Better writing: Add definitions (+ nice FF add-on)

Are you using complicated words?
Do you explain those word or give definitions?

Enhance articles with definitions!

Not everybody will know what you are talking about. Related: The use of abbreviations is only allowed if you offer an explanation (You know the tag, don’t you?).

Do not assume that your readers will know what you know!

  • Remember that not everybody has your cultural background.
  • Remember that not every reader is a native speaker of your language.
  • Rule: The higher the number of 1st time visitors the higher the need for definitions.
  • Tip: A glossary can increase traffic and reader loyalty.

Read more and get a nice FF add-on for finding definitions…

Definitions

Recently we had the subject of nouns instead of pronouns. The article starts with a definition of the word ‘pronoun’ because many people will not know what that is. In short: Using cryptic terms and referencing to them with ‘it’ or ‘as I said before’ is not a good thing if you are explaining things.

With the Internet it is so easy to quote definitions or to link to them that bloggers tend to forget about the importance of definitions. They leave it to their audience to find out what they are writing about. Don’t you think that this is an important failure?

If a reader has to look for a definition somewhere else you are probably sending the visitor away!

Let’s take the word ‘definition’ as an example:

I was surprised when all this came up ­čÖé

Meaning I.

  • A statement conveying fundamental character.
  • A statement of the meaning of a word, phrase, or term, as in a dictionary entry.
  • The act of making clear and distinct: a definition of one’s intentions.
  • The state of being closely outlined or determined: “With the drizzle, the trees in the little clearing had lost definition” (Anthony Hyde).
  • A determination of outline, extent, or limits: the definition of a President’s authority.
  • The clarity of detail in an optically produced image, such as a photograph, effected by a combination of resolution and contrast.
  • The degree of clarity with which a televised image or broadcast signal is received.

Meaning II.

  • The act or process of stating a precise meaning or significance; formulation of a meaning.

Meaning III.

  • The act of making clear and distinct: a definition of one’s intentions.
  • The state of being closely outlined or determined: “With the drizzle, the trees in the little clearing had lost definition” (Anthony Hyde).
  • A determination of outline, extent, or limits: the definition of a President’s authority.
  • The clarity of detail in an optically produced image, such as a photograph, effected by a combination of resolution and contrast.
  • The degree of clarity with which a televised image or broadcast signal is received.

Meaning IV.

  • The clarity of detail in an optically produced image, such as a photograph, effected by a combination of resolution and contrast.
  • The degree of clarity with which a televised image or broadcast signal is received.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language

If you read all the single points what the meaning of a definition can be then you might already see great inspiration for better writing.

How To find definitions

  1. It is no miracle to find good definitions
  2. There are tools to help you
  3. Those tools are free!

I am using Firefox to surf the web. If you go to Mozilla Addons and do a search for ‘search’, ‘definitions’ or ‘dictionary’ you will get an impressive list of different tools.

My recommended add-on for multiple specialized search actions:

TermBlaster – The Swiss Army Knife

termBlaster lets you perform context menu searches using the included 110+ search engines that range from encyclopedias to translators to web-search engines. Search engine lists are in XML format and can be modified with termBlaster or even a simple text editor.

To look for definitions is as simple as selecting a word and choosing ‘search selected with’ a right mouse click. Select ‘Word References / Dictionary’ and choose a search engine of your choice.

Link: TermBlaster with Firefox

What search add-ons do you recommend?

Author: markusm

3 thoughts on “Better writing: Add definitions (+ nice FF add-on)

  1. Firefox. I love it and I hate it. Just when you find these great addons and get used to having them available to you, FF does an upgrade and now they are incompatible all of a sudden…frustrating to say the least

  2. I suppose the most of us assume that people view our websites will know the words of the website on the basis that they click on websites they know! However, we forget that many people click on websites to learn things, so if the whole site uses , for example “Business jargon” or abbreviations, then they will not know what the site is all about. I think I will go away and check my pages!

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