The "Dictionary Search" button always visible in the left menu frame
opens a page with a form allowing fast, full-text searches of the
underlying ASCII text of The Century Dictionary Online. The form
has two options: a pull-down menu allowing you to search the entire dictionary
or restrict your search to a particular volume or section, and radio buttons
allowing you to specify whether you wish to match word forms exactly or match
"strings," sequences of letters that may occur anywhere within a word. The
default search is run on the entire dictionary including the front matter and
matches word forms. All searches are case-insensitive. Thus, a default search
for will find occurances of the word "milton" or "Milton" throughout
the dictionary, but not internal strings like "Hamilton." A default
search for will find occurances of the dictionary's abbreviation of
"Shakespeare" (used in citations), but not the full name.
Searching for the same
while changing the default to "Match String"
allows you to find "Shak," "Shakspeare," and "Shakespeare."
Boolean "AND," "OR," and "AND NOT" searches are possible when you use those
keywords in capital letters as part of your search query.
Thus finds pages where both authors are mentioned, while
finds pages where either author's name appears.
A search for find pages where Milton's name appears but not Shakespeare's. Boolean
searches can be for multiple items. Thus finds only pages where all four authors are mentioned, etc.
The results of a full text search of The Century Dictionary Online
are displayed in subsets of twenty with a set navigation bar at the top,
following by the set of "hits" with links to the pages themselves, and then
a second navigation bar and a form for a new search. The top navigation bar
looks like this:
The search form may look slightly different on different platforms, such as
Macintosh and Linux, but the functionality will be the same regardless of
We strongly recommend using the Full Text Search in preference to the
Plug-in's internal Find function, especially when you wish to search for
relatively uncommon terms. The Full Text Search uses an external index
that allows it to search the entire dictionary very rapidly and point you
to the appropriate pages. The Plug-in Find function must download each page
before searching and is chiefly useful for finding a word quickly on a
single page or browsing for common terms through a neighborhood of pages.
For information about how to find specific entries or pages of
The Century Dictionary Online
see the Find Entry Help Page.
Note: all the example searches on this page are "live" links that will
run those searches. Try them out and then use your browser's back button to return to this page.