Free M-W Online bites the dust – NOT!

If you feel that your question or comment doesn't fit into the categories above, feel free to post it here.
Post Reply

Free M-W Online bites the dust – NOT!

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:19 am

Merriam-Webster Online, probably our best free online dictionary, has bitten the dust - they're not out of business, they're just not free anymore. I went there to look up a word and I got the message that I could sign up for a 14-day trial after first paying $14.95 annual fee with my credit card. Then, if not completely satisfied, I could cancel before the 14 days were up. Oh, well. I guess they have to make some bucks too, but its too bad to lose this free resource.
_____________________

Ken G – October 6, 2005
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Free M-W Online bites the dust – NOT!

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:37 am

You know Ken, I don't believe that's correct. Since you launched this thread I have successfully looked up quite a few words directly via both http://www.m-w.com and http://www.merriam-webster.com , as well as using the Merrriam-Webster toolbar, without encountering any dunning requests.

However, I have sometimes encountered a message like the one you describe when looking up a rare word which is not included in the free online dictionary.

For instance, this is what you see if you look up 'hirple':

Main Entry: hirple
hirple is one of more than 1,000,000 entries available at Merriam-WebsterUnabridged.com. Click here to start your free trial!

As far as I can see, the intent is to direct what the blurb describes as 'language enthusiasts' to http://www.Merriam-WebsterUnabridged.com , whose fees are given as follows:

Annual: $29.95, Monthly: $4.95.

In return for the subscription fee, the publisher promises access to a variety of both general and specialist dictionaries and other reference works, some of them foreign-language dictionaries (specifically, Spanish-English and French-English).

Ken, I suspect that you simply typed in a word that is not included in the online dictionary and encountered what was in effect an error message that was trying to upsell you to the paid-for version of the product. In your characteristically robust style, you successfully resisted their devilish blandishments. :-)
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: -- Looking up a word? Try OneLook's metadictionary (--> definitions) and reverse dictionary (--> terms based on your definitions)8-- Contribute favourite diary entries, quotations and more here8 -- Find new postings easily with Active Topics8-- Want to research a word? Get essential tips from experienced researcher Ken Greenwald

Free M-W Online bites the dust – NOT!

Post by haro » Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:51 pm

I agree with Erik, although there was a brief attempt to make Merriam-Webster Online a pay site maybe about two years ago. That was not the same reference to M-W Unabridged as mentioned by Erik; it was downright impossible to look up any words in M-W Online. However, quite obviously it was a breath-taking failure. After a few days the site was back to normal.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Hans Joerg Rothenberger
Switzerland

Free M-W Online bites the dust – NOT!

Post by Ken Greenwald » Sun Oct 09, 2005 8:01 pm

Erik and Hans Joerg, You’re right and the free Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is not gone, but when I tried to look up AT LARGE, I got the following:
<“AT-LARGE is one of more than 500,000 entries available at Merriam-WebsterCollegiate.com. Click here to start your free trial!”>
When I hit the Click here button it offered me Merriam-WebsterCollegiate.com (“165,000 ENTIRIES FROM AMERICA’S BEST-SELLING DICTIONARY, UPDATED ANNUALLY”) for an annual fee of $14.95 and “Start your free 14-Day Trial Today!” [[But first get your credit card out!]]. And I didn’t realize that the free online version was not Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate. They never do tell you the relationship between the free Merriam-Webster Online and the $14.95 version, but since M-W Online refuses to look up ‘at large’ (and other less common words and phrases), we can only assume that the $14.95 version has more. How much more is never specified – head word counts are listed for their other dictionaries, etc. but not for Merriam-Webster Online. And if you hit "Upgrade to Merriam-WebsterUnabridged.com" on this second page, you learn that for an annual fee of $29.95 you can get access to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, which has 476,000 entries.

However, if you don’t want to spring for the bucks, use http://www.Onelook.com and you will usually have access to such less common words and phrases as ‘at large’ for free! (<:)
____________________

Ken – October 9, 2005
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply