From the Word Watch department:
The Internet is a source for almost any answer. So when headlines popped up yesterday that said "Joe Wilson admonished," many people turned to Google to find out, "what the heck does 'admonish' mean?"
Searches for "admonish," "admonish definition," "rebuke," and "rebuke definition" quickly climbed Google's list of fast-rising terms, seizing several of the top 20 slots that evening. All of these searches peaked at 6 p.m. Eastern time, but remained popular into the night.
It seems search engines are our new dictionary. With search bars in the top-right corner of most modern browsers, instant answers are always close by. And, in case you didn't know, adding the word "definition" or "define" to Google, Yahoo, or Bing searches puts a word's meaning right at the top of the results list. Among these options, Yahoo often provides the best immediate definition. But, really, all three offer a long list of full-length online dictionaries.
If you suddenly need to look up a word while away from your computer, try Google's free texting service. Text message "define admonish" to the phone number 466-453 (google). In a few seconds, you’ll receive a reply message with a solid definition.
The free service (Google won't charge you, but your phone company will) serves other information as well. For directions, try “sacramento, ca to 94111.” Unit conversions, use “12 pounds in kilos.” And Google can crack foreign words and phrases if you send it “translate gato to English” – it will figure out what language you started with.
What began on Sunday as a snafu – Kanye West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards – has escalated into a Web-wide conversation on the usefulness of Twitter and the state of presidential politics in the YouTube age. Read more here.
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