Cortana will now help you define words

Are you a Windows Phone 8.1 user in a region that supports Microsoft's Cortana? The personal assistant now has a new task that she can perform, which no doubt will be added to her resume. Cortana will now define a word for you. All you need to do is say "Define (say the word)" and Cortana will come right back with the definition.

We should point out that if you are an Android or iOS user, you might not be terribly impressed since both Siri and Google Now both already handle definitions. By the way, in case you were wondering, Cortana gets the definitions she repeats from the Oxford Dictionary, so you should feel confident with her responses.

While Cortana should be able to define any real word, there are some Windows Phone 8.1 users who have Cortana, but not the capability to handle definitions yet. Do you know what the word  disappointed means?

source: Neowin via WMPoweruser



1. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

To be clear, Cortana can now show you the definition directly, rather than running the word through a normal web search. And no Alan, no disappointment here. I'll be looking forward to the day when Android and iOS add Cortana's people reminders, when surely you will find it your duty to point out to Windows Phone users that they shouldn't be terribly impressed. I look forward to that, Alan.

2. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2280; Member since: Sep 21, 2012


7. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

A bit harsh, I agree, but sometimes I feel like the point needs to be made. Not saying it for my own benefit, but for the benefit of the author himself and his readers. He deserves to be a respected author and they deserve respectful writing.

14. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

I think that the disappointment is meant specifically for "some Windows Phone 8.1 users who have Cortana, but not the capability to handle definitions yet"

15. Aploine

Posts: 445; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

and not generally for Cortana's efficiency or definitions handling

29. Alan01

Posts: 645; Member since: Mar 21, 2012're the only one who seems to be able to comprehend that point. Regards, Alan F.

34. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

I comprehended that individual point just fine, and my response of not being disappointed is an indication that I fortunately do not have that problem. I did however intend my lack of disappointment to have a double meaning, and you and everybody else did pick up on the second meaning of it. The only portion of your article to which I took offense, Alan, was the beginning of the second paragraph, for the reasons I specified in my original comment #1. Please don't mistake my taking offense with that statement as my lack of comprehension of the context or as an attack on the article itself. It was not even flagrantly offensive, but rather a continuation of a trend of subtle subversiveness to an individual platform that seems to be singled out in this regard frequently. I'm just trying to help enlighten this space with more objectivity by making us more consciously aware of the tones and implications of our words. - Alok

36. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

You are right about that Aploine. I understood that, though I could have been more clear with my own words.

5. palmguy

Posts: 987; Member since: Mar 22, 2011

Ah contact reminders, webOS had that. R.I.P. :(

8. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

Sadly I was never a smartphone user in the WebOS days. Around the Palm Pre was when I did start getting interested though, so I'm sad I missed out on all the magic that WebOS apparently was by so many accounts.

6. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

Penny on tech forum? Sheldon wouldn't believe this.

12. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

"Penny" is actually Rajesh koothrappali. Lol its a guy.

35. Penny

Posts: 1869; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

An Indian guy at that. Good job! +1

11. Odiin

Posts: 373; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

+1, well said.

19. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

I look forward to the time when someone can explain why "people reminders" is actually a feature that is needed vs. just a useless gimmick.

24. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

"People Reminders" are extremely useful. Say you loan a book to a friend, and you ask Cortana to remind you to ask about the book the next time you talk to that friend, and she does. Or your friend posts about a new dog, but you don't have time to ask her about it, so you instruct Cortana to remind you to. Or your boss has a task for you to do at your convenience, but you may not remember to ask about it because of your normal.workload, ta-da, she reminds you of it. Location and people reminders are two of M favorite Cortana features, and I use them almost every day.

3. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

When will it let me get 2400 on the SAT?

25. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Hopefully never. Tests like that are a way to measure knowledge, understanding, and thinking, not using a web search to do the work for you.

4. Deaconclgi

Posts: 405; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

You can also use normal language and say something like "What does besmirched mean?" and Cortana will give you the definition. Saying "Define besmirched" is definitely shorter than a full sentence but it is good to know that Cortana will understand the natural sentence structure if formed as a question as well.

9. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Will Cortana understand Mr.Bean's frenchy English language like "Missh missh missh missh missh mersh mersh mersh? Missh missh mercy mercy eh eh eh...".

10. Aboodbanafa

Posts: 27; Member since: Apr 25, 2014

You made my day LMFAO

13. 13Elves

Posts: 93; Member since: Feb 21, 2014

Meh. My Windows Phone is really a souped-up feature phone. I can ask Cortana to define silly words but I can't share media to Twitter. #Fail on MSFTs part.

16. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

Fail on twitters part nothing more, twitter beta has this feature while twitter normal does not. As well you can share your pic to twitter just not links and other forms. I am sure you know that though, you do unboxings! so you must be in the know of all things coding.

17. 87186

Posts: 312; Member since: Aug 01, 2014

that would be on the app side. in other words, that's on twitter.

27. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I've been sharing to twitter since Windows Phone 7 (not that I do much twittering). Granted with the newer software twitter isn't built-in like it was, but if you use the web browser or an app that supports multiple sharing (MultiShare, for example, just on a quick search), you can post to several social media sites at once. Windows Phone is a full smartphone OS. IOS is the one that started out as a media player that they crammed mobile radios into.

18. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm not at all impressed with something that I've been able to do on Google Now for a long time already. What I am impressed with however is how fast Microsoft is developing Cortana. I still don't like their OS, but I can see Cortana being a selling point for many people in the near future if they keep pushing out updates and features to the program.

20. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

its not about impressing an individual, its about adding a feature many will find useful. I can say im not impressed with the two big dogs in mobile Android and iOS following Windows Phone footsteps with Flat UI and other features.

21. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm sorry, but people keep saying that Android is copying Windows phone look and I can't seem to disagree more. Android has always had the same interface with a subtle maturing design over the years, app icons, menu layouts. When I see a Windows phone (And please take into account I've never actually used one), I see a tile interface with thick black boarders between each tile which to me look like more bezels. Maybe there's more in-depth comparison on how they're similar to one another but I just don't see it. Could you provide a reference to a site that has a comparison so I can have some perspective as to how Google's copying Microsoft?

22. Liveitup

Posts: 1798; Member since: Jan 07, 2014

Windows phone was the only OS doing flat UI for years and then Windows 8 until Android and iOS jumped on the band wagon fully with iOS 7 and Material design. Microsoft is a trend setter.

26. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

So the Android OS is not copying Microsoft, but the Apps themselves are with the new Material design?

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