Antidote 10 User Guide

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User Guide / The Dictionaries / Definitions Dictionary

Definitions Dictionary

This dictionary gives definitions of the 110,000 words in Antidote, as well as the 50,000 expressions, idioms, phrasal verbs and proverbs formed from these words. The detailed definitions, backed up by examples, are even more useful in that you can look up each word in a definition simply by double-clicking on it.


Main meanings

Each main meaning is preceded by a large green diamond ().


Each sub-meaning (nuance in meaning or use) is preceded by a smaller green bullet ().


The many examples are displayed in shaded characters. They follow the definition they are intended to illustrate and refine.


Labels, in small caps, indicate the context in which the meaning they precede is used. Domain labels, in black font, indicate the sector of activity to which the meaning applies (e.g. ASTRONOMY, MEDICINE, MUSIC). Usage labels indicate specific linguistic registers of the meaning (e.g. formality, regionalism, metaphor). Most of the usage marks are shown in blue (e.g. INFORMAL, UK, EUPHEMISM). Others, in cases calling for close attention, are displayed in red to attract your attention (e.g. TABOO, SLUR, VULGAR).

Semantic and syntactic divisions

When a single word has many different meanings, their definitions are sometimes divided into semantic groups, making the entry easier to read and particular definitions easier to find. For example, the definitions for the verb have are grouped into three sections: “Possess”, “Experience”, and “Do Something”. You can use the hide/show triangles to hide any semantic groups that are not of interest.

Additionally, entries for cardinal numbers feature syntactic divisions, since they can occupy more than one syntactic category. They are split into the following groups: Determiner or Adjective (e.g. seven years, the twelve people I saw) and Pronoun or Noun (e.g. I’ll see you at eleven, six of my friends).

Map links

About 16,000 place names (including World Heritage Sites, see below) have a definition followed by a icon, linking you directly with an online map (the map service is controlled by Antidote settings).

World Heritage links

Definitions of UNESCO World Heritage sites are followed by the icon, which provides a direct link to the relevant UNESCO website.

Expressions and idioms

The dictionary of definitions lists expressions (a fixed sequence of words that communicates a thought), idioms (a phrase whose meaning is usually unclear from the meaning of its constituent words), and phrasal verbs (a verb + preposition unit with a specific meaning) that are formed with the headword, as well as proverbs (a short and popular saying that generally states a truth or gives some form of advice). Shortcuts to each section (“Expressions”, “Idioms”, “Phrasal verbs” and “Proverbs”) appear at the bottom of the definitions screen, when applicable.


Expressions, idioms, phrasal verbs and proverbs are given separately, when they apply, displayed in green and indicated by a green diamond to make them easier to find. Smaller diamonds introduce each definition, one for each meaning. Domain or usage labels, in small caps, may precede a definition. Definitions, in black, are usually accompanied by examples, shown in slightly paler text.

A hide/show triangle lets you shrink the list of expressions so that you can easily see and compare all the meanings. Click on the triangle for the meanings you want, to expand only those you want to see. The Hide definitions option lets you see just the lists of expressions, idioms, phrasal verbs and proverbs themselves, without the definitions, examples and labels. Click on Show definitions to display all the associated information again.

Some expressions are followed by a icon; clicking on it opens a pop-up with links to additional sources such as Wikipedia.


The Proverbs section lists any applicable proverbs in green, preceded by a green diamond and followed by their definition, which is introduced by a smaller diamond. Usage labels help you choose the appropriate proverb.

Details panel

This panel on the right-hand side of the window has three sections (Details, Difficulty and More), offering a variety of complementary information on the headword. The main categories are explained below.


Most words are accompanied by a note on their etymology. You can click on the language of origin, in orange, to read the article on that language in the History guide. The example on the right shows that the word passport is likely a borrowing from Middle French passeport, meaning “document enabling its bearer to enter a port”. Click on the symbol for the complete history of the word.

Frequency index

A frequency index is shown for most words in the form of a point on a line going from 0 (rare) to 100 (frequent). This logarithmically calculated number shows the relative frequency of the word in a corpus of several billion words. A textual frequency rank (very frequent, fairly frequent, etc.) based on this index is shown under the line. Hovering the mouse over the frequency line will also display a tooltip ranking the word in terms of numbers of words of equal or higher frequency (e.g. Of the 500 most frequent words).

Inflected forms and phonetics

Inflected forms of the headword are shown: singular and plural forms for nouns, comparative and superlative forms for adjectives and conjugated forms for verbs. All forms are accompanied by their phonetic transcription, which can be displayed in two alphabets: phonetic respelling or the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). You can click on “Show respelling” and “Show IPA” to alternate between the two. Click on a transcription for examples of each phoneme used. Click on the orange icon to the right of a transcription to see regional variants in pronunciation, when applicable.

The phonetic transcription displayed reflects the user’s chosen variety of English, shown in the User panel of Antidote’s Language settings. If the selected variety is American English, for example, the transcription will reflect the American way of pronouncing a given word. The transcriptions are enclosed in square brackets, respecting the tradition in linguistics of enclosing narrow transcriptions in square brackets.


When a word can be spelled in more than one way, the Variant section shows the different spellings with their relative proportion as a percentage, calculated from a corpus of several billion words, as well as the country of use. When a variant does not appear in the corpus, it is labelled rare.


Some words are subject to a particular set of usage conventions, which come with their own potential difficulties. These can relate to their meanings, inflections, syntactic or grammatical requirements, etc. The entries for such words in the definitions dictionary include a section in the right-hand panel entitled Difficulty, where specific usage information can be found. The example opposite explains how the comparative and superlative forms of the adjective far may vary according to the intended meaning of the word.


The More section provides complementary information on the headword.

Search using predefined criteria

Click on these links to search using established criteria, e.g. all definitions that contain the headword, or all words that rhyme with the headword or are anagrams of it.

Other search options

This section also offers links to online sources such as Wikipedia, Google (or another search engine), the Grand dictionnaire terminologique and Termium (you can add links to other resources; see the Settings chapter). Click on the link to Wikipedia, for instance, and the article corresponding to the headword will appear directly in the Antidote window. You can use the History button, search bar and Replace button as if Wikipedia were one of Antidote’s own dictionaries. The Accessing Wikipedia section of this chapter gives a detailed description of how to use Wikipedia from Antidote.