How to Look up Word Definitions in iOS 5

By , Oct 26, 2011

iOS 5 has tons of new features and additions that can make your life a little bit easier. The Lock screen camera icon can help you snap photos quicker, and Shortcuts can make typing long phrases and URLs a breeze.

There’s also a new feature called Dictionary which, as you might have guessed, enables you to look up the definitions of words on the fly. Dictionary is available system-wide, and can be accessed quickly with a single tap…

In almost any application that allows you to select text, you can access iOS 5’s dictionary. Simply tap-to-select a word like you would to cut or copy. In most apps, you’ll get the Define option, but in other apps like iBooks, the option is labeled Dictionary.

Either way, tapping the option will bring up a definition page that includes all kinds of information. Not only does it give you the meaning(s) of the word, it will also give examples of how to use it in a sentence and its origin if possible.

A downside of the feature is that its library of definitions seems to be rather small. If it doesn’t recognize a word, you won’t get the Define option when selecting text. But as a general quick-reference tool, iOS 5’s built-in dictionary works great.

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  • http://ine Verizon Roxks!

    Cool thx

  • Steve

    It’s great practised on several words in this review, thanks

  • http://www.blu3sn0w.com mark

    i definitely wrote a guest article about this one time back when iOS 5 was in beta and i was told that this was already covered.

  • Murdoc

    I hope they expand the list quickLy and also include other languages. This will be another reason why iOS will be superior to other OSes

  • olivo42

    but, how can I activate it?.. I tried but I did not get define option

    • http://blogideias.com/ Pedro Sá

      Me neither…

      • Josh

        Highlight a word then choose define

    • MrA

      when highlighted, you may have to click the arrow to the right of (copy, etc..) for ‘define to show up’

  • Macazur

    Would be useful in other languages. Tap-translate and tap-dictionary apps do it!

  • numbnuts

    just a question if i may, the Lock Screen Camera link says the screen shot was taken of a 3GS, im on iOS5 but don’t have the icon next to the slider. any reason? thanks.

    • numbnuts

      no suggestions? thanks for the consideration iDB :-|

      • WisdomCat

        Just double tap on home button)

  • geoff

    i install an app dictionary. you cannot search a word and its definition during offline! the moment i found this info, i suddently tested it and suddenly deleted the dictionary i installed !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gilad Weiss

    The freakiest thing. I found this out on my iPod a few days ago while trying to solve a debate with my friend about the meaning of the very word used in the example.

  • NERDGEEK

    This was in iBooks back in ios 4… Nothing new…