Single dictionary word domain names can be incredibly valuable, as the list of sales in the next section shows. That does not mean that any dictionary word has value, however. With the spread of online dictionaries, some of which allow user additions, one has to be careful about whether a name is truly a dictionary word. The Biggest Single Word Domain Sales Last 5 Years Any list of high value domain name sales is dominated by single dictionary word names. Here are some names that have sold in the previous five years, data from NameBio. I rounded prices to the nearest thousand. voice.com $30 million ice.com $3.5 million fly.com $2.89 million lotto.com $2.68 million angel.com $2.0 million zoom.com $2.0 million freedom.com $2.0 million is.com $1.95 million exodus.com $1.945 million super.com $1.2 million bullish.com $1.08 million nursing.com $950 thousand recursion.com $904 thousand great.com $900 thousand purple.com $900 thousand cover.com $825 thousand tattoo.com $812 thousand engage.com $803 thousand links.com $797 thousand poker.net $750 thousand files.com $750 thousand liquid.com $750 thousand view.com $737 thousand mastermind.com $600 thousand carrot.com $565 thousand wolf.com $550 thousand inception.com $550 thousand place.com $550 thousand online.casino $510 thousand blade.com $503 thousand snoring.com $502 thousand sleeping.com $502 thousand vacation.rentals $500 thousand tokens.com $500 thousand home.loans $500 thousand gorilla.com $496 thousand plants.com $450 thousand leads.com $435 thousand snappy.com $415 thousand asset.com $406 thousand cooking.com $403 thousand casinos.org $400 thousand pilot.com $400 thousand pain.com $400 thousand Almost all are .com, but there is one .net, one .org and three new extension names. Surprisingly, none in this elite list are country code. The majority are nouns, but there are a number of verbs, and the occasional adjective and adverb. The only sector that is listed a number of times is casinos/gambling. A few were sold not because of the word, but the acronym, such as ICE.com. Of course the majority of retail sales do not get reported to NameBio, so this represents only a subset of all big dictionary word sales from the last 5 years. Finding Single Word Sales On NameBio You can use the Dictionary category setting in NameBio, with the English Subcategory, along with whatever other settings you desire, to isolate only sales of single dictionary words. Here is the NameBio link for single word sales from the previous five years. There is also a NameBio subcategory setting for Spanish words. What Exactly Is A Dictionary Word? A dictionary word is, of course, a word that is listed in a dictionary. But it is not as simple as one might think, as some words are in certain dictionaries, but not in other dictionaries. I think to be genuinely a dictionary word it should be listed in at least one of these major dictionaries. Merriam-Webster (major American dictionary) Collins Dictionary Oxford English Dictionary (OED) The major UK-based dictionary. While the online version of the OED is not free, you may well be able to access OED Online free through your local library or university. They also have a free 30 day trial. Some other online dictionaries will include, along with regular words, slang and modern online expressions. Are those words? It depends on your definition, I guess. Among the best of the online broader dictionaries are the following. Dictionary.com Wiktionary TheFree Dictionary The Free Dictionary also has medical and legal term dictionaries. One Advantage Of Dictionary Word Domain Names One advantage of a true dictionary word brand, over a somewhat similar made-up word, is that in computer applications and Google the correct word will be the one completed, unless the brand has become quite well known. Many Dictionary Words Are Worthless But even if a term is listed in a major dictionary, that does not mean that the domain name necessarily has any value. Words that are highly technical, such as specialized scientific or medical terms, will usually be hard to sell. Words that have a serious negative connotation, or are controversial, will struggle to find a buyer as well. Who Would Want This Domain Name? No matter how many dictionaries a term is in, the key question really is the same as for domain names in general: Would multiple users ultimately consider this name for their site? An Easy Check For Word Popularity One helpful feature of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is if you scroll down to near the bottom of a listing for the word it will show you the popularity, for example top 20% of words in the dictionary. As a rough rule of thumb, single dictionary word .com domain names should generally be in the top 50% of word popularity to have a reasonable chance of end-user interest, but there are exceptions. Another easy check on popularity is to simply Google the term, and see how many results there are. Most words that are not overly specialized will have at least a few million results. Watch The Trends A word that is in one dictionary, but not the other main dictionaries, or only in the online dictionaries that permit user additions, may warrant additional research. One useful tool is Google Ngram Viewer. This plots relative occurrence of a word in all books that have been scanned into Google Books. It is simple to use: just enter the terms you want to check, separated by commas, and alter the date range if desired. Since most books go through careful editing, this is a good check on validity of a word. It also is a way to see if a term is growing, or dwindling, in popularity, in books at least. Last week’s NamePros Blog was on the metaverse, and also mentioned the similar term multiverse. Why not check out relative popularity of each term in Ngram Viewer? Keep in mind that only books up to 2019 are currently included. But It Seems Like A Word! Some terms which are in none of the major dictionaries still have the feel of a word, and indeed, in some cases, they may become a word, as additions are made to the dictionaries every year. These ‘almost words’ can be valuable as domain names, since generally they may be able to be trademarked for the related sector simply because not a current dictionary word. A Google Trick Something I discovered in researching this topic, if you enter in the URL bar define(example), with example replaced by the term under consideration, Google does a good job of taking you to the definition. This extends to words beyond current English, and to some degree includes legal, scientific and medical terms. You can often get the equivalent by simply including the term and a word like definition, but this query format will tell Google exactly what you want. Knowing the meaning of a term in another language, or an ancient language, can sometimes be useful in developing a possible brand story around the domain name. Any time I am creating made-up brandable names, I always use Google Translate to see if the term is a word in some other language. The Urban Dictionary There are several urban dictionaries, and it is wise to consult these to make sure that there is not some rude sense of a word you are considering. One of the best is simply UrbanDictionary. The term domainer is not a word according to the three major dictionaries cited earlier, but it is in the Urban Dictionary. Is This A Bad Word? A free and simple-to-use online resource is WordSafety.com to check for possible naughty or negative aspects of a word. Just enter a word, and it will alert you to swear words, negative meanings in other languages and so on. What Words Have Just Been Added? It is good to be on the lookout for words newly added to the dictionary, as now and then those words may be available in a major extension.Their recent inclusion probably means the term is gaining popularity. The OED tracks updates here. You can see here a list of new OED word entries added March 2021. Word Of The Day Several of the dictionaries have free word-of-the-day distribution services by email, an easy way to build your vocabulary. For example sign up for Merriam-Webster here. Sign up for the OED word-of-the day by email here. Finding Available Single Word Names It is challenging to find even somewhat less common dictionary words in the .com extension. One can search the about to expire lists, using services such as ExpiredDomains.net. There are dictionary word .com occasionally listed on NameLiquidate. Now and then single words in legacy extensions appear in the wholesale domain exchange DNWE, although you need a subscription to access that wholesale marketplace. Some good single dictionary names that were developed some time ago are being seriously under-utilized. It seems the owner must be unfamiliar with the current market value of the name, or very attached to it. I suspect privately is the best way to acquire strong dictionary word names in .com, although it requires skill and persistence. Beyond the .com extension, the search for single dictionary word names is much easier, although good ones are still hard to come by in .net and .org. Tools like OneWord.Domains can help, but double check results using the dictionary tools noted earlier, and for related trademarks. You will need a subscription for most TLDs, but a few including .co, .io, .app and .link are available free at One Word Domains. There is a discussion of OneWord.Domains on NamePros, and I interviewed the developer Steven Tey in the NamePros Blog. Almost always multiple people are looking to buy single word .com domain names in the NamePros Request section, and that is definitely an avenue for acquiring them. There was a recent discussion on NamePros on the difficulty of selling obscure dictionary .com domain names. Single Words Dominate New Extension Sales While there are exceptions, most of the significant domain name sales in new extensions are in single dictionary words. Fortunately, for most extensions, with far fewer registrations, it is much easier to find single word domain names. One Word Domains covers a number of the new extensions. The same holds for many country codes, with fewer registrations, easier to find common dictionary word domains. Final Thoughts It is satisfying to own a dictionary word .com. As time goes on, I think it is likely that even somewhat less common words will increase in worth. That is not to say that overly-specialized words will, in most cases, ever be purchased by an end-user. When considering a word, search for uses that might broaden the original intended use of the word. As an example, I have modulability, a word from radio communication more popular a few decades ago. But I think the word could be a nice brand for any sort of modular product or service. I hope you will share in the discussion section your opinions on what makes a saleable dictionary word. Also, please vote in the associated poll. Feel free, if you wish, to share one or two experiences in selling or acquiring single word .com domain names. However, please do not use the discussion thread to promote your current listings.