Wordset is a structured dictionary. As such, we try to follow these guidelines to create a standardized resource. Our overall goal is usability.


  • Kindness: We strive to be a kind community. Be nice and helpful to people, even if you're frustrated. Give constructive feedback on proposals and explain why you are rejecting a proposal if that’s the case.
  • Originality: Do not copy directly from any other dictionaries or sources. Other dictionaries are often strictly licensed, and it's our aim to build a unique and novel online dictionary.
  • Sourced: Give sources for proposals where possible and appropriate. Especially when suggesting new words or meanings, a source for your proposal is essential. Examples of good sources include nationally recognized newspapers, magazines, and academic publications.

Meanings and Examples

  • Avoid the use of gendered pronouns. Instead of using "he" or "she," employ the singular "they.” For example, "They tried sushi for the first time." There is significant historical precedent for this usage.
  • Avoid the passive voice where possible. For example, "The dog chased the cat," is better than "The cat was chased by the dog."
  • Start example sentences with a capital letter and end sentences with appropriate punctuation.
  • Start all verb definitions with the word “to.” For example, the definition of hurt might read, “to cause damage or pain.”
  • Try to provide context in example sentences. For example, if you are defining the word umbrella, “I like umbrellas,” is a bad example sentence. Someone who doesn't know what the word umbrella means would have a difficult time guessing what the word means based off of that. Instead, try sentences such as, “Since it was raining, I grabbed my gray umbrella to keep myself dry.”
  • Avoid parenthetical citations. They break up definitions and often indicate unessential or extraneous information.
  • Use the Oxford comma. For example, write “I want to buy a calculator, a book, and a pencil,” as opposed to writing, “I want to buy a calculator, a book and a pencil.”

Words and Phrases

  • Avoid adding phrases or groups of words that are merely "X+Y" definitions. These dictionary entries are comprised of string of texts can be defined by defining each individual part of the entry. For example, "young boy" would be a bad dictionary entry or phrase to add since its definition would just be a combination of the definitions for "young" and "boy." Phrases like "yellow journalism" are acceptable since they have a definition which is not merely "X+Y."
  • Our goal is to create a dictionary, so avoid adding words or phrases that belong in an encyclopedia, almanac, or any otherwise resource that isn't a dictionary. For example, Streptococcus pneumoniae does not belong in a dictionary.