I assume most writers and translators come across this issue every once in a while: you know what you want to write, but you cannot come up with the best word (usually an adjective or an adverb, in my experience) to express that idea.

For example, the idea I want to express is: the girl was reluctant to let him see her like this.

But the word 'reluctant' slipped from my mind. All I know is that I want to say that she did not really want to let him see her like this, and I know there is a word for it, but I can't recall it.

The 'single-word-requests' tag over on the English Language & Usage.SE is excellent for exactly that, but I was wondering if there was any other source for such inquiries for two reasons:

  1. It sometimes feels a little too much to post an entire question for a single word request, especially when most of the times these questions can be answered pretty quickly by a keen native speaker. I am aware that to date, over 15,000 questions have been tagged with this tag, so people probably find it useful, it just doesn't seem appropriate in many cases, especially when as a writer or translator you might have many such cases when compiling a large piece of text. You might feel like you are flooding the website, because it was not designed for small, quick inquiries.
  2. The SE site is only for English, and all-other-languages users may also benefit from such a thing.
  • Is this different than a synonym finder?
    – AML
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 12:06
  • 1
    Yes, because you use a synonym finder when you have a word and are looking for a similar one. I'm talking about when you know what you want to say, but do not have the word and need some native speaker (preferably) to understand what you want to say and provide you with the right word for it.
    – Don_S
    Commented Jul 10, 2018 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


Here are several ideas:

  1. Tip of My Tongue: for words that you've been thinking about all day but just can't seem to remember.
  2. Reverse Dictionary: look up words by their definition.
  3. RhymeZone for rhymes, synonyms, adjectives, etc.
  4. Lexfn: for looking up related words based on a number of semantic relationships.
  5. PhraseUp: assists you with writing by finding and filling-in the words you can't remember.

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