The Joking Computer
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You can try out the Joking Computer online NOW on this site.
Or you can download a copy to use on your own PC.

When do words mean the same?

When making a joke, the computer often has to find words that mean (roughly) the same. These kind of words are called synonyms (pronounced "sin-oh-nims"). For example, "student" and "pupil" are synonyms, as are "ill" and "sick".

Given a word, you may know another word that means the same. For example, can you think of a word that means the same as "joker"? Even humans find this difficult sometimes.

People often use a special book, called a thesaurus, to help with this. A thesaurus organises words into groups that mean (roughly) the same. You can find one online, for example:

Try looking up "joker" in this thesaurus, and complete the cross-word puzzle with words that mean "joker".

The words in the Joking Computer's dictionary are organised into little groups. Inside each group, all the words mean (roughly) the same as each other. So for a given word, the computer can easily find its "synonyms" -- they are the other ones in that word's group.

  Back to Stage 2: Choosing question parts


  To Stage 3: Putting it all together


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