This page describes ‘qategories’, an experimental feature of Qat. Feedback is greatly welcomed.


A qategory is a pattern that matches certain words, just like the conventional letter-matching patterns that Qat supports. However, a qategory matches words according to their meaning or associations rather than their constituent letters.


The def qategory matches words according to their definitions (specified more precisely below). The pattern

matches words whose definition includes the word ‘stone’. Typical results could be as follows. (Try it.)
gem pit flag herm... tessellated palaeolithic petrifaction
fossilisation fossilization petrification preciousstone

A qategory pattern consists of a qategory name (which must be specified exactly) followed by a colon and then a Qat pattern, all enclosed in curly brackets. The fact that a pattern is allowed after the colon allows searches such as

which will also match words whose definitions include ‘stony’ rather than ‘stone’. Qategory patterns can be combined with normal patterns. For example the search

matches zebra. (Try it.)

Qategories can furthermore be combined with all the other features of Qat, including sub-patterns, equations and systems of equations. They cannot be used as ‘jumble fodder’ (i.e., after the slash in a pattern other than in a subpattern).

Available qategories

The currently-available qategories are as follows.

Qategory nameShorthand nameDatabase usedWords matchedExample
mthes thes Moby Thesaurus IIWords occurring under the same headword as that specified{mthes:red}
wikicat cat Wikipedia category listsWords appearing in article titles under categories containing the specified word{wikicat:gershwin}
wndef def Princeton WordNetWords whose definition includes the specified word{wndef:color}
wnhyper hyper Princeton WordNetWords given as a hypernym of the specified word{wnhyper:agate}
wnhypo hypo Princeton WordNetWords given as a hyponym of the specified word{wnhypo:ungulate}

Note that as in the third example above you may sometimes need to use American spellings in your patterns. The shorthand equivalents listed are liable to change in future.

Each search involving a qategory is accompanied by a note explaining which databases were used in that search and provides a link to relevant licensing information.

This page most recently updated Mon 16 Jan 11:10:11 GMT 2017

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