You'll be happy to know that, though there aren't as yet a whole lot
of them, there *are* indeed such sites as you describe. Apparently
you're not the only person who's wished to find just that right word
and wanted a bit of help. I'll give you a list as you asked, but do
bear in mind that 1) there are still few true reverse dictionaries,
and; 2) this is still a fairly new technology, and the algorithms
aren't quite perfected yet.
- ONE LOOK REVERSE DICTIONARY
"...lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and
phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words,
a sentence, a question, or even just a single word."
- THE WORDTREE REVERSE DICTIONARY SERVICE
"It directs you from a mere idea to its precise wording!"
- ULTRA LINGUA'S WEB DICTIONARY
This tool includes reverse dictionary functionality with its regular features.
Not strictly a reverse dictionary, but its regular search allows
several options such as "sounds like" and broad matching. Its
"advanced search" allows for inputting of phrases, and also features
- LEXICAL FREENET
Also not strictly a reverse dictionary, but this tool lets you type in
concepts or ideas and then it returns related words and synonyms.
Specialized or Alternative
- THE FIRST NAME REVERSE DICTIONARY
"...allows you to find given names which relate to specific meanings."
- REVERSE ALPHABET DICTIONARY
"It alphabetizes words beginning with the last letter. This is as
close I as could find."
- CMU PRONOUNCING DICTIONARY
Lets you look up words or a sentence, or a representation of the
pronunciation of a word you're not sure how to spell.
SOFTWARE REVERSE DICTIONARIES
- ANAGRAM GENERATOR
Software that also generates reverse dictionaries. Free trial download.
- WORD MENU
Free download, lets you "find words by meaning or related words."
- WORD GENIUS
Australian electronic dictionary, downloadable or on CD. Has a
"reverse dictionary - input or drag words or phrases into the
definition search box of the WordGenius and find the word you need."
REVERSE DICTIONARIES IN PRINT
- READER'S DIGEST ILLUSTRATED REVERSE DICTIONARY
- THE OXFORD REVERSE DICTIONARY
Hope this gives you a good selection. If you'd like to continue
searching on your own, I'd recommend the following search terms, which
gave me the best results:
[online reverse dictionary]
[download "reverse dictionary"]
[electronic dictionary reverse]
(Note: you'll find lots of references to something called "Casey's
Snow Day Reverse Dictionary," but that link is dead, so you can save
yourself time and frustration by ignoring it. Too bad, from all the
glowing reviews it sounded like a good one. Maybe it'll be resurrected
If there's anything not clear, or any links don't work, please ask for
help in a "Request for Clarification" before rating and closing your
question, so I can be sure you're happy with the answer.