How to use the Merriam-Webster API in Google Sheets

Merriam-Webster is an American company that publishes reference books and is especially known for its dictionaries. We can use the Merriam-Webster API to import data from Merriam-Webster into Google Sheets. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to connect the Merriam-Webster REST API to Google Sheets in 5 steps:

  1. Install the Apipheny add-on
  2. Obtain an API key
  3. Choose a Merriam Webster API endpoint
  4. Enter your API request into Apipheny
  5. Run your API request in your Google Sheet

Step 1.) Install and open the Apipheny add-on for Google Sheets

Apipheny is an API connector for Google Sheets. You can use Apipheny to connect your Google Sheets to unlimited API data sources, make unlimited API requests, and more. There is a 30 day free trial included.

1.) Install Apipheny by opening the following link on desktop and then clicking the Install button in the Google Marketplace: https://apipheny.io/install

2.) After you’ve installed Apipheny, open a Google Sheet and then click on the Extensions dropdown in the menu at the top.

In the dropdown list you should see Apipheny. Click Apipheny then click Import API to open the Apipheny sidebar in your Google Sheet.

open apipheny

Tip: you can open a new Google Sheet by entering this URL in your browser: sheet.new

Step 2.) Obtain an API key

After logging into your Merriam-Webster developer account, go to the YOUR KEYS menu item:

Merriam-Webster dashboard
Merriam-Webster dashboard

Your API keys will then be displayed on the page:

Your Account section
Your Account section

 Copy and paste your API keys in a safe location, because you’ll need them later.

Step 3.) Choose a Merriam-Webster API endpoint

In this section, we’ll show you how to browse the Merriam-Webster API documentation to find an API endpoint that retrieves the information you need. If you already know your API URL, or you want to use the same example URL as us, just skip to Step 4.

To browse Merriam Webster endpoints, first open the Merriam-WebsterAPI documentation page: https://www.dictionaryapi.com/products/index

A list of nine APIs will be displayed on the screen:

Merriam-Webster documentation page
Merriam-Webster documentation page

Each API has one endpoint. For example, if you click on the Merriam-Webster College Thesaurus API, its documentation will be displayed on the screen.

Each endpoint’s documentation contains a descriptive title, a paragraph describing the API’s purpose, data features, formats available, query options, the endpoint’s URL, as well as an example response:

Merriam-Webster endpoint documentation
Merriam-Webster endpoint documentation

All API calls to Merriam-Webster should be made to the https://www.dictionaryapi.com/api/v3/ base domain.

Step 4.) Enter your Merriam-Webster API request into Apipheny

Now, to get Merriam-Websterdata data in your Google Sheet, go back to your Google Sheet and make sure that you’ve installed the Apipheny add-on and you have it opened on the Import tab. In the Import Tab of Apipheny, enter the following details into the add-on:

Method: At the top of the Apipheny sidebar, select the HTTP method (GET or POST) required by your Merriam-Webster API endpoint. For this example, we are using the GET method.

API URL: In Step 3 we explained how you can find the Merriam-Webster API endpoint that you need. Now copy your complete Merriam-Webster API URL into the Apipheny add-on, in the field that says API URL, followed by any parameters required for your query (if applicable).

For this example, we are using the MERRIAM-WEBSTER’S MEDICAL DICTIONARY WITH AUDIO endpoint, which is a dictionary of medical terms and definitions for healthcare professionals. The URL for this specific endpoint is:

https://www.dictionaryapi.com/api/v3/references/medical/json/doctor?key=API_KEY

If you’re following the same example as us, you can copy and paste this URL into Apipheny, but don’t forget to replace API_KEY with the key you obtained previously, in Step 2.

Headers: Headers are not required for this API request. You can leave this section blank in Apipheny.

Here’s what our API request looks like in Apipheny:

Merriam-Webster API request entered into Apipheny

Step 5.) Run the Merriam-Webster API request in Your Google Sheet

The last step is to click the Run button at the bottom of the Apipheny add-on and then your Merriam-Webster data will be imported into your Google Sheets, like so:

 Merriam-Webster data imported into Google Sheets
Merriam-Webster data imported into Google Sheets

After making a successful request to the Merriam-Webster API, try querying a different Merriam-Webster API endpoint, or try using one of the more advanced features in the Apipheny add-on, such as:

  • Save and schedule your Merriam-Webster API request
  • Make a POST request to the Merriam-Webster API (if available)
  • Use the custom =APIPHENY() function to call the Merriam-Webster API request inside your spreadsheet
  • Create a Merriam-Webster API request by referencing the value of a cell in the API URL with three curly braces eg. {{{Sheet1!A1}}}

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What is an API?
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