What about online dictionaries? They’re free, there’s a lot of them, and the growing availability of wireless Internet connections makes them more and more accessible. Might they be a viable option? Let’s see: Publishers make money on books and CDs, so their online dictionaries are always limited in some way. Typical limitations are: lack of recorded pronunciations (Longman, Oxford, Cambridge), missing phonetic transcriptions (Longman), smaller number of example sentences (Longman). A Web dictionary is slower to use than a dictionary that’s installed on your computer. It’s not just about the page loading time and server problems; often, the interface requires more looking around and clicking. When you look up dozens of words every day (and you should), it can really hurt your motivation if your dictionary slows you down.
Print dictionary benefits: “With print dictionaries, students learn alphabetical order and how to locate a word,” says Maya Lê Espiritu, an elementary school teacher in Oceanside, California, and creator of MaiStoryBook. “I even give first-grade students mini versions of dictionaries to help them with spelling.” The benefits of thumbing through a print dictionary are often overlooked in an age when kids can just turn to a smartphone to quickly define a word. But print dictionaries are more than just books filled with words and their meanings: They’re reservoirs of knowledge, promoting literacy, learning, and a deeper understanding of the world.
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is free online, and the dictionary is also available for purchase on CD. It attempts to keep up with current English usage as it changes with the times. A feature of this dictionary is dual definitions for words with different meanings in British or American English. You can use the search box to find all words in the LDOCE, have the words pronounced, and see an example sentence using the word. The online version contains over 20,000 definitions. You can also look at the dictionary definition you looked at just previously by using your browser backspace button. Looking for the meaning of a word like femboy?
Visuwords, This online graphical dictionary creates diagrams between words and concepts to help you understand how they associate. It’s a really unique concept, so if you’re looking for unique Visuwords is one of the best online dictionaries. Wordia is a fun option for young people to learn vocabulary, made up of word-based learning games along with an interactive video vocabulary. Not something for someone past a middle-school reading level in English, but it has potential for either children or people learning English as a second language. What sloppy toppy means? Define Dictionary Meaning can answer that question.
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