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Hotkey Lookup

Hotkey Editor (since 1.0.0)

One of the most important feature of Artha that makes it handy is the hotkey lookup feature. When you are reading an article in the browser, or composing a mail on a mail client, or working on the Terminal, be it any window, when you select some text in it and press the pre-set hot key combination assigned to Artha, it will pop-up with the definitions of the selection made of that window. To know the hot key that is set currently or to change it, press the Hotkey button on the toolbar; this shows up the Hotkey Editor dialog using which you can view/change the hotkey currently set. Hotkey feature can be disabled as well; but to summon Artha for lookup or to get passive desktop notifications, hotkey should be set. When Artha is run the first time, after installation, it will try to set an arbitrary hotkey, in the order:

When one fails it tries to set the next. If all the above hot keys are pre-occupied by some other application, no hotkey will be set. You can change the same via tha hotkey editor to whichever key combination you prefer.


Notifications are passive messages that pop up from the system tray (generally), without expecting you to make an input, so that he/she can continue to do what he/she was doing, uninterrupted. These are sometimes called balloon tips (in Microsoft Windows). Artha has the capability to show notifications. If you enable notifications, and when you select some text on a window and press the hot key, instead of popping-up, Artha will show a notification of the most prime definition of the query and continue to stay on the system try, so that you can carry on with your work with out an interruption. Should you require more details on it, you can always click on the system try icon or the Detailed Lookup button on the notification window.

Artha notifying the definition of thesaurus:

Notification of definition of 'thesaurus'

Notifications can be enabled or disabled by the Notify button on the tool bar or by right-clicking on Artha's system tray icon and choosing Notify in the pop-up menu. If no such button/menu appears, then check if libnotify and notifications-daemon are installed on your system. These components are mandatory to show notifications. Refer Installation for further details.

On-the-fly Search

Possible matches shown on-the-fly for input "gradu"

As you start typing letters in the Query box, Artha starts searching/filtering terms in the thesaurus for a match, to what is getting typed and shows a list of possible matches. This will help you find the searched word quicker, and also the possibility of learning new words is made higher with this feature. It can be thought of as an easier way to find a word, without typing it our fully or without knowing it's spelling correctly.

Regular Expressions Search

Regex search using wildcard (*)

Regular expressions (regex) can be used easily to search for terms in the thesaurus. It's a powerful way to zero-in a particular word you vaguely know it's spelling and want to locate it in the thesaurus. Artha’s regular expression pattern closely follows wildmat syntax by Rich Salz owing to its simplicity. Possible regex searches are:


Regex search using joker (?)


WordNet is a free open lexical database for English, by Cognitive Science Laboratory of Princeton University under the direction of psychology professor George A. Miller. It is what its name says. Each word will have one or more definitions (or senses, technically). Apart from these definitions, a word is interlinked to other words by a relation like Synonyms, Hypernyms, etc. Generally, We tend to forget a word by learning a word's definitions alone. That's the prime reason, WordNet has this relatives feature by creating a net of words. When you learn a word, you also learn (or would at least glance) its relatives like what are its similar terms, what does a verb entail doing, etc. which makes a complete net of a word and its associates. These are displayed in an easily comprehend-able fashion by Artha.


A sense is a meaning/definition that a word conveys in a given context and Part of Speech (PoS). Many a time, a word will have more then one sense. The number of senses a word has (polysemy count), determines its familiarity.

E.g. clear conveys a variety of meanings in different parts of speech. Below listed are a few:

As a verb
  1. rid of obstructions
  2. make a way or path by removing objects
  3. grant authorization or clearance for
As an adjective
  1. readily apparent to the mind
  2. free from confusion or doubt
  3. affording free passage and view
As a noun
  1. the state of being free of suspicion (the state of being free of suspicion)
As an adverb
  1. completely (slept clear through the night)
  2. in an easily predictable manner (she cried loud and clear)


Words that infer the same meaning and can be interchanged in a particular context. This category of relatives is the most famous and the frequently visited.

E.g. pass is synonymous to clear with respect to its context "grant authorization or clearance for". (refer verb sense 3 above)


(Opposite) Words that expresses a meaning opposed to the meaning of the given word, in a given context. Antonyms can be direct, inferred or indirect. In simple mode, only direct antonyms are listed, while in detailed mode, inferred and indirect antonyms are also shown. See Dual Modes for details about the two different modes.

E.g. poor is a direct antonym of rich, while broke, penniless, skint, etc. are inferred antonyms from the direct antonym poor. One of the senses ofrich is "having an abundant supply of", which makes abundant a synonym of rich and its antonym scarce, becomes an indirect antonym to rich.

Artha showing Indirect, Direct and Inferred antonyms of rich:

Indirect Antonyms of Rich Direct and Inferred Antonyms of Rich


Terms in different syntactic categories that have the same root form and are semantically related to the given word.

E.g. A few derivatives of clear would be:


Nouns or verbs an adjective closely pertains/relates to. Only adjectives have this category of relatives. Artha shows pertainyms under the tab "Relates To".

E.g. culinary's pertainyms are cuisine, cooking, cookery, etc..

Artha showing pertainyms of culinary:

Pertainyms of culinary


A noun for which adjectives express values.

E.g. weight has attributes heavy and light. Or, conversely, heavy is an attribute of weight.

Similar Terms

Terms which are not exactly synonyms but they convey a similar meaning at a broader level.

E.g. Similar terms to clear are permit, remove, disappear, etc.

Domain Terms

Terms that are specific to a topical class. Further classified as being a Category, Regional or Usage term. Simply put, domain terms are (lingo/jargon) terms that are specific to a topic, region or a classification. E.g.

moment is used in the domain statistics as per definition 6 and also moment means "an indefinitely short time" in the U.K. (definition 2). Hence it has 2 sections under Domain terms, namely Topic and Usage.

Artha showing the Domain Terms of 'moment in detailde mode':

Domain Terms of 'moment'


These are terms that denote what a verb causes in doing it. This category of relatives are specific to verbs.

E.g. kill causes to die. Hence die comes under kill's Causes terms.


A verb X entails Y if X cannot be done unless Y is, or has been, done. This category of relatives are specific to verbs.

E.g. kick entails doing move or displace. Hence move and displace come under kick's Enatils terms.


Generic terms used to designate a whole class of specific instances. Y is a hypernym of X if X is a (kind of) Y.

E.g. water is a kind of liquid. Hence liquid is a hypernym of water.

Artha showing water's hypernyms (Kind of):

Hypernyms/Water is a kind of ...


The specific term used to designate a member of a class. X is a hyponym of Y if X is a (kind of) Y.

E.g. water is a kind of liquid. Hence water is a hyponym of liquid.


The name of a constituent part of, the substance of, or a member of something. X is a meronym of Y if X is a part of Y.

E.g. accelerator, wheel, seat, etc. are parts of a car. Hence they are its meronyms.


The name of the whole of which the meronym names a part. Y is a holonym of X if X is a part of Y.

E.g. tree is a part of forest or woods. Hence forest and woods are its holonyms.

Relative to Sense Mapping

For most words, more then one definition/sense and relatives are available. Hence correlating which relative corresponds to what senses gets clumsy. Hence this feature makes sure its easy for you to know the mapping between relatives and their senses. Just click on a relative from the displayed list. The serial number of those definitions corresponding to this relative is highlighted in black. The first such highlighted definition is scrolled to view. When a relative is displayed in bold, it implies that it has mappings to more than one sense.

Relative to Sense Mapping show for rich`s synonym deep:

Relative-Sense Mapping of rich's synonym deep

Dual Modes

Artha has two modes of operation: Simple and Detailed. In the former, it shows only the relatives that occur at the first level i.e. lists and not trees. For instance, water`s Hypernyms is a tree of relatives more then it is a list. In its first level, we have liquid, which is further a kind of fluid, which in turn is a kind of matter, which is a kind of physical entity, which is a kind of entity. Hence each is at a level below the other and is not considered a list, but a tree. In simple mode, Artha will only show liquid and not the children under liquid. This simple mode mimics what proprietary software like WordWeb does, while the Detailed mode, which can be enabled by clicking the tool bar button Detailed, shows you trees of relatives, up to any depth until it reaches a end category. Likewise, in simple mode, only Direct Antonyms are available, while in Detailed, Inferred and Indirect antonyms are also visible.

Artha showing parts of (Meronyms) `car`. Comparison between Simple and Detailed Modes:

Car's Meronyms/Parts in Simple Mode Car's Meronyms/Parts in Detailed Mode

Persistant History

History data can be cleared or saved

The lookups made in Artha can be seen in the Query box's drop down list; this list is persistant i.e. when you quit Artha and reopen it, the lookups made in the previous session will still be present in the drop down. History can be cleared if you feel it has data you don't need for later reference. History can also be saved so that if you're interested in having the list of words you learnt newly and to revisit them. Both clearing and saving history data can be done by right-clicking on the query box and selecting the appropriate option.


Suggestions given when a word is misspelt

When you type a word incorrectly/misspell and query it in Artha, apart from saying that it couldn't find a definition for it, Artha will show a set of words which are close matches to the searched word i.e. it will suggest you with other valid words, which could have been what you really meant.

For suggestions feature to work, make sure you have libenchant and an English dictionary (of any locale) installed on your system. Refer Installation for further details.

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