Reverse Dictionary Look-Up Technology

Augmentation through Synonym Expansion

A now-expired patent held by H. Vance Crawford and Joel Crawford provides a means to greatly increase the probability that a reverse-dictionary lookup will find the word sought. If, using the Merriam-Webster electronic dictionary, you enter as search terms, "fear of elevation," you will not find "acrophobia," as its dictionary definition, "abnormal dread of being at a great height," does not include any of the search terms entered.

The method patented uses a highly-efficient algorithm to expand the search terms using synonyms for the words entered. Some dummy examples of this approach are given below. The technology itself is relatively simple to implement, requiring only an electronic thesaurus and dictionary as input data. The programming required to develop the look-up system is relatively simple. The technology is essential to the development of intelligent agents and sophisticated full-text search and retrieval systems.

Consultation on the method is available from Joel Crawford.

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