Random Nonsense Word Generator

As I went to sleep last night I was wondering how I could create some random word-like words, for something I’ve been working on. When I woke up, I had the solution! So, I thought I’d share how I did it.

The thing that was bothering me was where to find a list of dictionary words to look at to generate a nonsensical, but ‘word-like’ part of a word. I started thinking about dictionary.com and if they had some kind of API, amaong others.

Then it occurred to me that most Linux distros have a dictionary built in to the system. It lives at /usr/share/dict/words

So, with a little snippet of PHP, I was able to look at a part of this file and grab some characters.

here it is:

function makeNonsense($length){

        // used to create word fragments $length long

        $dictionaryFile = "/usr/share/dict/words";
        // eventually need to make this go higher than the rand max 32768
        $content=file_get_contents($dictionaryFile,FALSE,NULL,rand(0,32768),$length);
        // get rid of numbers. spaces and other characters
        $content = ereg_replace("[^a-zA-Z]", "", $content);
        $content = strtolower(str_replace(" ","",$content));
        $nonsense = str_replace("\n","",$content);
        return $nonsense;

}

And that’s it! ;)

2 Responses to “Random Nonsense Word Generator”


  1. 1 Leif August 15, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Interesting… could this be turned into a WordPress plugin that generates random words?

    I’d really like a thingamyjig on my blog that features one word, randomly generated when viewed. The words could be anything (no swears though). So words like ‘flan’, ‘fajita’, ‘cajole’ and ‘spackle’ are all fine.

  2. 2 kosso September 15, 2008 at 1:52 am

    I don’t see any reason why not.

    It all depends on the word file. You could use any body of text though, I suppose ;)


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Who is this ‘kosso’ anyway?

I am a 'Createc'. A creative technologist, entrepreneur/ hacker/ geek. Worked on building things on the web for over 12 years.

Used to work at BBC News interactive and created the publishing and delivery systems for video news to get distributed on huge screens in major railway stations around the country.

I left the BBC to become CTO / sole-lead architect/developer at podcast.com for three years.

I have now left them to build a start up a new system called 'Phreadz', which is a 'Social Multimedia Conversation Network', integrating everything that is 'V.I.T.A.L' to us on the web. Video, Images, Text, Audio and Links.

I built the whole thing my myself. I programmed every line of code and positioned every pixel. I'm looking forward to attracting an hiring new members of the team to help me out! :)

There are currently over 1000 happy and helpful beta testers on the system so far and one client of a white-labelled solution.



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