A Google Web Search Help thread has Googler Kelly F. finally replying to dozens of complaints on changes to how the define operator on Google works.
Back in April we reported on a define operator bug but apparently, it was Google making changes to how the operator works.
The thing is, I really do not see what has changed recently. Maybe I am missing the obvious, but all the define commands work as they did for me months ago. Plus the results seem to have no changed for me. The image above matches the format from what I screen captured in July 2010.
Kelly from Google did say they refined it but again, I don't see how any of this is new. Kelly said:
As you've noticed, we recently refined our dictionary search features, which include the define: operator among other tools. We now offer you a couple of ways to look up the definition of a word. Here are some examples:
- [what does miraculous mean]
- [definition of miraculous]
Each of these queries will bring up the word's definition within the results. There's no need to go to a different page! If you want a more comprehensive definition of a word, select the "More" link at the end of the definition and you'll find additional information related to your query including synonyms, pronunciation, usage examples, web definition, and more.
Update: I am told that when you used the define:word command, it would take you directly to the Google Dictionary, i.e. the "more" link and not the search results page. People really prefer that when they type define:word they are taken to the dictionary page and not search results.
Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.