Use Cortana to define words for you in Windows 10

Microsoft's Cortana has many uses including sending emails or checking the weather. One of the best uses though is a simple look-up feature for words and their definitions. Combined with the Hey Cortana voice recognition using Cortana to tell you quickly what a word means is a great hands-free tip.

There are multiple ways to get Cortana to define a word. If you have Hey Cortana enabled you can simply blurt out your request:

"Hey Cortana what is the meaning/definition of inchoate?""Hey Cortana define ubiquitously"

You can, of course, also just type in your request e.g "define beatitude" although this admittedly takes some of the speed (and fun) out of using the personal digital assistant.

For many words, Cortana displays the definition within a card, and OxfordDictionaries or EncartaDictionaries powers it. Sometimes, if Cortana misunderstands you or does not have the definition, the assistant opens up a web page after performing a web search for it.

There is not much else to say about the feature outside of it being helpful, especially if you are writing something.

Ask Cortana

If you are using the Microsoft Edge browser and are reading an article with a word you do not know, Cortana has you covered here too. Simply highlight the word using your mouse (or tap if on a touch screen) and right-click to bring up a menu. Choose Ask Cortana and the assistant should grab the definition for you in a slide-out window from the right side.

Ask Cortana Microsoft Edge

  1. Highlight word
  2. Right-click
  3. Choose Ask Cortana

The beauty of this method is you do not have to open yet another browser tab disrupting your reading. Instead, Cortana pops in, gives you the definition and then disappears when completed. It's fast, clean and to the point. Even more neat is if you see the little Play button you can press it to hear how the word is pronounced:

Hopefully next time you find a word you are not familiar with Cortana will lend you a hand. All you have to do is ask!

More Cortana Resources

Need more information on Cortana and Windows 10? Maybe these will help you out!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.