Search by Word Hierarchy

Many, but not all words in the dictionary, have hierarchical relationships. For those that do, WordDiscovery provides the capability of drilling into these relationships.

WordDiscovery has two word drilling programs, one has search in English and display in any language, and the other is fully multilingual including search. Below we begin with the Multilingual Drill application which opens with the dictionary ready for search and drilling.

Drilling is like data mining. It dives into word hierarchy to find children of words. For example, automobile is a child of vehicle. You have a couple primary ways of beginning your drilling session. One is to look up a word or a concept which is of interest to you by using Advanced Search. The other is to begin your search at the Top of Hierarchy. Let's first use Advanced Search and simply find a word to begin with.

We'll search for words Containing 'mechanism'. Note that we have other search options such as Definition, Sounds, and Length.  We can use these fields together or independently. Using the Definition field is equivalent to finding words 'about' something or within a concepts.

Here are the results of our search with 'mechanism'.

Let's click on the word 'mechanism' to drill into it. Below are our results.

We have several options including view words Related to any of these results, viewing their Complements, etc.  But let's drill to another level for 'action mechanism'. We first scroll the grid to Page 2 and find the word 'controller'.

Now we click on 'controller' to view its children.

Again, we have options, but let's drill to one more level by clicking on 'switch'. Here are the results.

Let's stop are drilling here as you get the idea. Notice that there are 'breadcrumbs' at the top left of the grid that show our drilling progress. We can back up by clicking any of the breadcrumbs. And, of course, we can view Related Words, Complements, Graphs, etc. for any of the children and use Advanced Search to find a specific word(s).

Drilling Using Top of Hierarchy

Top of Hierarchy takes us to the nouns and verbs that are the top-level parents of all of them - Great Grand Parents! Let's see them by clicking the Top of Hierarchy button.

Note that there is 1 Great Grand Parent of nouns ('entity'). This is because all nouns are either tangible or abstract entities. There are 5 Great Grand Parents of verbs such as 'breathe' and 'respire'. To drill into Great Grand Parents is just the same as drilling any other word. You just click on the word you want to drill into.

Drilling in Another Language

We can drill in any of 30 languages using the grid and search language selection drop-downs. Here we are setting the grid to display in Spanish.

See that Spanish is being selected for the grid language. Also notice on the upper left that we can return the grid to English by selecting Show Original.

Now we'll set the Search language to Spanish. Most of the time you'll want to have your grid and search in the same language, but they don't have to be.

We are searching using the Top of Hierarchy selection. Note that the words are the same 6 as in English. These are the great grandparents of the hierarchies for nouns and verbs as discussed above. Now we can search in Spanish and the results will display in Spanish.


Drilling is a great way to explore words by descending through a family of words. This is most useful when you are wanting components, parts, and details of words in a family.

We think you'll enjoy using drilling once you get the hang of it. Why not get started now?


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