An Online Dictionary is a lexicon that is available via the internet using a web browser. With the whole World preferring to get the job done via the online mode due to demanding situations, online dictionaries are coming off as a massive help to English Language learners. It is the quickest way to refer to the details of a particular term. The use of dictionaries is widespread all over the World and in all fields of work. It is essential to know how to use a dictionary to make learning more effective appropriately.
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How to use a Dictionary?
- Firstly, one needs to choose the right dictionary according to the level of learning they are undergoing. If one is not an advanced English Language learner, they should go for the standard dictionaries like the Oxford dictionary, Longmans Dictionary, Google Dictionary, Reverso etc. When a user has good English language proficiency, they should approach the advanced English Language dictionaries.
- At first, one needs to look up the word meaning and understand it. Then they can refer to the translation to have a better understanding.
- The user should examine the spelling of the word, along with the forms available.
- Grammatically right applications should be referred and understood to be familiar with the word’s usage in all its forms.
- Following the step mentioned above, learners should check out synonyms, collocations and pronunciations of the word.
- User can then lookup for related words and follow the same steps for further learning.
Requirements of Online Dictionaries:
Every dictionary has specific requirements that it should fulfil to be of the best use to the learner. The following are the basic requirements that should be present in any dictionary:
- Meaning: A specific term could have several implications for it. Hence, it is important to know whatever purpose exists for that particular to make it is easier to apply the meanings at different places. When the dictionary explains meanings using simple terms, it is easier for the learners.
- Examples: Along with the meaning, it is vital to provide example sentences. When a dictionary provides with example sentences, the application of the word becomes clearer. For English Language learners, the example sentences are the most necessary attribute of dictionaries.
- Tenses: Some dictionaries provide the different forms of tenses that the word looked out for can be presented. It is essential to know the tenses of a word to place it in a grammatically correct sentence. The concept of English Language becomes more transparent with learning the tenses.
- Synonyms: Synonym has a massive role in expanding the vocabulary of the English Language. Sometimes we cannot express ourselves due to lack of speech, but once we start adapting to the several (at least two) synonym for the same word, our expression becomes more diverse. The presence of stalk of words in the head is necessary to become proficient in the English Language.
- Pronunciation: Pronunciation is key to spoken English. Dictionaries often provide with the British or American English pronunciation. The audio pronunciation feature helps us get a clear idea about how the word is supposed to be said in our speech and how it sounds from a native speaker’s mouth.
- Parts of speech: An ideal dictionary should have the parts of speech to which the word belongs. It could be a noun, pronoun, adjective adverb and more. Sometimes a single word can fall into the category of more than one part of speech. Thus, it is vital to have an idea about it while learning about the term.
- Antonyms: Some dictionaries also provide with the antonym of the word searched for more clarity in knowledge.
The following are the list of Online English Language Dictionaries:
1. Oxford Dictionary
The Oxford Dictionary is one of the oldest and most trusted online dictionaries with the wordfinder feature, which helps find related words and build vocabulary in the English Language.
Oxford Dictionary is regarded as the best tool for learning English for students and learners. It is an online platform that helps define words both in British as well as American English.
Oxford Dictionary provides the meaning of words with clarity and provides with the related picture for the visual impact. Use of the words in sentences, the pronunciation of the term, and synonyms are also available to make the learning more compact.
According to records, the Oxford English Dictionary provides an unsurpassed guide to English language documenting 600,000 words and 3.5million illustrated quotations from over 1000 years of history across the English-speaking World.
Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary: The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary is the ideal dictionary for advanced English language learners. The updated version of 2020 of the Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary has made some addition to its already existing words to keep itself updated with the changing World. Example: Words related to the pandemic such as self-isolate, contact tracing, Covid-19, words related to social issues such as gender fluid, unconscious bias, generation Z, and terms that have become common with passing the time like an ultramarathon, plant-based etc.
Thus, the oxford dictionary has well updated with today’s word usage in the English Language.
2. Google Dictionary
Google Dictionary is one of the most comprehensive online dictionaries and has its attribute that it boasts the meaning of almost every English word. The feature of translation is present in Google Dictionary that allows one to translate their word choice to English as required, however not all translations are available. Along with word meanings, it provides synonyms, case-examples, the origin of the word and antonyms. It has audio pronunciation tools and autosuggest features that enhance our knowledge. It displays the searched word in the present tense, past tense, present and past participle tense forms to give us an idea about applying the particular word during the construction of sentences using different tenses.
3. Macmillan Online Dictionary
Macmillan Dictionary is one of the best dictionaries for English speaking users from all corners of the World. Its unique feature includes incorporating stars and colours to mark how frequently the word is used in English. Every word defined in this dictionary links to Thesaurus entry and uses commonly occurring and easy to understand English words to explain the terms searched. Although it has limited features compared to other dictionaries, it provides users with new words every day to improve English grammar. Collocations and metaphor boxes are present along with language awareness pages that contain idioms, discourse, cultural values, word formation etc. Macmillan dictionary also provides a complete package of researched materials based on the details of learner’s writing.
The Open Dictionary in Macmillan Dictionary’s crowdsource dictionary is where user can suggest words and expressions that get added to it. Thousands of words and phrases have been appended since 2009, from when the feature was started.
4. Cambridge Online Dictionary
One of the most respected online dictionaries for official and academic purposes is the Cambridge Online Dictionary. The Cambridge English Dictionary is based on original research on unique Cambridge English Corpus and includes all that vocabulary learners need to know from English Vocabulary profile. It is known for its outstanding dictionary, grammar and translator. It presents more than 18,000 simple definitions with usual words we know. Translation for over 20 languages is present in the Cambridge Online Dictionary. The dictionary also has audio pronunciation features, idioms, phrasal verbs and thesaurus. Words having a lot of applied examples to go with are present. Autosuggest is a well working feature for the Cambridge Online Dictionaries.
5. The Free Dictionary
The Free Dictionary is a comprehensive, free online dictionary, thesaurus with definitions, synonyms, abbreviations, idioms, and terminologies used in medical and financial fields. The Free Dictionary is a very user interactive platform. The user can create their homepage and personalize it accordingly. The Free Dictionary provides multiple definitions for a particular language, and the translation feature works for a few languages like German, French etc. It is one of the most popularly adopted online dictionaries over the decades.
Dictionary.com has been helping people improve their English Language skills through extensive online service for over twenty years. Dictionary.com is the World’s leading source for English definitions, synonyms and word origins. It also includes idioms, slang words, audio pronunciations, word games, legal and medical terms. This site incorporates the ‘Word of The Day’ feature as well to expand vocabulary. The browsing helps us view words alphabetically and makes the searching process more manageable. The user can also view the trending words or the new words added to the list.
Wordnik is an online English glossary and language resources from a non-profit organization. Wordnik provides both dictionary and Thesaurus content. Its contents are based on the print dictionaries like Century Dictionary and American Heritage Dictionary. Billions of words exist to express example sentences allowing it to provide information on a much larger set of words by exploring it in sentences, rather than what a typical dictionary would do. It is more useful for advanced English Language learners who are familiar with basics. Wordnik uses realistic examples to the most extent.
Webster-dictionary.net is an online dictionary that is the easiest to use. It presents more than 13,000 definitions and words from various dictionaries, including Webster’s dictionary. Any word put into the search box and browsed for is provided with its proper meaning using easy English Language. Multiple definitions and applied examples are provided along with the part of speech of the word. The ‘Related Word’ section offers the concepts that connect with the term inputted by the user.
The dictionary by Merriam Webster is America’s most trusted online English dictionary
Wiktionary follows a similar approach as is done to Wikipedia. Wiktionary is an excellent dictionary for both primary and advanced English Language as it provides detailed explanations for the word required using definitions and illustrations, unlike other dictionaries. Some of the features present in Wiktionary are autosuggest, well-versed pronunciations, synonyms, etymology and related terms. A unique part of Wiktionary is “anagrams” that helps learn new terms by regauging a word’s letters. This feature allows to expand vocabulary in English Language and is exciting and fun to discover the new expressions. Language statistics, thesaurus, phrasebooks and extensive appendices tag along in Wiktionary. Wiktionary supports multiple languages besides the English Language.
Reverso is a convenient, incredibly powerful dictionary. The user needs to explore the site to become thoroughly familiar with the interface. Several definitions and examples of English words and phrases are available on the Reverso dictionary. It also is provided with the translation feature to make the English Language learning easier by seeing the meaning of the word in the user’s native language and English Language simultaneously. It currently translates between Dutch, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese and Hebrew. Looking up for random words and phrases to be incorporated in your text is easier using Reverso. Reverso provides with the ‘context’ page, where when the user enters a word or phrase; the site offers many example sentences with it in context. The examples are also translated sometimes, making Reverso one of the most user-friendly online English Dictionary sites for use.
11. American Heritage English Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary about the English Language is an English Dictionary published by Boston publisher Houghton Mifflin first in 1969. It broke ground among dictionaries using corpus linguistics for compiling word frequencies and other information. It has a unique way of combining prescriptive information: how language should be used to descriptive information: how language is used. The American Heritage Dictionary uses photographic illustrations, and it also has a large number of biographical entries for notable persons, unlike any other dictionaries. It is an excellent reference dictionary for advanced English Language learners. It provides word meanings, example sentences, the origin of the word, information about the word form and a vast number of synonyms. The auto-suggests option also works well.
12. Collins Online Dictionary
Published by Harper Collins in Glasgow, Collins English Dictionary is a printed and online dictionary of English Language that is one of the best dictionaries that can be referred to by both basic and advanced English Language learners. Besides providing the word meaning in simple English, Collins Online Dictionary also gives the different parts of speech with example sentences. Video pronunciation is available both in British and American English in this dictionary which is a unique feature. The dictionary provides Cobuild collocations and a statistical representation of usage in the searched word trends over the years. List of related or nearby words are provided, and even the translation in different languages. Collins English Dictionary is extremely easy to use and is highly recommended for everyone who needs a handy online English Language Dictionary. Besides, it also provides a quick word challenge feature that is a fun quiz to take and strengthen the grip on the English Language.
13. The Word Reference English dictionary
The English Word Reference dictionary offers two dictionaries simultaneously, which are the WordReference Random House Learner’s Dictionary of American English as well as the Collins Concise English Dictionary. The user can find more than 125,000 words and phrases here. The filtering offered by Word Reference English dictionary is very convenient. After typing in our word, we can input our choice if we want the meaning, definition, synonym or want it translated to any other language. The interface filters the user’s selection accordingly and provides the exact requirement. English collocations, thesaurus, usage and conjugations are available alongside the translation and everyday word meanings. It uses comfortable and proper examples with the implications for convenient English Language learning.
14. Urban Dictionary
Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced online English dictionary created by Aaron Peckham. It mainly consists of online English slangs and phrases. It is not ideal for learning the English Language; however, it is useful to refer to the Urban Dictionary to know about any trending internet words in English. The Urban Dictionary will not provide the word meaning that can be used for official English Language learning. It will only give the everyday use of the term specifying its maximum usage in the slang context. It is not an ideal dictionary for English Language learners, but it is a convenient and useful English dictionary for today’s online World.
15. Longman dictionary for contemporary English
Longman Dictionary for Contemporary English was first published in 1978 by Longman. Aforementioned is one of the most general dictionaries and has 230,000 words, phrases and meanings more than any other advanced learner’s dictionary. It provides more than 165,000 real examples. Longman Dictionary is a useful resource for online vocabulary and grammar in the English Language for students and teachers. The dictionary also provides collocations and examples from Corpus. If the term appears in the business field, the meaning from the Longman Business Dictionary is given. Longman Dictionary displays related topic and words to the searched word. The interface displays word of the day, picture of the day, hot issues, vocabulary exercises and quizzes to enhance the learning process.