Ten Things to Help You Check, Define and Refine Words
Freeware caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.
Rick Meyer's e-Sword Bible study freeware allows you to view multiple versions of the Holy Scriptures, create a parallel Bible with up to four translations, additions of your own commentaries and notes, view graphics and much, much more, plus it offers Strong's definitions [oh, to have found this baby BEFORE I bought the monster that is the print version of Strong's, *sigh*] (OS: OS: Win 9x/ME/2K/NT/XP)
Just released, Lingoes v. 2.4.5 "integrates cursor translator, looking-up in dictionaries and intelligent translation by creative zoned word translator. With selection of word or sentence in screen by cursor, it will translate as many as 23 languages of text into your native language." (OS: Win 2000/XP/2003/Vista)
Grady Ward's Mobysaurus is "a comprehensive, feature-rich, easy-to-use English thesaurus for Windows. In addition to numerous built-in powerful features (usually seen only in commercial products), it offers some major unique benefits that no other thesaurus product (software or otherwise) does, including a huge database of 2.5 million synonyms, Find Synonymous Headwords and Suggest Headwords, that make this free thesaurus software the right tool for you to find the right words at the right time." Mobysaurus also now has a free online thesaurus to play with, too, btw. (OS: Win 98/ME/NT/2K/XP/2K3/Vista)
Nisus Thesaurus offers "a fast electronic thesaurus that automatically integrates with any service aware application including Nisus Writer Express, Nisus Writer Pro, Mail, TextEdit, Safari, and more." (OS: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later; G3 (or better) or Intel Mac.)*
This one is pretty neat -- you can quickly check your spelling, grammar, and access a thesaurus online for any text you cut-n-paste into the text check box over at Spellchecker.net (great for e-mails.)
Professor Jack Lynch from Rutger's University touts The Online Grammar Guide as the "ultimate online guide to English grammar for advanced users of English." I didn't find everything I normally mess up (I guess that means I'm not an advanced user), but I like the common sense approach and wording of the explanations.
TheSage's English Dictionary and Thesaurus is "a professional software package that integrates a complete dictionary and multifaceted thesaurus of the English language into a single and powerful language reference system. TheSage can look up words directly from almost any program (IE, Word, Firefox, Outlook, Thunderbird,... ) and is 100% portable." [Sequence Publishing has also made TheSage's dictionary an online tool, too, if you want to test drive it before downloading the freeware.] (OS: Win 98/ME/2K/XP)
Although it is not free, I always recommend ThinkMap's The Visual Thesaurus software as a great tool for visually-oriented writers (but please do give it a free try online first to see how it works.) You can purchase the software outright [$39.95] or subscribe online [$2.95/mo; $19.95/yr] (OS: Windows: 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista; Mac OSX 10+)
When I need a word that begins, contains or ends with specific letters, I go over to use the search engine at Word Navigator. Their word lists are pretty helpful, too.
XTerm Medical Dictionary is "comprehensive dictionary of medical terms. It’s all presented in a handy, easy to use application that includes a search engine with wildcard and incorrect spelling searches. The database of medical terms is updated twice a month and the software features a function to easily download and add these updates." (OS: Win 98/2K/XP)
*Link swiped from Sudeep Bansal's very interesting weblog, Brilliant Ignorance.