible with the latest version of firefox


KCinDC 12.30.06 at 10:40 am

I never use the search bar. I just set up a bunch of keywords so I can type “g eszter” in the location field to search for “eszter” in Google, or “gn saddam” to search Google News, or “it pan’s labyrinth” to search IMDB titles, or “wp gerald ford” to get a Wikipedia article. Maybe I should set one up for, but I always thought of it as mainly a tacky commercialization of Wikipedia.


eszter 12.30.06 at 1:17 pm

Aaron, you might want to try MR Tech Local Install that could help you get around that issue. (I don’t know the specifics of your set-up and I only have experiences with it regarding my own configuration. It has worked fine for me and as far as I know has caused no problems.)

BTW, extension incompatibility is a major issue with Firefox upgrades, in my opinion. I hate having to deal with that every time there is an upgrade. That’s one of the reasons I use MR Tech Local Install. (Another is that even when extensions are supposedly compatible with my FF version they often still wouldn’t work, which was even more annoying.)

KC, I tried that at some point, but never got into it, but you’re right that it’s another good way of getting to info.


aaron 12.30.06 at 8:24 pm

thanks, i’ll give it a shot


Jake 01.02.07 at 9:20 am


Jake 01.02.07 at 9:22 am

Sorry about the screwy link formatting. here

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