Words on the go… this has to be one of the best uses for smart phone apps out there. Having words, definitions, pronunciations, and synonyms at your fingertips is one of the marvels of the modern age. Check out the following list of dictionary and thesaurus apps.
This is a fun dictionary app for kids! Fantastic, large pictures combined with professional voice recordings for pronunciation help kids learn what words mean. A great way to build vocabulary, the kids’ dictionary is also great for ESL. Platform: iPhone and iPad. Cost: Free.
A dictionary app designed by a dictionary company and designed specifically for English language learners. The Learner’s Dictionary allows users to search for words by typing or voice, making it great for students who don’t know how to spell the word. Each entry contains an audio pronunciation, definition, and word usage examples. More than 100,000 words are included, and an integrated thesaurus makes finding synonyms and antonyms a breeze. Platform: iOS 3.0 or later, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Cost: $4.99.
Whether you are using in Apple device, Android, or a Windows phone, Merriam-Webster can accommodate with an app featuring their famous dictionary resource. Search by voice or type in a word, view definitions, usages, and even synonyms and antonyms. The Merriam-Webster app is truly the only dictionary most elementary and high school kids will ever need. Word of the Day and other features included. There are two versions available: the free, ad-supported app and the premium, ad-free version. Platform: iOS 6.0 or later, Android, Windows Phone Cost: iOS: Free/$3.99, Android: Free/$2.99, Windows Phone: $3.99.
This picture dictionary is divided into ten different “missions” or categories, so kids can choose a category and explore words by picture. Beside each picture is the word in print, and a simple touch allows kids to hear the pronunciation. This app can be used by English speakers, but is also useful for English learners, as words can be translated into 32 different languages. Platform: Android Cost: Free.
Similar to Merriam-Webster’s app, dictionary.com’s app is also searchable by voice or touch input. Word of the day features are included, but you can also see words searched nearby (did all your students look up the same word? – great to prepare vocabulary lists), trending words, and the Hot Word Blog. Platform: iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Nook, and Kindle Fire Cost: Free (iTunes) $0.99 (Android).
The ultimate thesaurus experience available on your iPhone. Not only can you search by word for synonyms, but you can sort the synonyms by their relevance, complexity, and length. “Best Match” feature helps students quickly find the best synonym to use, while writers will love some of the other sort features. Can be used offline. Platform: iPhone and iPad Cost: $2.99.
Ninjas are smart, quick, and deadly accurate, and the makers of Ninja Words claims the same for this app. A host of words are available with fresh, accurate data for definitions and synonyms. The app is fully functional offline, and multiple words stay on one page to avoid flipping back and forth. Platform: iOS 4.3 or later, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch. Cost: $1.99.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.