Admittedly, Dictionary.com is not a terribly noteworthy find. No one gets a well-deserved pat on the back for finding a website for a dictionary as anyone can look up a word for its definitions in less than a second on a search engine.
However, Dictionary.com here is a free app that gives me so much more than just definitions. It has become one of the most used apps on my phone and is well worth taking a closer look for this week.
Depending on your device, the app Dictionary.com displays on the ever-present bottom or side taskbar three key functions: Daily, Search, and Trends.
The Daily function is by far my favorite. It includes these daily items:
- Word of the Day, a self-explanatory feature to give you a new word every day along with its definitions and examples of the word being used. As a bonus, this app also shows you a Spanish Word of the Day. The Spanish and English Words of the Day are not always the same word.
- The Hot Word, a daily article about linguistics, not dull but usually an informative, well written and great conversational starter, such as "Are some languages really spoken faster than English?"
- Question of the Day, basically trivia or detailed facts about history, sport, famous people or food. A recent question was "Where did Pizza come from?" (It’s the Middle East by the way.)
The Search function allows you to find any words from the dictionary. You can speak to your device using a voice search or enter a word in the search bar. In a few seconds, the dictionary replies with the classes and definitions of the word, its origin, and sometimes together with examples of the word used, synonyms and antonyms, alongside a thesaurus for you to find out even more.
The Trends function is a form of social media in the app. You can view “trending” words to see which words people searched for in your area, and similarly the "popular" words, from what I gather, the most searched words within a time period. This has no real purpose other than to grimace at the sheer amount of people who need to find out what “insincere” means. The last use of the “trends” function is “Nearby" words, giving you a map of your area and markers showing the words people searched for.
One more thing, this app allows you to bookmark your favorite words so that you can refresh them anytime anywhere, a feature I always appreciate.
However, this app isn't all words and wonders. It is sometimes considerably slower than the speed we are used to on our modern mobile devices. The version for the iOS takes up a whopping 59.8 MB of space as it installs all words in the dictionary to your device for off-line use, while the Android version is lighter but a network connection is required for retrieving words from a server.
For those who care, the word troglodyte in the screenshot is fantastic as it can be generic for use to describe a person, or quite derogatory when it's used to insult others.
Get 'gooder' vocabulary? This app is a great helper.
Dictionary.Com — Free Android / iOS App of the Week
For iPad and iPhone
Size: 59.8 MB
Size: 2.1 MB
Size: 400 KB
For Windows Phone
Size: <1.0 MB
Click here for more items like this. Better still, get the latest articles about mobile apps delivered daily via your RSS feeder or alternatively, have the RSS feed sent as email direct to your in-box.
Get your own favorite app published! Know a free and neat app? Then why not have it published here and receive full credit? Click here to tell us your suggestion.