Growing your English vocabulary is like growing a garden.
It takes time and effort every day.
You need the right strategies to be successful.
And if you do it well, the results are so rewarding.
In this article, we’ll help you grow your own beautiful, full garden of English words using eight fantastic vocabulary apps.
Each app is unique in its own way. They offer lots of fun approaches to vocabulary building, so that you never get bored and let your word garden dry up.
Let’s get growing!
How Do Vocabulary Apps Help You Learn English Words Faster?
Many vocabulary apps are designed to help you learn words faster and remember them better, compared to traditional teaching methods. Here are some of the reasons why.
- They usually have relevant vocabulary to suit your needs: English learners have diverse needs. A student of business English won’t benefit much from studying engineering or medical vocabulary—while a general English learner doesn’t need to know academic terms.
Therefore choosing resources to cater to your needs is very important.
- They’re often in the form of interesting and engaging games that make it more fun: You’re not likely to remember much if you memorize a bunch of words from a list. But if you encounter those same words in a game, you’re bound to remember them and their meanings.
- They encourage you to use them daily: Practice makes perfect and unless you devote time every day to learning something, you won’t get very far. These apps come with daily reminders and motivational messages, so that you become enthusiastic about learning and getting your English vocabulary exercises on the regular.
- They often have multiplayer options, so you can learn and compete in a study group: Learning on your own isn’t as fun as being part of a study circle. Many of these apps allow you to compete with your friends or have a scoreboard where you can compete with other players. This will make you more invested in the game and help you learn faster.
8 Awesome English Vocabulary Apps to Easily Learn New Words
Below I’ve selected the best English vocabulary apps (which include a few fun word games) that use an unconventional teaching approach. This list includes apps that are available on Android and iOS platforms.
Based on your needs and preferences, you can take your pick!
Word of the Day
The best way to learn new words is to make it a daily habit. Learning one or two new words each day will help you in the long run. If you’re already busy with jobs and other work and therefore can’t devote much time to learning, there’s a very simple app to help you out.
With Word of the Day (available on both iOS and Android smartphones), you’ll learn a new word each day, remember your favorite words and even browse and find out what other people like. They also have a number of pronunciation options, so you’ll know exactly where to put the accents and the stresses!
FluentU (available for your computer or your iOS or Android device) is one of the best English vocabulary apps because of its immersive teaching method.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
You can start by watching any video that interests you—they’re easily organized by topic and difficulty (beginner to advanced). As you watch, click on the interactive subtitles for an instant definition of any word.
After you finish a video, FluentU provides built-in quizzes and visual flashcards to make sure you remember all the new words.
It’s a totally fun and memorable way to learn new vocabulary the way native speakers actually use it in real life. Plus, you’ll be building your English cultural knowledge while you watch videos from the latest movies and TV, news, pop artists, hilarious YouTubers…
Best of all, FluentU keeps track of what you’ve learned and suggests new content based on that information. That means you’re constantly growing your vocabulary and moving towards fluency.
You can check it out for free with a FluentU trial.
Voxy (available on both iOS and Android smartphones) adapts to your needs and gives you personalized lessons. So whether you need English words to ace an exam or meet a client, Voxy ensures that you pick up the relevant vocabulary.
It does so by analyzing your learning needs and providing audio and visual content. You can take your lessons anywhere with the app and even get fun practice options, like karaoke-style music lessons.
You can schedule a one-on-one live tutoring session and receive feedback. If you’re learning with others—for example, a team of employees—Voxy is especially designed to help with that.
Catena (available on iOS smartphones) is a very unique word game that’s especially suited for those who make frequent spelling mistakes or are exceptionally eager to learn moderate or difficult words.
The game is rather simple—you have to use the last or last few letters of the opponent’s word to form a new word. In this way, you’ll build a word chain. So if your opponent had spelled “mostly” you can begin a new word with “lying.”
There are a number of difficulty modes, and you can even challenge other players to a battle of words! With online opponents, both of you will take turns forming new words, building a word chain and earning points accordingly.
This vocabulary app will force you to think on your feet, come up with the right word at the right time and help you pick up words you wouldn’t have encountered in an average class.
4 Pics 1 Word
If you love riddles and prefer a visual learning approach, then 4 Pics 1 Word (available on iOS at the link above and Android devices) is the app for you. It’ll not only help you sharpen your mental skills, but also help you build a vocabulary for everyday objects and other commonly-used words.
The premise is simple. You’ll be provided with four pictures that share a common quality or element. You must guess the word that connects them together.
New puzzles are always being added and there are many levels to explore, so you’re not likely to run out of material anytime soon.
Words with Friends
Many of us loved the board game Scrabble as kids. We have fond memories of just how much fun it was putting random letters together to create the highest-scoring words.
Well, Words with Friends (available on both iOS and Android smartphones) provides a similar experience and much more.
Even if you haven’t played Scrabble, it’s pretty easy to learn. There’s a grid and certain areas offer a certain number of points. You have to select letters and form words in the right parts of the grid to earn maximum points. Your opponent may use some of your letters to form new words and score points.
Not only can you challenge your Facebook friends to a match, but you can also match up with other opponents with similar skills. There’s also a “hindsight” option that shows you the best word you could’ve played in the previous turn, an offline mode and weekly challenges to make you play more often.
By playing regularly, you’ll better remember the new words you encounter and expand your vocabulary further.
For those who love puzzle games, Alphabear (available on both iOS and Android smartphones) is an extremely fun game to kick-start your vocabulary learning. You have to spell new words and when you select letters that are adjacent to each other, cartoon bears will appear. These bears may increase the points, extend the timer or help you out in some other way.
The game’s design is cute and fun to ensure that you have a good time while you play. There’s even a built-in dictionary for English learners. If you’re bored of memorizing new words, this game will help you pick up where you left off.
Words of Wonders
Solving crosswords is an enjoyable way to pass the time on transit or while you’re waiting for something. If you like crosswords and you’re keen to improve your general knowledge about this world, then Words of Wonders (available on both iOS and Android smartphones) is the game that will test your English vocabulary to its limits.
You’ll be provided with a few letters as clues. You’ll use them to create new words and connect them to figure out the final solution to a crossword. With every right answer, you’ll virtually travel to different cities and visit new wonders.
Not only will you be learning new words, but you’ll also discover new and interesting things about this planet. At the same time, you’ll sharpen problem-solving skills that will benefit you in real life.
If you’re serious about improving your English vocabulary, using apps such as the ones mentioned above are a must. Try to pick up English phrases and words that are relevant to you and review them periodically. Look for opportunities to use these newly-learned words often, and even if you make mistakes, learn from them and keep at it. As long as you remain passionate and disciplined about your learning, you’re sure to be successful.
Archita Mittra is a freelance writer, journalist, editor and educator. Feel free to check out her blog or contact her for freelancing/educational inquiries.
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 gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You 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.