Dubsar FAQ

Q. Where does the database come from?
A. This is the WordNet® 3.1 data set from Princeton University, available for free under the WordNet 3.0 License.
Q. Which words are in the dictionary?
A. The WordNet® data set is aimed at automated text processing and includes only the most numerous parts of speech: adjectives, adverbs, nouns and verbs. It does not include conjunctions, interjections, prepositions or pronouns. These words are far fewer in number and are less directly related to the meaning of any text. So you won't find from in Dubsar, but you will find sedulous.
Q. Which browsers work well with Dubsar?
A. Dubsar requires a JavaScript-enabled browser, but thanks to jQuery, nearly any browser that supports JavaScript will display Dubsar well, particularly:
  • Firefox
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
Dubsar is routinely tested on the latest version of each of those browsers. Problems are noted in the Dubsar issue list on GitHub.

Mobile Devices

Dubsar Mobile has been tested on an array of iOS and Android devices. Except as noted in the Dubsar issue list , the application is known to work well in all tested mobile environments.

Q. What do those WordNet® terms mean?
A. Some of them are listed here in Dubsar. The data model used in Dubsar's SQLite database uses them for its table names.


A dictionary entry with a unique name and part of speech.


A list of synonymous words in a particular sense. Each word can belong to multiple synsets. A synset is essentially a meaning that one or more words share. It includes a gloss and optionally one or more sample sentences.


The intersection (or join table, in database terms) of words and synsets. Each occurrence of one word in one synset is a sense of that word. A sense is a specific meaning of a single word.


A lexical or semantic relationship between senses or synsets. A lexical pointer points from one sense to another (one specific meaning of one word to a specific meaning of another word). A semantic pointer points from one synset to another and hence relates two meanings. There are many specific pointer types.
lexical file name
broad categories associated with each word sense
adjective marker
for some adjective senses, a limitation on the syntactic position of the adjective when used in this sense (see below)
frequency count
number of times this word sense occurs in a reference text
verb frames
generic sentence frames applicable to this verb sense
sample sentences
sample sentences for the synset

Adjective markers

Some adjective senses may only be used in certain syntactic positions:
  • (a) attributive The left side of the road.
  • (ip) immediately postnominal I live in the city proper.
  • (p) predicate It is well he did not go.
Then there are lexical and semantic pointers from one word sense to another sense (for lexical pointers) or synset (for semantic ones).
one way of saying it another way of saying it
antonym words opposite in meaning
hypernym more generic terms
instance hypernym classes of which this is an instance
hyponym more specific terms
instance hyponym instances of this class
member holonym wholes of which this is a member
substance holonym wholes of which this is an ingredient
part holonym wholes of which this is a part
member meronym constituent members
substance meronym constituent substances
part meronym constituent parts
attribute general quality
derivationally related form cognates, etc.
domain of synset (topic) related topics
member of this domain (topic) entries under this topic
domain of synset (region) relevant region
member of this domain (region) things relevant to this region
domain of synset (usage) pertinent to usage
member of this domain (usage) relevant by usage
entailment consequence
cause origin or reason
also see related entries
verb group related verbs
similar to near in meaning, but not exact
participle of verb root verb
derived from/pertains to adj: pertinent noun; adv: source noun
Q. How many entries does Dubsar have?
A. Here are current row counts, by table. This list is live, generated from the database tables whenever you load this page. As Dubsar's data content evolves, this list of tables and their specific row counts will change.
117,791 synsets
156,762 words
207,272 senses
222,704 inflections
378,309 pointers
Q. How are the autocompleter results determined?

A. All search results use full text searching, similar to the behavior of most search engines, against the inflections table. All searching is case-insensitive. Results include all search terms. An asterisk (*) may be used to match any non-whitespace string, including nothing. Certain operators may also be used, in all uppercase, like "law OR order." Exact matches (results where the matching inflection is exactly the search term as it was typed) are sorted to the top. Other results are sorted in ASCII order, so all capital letters come before all lowercase letters.

The autocompleter results are determined by looking first for an exact match, then by searching for search terms*, i.e., appending an asterisk to the search terms. So if you type in frus, which has no exact match, you will see the results of searching for frus*, which returns all results containing a term beginning with frus.

Exact matching is case-sensitive, so if you search for Fruit, the word fruit will not appear at the top of the list. In fact, it will not show up in the autocompleter at all. If you perform a search for Fruit, fruit will appear sorted in with the rest of the results.

Q. Is Dubsar on any social networks?
Q. Does Dubsar use Cookies?

A. Yes. Dubsar uses two cookies, one of which is persistent:

name type purpose
dubsar_theme persistent store the user's choice of light or dark display theme
_dubsar_session transient maintain session state (used by Ruby on Rails®)

The only persistent cookie Dubsar uses is dubsar_theme, which simply registers your choice of display theme. The first time the page is visited, this cookie is set to "light." It has a lifetime of thirty days.

The other cookie is transient, limited to a single browser session.

Dubsar has no knowledge of your identity when you visit the site. There is no authentication, no login, no user ID. The _dubsar_session cookie identifies you to the server in an anonymous way, which is useful, for example, when returning error messages. This is a standard technique, and it's built into Ruby on Rails®.

Q. What is OpenSearch?

A. The OpenSearch protocol allows some supported browsers (Internet Explorer 8, Firefox and Google Chome) to add Dubsar to the browser's list of search engines so that you can search Dubsar, complete with live suggestions, from your browser's search bar. The browser will recognize Dubsar's OpenSearch plug-in on its own. Chrome automatically adds all discovered search providers. Firefox will prompt you by highlighting the search-provider combo box.

See Wikipedia for more information.

Q. How do I get help with a problem?

A. Contact support@dubsar.info for any technical support issues.

Q. How does full text searching work?

A. Dubsar searches now work similarly to most search engines.

  • All searching is case-insensitive.
  • Search results will include anything that contains all search terms.
  • An asterisk (*) stands for any non-whitespace string (including nothing). So searching for count* matches anything containing a discrete term that begins with count.
  • Certain operators are recognized in all caps (e.g., law OR order ).
  • Results are sorted in ASCII order, with all capital letters coming before all lower-case letters. But case-sensitive exact matches (including inflections) are sorted to the top.