You said there is no websites or addresses involved
The 'Research pane' functions use a range of web sites to find information - just look at the drop-down list under the 'Search for:' box.
(He means ... note that the individual who posted may be female - you can't assume that the individual was male).
If it is this research function that has slowed down, try individual research options and see if one of them is particularly slow. Your post suggest that you are using a particular dictionary.
As most Encarta services were discontinued - see this Microsoft article , if an Encarta service is one of the listed services, then there will be a delay while Word tries to find it.
The MS article includes a fix.
I am assuming that access to other web sites through your web browser is not experiencing delays - if it is it will affect this Word function.