Practical Apps: Dictionary.com Dictionary & Thesaurus Free
The “Dictionary.com – Dictionary & Thesurus – Free” app, for the Apple iPhone, has recently become my new best friend whilst studying for my teaching assistant qualification at College. This mobile version of the popular website of the same name allows for word lookups and alternatives directly from a mobile device and is also available for Android based devices.
HUNDREDS OF MOBILE DICTIONARY APPS
There are no shortage of dictionary based apps on the Apple App Store as there are literally hundreds to choose from, both free and paid, so why this particular app? Following an App Store search on the keyword “dictionary” the friendly blue tone of this application icon was the first thing to catch my eye and the heritage that came along with the website of the same name also helped. Also, the consistently high ratings also worked in its favour but what keeps me using the app, when other dictionary apps have long since been deleted, is its neatly laid out and intuitive interface.
Upon launching the Dictionary.com app the search bar is often the first port of call where you can either enter a word or talk a word directly by utilising the built-in microphone (although I find the audio input a bit hit and miss – you need to speak slowly and clearly). If you are not quite sure how to spell a particular word the app is clever enough to come up with alternative spelling recommendations.
A useful feature here is the history of recently looked up words (around 30) which really reduces the amount of time needed when looking up a word for the second time.
Once a word is entered the definition of the word is displayed neatly with a fuss-free interface and the audio prompt to hear how a word sounds is also very useful. Words can be flagged as favourites, which is a feature I make a lot of use of, and definitions can also be shared using social networks. Switching between dictionary view and thesaurus is achieved easily be tapping on the orange “D” or “T” icon next to the word.
WORD OF THE DAY
One of the cute features of the app, and one that gets us talking in our household, is the “Word of the day” feature. Each day a new word, with its definition, appears on the phone as an alert. This is a really good way to learn new words and helps kick start a day with each of us trying to guess what the meaning could be (whilst secretly trying to look the word up on our phone!). Several previous word of the day look ups can be accessed from within the app.
Trends is a clever feature that list the most popular words looked up by users of the services, including localised popular words searches. For example, as of writing this review the latest most popular trending words are “moolah”, “quip”, and “attainment”. At present it is difficult to assess the practical value of listing popular word look ups but perhaps this feature will prove itself and evolve to become a useful tool in a similar way that trending words has in Twitter.
ANDROID AND IPHONE
As mentioned at the beginning of this article there is also an Android version of the application available and whilst broadly similar in functionality there are quite a few visual differences between the Android and iPhone versions of the app but, for me, the iPhone version makes the best use of the interface options.
Overall I would recommend this app as an essential download for users of the iPhone. I use this app so often now that it has found its way onto the first page of my iPhone screen so it can be accessed at a moments notice. The Free Dictionary.com app currently has a five star rating, on the Apple App Store, based on 1,227 Ratings (as at 25th May 2012).
Practical Apps: Dictionary.com