A reverse dictionary is a dictionary alphabetized by the reversal of each entry:
Another variant alphabetizes by suffix.[ citation needed ]
Before computers, reverse dictionaries were tedious to produce. The first computer-produced was Stahl and Scavnicky's A Reverse Dictionary of the Spanish Language, in 1974.
In a reverse word dictionary, the entries are alphabetized by the last letter first, then next to last, and so on.In them, words with the same suffix appear together. This can be useful for linguists and poets looking for words ending with a particular suffix, or by an epigrapher or forensics specialist examining a damaged text (e.g. a stone inscription, or a burned document) that had only the final portion of a word. Reverse dictionaries of this type have been published for most major alphabetical languages.
Applications of reverse word dictionaries include:
Reverse word dictionaries are straightforward to construct, by simply sorting based on reversed words. This was labor-intensive and tedious before computers, but is now straightforward. For example, using the Unix commands rev and sort allows the following one-liner program to produce a reverse dictionary of the file "dict":
rev < dict | sort | rev
By the same token, reverse dictionaries have become less important to the extent that online word lists can be searched dynamically.
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