What’s the word I’m Looking for?

By Rachel Krauss March 09, 2011 Comments

“What’s the word I’m looking for?” One of the most common phrases and an especially annoying one if you’re still scratching your brain for that missing word hours later. If English is your second language, you might as well spend your life carrying a heavy dictionary to avoid the constant headache.

Encountering this problem themselves, two Israelis, Onn Freund and Jonathan Raz have developed PhraseUp – a website that aims to fill in your missing word.

Raz recently told Israeli website Newsgeek: “A few days ago I was writing in English, and knew I want to write ‘we have performed a ____ review’, but couldn’t think of the proper word.”  The duo therefore came up with PharseUp, which tries to find the slippery word that doesn’t come to mind. It  is aimed mainly at non-native English speakers, but also at English speakers who aren’t sure they are using the correct word, Raz explained.


To use PhraseUp, the user is asked to write a complete sentence into the site’s search box, with an asterix (*) sign in place of the missing word.  The website then offers different possible solutions, as well as definitions and synonyms.

However, while performing our own searches, NoCamels found that PhraseUp finds the correct word less than 50 percent of the time. PhraseUp is still in Beta stage, however and has updated its site several times following user feedback.

Photo by Zach Klein

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