Quinapalus Home :: Things Cruciverbal :: Word Matcher
Word Matcher is a simple web page that lets you search for words that match a given pattern. Try it now! There’s a wireless version for your mobile ’phone too.
For more advanced word matching problems, you might like to look at Qat.
To match a simple pattern with unknown letters just enter it in the ‘pattern’ box and click on ‘Search’. Example.
To solve an anagram type the letters you have into the ‘all of’ box and click on ‘Search’. Example.If you get stuck at any point, just click on ‘Reset’: this will reset all the options to their standard settings.
More sophisticated examples
The shaded boxes show where a setting should be left at its reset value. There is an explanation of wildcard characters and compound patterns after the examples.
A full stop stands for any single character in the pattern or under ‘only letters from’. A minus sign or a question mark can be used instead of a full stop if you prefer.
An asterisk stands for zero or more characters, and can only be used in the pattern.
The ‘commercial at’ symbol (‘@’) stands for any vowel. The hash symbol (‘#’) stands for any consonant, including ‘y’. These symbols can only be used in the pattern.
The ‘greater than’ symbol (‘>’) stands for any word of two letters or more in the current dictionary. The ‘less than’ symbol (‘<’) stands for the reverse of any word of two letters or more in the current dictionary. These symbols can only be used in the pattern.
Compound patterns can be built up from basic patterns using the exclamation mark (‘!’), ampersand (‘&’) and vertical bar (‘|’) characters. Using p and q to represent basic patterns, we can use these three operators to form the following compound patterns:
The three operators are applied in the order of precedence shown: for example,
p | !q & r
matches those words which match p, as well as those which match r but not q. Round brackets can be used to alter the order in which the operators are applied:
(p | !q) & r
matches those words which both match r and which either match p or fail to match q.
p | !(q & r)
matches those words which either match p or which fail to match both q and r.
There is a choice of dictionaries to search; more information about them is available here. The default, UKACD, is suitable for most UK crosswords and similar puzzles.
Presentation of results
Results are sorted by length.
There is an option to display the results either simply as plain text or to include links to the Google search engine or to the OneLook on-line dictionary searcher. These last two options restrict the number of results that are returned in the interests of improving response time.
How does it work?
It uses a variant of the Baeza-Yates-Gonnet and Wu-Manber k-differences shift-OR algorithms, apparently.
This page most recently updated Fri 4 Feb 16:49:59 GMT 2022
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