Natural wordsmith or student of the language, having a comprehensive dictionary to fall back on can be indispensable.

Granted, future generations might frown upon us for striving to become our most eloquent selves (all the while publishing Emoji to English dictionaries), however in the interim, why not uphold the tradition of cultivating our language?

In this spirit, we have once again rifled through the App Store to showcase the best dictionary apps for iPhone and iPad available as of September 2017. 

Dictionary.com


According to their bookkeepers, Dictionary.com boasts over 2,000,000 trusted definitions and synonyms. The free version comes with some minor cutbacks, such as no offline mode or the absence of a helpful idioms and phrases tab, however it is still a nimble thesaurus that is easy to navigate and use. Amongst other features, the most notable ones in my book are audio playback for pronunciation, a witty word of the day implementation, trends and a wildly entertaining ‘Local Lookups’ tab, starring words sought out in your city and their precise locations. Incidentally, Dictionary.com also packs an above average Apple Watch app and iCloud syncing between all your devices.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch
  • Offline mode: no (yes for Pro)
  • Cost: free ($3.99 for Pro)

Word Vault


If you don’t use new words all of the time, you tend to forget them. As brutal as that sounds, it’s the unfortunate, harsh reality. This app lets you lock those new words into a vault for your memory’s safe keeping. Look up new words and save them for later with the vocabulary review system. And even if you do forget the meaning of a word, the app’s beautifully implemented pop quiz will help you retain the information. Functionality aside, Word Vault is possibly the slickest of our winning apps with a flat, snappy interface that cannot be praised enough.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone
  • Offline mode: yes
  • Cost: $4.99

Merriam Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus


Merriam-Webster’s unwieldy badge oozes tradition, as well it should be for an association claiming to be a household name since 1828. At 200,000 word choices and examples, the app is not necessarily the front runner in terms of sheer mass, however other features like vocabulary games, voice search, example sentences or audio pronunciation are dripping with quality.

In addition, iCloud synchronization for your favorite words as well as an Apple Watch extension is provided. Today, the app can either be purchased outright for $4.99 or downloaded for free. The latter does not skimp on features but invariably means ads, which can be removed at $1.99 per year.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch
  • Offline mode: yes
  • Cost: free (in-app purchase)

English Thesaurus


English Thesaurus is a capable, 349,000 word strong dictionary also featuring a vocabulary register and flashcards component. For what it’s worth, the app feels compact and well-rounded, which is demonstrative of the fact that the dated revenue model of upfront payments still produces the most top of the line offers on the market. English Thesaurus awaits you on the other side of a $2.99 payment, which on all accounts is good value: aside from the mentioned flashcards feature, there is an array of settings to fine-tune your search results (such as filters for informal, colloquial, technical words), plenty of preferences to adjust the audio playback (including an offline speech option), different visual themes and much more.

If you’re not religiously opposed to paying some coffee money on a potent word book, English Thesaurus will live up to your expectations.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone
  • Offline mode: yes
  • Cost: $2.99

Dictionary.


A popular business model amongst these apps, Dictionary. too has a premium offer valued at $3.99. Be that as it may, the free Dictionary. app is holding its own ground and is nothing to scoff at: the app draws its data from various dictionaries (including Webster’s Dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, The American Heritage Dictionary) at once, making for one of the most comprehensive databases condensed in an app for your pocket. Next to synonyms and antonyms, other outstanding traits are free word games, a word and idiom of the day section, pronunciation and a free offline modus. What it lacks in presentation, it makes up for in content. In other words, this one is not necessarily a sight for sore eyes (especially if ads are not deactivated for $1.99), at the same time it’s arguably one of the richest in content.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone
  • Offline mode: yes
  • Cost: free (in-app purchase)

WordWeb Dictionary


While less glittery, WordWeb Dictionary comes entirely free of charge and  still boasts 285,000 words, phrases and derived forms. The somewhat more clinical look aside, smart search implementations such as spelling suggestions or fast pattern-matching search (where asterisks and other characters can be used to fill in for unknown vowels or consonants) give WordWeb Dictionary an edge over other generic dictionaries.
The other good news: no internet connection is required to rifle through the app’s immense word catalogue. WordWeb Dictionary’s free offer does not support audio playback whereas a $3.99 variant does.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone
  • Offline mode: yes 
  • Cost: free

English Thesaurus & Synonyms Dictionary Offline


Last but not least, English Thesaurus & Synonyms Dictionary Offline (…exhale) comprises over 330,000 terms, words and definitions. It’s available at no charge, which needless to say brings about ad banners you will likely learn to live with. To purge the app from those, an in-app upgrade is available at $1.99. As far as features, the app includes two plain but useful tabs – History and Favorites – to navigate and backtrace your word search efficiently. There is something to be said for simplicity, a line this one is clearly taking.

  • Devices: iPad, iPhone
  • Offline mode: yes
  • Cost: free (in-app purchase)

Closing the books

And that wraps it up for our collection of dictionary apps. Counter to custom, we aimed to provide you with as many quality offers as you can digest in one read and drop the runners-up spot entirely. As there is an excess supply of dictionaries on the App Store, make sure you drop us a line in the comments if your app of choice has flown under the iDB radar!

  • Zozory Zozor

    Actually the best dictionary app is VOCABULARY

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    The best dictionary is the one built right into the contextual menu.

    • Marcus

      Agreed

  • Ashton Nile

    Even better: Wordweb.

    • Damian

      Agreed

  • rockdude094

    I just ask Siri, it gets the job done fast.

  • Cody2185

    I know this isn’t an “app”, but this works great (in my opinion).Get pro widgets tweak on Cydia and use the dictionary widget (which uses built in dictionary library, so it’s works with no internet). For faster use, put the dictionary shortcut on the lockscreen!

    • Ismail ‘marco’ Azeem

      i was gonna mention that hehe but unfortunately it still does not support 7.x.x right?

      • Niclas

        *7.1.x
        No, but if you are adventurous you can disable PWLockScreen.dylib temporarily. Just don’t forget to enable before you update later on.

      • Ismail ‘marco’ Azeem

        thanks but i think ill wait for an update :p

  • Osama Hamdy El-Sharnoby

    Cambridge advanced learner dictionary with audio.
    This one rocks

  • Umut Bilgiç

    Great post!

  • John Tremendol

    I use this one, very clean UI and free- Dictionary+

  • hkgsulphate

    google translate?

  • Byron C Mayes

    It’s difficult to tell just what your criteria for “best” really are. Many of the things you say make one product stand out are available in other products, including some of the others in this list (so why have both?). And if the producers of Acrynymph really think “hi” is an abbreviation for “hello” (it’s a word in its own right), then I don’t think I can trust them on other acronyms and abbreviations.

    Anyway, since you only seem to be including iPhone apps, it’s understandable that you missed the iPad-only Wordflex. It’s probably the only dictionary with an interface that looks built for iOS, AND it gets its data from one of the most credible sources available (Oxford).

  • Somecuitears

    wordweb

  • gittlopctbi

    The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

  • Alex

    Try BrainRain. It is brand new but includes a lot of necessary and interesting things for learners, translators and so on.

  • The best one for me is bing translater because
    – Universal translation multiple languages
    – offline translation
    – the best one is you can translate web page in safari using the share button without leaving the webpage
    – FREEeeeeeeee