We often have questions about what is the difference between word X and word Y. Quite often this difference is just formality, for example you would only use word X in a formal business situation or in a scientific context, but word Y is a common word that everybody would use in daily life.

There was a question today asking about the difference between 喝采 and 拍手. I looked these words up in Weblio and found some nice explanations, but after reading the explanations I still wasn't confident in how to use them because I had no feeling for how formal either word was (I'm not claiming that's what the difference is between these two words, but that's what got me thinking).

Is there an online dictionary or other resource that would help with this kind of problem?

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    – chocolate Mod
    Dec 22, 2019 at 5:25
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    Not quite a dictionary, but doing corpus lookups on e.g., BCCWJ and comparing the source medium distribution would likely give you a decent idea (i.e., are most of the hits from novels or from blog posts). Dec 22, 2019 at 18:35
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    Thesauruses are also good, but they won't necessarily compare the words you want them to. dictionary.goo.ne.jp/thsrs/9240/meaning/m0u/%E5%96%9D%E9%87%87 For instance, 喝采 appears in that thesaurus, but 拍手 doesn't. Presumably the distinction between 喝采 and 拍手 is harder to understand for a non-native than a native.
    – Leebo
    Dec 23, 2019 at 6:07


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