JWI 2.4.0
(MIT Java Wordnet Interface)

The MIT Java Wordnet Interface (JWI) is a Java library for interfacing with the Wordnet electronic dictionary.


edu.mit.jwi Provides the main dictionary interface and a default implementation.
edu.mit.jwi.data Provides classes and interfaces for the creation, searching, and interpretation of dictionary data sources.
edu.mit.jwi.data.compare Provides classes that encode the sorting order of the Wordnet file lines, to enable searching.
edu.mit.jwi.data.parse Provides classes and interfaces that parse lines from Wordnet files.
edu.mit.jwi.item Provides classes and interfaces that represent the Wordnet data structures.
edu.mit.jwi.morph Provides several simple classes that can be used to find the stems of words using Wordnet.


The MIT Java Wordnet Interface (JWI) is a Java library for interfacing with the Wordnet electronic dictionary. It features API calls to retrieve index entries, synsets, morphological exceptions, and sense index entries from the Wordnet data files. It also has calls that allow browsing by following lexical and semantic pointers, and contains classes that can perform simple morphological processing. The library includes no GUI elements.

JWI is compatible with Wordnet versions 1.6 through 3.0, as well as a few other Wordnet variations. It is not compatible with Wordnet 1.5. JWI does not include the Wordnet dictionary itself: that must be downloaded separately from the Wordnet site at http://wordnet.princeton.edu.

JWI is freely available, and licensed for use for all purposes, as long as proper acknowledgment is made. Details can be found in the license, which is included in the distribution.

The entry point for accessing dictionary data is the IDictionary interface. In the simplest case, where you are using Wordnet with the data files on the same filesystem as your Java program, you can instantiate a Dictionary object with a single argument, a URL or File object that points to the directory where the Wordnet dictionary data files are located.

An example of this can be found below, in the form of a Java method runExample(). In the method, the first block of seven lines (4-9) deals with constructing a URL object that points to the Wordnet data files. In this particular example, the base Wordnet directory is assumed to be stored in a system environment variable called WNHOME; this may be different on your system. Note that the WNHOME variable points to the root of the Wordnet installation directory and the dictionary data directory “dict” must be appended to this path. Again, this may be different on your system depending on where your Wordnet files are located. The second block of code, two lines long (12-13), constructs an instance of the default Dictionary object, and opens it by calling the open() method. The final block of six lines (16-21) demonstrates searching the dictionary for the first sense of the noun “dog”. The final numbered block of code shows the console output of the method.

Sample Dictionary code:

1  public void runExample(){
3     // construct the URL to the Wordnet dictionary directory
4     String wnhome = System.getenv("WNHOME");
5     String path = wnhome + File.separator + "dict";
6     URL url = null;
7     try{ url = new URL("file", null, path); } 
8     catch(MalformedURLException e){ e.printStackTrace(); }
9     if(url == null) return;
11    // construct the dictionary object and open it
12    IDictionary dict = new Dictionary(url);
13    dict.open();
15    // look up first sense of the word "dog"
16    IIndexWord idxWord = dict.getIndexWord("dog", POS.NOUN);
17    IWordID wordID = idxWord.getWordIDs().get(0);
18    IWord word = dict.getWord(wordID);
19    System.out.println("Id = " + wordID);
20    System.out.println("Lemma = " + word.getLemma());
21    System.out.println("Gloss = " + word.getSynset().getGloss());
23  }
Output (for Wordnet 3.0)
1  Id = WID-2084071-n-?-dog
2  Lemma = dog
3  Gloss = a member of the genus Canis (probably descended from the common wolf) ...
For more information, see the User's Guide included with the distribution.

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