6 Spanish Dictionary Apps for Your Smartphone That Are Hella Handy

Dictionaries are extremely important learning tools, but they’re often neglected by modern Spanish learners.

You’ve already got access to Spanish flashcard apps, learning podcasts and more on-the-go tools thanks to your smartphone.

So, why do you need such a seemingly archaic tool as a dictionary? Let’s find out!


Why You Need to Download a Spanish Dictionary App, Now

The benefits of the traditional dictionary carry over the app form. Beyond that, dictionary apps have all kinds of additional functions that make them valuable to learners. The most important of these features? Convenience and discretion.

  • Convenience. You’re definitely too lazy to drag a big ol’ printed dictionary around with you everywhere you go. Dictionary apps have all the practicality of a typical printed dictionary, just with a little added portability, ease of navigation and convenience.
  • Discretion. I mean, when traveling you don’t want to stick out as a dorky tourist whipping out a dictionary on the street, do you? Now you can just glance at your smartphone instead. People around you will probably just think you’re texting, like everybody else in the world these days.

How to Use Your Spanish Dictionary App for Language Learning

  • Fill in the blanks. When you forget the word, look it up! It’s as simple as that. Sometimes you’ll just need some instant gratification so your conversation (or thought process) won’t shudder to a sudden halt.
  • Set a time limit. It may almost feel like you’d be cheating to break out the smartphone every time you forget a word. Well, you don’t have to do that. Let your brain struggle and flounder to recall vocabulary and grammar on its own. This teaches your brain how to go digging for important linguistic information. If you give up too quickly, you will no longer have this skill. That being said, you don’t have to be too strict about not looking up information. Give yourself a certain amount of time. If within, say, 2-3 minutes you can’t break through your brain-block, you can resolve to look up that pesky word.
  • Keep the brain train working. When trying to recall a vocabulary word—even if you’re alone—talk or think your way as close to the word as humanly possible. For example, if I were trying to think of the word “catnip” in English, I might try to describe it by saying something like, “It’s that plant stuff you give to cats and it makes them go totally crazy. It’s like a drug for cats…” Then, I’d just keep going around and around until I finally have the word pop into my brain, or until a conversation partner clues me in.
  • Always have a “word of the day.” Some of the dictionary apps reviewed below have a “word of the day” feature on their home screens or have a connected social media company profile that provides followers with daily vocabulary. If you don’t get one automatically, browse and select a random word every day. Copy down the word and its definition in a notebook and keep a running list.

 6 Spanish Dictionary Apps for Your Smartphone That Are Hella Handy

Spanish language dictionaries are awesome tools for intermediate to advanced learners, who are constantly striving to become more completely immersed in the Spanish language. So, if your Spanish level is good enough that you don’t need direct English translations, and Spanish language definitions are sufficient for your purposes, then this is seriously a great way to go. It’s kind of like having a built-in thesaurus app, since you’ll come across plenty of synonyms while reading definitions.

If you’re not 100% sure you can handle so much Spanish in your dictionary, just give yourself a challenge and try this out anyway. You’ll probably surprise yourself with how much you’ll understand! Without understanding every last word in a word’s definition, you’ll still get a good sense of the word’s general meaning.

Diccionario RAE y ASALE (DLE)

Android app | iPhone app
Cost: Free

This is the official dictionary of the Real Academia Española, a royal establishment which manages the Spanish language as a whole. Some of the greatest artistic, literary and scientific minds issued the print version of this bad boy, so it’s essentially an extension of their name and institutional mission.

This dictionary app allows you to peruse the RAE language database with a classy layout that simply makes you feel academic. As for the practical aspect of this app, it has tons of available vocabulary, verb conjugations and a rather refined search function.

FluentU Spanish

Android app | iPhone app | Browser
Cost: Pricing page

FluentU isn’t just a dictionary, but its contextual video dictionary is a key element of the program.

On FluentU, you can watch hundreds of authentic Spanish-language videos like movie clips and trailers, vlogs, news segments, music videos and many other engaging options. These videos have transcripts, comprehension quizzes, interactive subtitles and multimedia flashcards to encourage active learning.

The dictionary element is seamlessly integrated into nearly all of these learning features. As you’re browsing the transcript or reading along with the subtitles, you can hover your mouse over or click on any word or phrase for an instant definition.

Definitions are completely contextual, so you’ll be getting the meaning of the word that’s relevant to where you found it in the video or script.

Every definition card consists of several key parts: an audio pronunciation of the word, an associated image, several example sentences with audio readings of each full sentence and one-sentence clips from other FluentU videos where the word is used with the same meaning.

These definition card can be turned into flashcards, which are then reviewed with quizzes that also integrate images, text, audio and video to help you with every aspect of language learning. If you’re using the mobile app version of FluentU, you can even practice pronunciation by speaking your answers into your device.

Diccionario Español by Smartpcx

Android app
Cost: Free

7 spanish dictionary apps for your smartphone that are hella handy

Special features abound in this unassuming Spanish-Spanish dictionary. Tons of vocabulary is available offline, and you can save and store vocabulary lists at will. Color coded themes and distinctive categories will help organize new information in your mind as you learn it.

Don’t know how to spell a word? Voice recognition technology will let you simply speak the word you want to search. It even has a cute little interface feature that lets you flip pages with a swipe of the fingertip, just like in a real-life book. Ain’t that quaint?

SpanishDict Translator

Android app | iPhone app
Cost: Free

7 spanish dictionary apps for your smartphone that are hella handy

This is arguably the best free Spanish-English dictionary app on the market these days.

Want a fun app to play around with? This one’s got your name all over it. You’ll be able to keep track of recently searched words, receive a word of the day, save words you want to go back to, play addictive learning games, listen to audio recordings of need-to-know phrases and more.

It’s not all fun and games though—this app has a formidable offline dictionary, which is pretty much as good as it gets when it comes to free services. This app has also come a long way in terms of technological improvements, and is running smoother and faster than ever.

QuickDic Dictionary

Android app
Cost: Free

7 spanish dictionary apps for your smartphone that are hella handy

Holy crap. This open source, totally offline dictionary opens up a whole new world of vocabulary search potential. If you want a dictionary for more than one single language (for example, if you also know German or are a native French speaker) this app’s got the golden ticket for you. If offers smart search, which will suggest words you may be looking for.

It allows you to save your search history and key words for future reference. The Spanish-English comes built-in, and is one of the more complete dictionaries available here. For the sheer depth of information you’ll get here, it’s really incredibly how fast this sleek reference machine gets to work. If you’re the kind of smartphone user who gets beyond frustrated with a 2-second delay in function, you’re just going to love this.

WordReference.com Dictionaries

Android app | iPhone app
Cost: Free

7 spanish dictionary apps for your smartphone that are hella handy

If you already use WordReference on your computer, then you know that I’ve saved one of the best for last. This online dictionary is a staple of language learning. While doing translation work and writing in Spanish, it’s my constant companion. Why am I so freaking excited about this one? This dictionary’s purpose is to give you accurate translations based on context. If you’re looking to convey a specific vibe, or track down slang specific to an obscure region, WordReference is your best bet. Even for simpler vocabulary searches, you’ll always get the exact word that you need to convey the right meaning.

Not to mention, you’ll also get access to all of WordReference’s online forums, which is just fantastic when you want to see more nuanced discussions of words and phrases. And while the dictionaries let you look up one word at a time, the forums will help you look up things like “professional email greetings and closings in Spanish.”


Now that you’ve found a dictionary, find something to translate! Having a good dictionary handy helps you enjoy authentic native content (like books and movies). And watching Spanish media is a fun way to learn new words and phrases in the language.

Whether you’re chatting with Spanish speaking friends or watching Spanish language content, a good dictionary will help you keep up during your language practice.

Let’s remake the public image of dictionaries into something as cool as you are.

Hasta luego, my friends!

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