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drdoombot's avatar

What is your preferred online dictionary and why?

Asked by drdoombot (8120points) September 2nd, 2009

My go-to online dictionary has been for years, though occasionally the word I’m searching for is obscure enough that you have to be a subscriber to see it. I recently stumbled across and found that in some ways, the definitions are a little easier to understand. remains as my default word search, but I find myself cross-checking words at more and more often.

Anyone else have a default online dictionary that they prefer? Any reasons as to why?

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50 Answers

DominicX's avatar

I also use It uses sources from several dictionaries and so it contains entries for some more obscure things. I also find some dictionaries provide definitions that are more confusing than the words you’re looking up, whereas is usually pretty easy to understand.

ShanEnri's avatar

I too use!

marinelife's avatar

I use Merriajm Webster because it is a reputable dictionary and provides complete definitions, pronunciation, word origins, etc.

Facade's avatar

I like because it also has a thesaurus and stuff :)

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

Free lurve to anyone who uses and his sister!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I also use and have for years. I like Merriam-Webster too, but it annoys me that you can’t look certain things up without paying.

Buttonstc's avatar

I also use because I can remember the URL so don’t need a bookmark.

When on the iPhone there is a different one which I can’t remember the name for but the icon is red and white with a large capital A.

When searching for something obscure, comes in handy. I love the salute to Dickens implied in the name.

gailcalled's avatar

On the dock, I have a dictionary app that is bundled with OX 10. It gives me New Oxford American Dictionary,
Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus,
Apple Dictionary,

dpworkin's avatar

My preferred dictionary is Websters Unabridged Second International, which is too fat and heavy to balance on a line.

perplexism's avatar


I learn the most interesting, funny things on this site.

And, I don’t have a preferred traditional dictionary. When I’m unsure of a word, I always google. Also, I sometimes go here to learn the word of the day.

dpworkin's avatar

I like Urbandictionary too. Today I learned a good word there.

ubersiren's avatar and I dunno why! I’m just used to typing it now.

tiffyandthewall's avatar it’s quick and direct, which is usually what i need when i’m looking up a word. if i’m looking for a really in-depth description, i’ll wikipedia it (if it’s a wikipedia-type thing), or google the word then ‘dictionary’ haha.

urbandictionary is awesome for slang though. i’m 17 and i don’t even know what them crazy kids are callin’ things these days…

kekeke's avatar

Generally, I throw the words “dictionary” and “whateverI’mlookingup” in Google and then click through the first few links. I have no allegiance.

In an effort to keep me from connecting to the wireless network during class, I downloaded Wordweb. It’s cute and works well for when I’m trying to avoid the distractions of the internet.

gailcalled's avatar

I too have the Websters Unabridged Second International. Not only is it fat and heavy, but the paper is tissue-thin and the print seems oddly to get smaller each year.

I keep a Webster’s Collegiate (real one) here, and I occasionally use the Apple widget Dictionary/ Thesaurus but it isn’t very good.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I used to use a lot. But I was always on the lookout for a good dictionary I could download and access without having to go on the net. And guess what, I found it!

Presenting “The Ultimate Dictionary”: I’m now gonna copy-paste from a website which has info of it.

the ultimate dictionary is a complete set of English, Spanish, French and Polish word references, including dictionaries, thesauruses and glossaries. it is easy to use and is probably the only dictionary you’ll ever need, as it contains all the others. the ultimate dictionary looks up words in all dictionaries at once, so you can browse a list of results from the 33+ included dictionaries.

* all in one dictionary – instantly lookup words in many sources
* multiple dictionary support
* quickly jump from one information source to another (translations, encyclopedia entries, glossaries)
* compare explanations between dictionaries with ease
* easy to install new dictionaries
* understands the Stardict dictionary format
* manage dictionaries with ease: management tool allows you to add, delete or reorder dictionaries
* simple, uncluttered and easy to use interface


And here’re some pics which I’ve personally uploaded to show you how it works. Here’s me searching haha, bonsoir and douche bag. Another thing I love is that you can also choose to search by dictionary, so if I’m looking for the Spanish translation of ‘evil’, I can just skip to that dictionary.

Of course, you can choose which dictionaries you don’t want to pop up (I don’t plan on learning Polish anytime soon so that went away quickly).

And after all this talk, I might as well provide you guys with the download link. Careful, it’s 150+ MB for anyone who wants to download it.

gailcalled's avatar

I use the translator on the Mac widgets for languages, too. Evil is “malvado.” No downloading necessary.

dpworkin's avatar

Hey @Saturated_Brain thanks, I couldn’t resist the download. GA, pal.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I’m like many here in that I enjoy because it is simple and it offers more services than just a dictionary.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

plus it’s easy to remember!

dannyc's avatar

None. Struggling and correcting a mistake via feedback is important. You must take a chance with your own skills, not relying on the provided. It sharpens your mind and hones your abilities.

windex's avatar


1. it’s awesome
2. you can double click on any word on the page and it’ll…(try it)
3. it’s free… j/k

Zen's avatar

It does the trick.

teh_kvlt_liberal's avatar

Captain Picard! I always knew you were cool

Zen's avatar

He is. Me, not so much.

gailcalled's avatar

@windex: I apologize, but have to say, “How about looking up some synonyms for “awesome,” the latest most overused umbrella word?”

“Cool” is second on my list.”

LexWordsmith's avatar

Thanks for the leads, everyone. The only dictionary i have not seen mentioned here that i can think of is onelook, which, iirc, also has one kind of reverse dictionary.

windex's avatar

@gailcalled: >:) I love the word awesome so much…Sooo much…it’s…awesome.

FB's avatar

I too like, yet, for me, I always tend to keep RhymeZone one close handy click away on the browser, as it is a wonderful little companion for composing.

I always “attempt” to respect “the rules” with my “word choices”, yet, often, to a fault, as noted in the past by my honored colleagues in the collective, I prefer punctuating my prose, I suppose, who knows, with, well, I’ll disclose, I guess, how it goes – by proposing an auditory approach for myself to the task, crafting sounds with words to accomplish the goal. Also, I guess, to make an attempt at evoking something from the passage, by flexing the rhythm and melody in the word choices, making me feel something, and hopefully eliciting a response from an audience.

Yes, I like to write for speaking, and singing, not necessarily for reading.

Preferences… Hmmm…


gailcalled's avatar

@windex: A good writer is never predictable.

LexWordsmith's avatar

could a good writer take you by surprise by being predictable after having gotten you used to unpredictability? but, if that were to count as unpredictability, wouldn’t it then be predictable? hmmm, wheels within wheels.

Buttonstc's avatar

@FB. I went to the link and subsequently followed the link for the game of Twisteroo.

Apparently it doesn’t work with the iPhone ? Or am I missing something?

LexWordsmith's avatar

@gailcalled : There’s nothing like certainty—it makes life predictable and therefore comfortable!<grin>

mcbealer's avatar

lurve and it’s “hear this word button” is handy on new words and fun to mess around with on silly words

lurve for because it’s hip, funny and I enjoy learning all the new colloquialisms and sniglets

gailcalled's avatar

@LexWordsmith: I said I had no one favorite. I use a lot of dictionaries, etymological sites, thesauri, texts on style and writing, etc.I find English, written and spoken, both immutable and changing, grown-up and and txtmssg, endlessly fascinating,

As we speak, I am having a friendly discussion on fluther about the use and misuse of “hopefully” vs. “I hope,” and the impossibility of stemming the tide of change. (Mixed metaphor although Matthew Arnold did use “Sea of Faith” in his poem, Dover Beach. )

LexWordsmith's avatar

You are a slippery one, gc—good thing i wan’t trying to pin you down!<grin>

gailcalled's avatar

@LexWordsmith: Why not? Live up to your name and challenge me whenever you think it a good idea. We can hone our debating skills, or we could if I didn’t have a more pressing matter now..the clarion call to empty Milo’s litter box.

LexWordsmith's avatar

@gailcalled : “Dogs have owners; cats have staff.” Too bad i have no attribution for that, i’d love to be in a position to pay tribute to its originator’s insight, driness, and pithiness.

Buttonstc's avatar

Or how about this for which I have no attribution but is true nonetheless

Cats are smarter than dogs.

We know this because you can’t get a dozen cats to pull a sled through snow.


gailcalled's avatar

@Buttonstc: Ya think? Milo is cracking the whip as I write. Nutmeg, Teddy, Gryphon and Luca have reported for duty.

Buttonstc's avatar

Seeing is believing. :)

Buttonstc's avatar

I haven’t had her for that long but I know that my Smoochie would be having none of it.

gailcalled's avatar

@Buttonstc: She has time; snow is not expected for several months. We are simply having a dress rehearsal.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well unless Milo is skilled at long distance hypnosis Smoochie states that such activity is beneath her (obviously elevated) opinion of herself.

And who are those other shameless lackeys of whom you speak?

prasad's avatar

Merriam Webster Well, Webster explains American words which I don’t find in Oxford. And, merriam webster hard copy, soft copy.

I also have Oxford offline dictionary. Many hard copies of Oxford.

English to Marathi dictionaries online and many hard copies. As my mothertongue is Marathi, I refer it to understand many words which I don’t from English to English dictionaries.

Wiktionary Wikipedia has got vast information so does Wiktionary vast vocabulary.

LiLian's avatar

Oxford advanced learners dictionary

LexWordsmith's avatar

@LiLian : Thanks for the lead!

flo's avatar

“Is this really Oxford dictionary?”:
And after you click on “sign up” you see the search engine on the right side and try it anyway it gives:
unlike the others that give do you mean _Knuckles? etc. _

Another dictionary says “no result” but you have to know to scroll down to find that there is a list of “Did you mean…?” s
So, none of those two.

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