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Shortcut: Definitions (Google Glossary)

When you include “define,” “what is,” or “what are” in your query in front of a word, phrase, or acronym, Google displays one Glossary definition above your search results. Google Glossary provides definitions for words, phrases, and acronyms that Google finds on web pages. The Glossary is good for finding definitions for terms that aren’t in some dictionaries, e.g., slang words, technical terms, ethnic words and other specialized terms.

In February of 2003, Google acquired Pyra Labs, a company that makes it easy for you to create your own blog. What’s a blog? Let’s ask Google to define the term.

Google search box with [ define blog ].  

Screen shot of a definition returned by the Google Glossary

You can search for blogs with Google, in the same way that you search for other documents. You can easily create a weblog (blog) post pointing to the web page you’re visiting by pressing the BlogThis! button on the Google Toolbar and publish your thoughts on the web so others may find them. You can learn more about this feature on toolbar.google.com/button_help.html.

Google Glossary can also find definitions of acronyms.

Google search box with [ what is cats ].  

Screen shot a definition returned by the Google Glossary

One definition appears to the right of the words “Web Definition,” below the statistics bar and above Google’s search results.

When your query includes the define: operator, Google displays all the definitions it finds on the web.

Google search box with [ define: phat ].  

Screen shot definitions returned by the Google Glossary

If you want a dictionary definition, learn about a shortcut in Dictionary Definitions.


These problems give you practice in finding definitions. For hints and answers to selected problems, see the Solutions page.

  1. What does aka mean?
  2. What is Google bombing? If Google Glossary doesn’t find the definition, find it yourself.
  3. Google is named after the word ‘googol.’ What is a googol?
  4. What does the abbreviation IRL commonly stand for?

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This page was last modified on: Tuesday March 13, 2007

For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

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By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.