how to use CUBE

Here’s a brief introductory video, in case you’d rather not read.

Unlike most dictionaries, CUBE allows you to search not only by spelling but also by sound. Separate search windows are provided for spelling and sound; you can use either of these windows alone, or you can use them together to search for words which have a given spelling and/or a given pronunciation.

(The chart of CUBE’s sound symbols is here.)

(Audio in CUBE: each word in your search results is linked to the resource Youglish.com. If you click on the play button, you will be taken to transcribed YouTube recordings in which you can hear that word spoken by real people, in real contexts. Not all CUBE’s words are available on Youglish yet, but its database is rapidly expanding in size and accuracy.)

spelling searches

CUBE will return all the words that contain the letters you enter.

searchfindsdoes not find
thinkthink, rethink, think-tank, unthinkingly…thought
helphelp, helped, self-help, unhelpfulhello

The word boundary symbol # limits your search to the beginning or the end of the word.

searchfindsdoes not find
#thinkthink, think-tank…rethink, unthinkingly
help#help, self-help…helped, unhelpful

Spelling searches are case-insensitive. You may enter words written with accents, like élan, with or without accents, but if you enter a character with an accent mark, only identical characters are matched.

searchfindsdoes not find
Thankthank, Thanksgiving…
THANKthank, Thanksgiving…
élanélan, mélange…Cleveland, freelance
elanCleveland, élan, freelance, mélange

If you tick the box before ‘full word’ you get a result only if the spelling you give matches a whole word. It is equivalent to putting # before and after your spelling search.

searchfindsdoes not find
bat
☐ full word
abate, acrobat, bat, combat…
bat
☑ full word
batabate, acrobat, combat…
#bat#
☐ full word
batabate, acrobat, combat…

Note: if a ‘full word’ search gives no result, an automatic notification is sent to us; and if the word exists, we will add it to CUBE, generally within 24 hours. Therefore, you can actually request the addition of words which are missing from CUBE by searching for them with the ‘full word’ box ticked.

sound searches

Sound searches must be entered in normal ASCII characters, not in phonetic symbols. CUBE uses a set of ASCII equivalents for sounds which are given in full here. For example, to search for the sounds θ, ɪ, and ŋ, you should enter T, i, and N, respectively. As with spelling searches, # finds boundaries.

searchfindsdoes not find
θɪŋkthink
Tin thin, thinly…thing, think
TiN anything, thing, think, think-tank…tin, thin
#TiNthing, think, think-tank…anything
TaN thank, thanked, Thanksgiving…than
dan Dan, dandelion, commandant…dank
Dan thanDan
DaN Dan, than

Results are always displayed in both spelling and phonetic transcription using IPA symbols (shown in blue).

Important: Stressed vowels are found in CUBE by entering them in upper case, not by means of any stress symbols. For example, the noun impact is Impakt, while the verb impact is impAkt. The representation of stress in CUBE is explained in greater detail here.

CUBE provides various other possibilities for refining your search and customizing the output. You can read about these here.