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Reference-com Logo 2016.png
Type of site
Encyclopedia, dictionary, thesaurus
Available in English, Spanish
Owner IAC
Alexa rank Decrease 1,632 (August 2016)[1]
Launched February 1997; 21 years ago (1997-02) is an online encyclopedia,[2] thesaurus,[3] and dictionary.[4] The site also provides machine translation[5] and web search. was launched by InReference, Inc in February 1997.[6] The site was later acquired by Lexico Publishing Group, LLC. In 2005, Lexico announced that would begin offering searches of Wikipedia content.[7] In mid-2007, the site typically ranked in the mid-200s among the most popular websites on the Internet.[8] The popularity of had been greatly boosted by Google's practice of offering a link at the top of their search results that goes to the definition. This exclusive relationship was terminated without explanation to the public when the Google links were redirected to definitions at (In December 2009, the links were replaced with Google's own dictionary.) Google added a definition link for certain search words in a non-exclusive relationship (along with links to definitions from a few other commercial reference websites). On 3 July 2008, IAC acquired Lexico Publishing Group, LLC and its three properties:,, and[9][10]

The old version of the logo reproduces content from external sources.[11] The site's sources include other online dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a search of terms found on other websites such as Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. The site can also search Usenet groups and other mailing lists.[12][13] in 2010 topped the list compiled by The Wall Street Journal ranking websites by how many third-party tracking cookies were added to the user's computer. added 234 tracking cookies when encountering a first-time user.[14]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 15 August 2016. 
  2. ^ " – An Service". Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  3. ^ "Thesaurus – An Service". Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  4. ^ " | Meanings and Definitions of Words at". Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  5. ^ "Translator – An Service". Retrieved 1 October 2009. 
  6. ^ " Goes Live as the Most Comprehensive Internet Forums Service". Business Wire. 3 February 1997. 
  7. ^ " Expands Content by Adding Wikipedia Encyclopedia to Search Capabilities". Lexico Publishing Group. 15 September 2005. 
  8. ^ " Traffic Details". 
  9. ^ Auchard, Eric (3 July 2008). " closes acquisition of". Reuters. 
  10. ^ " closes deal". CNet. 4 July 2008. 
  11. ^ "404 Not Found |". Retrieved 24 November 2017. 
  12. ^ Tracy Swedlow (12 February 1997). "New Web Service Provides Search Tool for Usenet and More". PC World. 
  13. ^ Anthony Ramirez (4 January 1998). "Neighborhood Report: New York Online". New York Times. 
  14. ^ "Tracking The Companies That Track You Online". Fresh Air. August 19, 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. The one site that installed the most was A visit to resulted in 234 trackers being installed on our test computer, and only 11 of those were installed by ... So on, the vast majority of the trackers (200 out of 234) were installed by companies that the person visiting the site probably had never heard of."