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Artha: First impressions

Most of my preliminary searches for writing tools in Linux told me I ought to use Artha, a free, offline thesaurus. Until now my preferred method of thesaurizing has been using thesaurus.com, since the built-in thesaurus for Word is both a) limited and b) useless. Running back and forth to Chrome whenever I couldn’t quite figure out the word I wanted to use has been, well, okay, but the whole process could be a lot faster and more convenient.

Enter Artha. It’s more than your typical thesaurus. To start off, it not only gives you synonyms but also definitions of whatever word you ask it for, complete with sample sentences. Granted, thesaurus.com gives brief definitions too, but these tend to be a bit longer and the sample sentences are a nice touch.

But the awesome thing about this application is the “Relatives” pane. I’m reminded of those advertisements on thesaurus.com for Visual Thesaurus, that (paid) program that allows you to explore a web of related words. Artha gives you related words as well, but in a far less messy format. It divides them by category, e.g., derivatives, part of, kind of, kinds, parts. Obviously, some of these only apply if it’s a noun. (Hint: If you want even more related words, the first information bubble on the title bar toggles between simple and advanced modes; advanced mode gives you even more.)

You can leave Artha running in the background, too, and define a hotkey (default is Ctrl+Alt+W) to look up any word you select at any time. All in all, a great companion for any word processor. I haven’t felt the need to go back to thesaurus.com since installing.

sudo apt-get install artha
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3 Comments on “Artha: First impressions”

  1. Trinae Ross says:

    Artha is an amazing offline dictionary. In Windows, I used Word Web for the longest time, but couldn’t find something comparable in Linux. Then I cam across this little gem and it has worked out flawlessly.

    • awkisopen says:

      Apparently it’s built off of something called WordNet. I’m currently searching for other open source software that implements WN as well, just to compare and contrast. But so far Artha’s been great.

  2. […] all the different kinds of software I’ve mentioned so far – a thesaurus, a note-taking program, a bunch of word processors – getting everything started up once you […]


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