Do you carry a dictionary in your pocket?
You would need pretty big pockets.
…Or would you?
Instead of carrying a huge paper dictionary, you can keep thousands of words in your pocket with an English dictionary app.
They will help you understand any new English word, no matter where you are.
This article lists eight incredible English dictionary for Android apps. Download your favorites to your device and never leave home without a dictionary!
Why Look It Up? How Dictionaries Can Help You Master English
To start, you probably know that a dictionary is a way to look up (research something specific) the meaning of any English word. A good dictionary can be used to research complicated words, or to review the meaning of simple but necessary language.
But dictionaries do not just tell you meaning. They can also teach you what part of speech a word belongs to (whether it is a noun, verb, adjective, etc.). Plus, many dictionaries show you variations of the words. That way, you learn the exact right word for any context.
Some dictionaries also provide sample sentences so that you can get a good example of how to use a new word.
How to Get the Most out of Your English Dictionary for Android App
When you are learning a language it is important to remember that you do not need to look up the definition of every word you see or hear. First, try to understand the meaning of a new word through the context of the sentence. Can you guess what it means?
If you cannot figure out what an unfamiliar word means, then it is time to pull out your Android device and look up the definition in your dictionary app. Here are some ways to make sure you are using the dictionary well:
- Many words have more than one definition. Always read every definition, because the first one is not always the one you need. If you are not sure which definition you need, check the example sentences for help.
- Pay attention to the part of speech and determine if the word you are searching for is a noun, verb or something else. This will help you find the right definition.
- Finally, once you have found the correct definition, practice! If you read the definition once and then never practice using the new word, you will forget what it means.
Many of the English dictionary apps below have options to keep track of new words you have learned to make practicing easier.
Need an English Dictionary for Android? 8 That Go Way Beyond Simple Definitions
This dictionary has an incredibly easy search function that makes it a great choice if you need to quickly pull out your Android and search for a word you just heard. This app gives you a definition and sample sentences to make sure that you understand the word and how to use it properly.
The home page of the app also has a neat feature to teach you new words. Every time you open the dictionary a new word will appear on the screen with a quick definition, so that your vocabulary will always be growing!
You may already be familiar with Merriam-Webster, since it is one of the most commonly used English dictionaries. But did you know that Merriam-Webster has a Learner’s Dictionary made specifically for English language learners?
The dictionary can be found online or can be downloaded onto your Android device for $4.99. This version of Merriam-Webster has simplified language to make it easier to understand.
One of my favorite features of the Learner’s Dictionary is the voice search, which allows you to look up a word by saying it if you do not know how to spell it. This is incredibly useful if you have heard an unfamiliar word but do not know how to write it. The Learner’s Dictionary also includes several illustrations to accompany the definitions and help you truly understand the meaning of a word.
Some dictionaries show you example sentences. FluentU puts you right in the room with real English speakers to hear how they actually use important vocabulary.
FluentU puts a totally unique twist on the traditional English dictionary.
Type a word into the search bar and FluentU will show you videos that have the word, so you can hear it used in real contexts. There are also vocabulary lists, full transcripts and interactive subtitles. You can look up the word before you watch, or click the subtitles while you are watching—the video will automatically pause to show you a definition, pronunciation and memorable picture for any word you click on.
It is a very memorable and entertaining way to research new words and build your vocabulary. The videos are organized by genre and level, so it is easy to find the ones that work for you.
Best of all, FluentU remembers the vocabulary you studied and suggests new videos based on that information. It is like a dictionary that remembers you and actively helps you become fluent!
This dictionary is a great tool for searching for words, but it also connects you to other resources for more in-depth research. When you follow the reference option you will be redirected to online information or to other apps you might want to download, such as the Chambers Dictionary and the Chambers Thesaurus.
This English dictionary, like many, has a “random word” feature that can help you build your vocabulary by showing you new words. But unlike many other English apps, this one includes the option to search for a “random common word.” That way, you can be sure to learn useful words instead of old or strange ones that no one uses.
Finally, WordWeb lets you bookmark words you have learned or words you are having trouble with, and then gives you the option to shuffle through your bookmarked words to make practicing easier.
This dictionary offers English definitions for words you search, but it also has the option to download a dictionary in your native language and translate between the two.
When you search for an English word, Dict Box gives you the definition, other forms of the word, synonyms (similar words) and images or information from online if available.
Plus, on Dict Box you can “star” words that you would like to practice, or mark words as “memorized” once you feel comfortable with them. Then you will always be able to return to these lists to make sure you still know the words.
This app is not great for searching for a specific word, but if you want a dictionary for your Android that will just focus on building your vocabulary, this is a great one. Word of the Day does exactly what it says—it provides a word every day with a definition.
The definitions are pulled from several different dictionaries, in order to make sure that you are always getting the simplest and best definition.
The Oxford English Dictionary is another very well known English dictionary. The app costs $29.99 a year, but there is a free trial, so you can test the app and decide whether or not you want to purchase.
This dictionary is trusted for a reason, though, and is especially great if you need to look up academic words.
This dictionary app can connect to other apps on your phone for easier searching. For example, if you are scrolling through the instructions of an English-language game and find a word you do not know, you can open Oxford Dictionary from there and instantly find a definition.
This dictionary also includes the option to learn a word a day, and along with definitions it provides clear pronunciations of each word. The Oxford Dictionary also gives you the option to invite friends to join, so that you can study together and share words you have learned with one another.
This is a great offline English dictionary for Android. Like many others, it includes a “word of the day” option, and if that is not enough, you can search for random words to build up your vocabulary.
You can also search for a specific word, and find the definition, pronunciation, synonyms and translations for languages such as French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
One of the best functions of this app is the ability to add notes to words. If you want to remember where you first heard a word or add a message to help you remember the meaning, you can simply add a note after searching for the definition. You can then see all your notes in one place to easily find them.
Download your favorite (or favorites!) from this list and see how helpful it can be to always have a dictionary nearby, without carrying the extra weight. But do not forget, looking up a word once is not enough, always keep practicing!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It recommends examples and videos to you based on the words you’ve already learned. You'll have a truly personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or from the Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn English with real-world videos.