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Sometimes you don't know what word you're looking for or how to spell it. Other times you only know a few letters. For these situations there are "wildcard" symbols available for finding words on OneLook.com.
The question mark (?) matches exactly one character. That means that you can use it as a placeholder for a single letter or symbol. The query l?b?n?n, for example, will find the word "Lebanon".
(NEW!) The number-sign (#) matches any English consonant. For example, the query tra#t finds the word "tract" but not "trait".
(NEW!) The at-sign (@) matches any English vowel. For example, the query abo@t finds the word "about" but not "abort".
See common words only: If you enter a short pattern, you may get too many results to sift through. In this event, take note of the link that says "Common words only" near the top of the results page. This link lets you filter out terms that are very uncommon (meaning that they appear in fewer than six dictionaries.) You can make this behavior the default on the Customize page.
Filter by meaning: Did you know that you can filter your wildcard searches by meaning? Put a colon (:) after your pattern and then type a word or two describing what you're looking for. For example, the query p*:ireland finds terms beginning with "p" that have something to do with Ireland, and the query *:widespread epidemic searches for terms having something to do with "widespread epidemic". The latter case demonstrates how OneLook.com can be used as a means of finding a word (in this case, pandemic) if you only know its definition. See the reverse dictionary page for more details on this feature.
Solve crossword puzzle clues: For crossword puzzle fans, the "Filter by meaning" feature above can be used to help you find answers to crossword puzzle clues, or generate your own crosswords. You may also want to know about the special "crossword puzzle mode", described below.
Search only one dictionary: Did you know that you can restrict your wildcard searches to almost any individual dictionary indexed by OneLook.com? Just find the dictionary on the browse page (or on any search results page that brings up the dictionary) and click on "More info". The page that comes up will have a search box specific to that dictionary.
Find phrases: If you flank a word with two asterisks to the left and to the right, as in the query **bird**, you'll get all of the phrases (multiple-word terms) that contain the word as a whole entity.
(NEW!) Expand acronyms: Want to find phrases that match a certain acronym, like NASA? Try the special "expand:" shorthand. For example, try expand:nasa.