Between Marx and Marzipan

I love Billy Bragg! And how many songs have such a great opening, like “The Short Answer”:

Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary

Take a break – and enjoy!


Here are the entire lyrics:

Between Marx and marzipan in the dictionary there was Mary
Between the Deep Blue Sea and the Devil that was me
If ever anyone could help me with my obsession with
The young Suzannah York
It was Mary

In my pink pyjamas she asked me for something
I gave her the short answer
She read our stars out loud
And I knew then that we should have gone sailing
But we stayed home instead
Fighting on the waterbed
Like the honeymoon couple on drugs
Me and Mary

What happened in the past
Remained a mystery of natural history
She should have been the last
But she was just the latest
If she wanted to be a farmer’s wife
I would endure that muddy life
I would dig for victory

And the sound of happy couples
Coupling happily in the dark
While you and I sat down to tea
I remember you said to me
That no amount of poetry
Would mend this broken heart
But you can put the Hoover round
If you want to make a start

All my friends from school
Introduce me to their spouses
While I’m left standing here
With my hands down the front of my trousers
I just don’t know what’s to be done
I wonder sometimes how did Dad meet Mum
And how did they conceive of me
Tell my Mary

The boys who came to the shop
Always made her laugh much more than I did
When I told her this must stop
She didn’t bat an eyelid
She said you know honey it’s such a shame
You’ll never be any good at this game
You bruise too easily
So said Mary

Her two brothers took me out
Of circulation for the duration
So we went our separate ways but does she still love me
She still has my door key
Like a bully boy in a Benetton shop
You’re never happy with what you’ve got
Till what you’ve got is gone
Sorry Mary

Piano Renaissance – Piano Glossary

 Glossary Description

Piano Renaissance restores pianos to original excellence. Just like the piano pictured on the left (Source: Piano Renaissance) . To help people who would like their piano restored, the company offers a small glossary –  A short compilation of basic & simple terminology and definitions for parts commonly used in the rebuilding process. Let’s not forget there are thousands of parts that make up one single piano! According to an interesting article about the Grand Steinway, this particular piano “comprised some 12,000 parts, from inch-long bits of maple to a 340-pound plate of cast iron. It had taken nearly a year to build and had passed through the hands of more than 200 workers.”

The definitions are short and to the point, the illustrations added are of great help to understand what one talking about.

Personally, I cannot get enough at looking at these beautiful pianos they restored. You will find images all over their website, or go directly to their photo gallery!

Example Term: Key

A dual lever arm which pivots at the balance rail. Piano keys are made of soft wood (conifer) varieties including sugar pine, basswood and sometimes spruce. The back end of the piano key raises the whippen via the capstan which consequently raises the hammer toward the string. The piano key is in itself a complex mechanism which includes weights for control of touch weight, the key- top, button, capstan, backcheck and two mortises for felt bushings.

Glossary / Dictionary Details

Title: Piano Renaissance – Piano Glossary Terms: 30
Link   Language: English
Quote as: Piano Glossary. By Piano Renaissance. [+link] Last visited: November 09, 2011

The Piano Deconstructed – Glossary of Terms

 About the Glossary Author

Long five university and academic works! This glossary is part of a much larger resource about the piano, called the “The Piano Deconstructed” and which was developed by Christopher Smit as part of the fulfillment of a Masters Degree in Music Technology at Indiana University in Indianapolis.  Again a piano glossary that pays much attention to finding the appropriate presentation of the terms.

Christopher – I have no doubt that your professors loved your work, and do I so too!

Here is what Christopher had in mind for his website:

“Many pianists seem to have no idea how the instrument functions – and several factors may contribute to this lack of knowledge. The action of the piano is almost completely hidden from the sight of the pianist – if the pianist can’t even see the action, they probably do not spend much time thinking about how it works. The piano is also one of the most complicated musical instruments, which may contribute to why pianists do not understand how it works. “The Piano Deconstructed” will present information about the history, physics, and construction of the modern grand piano in order to educate musicians about how the instrument functions.”

Glossary Description

If it was only for the 91 terms and there rather short definitions, I guess I wouldn’t praise this glossary as much it is my pleasure to do here. Each of the terms is linked to another page offering in-depth  information and beautiful illustrations and animations. What a great way to have a look inside a piano!

Example Term: Wippen

– the part of the action that is lifted by the key.

Note: As said the definitions are really very short but here is a screen shot of what you can expect to get, when clicking the link underneath the term “Wippen”:

Glossary / Dictionary Details

Title: The Piano Deconstructed – Glossary of Terms Terms: 91
Link: Language: English
Quote as:  The Piano Deconstructed – Glossary of Terms. ©2004 Christopher Smit [+link] Last visited: November 09, 2011

Bill Calhoun’s Piano Glossary

Bill Calhoun - Piano Technician About the Glossary Author

Glossaries are written by someone, right? In many cases the author of a glossary stays anonymous. Someone in the company did it, but who? Anyway a task that has been forwarded some 100 times, and no one actually liked to take care of it. Maybe the email provided will give you a hint. But that’s it.

And than there are those “other” glossaries, those that are so closely related to the one who took the time to collect and present the information for us.  People with real passion and expertise about a subject. Those, who are serious about sharing  their knowledge.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to one of them: Bill Calhoun – Piano technician and author of an outstanding piano glossary.  Bill holds a Certificate in Piano Technology from the  New England Conservatory of Music, and for over twenty years serves his clients throughout the Boston area.  Bill does everything   from simple repairs in the home to precise regulating and voicing for the professional;  from basic tuning to thorough reconditioning. And Bill passes on his knowledge! Not only in his glossary, website and blog, but Bill enjoys teaching, and offers regular workshops on the physics of music and musical instruments in local schools through The Music School.

Thanks, Bill!

Glossary Description

Don’t let the somewhat old-fashioned design blur your view! This glossary is a pearl. With 44 terms, all related to piano parts, it covers the subject very comprehensively. The hyperlinked terms in the definitions will make easy for you to go on navigating to additional terms of  interest.

So far, so good. Get ready for the special “bonus” of this glossary: Many terms are equipped with a “diagram” icon – opening up a diagram of a piano with the special part marked in red. Several terms even an animation file attached to them. Perfect, how text and vision are used in this glossary.

Example Term: Damper

The damper is a device for suppressing the vibration of a string.  In a grand, the dampers sit on top of the strings; you can see them go up and down as you play the piano.  In an upright, they sit against the strings below the hammers.  The dampers are spring-loaded, and also sometimes weighted.  The last 20 notes or so in the treble don’t have dampers.  The damper consists of a hinged lever, a thick, bendable wire that runs from the lever to a wooden damper head, and specially shaped felts glued to the head.  When you depress a key, the damper lifts off just before the hammer hits the string.  When you let go of the key, the damper returns, damping the string.  In an upright, the damper is lifted off the string by a little metal spoon on the wippen.  In a grand, the damper is lifted by the end of the key.

Glossary / Dictionary Details

Title: Piano Glossary Terms: 44
Link: Language: English
Quote as: Piano Glossary. By Bill Calhoun. [+link] Last visited: November 09, 2011

The Internet is Yours – Shape it!

DictionaryNet is about giving you access to quality reference works. But more importantly it is about bringing  glossaries and monolingual English dictionaries into the spotlight that otherwise might go unnoticed simply by the fact that they have a poor and unjustified ranking in search engine results.

While I do care less whether or not you are linking back to DictionaryNet or not, I would like to motivate you to support reference works you like and appreciate. Help them to get more exposure and recognition!

Here are a few tips how let them climb up in search results:

1.) Give reference to our source – Link back to them!

Back links are one of the most influential elements to support a site. Whenever you quote a definition from an online glossary, please give reference to the source including a link back to the site. This holds true whether you publish the definition online or use it in a printed document.

For each reference work I describe here on DictionaryNet I also add a suggestion how to quote it. Here is an example:

Glossary / Dictionary Details
Title: Glossary of Piano Terms Terms: 83
Link: Language: English
Quote as: Glossary of Piano Terms. Copyright 2011 © Bluebook of Pianos All Rights Reserved. [+link] Last visited: November 08, 2011

Please – never link back to DictionaryNet if you want to promote a reference work, always link back to the original page!

  • If you have a blog, consider to add a link in your blog roll or even to discuss the source in one of your blog post.
  • Website owners: Having a link page? If yes, add also links to reference sources that are valuable to your website visitors. If no, maybe just the time to start one.

2.) Get social, share it away!

  • Quite likely you are on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. So why not share a link to an exceptional reference work with your friends and colleagues?
  • Very helpful for driving additional traffic to a reference work – recommend it via StumbleUpon.
  • Having a Google+ account? Great! You spotted a good reference work on result page 7 (wow – when was it the last time you were so desperately looking for something that you actually browsed to trough more than two result pages…)   So if after all that work you spotted a helpful reference work, give back! Click the “=1” button, will you?

As said this is not about DictionaryNet, but if you like us, happy to get a Plus from you as well.

If you are an author of a glossary and need some more help how to promote your worke, do not hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me via email:

Cheers – Ursula (Your Dictionary Guide)

Beer Encyclopedia by Samuel Adams®

 Glossary Description

Improve your beer vocabulary with Samuel Adams’ Beer Encyclopedia. This is the ultimate dictionary for beer lovers. Navigate this rich illustrated dictionary by alphabet or by relationship of the issues (via hyperlinked related terms).

“We don’t think anyone should feel confused or inferior when talking beer. (…) Looking for the definition of a brewing term that you don’t understand? Peruse our beer & brewing encyclopedia to expand your brewing knowledge and vocabulary.”

Please note that Samuel Adams takes seriously their “responsibility to limit website access to adults of legal drinking age” and you will have to enter a birth date to be able to visit the site.

Example Term: Chocolate Malt

Despite its name, there is no actual chocolate used in the malting process for chocolate malt. Its name comes from its dark appearance and roasty flavor only reminiscent of dark chocolate. So, if you’re looking to give your sweetheart a box of chocolate malt for Valentine’s day, you might want to reconsider your choice of gift.
Related Terms: Roasted Malt.

Glossary / Dictionary Details

Title: Beer Encyclopedia by Samuel Adams® Terms: 216
Link: Language: English
Quote as: Beer Encyclopedia by Samuel Adams®.  © The Boston Beer Company, Boston, MA  [+link] Last visited: November 04, 2011


Five Tips for Adding a Glossary to Your Site

Thinking about adding a glossary to your website? Great idea, go ahead! There are many good reasons for setting up a glossary, e.g. it makes your site more attractive, helps your reader to understand the concepts you are presenting, and can even drive additional traffic to your website.

Here are five tips to consider before starting:

1.) Define the purpose and scope of your glossary.

Be clear about your aims, it will save you time and help you to develop the glossary. Take two examples: a governmental agency website maintaining a 30,000 terms glossary as part of their mandate to inform and educate the public and a small business website offering a glossary of common terms comprising of some 20 entries. Welcome to the world of online glossaries! So be realistic about your goals, your resources – time, knowledge/expertise, implementation skills, and your audience. And do your homework – see what online glossaries are already covering your subject.

2.) Design and user friendliness count!

Let’s go to an extreme (even though more often found than you might assume): Given you only want to add a glossary for SEO reasons, to have a long-tail of keywords – why to waste any time on user friendliness? It is Google you are after and not a real audience. Wrong – what is good for your user is good for SEO. Old wisdom, more relevant than ever. Also forget about link exchange and buying back links – it is about earning your back links these days. So you better take that seriously and design a glossary that is helpful and easy to navigate even or especially when you want to see good results in your SERP.

Structuring smaller glossaries (20-50 terms)

Clearly the design of a glossary is related to its size. Not too much to do, if your glossary is only a few terms long – let’s say between 20-50 terms. No problem to put all of them on one webpage.  Have the term in bold and in a separate line, followed by a paragraph holding the definition. That will do. You might want to list all terms at the top of the page, linking them with anchors to the specific paragraph.

The more terms you offer the more you have to invest in an easy navigation: Browse per letter, search feature, etc. And don’t forget – getting to a specific term and definition is one thing, enabling the user to get back to the overview is another one. Many glossary builder overlook that!

Glossaries as part of your Support Channels

Say you want to write a glossary explaining the terminology you use on your website, for service or application. You should be in a good position as to the expertise needed for writing a glossary, after all it is your service/application. A glossary like this is extremely helpful in limiting confusion, increasing customer experience, and deflecting support inquiries.

You can bring these positive results to another level when you take care to have your glossaries as integrated part of your self-service support – e.g. articles, documentations, Q&A, etc. Whenever you have articles about a certain term in your glossary, don’t forget to link to it. Integrated part simply means easy transition from one support channel to the offer. So for some reading your FAQs, should be aware of the existence of the glossary of common terms and should have easy access to it.

3.) Don’t steal!

Online glossaries belong to two worlds: the Internet and the sharing of intellectual property. Both worlds have rules and etiquette – and one rule both worlds share is – give reference to sources! And yes, even a two sentence definition of a term that you have taken form another website or book should be given reference to.

Writing a glossary is not as easy as it looks: a definition should be clear, short and valid.  As we all know – short is always harder than long explanations. So the temptation to take “such a small piece of information” from another source is high.

Let’s face it, it is stealing and it is done all over the places. I recently reviewed Chocolate glossaries, and one of the check I do is to see how unique a glossary is. For that I simply “google” a definition and see how many glossaries come up with exactly the same definition.

Let so let’s make an example!

Step 1: Here is the definition of “Xocoatl” I first encountered on – Glossary of Chocolate and here is the definition: Xocoatl is the original name the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Incas gave to a stimulating drink they brewed from cocoa beans. It was a mixture of cocoa, maize (Indian corn) and water.

Step 2: I place the definition or a rather unique looking part of it into Google as an exact search (to make an exact search enclose your search string with “).

31 results for the same phrase. Visiting the glossaries it becomes clear that the entire definition and in most cases the whole glossaries are the same! Only 5 sites give reference to the source, while many other have the glossary followed by their own copyright remark!

Please don’t do that. If you take only one definition from a specific source, add a back link. That would be sufficient and seen as fair use. If you want to use an entire glossary, there is no way around from asking reprint permission from the glossary owner. 

A glossary is not only its definitions. It is also making the decision which terms should enter your glossary. I think it is perfectly fine to get orientation from other glossaries concerning which terms should be considered. That is a way of learning. Try to concentrate on the main terms first. An online glossary, like every webpage is constantly “work in progress”. Go online with a small, decent version and let your glossary grow over time.

5.) Keep communication channels open.

Your glossary is a service to your site visitors. Give your visitors a change to comment on your glossary, suggest more terms, or point out mistakes. You will draw motivation and insights from the feedback you receive.

If you are running the glossary on your SMB website, make it an issue everyone in your company can contribute to. Maybe from some terms of Product Manager is the right one to suggest a definition, while in another case your Account Manager can point out terms to you that are constantly misunderstood by your customers.

Like every other property and feature on your website, use your glossary to get social. Announce it on Twitter and Facebook, mention it in your newsletters.

6.) Keep it updated.

Only in rare cases a glossary will stay static for longer than 1-2 years. Certainly depends on the subject. But language changes, new technologies arise, and with this your glossary might need an update.

Sorry – my dear friends, this post got way longer than I intended. If you need some help or want to discuss your own glossary project with me, do not hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me via email:

Design, friends. Don’t forget about it!

I am currently screening chess glossaries and dictionaries. There is one observation I would like to share right away: Chess and design – seems that doesn’t go together to well. I find glossaries, well equipped with the most important chess terminology and obviously written with love and expertise, but – oh my – the designs are terrible!

Should that matter at all? Isn’t it the information that counts in the end? Yes, it should. Even a glossary on a personal page, written for no commercial aim, is written to be read. It should be easy to use and clearly structured. And design is part of this. If a page design forces the glossary user to partially close his/her eyes to overlook the surrounding in order to concentrate on the content, something went terrible wrong.

Take the chess glossary ranked number 1 in the Google research results: Chess Glossary. It can get an award for the most disturbing background image! Something I am ready to overlook, but starting with the letter T – the background changes to black – and well you do not see text written in black on black background?

For sure is aware of this, so why do they not change it? Might be the owner of the site doesn’t know to much about HTML ? What a pity.

PGA Golf Glossary

Glossary Description

Founded in 1916, The PGA of America is the largest working sports organization in the world, comprised of more than 28,000 dedicated men and women promoting the game of golf to everyone, everywhere.

Of course the PGA website is offering a wealth of golf information and news. Great to see that as part of their golf instruction section, PGA also offers a glossary of golf terms. The golf terminology presented comes in a clean and moderate way. All terms are arranged on one page, with navigating to the different letters via anchors. The site wide search function will also return results from the glossary.

Example Term: Balata

A rubber-like substance used as a cover material for golf balls. Pure balata is rarely, if ever, used today. Instead, manufacturers use blends or synthetic material. Many players prefer balata or balata-like covers because it provides a softer feel. And can provide increased spin. (Most of the players in the championship played with balata-covered balls).

Glossary / Dictionary Details

Title: PGA Golf Glossary Terms: 234
Link: Language: English
Quote as: Golf Glossary. 2003-2011 PGA/Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved. [+link] Last visited: November 04, 2011

More Golf Dictionaries & Glossaries on DictionaryNet

More Sports Dictionaries & Glossaries on DictionaryNet – Glossary of Chocolate

 Description: For sure there are more than 5 reasons why to love chocolate, and there are certainly many reasons why to learn more about it. From many of us chocolate is food, it is … well, chocolate!, created by and for chocolate lovers and focusing on gourmet chocolate, offers a nice glossar with 41 terms from Alkalinisation to Xocoatl.

Also certainly worth a visit is the historical overview of chocolate prepared for us.

Example Term: Xocoatl
Xocoatl is the original name the Aztecs, Toltecs, Mayas and Incas gave to a stimulating drink they brewed from cocoa beans. It was a mixture of cocoa, maize (Indian corn) and water.

Link: Glossary

Language: English

No. of terms: approximately 41

Last visited: November 04, 2011

Quote as: Glossary ©20011, All Rights Reserved [+link]

More Food Dictionaries & Glossaries on DictionaryNet

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