The Best Dictionary Apps for the iPhone

Posted by Kale Havervold on February 22, 2017

There are few things more annoying than coming across a word while reading something or writing a paper and not knowing what it means or being unsure if your thoughts on the meaning are correct. You used to have to crack open the physical dictionary or do a Google search of the word. But now, there is a much quicker, easier and better way to go about discovering more about this word and what it means.

There are a ton of dictionary apps out there that can help you define and discover words in a very simple and quick manner. Many of these apps are full of millions of different words and can be a lifesaver when you are reading or writing and want to make sure of a word’s meaning before moving on.

If you are one of those people that constantly likes to fill their head with new knowledge, a dictionary app can be a good way to do that too. Not only can you search words you are unfamiliar with easily, you can also discover new words and add them into your everyday vocabulary. There is no shortage of dictionary app options in the App Store, but how do you pick which are among the best. Thankfully, this article will help you select one that is appropriate for your needs.


Everyone else

This is a dictionary app by the people, for the people. The app is powered by the community at Wordset.org and the app features tens of thousands of different words and definitions. The search function on the app is exceptionally quick and the definitions are very short and simple to understand. Too often a dictionary definition may confuse you more than you were originally, and that should never be the case.

One of the big selling points of this app is the fact that the entire dictionary is actually installed on your phone as soon as you download and use the app. Because of this, this dictionary app will even work if you are way out of cell service or are not connected to the internet. Of course, if you are connected, you will get a more detailed definition than if you were using the app offline.

The design of this app is also a win as it is incredibly simple and no-frills, with nothing to distract you from what you came to the app to do, which is to look for definitions. It helps you find the words you are looking for, without getting in the way. Some definitely appreciate some flair in their apps, but others just want them to function well and don't really care how they look.

Also, due to the fact that the app is powered by volunteers, every update that the day goes through will have been worked on and observed by many different people. This app is available completely free and with no in-app purchases, you will never have to pay anything to use this app. So if you are looking for a simple dictionary app (that will work offline with ease), this could be your choice.

Unlike the other apps on this list so far, this app is not free to download or use. While that may deter some people from using this app, it shouldn't. The reason for this is because of how many amazing features you get for that $1.99. But before we take a little look at them, let's check out the main function of this app.

This dictionary app blows most out of the water as it includes a ridiculous 4.9 million words in the database, along with hundreds of thousands of word relations, phrases, sample sentences and more. This means that no matter what you want to search or define, this app will be able to help you.

In addition to its plentiful database for its dictionary, there are also a number of other amazing features about this app too. The app features auto-pronunciation in both male and female voices. word origins, fast look-up, offline mode and much more. There is also a pretty good looking user interface which makes the app a little more attractive to use.

So while this app costs a few bucks to start out with, it gives you features that go above and beyond most of the dictionary apps on this list. If you can afford and justify spending $1.99 on an app when there are free options available, you will be rewarded with a feature-packed app with more definitions than most of the apps on this list.

Whether you are online or offline, this free app is among the most comprehensive dictionary apps on the market. This app features millions of words and definitions from some of the most trusted sources in the industry. Millions of people have downloaded this app, making it among the most popular in all the App Store.

In addition to the app being great at defining words, it is also good at translating and can easily translate to over 40 different languages. While this app is branded as a dictionary, it can truly do so much more. There is also a lot of daily content such as idiom of the day and word of the day. The app doesn't only teach you words and what they mean, but it can also help you be able to use them more intelligently. Even some games are included such as hangman, spelling bees and more.

The app is available for free, but there is an option to pay a few dollars to go ad-free, and also the option to pay for additional languages and different offline dictionaries too. This app is also partnered with the World Food Program which means you are earning meals for children just by using the app, if that isn't reason enough to give this app a try, I don't know what is.

This app is an all-in-one guide for referencing as it features both a dictionary and a thesaurus. The app's design is very clean and the app itself works quickly and thus, you can rest assured knowing it will get the job done for you.

The app itself features nearly 5 million definitions to go along with its near 600,000 entries. Audio pronunciation and pronunciation guides will be sure that you can say and use the word, and not just know what it means. If you are also curious about the origins of a given word, this app can also help you with that too.

In addition to including "everyday" words, the app is also jam packed full of more technical and scientific definitions, which many of the other apps on this list won't include. So while the app is about as feature-packed as any, it will cost you a dollar to buy, but that shouldn't likely deter people who are serious about improving their vocabulary.

When it comes to paper dictionaries, Merriam-Webster is among the most recognizable and common options. But now, you can get the same great definitions from them, right on your iPhone. This respected dictionary has been optimized for the iPhone so that it not only works great, but also looks really good too.

The app has a ton of detailed definitions, and also offers some convenient quick and smaller definitions for those times you just need to look a word up very quickly and get a quicker answer as to what it means. The app also comes with a thesaurus integrated within the app that can help you expand your vocabulary.

In addition to being educational, this app actually made sure that its users could have fun too. The app includes a number of very cool and interesting word games that will test your vocabulary and word skills. The app is free and supported by ads, but you can elect to pay $1.99 a year to get rid of them if they are annoying.  All things considered, this is one of the best options for your dictionary app.

While many of these apps pride themselves on putting content first and design second, this app bridges that gap a little bit. LookUp is an app that looks unlike many of the other dictionary apps as it's design and interface is unique, clean and beautiful. The app also does a very good job at integrating pictures in with the definitions, without it being distracting.

But in addition to the app looking good, it also functions very well too. In just one simple search, you can find a ton of information about a word such as its origin, meaning, definition, Wikipedia content and more. Unfortunately, the app requires an internet connection to work.

Also, the app isn't free like many on this article have and will be. It will cost you $2.99, but there is no arguing that this is among the best looking and most unique apps on this list. So if the design and innovation of an app is important to you, this might be the app for you.

Now this is a bit of a different app than most on this list, but it still holds a ton of value. While the app is branded primarily as a translation app (something it does incredibly well), there is also more to the app than just translation.

In fact, the dictionary function within this app is also quite good. You can look up words in different languages, dialects and even hear people say the words out loud via audio pronunciation and translation. The app can also act as a thesaurus as it gives you synonyms and different meanings for words.

Over 50 million people have trusted this app and as a result, it is among the most popular apps in this entire space. While it is not as focused on the dictionary aspect as most apps on this list, it is definitely a solid option. Especially is you are multi-lingual, want to learn a new language or are a traveler.

This app is among the best reference tools for the English language. It is part dictionary and part thesaurus, so the app is a one-stop-shop. This app is quite easy to use and makes it simple to explore the various words and phrases in the English language.

The app can also amazingly search the internet and be customized to search other reference apps, which makes it among the most useful on this list. You can add notes to any term you find, can save your searches, get suggestions, hear correct pronunciation and much more.

The app also makes use of the new technologies in devices such as the iPhone, as it allows for 3D Touch support. Simply put, this is one of the most intelligent and well-designed apps on this list, and it is available to use completely free of charge.

If hearing professional pronunciations to go along with your definitions and word searches, this might just be the app for you. WordBook comes complete with a professionally recorded pronunciation of every single word in its database.

The fast and responsive interface allows for extremely quick searches, and the pop-up spell suggestions will make sure that everything you are searching for is correct and accurate. The app also comes complete with features like Word of the Day, pronunciation guides, bookmarks and much more.

The app will cost you about $2.99, but as you have seen from this article so far, it is fairly normal for these dictionary apps to charge a few bucks if they feel that their content, features and quirks make them a step above the rest.

Like the Merriam-Webster dictionary earlier in the article, the Oxford dictionary is among the most trusted and popular dictionaries on the entire planet. The app is constantly updated with new words and phrases and currently has well over 350,000 words included in its database.

The search on this app is also among the best of any of the apps on this list as it is lightning fast, very easy to use and allows you to even search via keywords. You can even use the camera feature of your iPhone to snap pictures of words and have the app tell you what they mean, along with more info about the word.

The app can be used completely for free, but there is also a premium option available too. This premium option allows you to use the dictionary offline, get priority support, and enjoy and ad-free experience.

This app is among the most comprehensive and highly-researched on this list, which means that you can rest assured that absolutely everything you see on the app is accurate and up to date. This research also helps many words have their origins traced back hundreds and hundreds of years.

In addition to having a great base of words and a ton different learning tools (such as word of the day and a favorites tab), the app also uses thousands of photos. Sometimes, seeing a photo that lends a hand to the definition or meaning of a word can help you understand it better.

The app is available for free, but for those who prefer a more complete and feature-packed edition, you can decide to pay a subscription fee to get the premium version of the app. The premium version includes no ads, offline mode, a thesaurus complete with audio and a deeper pronunciation feature.

A few of the apps a day have had a "Word of the Day" feature, but this app takes that idea to a whole other level. While this isn't a dictionary app in the most traditional sense of the word, it definitely deserves a place on this list.

This app will help you learn a new word each and every day, one that you will easily be able to use and throw into everyday conversation to become a more intelligent individual. There are thousands of words out there that many of us don't know about or use, and this will help you incorporate those words into your life with ease.

While this may not be your primary dictionary app, it is definitely a good supplement. Just think, if you use this app each and every day for a year, you will likely know well over 300 new words you didn't know before using this app, and those words could totally change the way you speak and communicate.

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