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Less than two months ago, Merriam-Webster announced that some of its references would be available via an API. Now, competitor Cambridge University Press has followed suit with the Cambridge Dictionaries Online API. Currently, Cambridge offers five dictionaries through an API (i.e. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge Business English Dictionary, Cambridge Learner's English-Turkish Dictionary, and Cambridge Leaner's Dictionary).
One of the most valuable resources of the english language is the dictionary. I won't get into the history of the dictionary or what it's done for literal society. I will note that incorporating inline definitions into reading apps is not the easiest thing to do. Sure, we now have eReaders like Apple's iBooks and the Amazon Kindle that have dictionary integration built in, but what about the rest of of the text-based universe?
Desktop word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, features powerful spelling and grammar tools that help writers catch mistakes. Thanks to standards-based web services, online word processing tools are starting to catch up to the desktop competition. Two APIs, Wordnik and After the Deadline, give developers powerful new tools to aid writers with spelling, context, and grammar.