Use define: in Google and you will get dictionary definitions and etymologies. For instance: define: dictionary.

Where is Google getting the definitions, etymologies, and pronunciations? I doubt they are compiling it themselves—they probably license it from somewhere.

3 Answers 3


Presumably a multitude of sources (for different languages). For me (English - not American!) inspection of the source for a search result shows mention of www.oxforddictionaries.com.


According to this blog post which was repeated by searchenginewatch, the Oxford Pocket English Dictionary is used, and the statistics on word usage come from their N-gram tool, which is now publicly available.

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    I think that you should include more details about the referred reference, like it's about www.google.com/dictionary, a service that was discontinued in 2011 according to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…. Sep 29, 2015 at 18:12
  • I linked to google's official blog post, it states when the dictionary was changed and the original poster did not mention dates. Google rarly justifies or explains its decisions. Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable because it is rarely checked and heavily edited by random, anonymous people. Quality control is non-existant. Just check the Russia/Ukraine edit wars over maps and the conflict.
    – Mousey
    Sep 29, 2015 at 19:35
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    The referred source isn't official, actually, the subtitle of the blog is "Unofficial news and tips about Google" :) Sep 29, 2015 at 19:59
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    Please update the attribution of your reference. Sep 30, 2015 at 16:25
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    This does not appear to still be true. A couple spot comparisons of the Pocket Oxford Dictionary with Google define results do not match in definition or pronunciation.
    – WAF
    Apr 15, 2016 at 12:17

For me (German) they match definitions found on duden.de, the online dictionary par excellence.

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