Integrating Big Huge Thesaurus’s API into Lean Domain Search

Big Huge Thesaurus by John Watson provides an excellent thesaurus API that can be quickly integrated into any app.

The first step is to sign up for an API key which takes less than a minute. The API is free up to 10,000 requests per day and cheap if you need more than that.

After you fill out the required information the site will generate an API key for you which you can use to access the API.

Here’s a simplified example of how I’m using it with in Lean Domain Search via jQuery:

  url : "" + word + "/json?callback=?", 
  dataType : 'json',
  complete : function(jqXHR, textStatus) {
    if (textStatus == 'parsererror') {
      // Did not find any synonyms
  success : function(data) {
    // Found synonyms

(View Gist)

Here’s an example of the returned JSON data for the word “open”:

Note that the results are broken up by part of speech (noun, adjective, etc) and are further broken up into groups (“ant” for antonyms, “rel” for related terms, “sim” for similar terms, “syn” for synonyms).

All in all it took about two hours to integrate the Big Huge Thesaurus API into Lean Domain Search and only because I added some extra functionality (sorting and filtering the synonym list, tracking what % of the searches are discovered via the synonym list, etc).

Here’s what Lean Domain Search looks like now — note the synonym list in the right column:

Click here to check out the results for “open”.

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