Merriam-Webster, the household name in dictionaries, launched the Merriam-Webster Dictionary API last week. The most trusted name in dictionary/thesaurus references has decided to make its resources available to developers through the new API. Merriam-Webster is making eight different resources available via the API. Although the clear audience for the API includes educational app developers, John Morse (Merriam-Webster President) suggests,
"With this new API, we are providing a rich environment where developers can easily tap into authoritative content encouraging digital innovation for a wide range of products, including word games and creative new interactive educational apps, for any market- children, adults, or language learners."
The API utilizes REST protocol with XML and JSON data formats. The resources available include Collegiate Dictionary with Audio, Collegiate Thesaurus, Spanish-English Dictionary with Audio, Medical Dictionary with Audio, Learner's Dictionary with Audio, Elementary Dictionary with Audio, Intermediate Dictionary with Audio, and School Dictionary with Audio. An individual API key is necessary for each resource.
Without a doubt, educational apps will benefit from integration with Merriam-Webster's new API. Although many apps already include dictionary features, integrating with the API ensures that the dictionary/thesaurus information is up to date, allowing developers to concentrate other features of the app. Developers interested in the API can find it here. Non-commercial use of the API is free; however, Merriam-Webster charges for commercial use.