best dictionary apps

When I was younger, I had a goal to try to learn one new word per day. I like discovering new ways to describe things and having a full list of vocabulary words in my arsenal doesn’t hurt my writing practices. I don’t look up new words as much anymore, but I do grab my thesaurus off the shelf fairly often.

If you like learning new words, need a way to describe something without repeating yourself, or just want to fill your head with knowledge, we’ve got a list of what we think are the best dictionary apps for you.

WordBook

Wordbook dictionary

Even though dictionaries traditionally include a phonetic spelling for words so you can pronounce them properly, there are always a few that are just too hard to figure out and if you don’t pronounce them right, you’ll sound dumber than if you never said the word at all. This app includes professionally recorded pronunciations for all words so you’ll be sure to get it right. This app is available for $1.99.

Dictionary.com

dictionary ss

Dictionary.com is probably my most-used web-based dictionary. It has more than two million definitions, synonyms, and antonyms with pronunciations and “word of the day” content. The app also allows for offline access, and 35,000 medical words and 23,000 scientific words are available for a premium upgrade. It also features a word translator for more than 30 different languages. This app is available for $3.99.

The Chambers Thesaurus

chambers ss

Why use the word “stupid” when you could impress your friends with something like “dim-witted” instead? I love changing up my daily language with more interesting words. This app features 40,000 words with approximately 400,000 synonyms and antonyms to choose from. The comprehensive search engine will even help you spell words correctly and offer suggestions for another you may have meant to look up instead. This app is available for $4.99.

Word Vault

word vault

One of the reasons I stopped trying to learn a new word every day was that I’d always forget the word or its meaning. If you don’t use new words all of the time, you tend to forget them. 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. Even if you forget the meaning of a word, this pop quiz will help you retain the information. This app is available for $4.99.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary & Thesaurus

merriam-webster

The M-W is my main source for word knowledge. I started using the popular dictionary and thesaurus paperback books while I was in college and I haven’t looked back since. The app features voice search, so you don’t even have to try to spell a word. It also includes Quick Definitions, Word of the Day, Favorites, and more. The premium upgrade includes more than 1,000 graphic illustrations and 20,000 additional entries. This app is available for $3.99.

English Thesaurus

english thesaurus

Just because you speak the same language, doesn’t mean you understand everything that someone says. In the U.S. alone, we hear different meanings for word from state to state. For example, some call it “soda” and some call it “pop.” This app helps you understand different colloquialisms so you can make sense of terms like “queuing up” and talking on a “mobile.” You can even find translations for proverbs like, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” This app is available for $2.99.

Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus

advanced

This might be the most comprehensive iOS dictionary and thesaurus app around. It includes 4.9 million words and more than a quarter of a million relations. It features audio pronunciation with American, British, and Australian accents. There are biographical and geographical references, as well as scientific and technical terms. Use the word shake feature to look up random entries. View sample sentences to see how words are used in everyday language. This app is available for $1.99.

Other useful dictionaries:

A previous version of this post was written by Lory Gil.

  • 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.