Believe it or not, Definr is the fastest online dic­tio­nary I’ve ever used. I like its pow­er­ful auto-com­ple­tion fea­ture. You don’t even com­plete typ­ing the whole word and it pulls all the match­ing words from its data­base.

If you use Fire­fox, you don’t even need to vis­it the definr web­site all the time. After fol­low­ing these steps, your Fire­fox will become a super fast dic­tio­nary!

The web­site frame­work is Ruby on Rails. Look­ing up words in a dic­tio­nary is easy, so we do that with MySQL and cache the top 10,000 def­i­n­i­tions in mem­o­ry.

Doing word com­ple­tion (a.k.a. auto-com­plete, auto-sug­gest, glob­bing) is not easy, at least not when you have to search through 200,000 words for every key­stroke. So our word com­ple­tion is done in a C mod­ule for Ruby, and the word com­ple­tion serv­er is sep­a­rate from the rest of the site.

With the Defin­r­Bot algo­rithm, we can do 190,000 word com­ple­tions per sec­ond with­out caching, and that trans­lates to about 10,000 com­ple­tions per sec­ond once the Ruby lay­er is fac­tored in.

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