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The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

English dictionary is an indispensable tool for English learners. However, in addition to the fact that the dictionary helps you know the meaning of the word, have you already known how to exploit other wonderful usages of the dictionary yet? The following article summarizes the six most popular online dictionaries with useful features to help you learn English vocabulary most effectively.

Basically, each English dictionary provides the following essential information:

  • Pronunciation
  • Word form
  • Meaning of word
  • Example
  • Synonym
  • Origin of word

Each of the dictionaries that we are going to introduce to you today has other advanced features that are useful for English learners.

1) Collins

General information: The paper-based Collins dictionary was first published in 1979 by Harper Collins in Glasgow, UK.

Information on English pronunciation: there are English-English and American-English pronunciations. There is also a pronunciation for each verb tense (present, past, perfect).

Content: Collins English Dictionary provides many examples. And there are also sentences taken from the famous foreign newspapers and magazines. In addition, you can look up the meaning of words in many different languages with English – Chinese, English – French, English – Korean dictionaries, etc. And Harper Collins has also compiled a grammar dictionary for your reference.

Distinctive features: The Collins English dictionary provides information about the popularity of each word and frequency of use of the word over time. You can use this information to decide if you should use this word a lot or invest time to learn this word a lot or not?

Suitable users: learners at Pre-Intermediate level or above.

2) Dictionary.com

General information: Dictionary.com, an online dictionary, was registered in 1995 by Brian Kariger and Daniel Fierro, of Lexico Publishing. Lexico’s total number of products include Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com, and Reference.com.

Information on English pronunciation: the pronunciation is mostly English-American. The phonetic translation is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the way of spelling. Dictionary.com even shows many different pronunciations of the same word.

Content: Like Collins, Dictionary.com offers a lot of example sentences, contexts of using words, and easily misused synonyms. Although it is an American dictionary, Dictionary.com still gives learners the meaning used in the UK. Dictionary.com has translations for many languages like French, German and Greek.

Distinctive features: Dictionary.com is a rare online English dictionary that provides phonetic transcription based on both IPA and the way of spelling. In addition, this dictionary also provides simple words and sentences for novice English learners.

Suitable users: learners at Pre-Intermediate level or above.

The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

3) Oxford

The first complete paper-based Oxford learner’s dictionary was published in 1933 by Oxford University Press. By 2000, the online version of Oxford was published widely.

Information on English pronunciation: phonetic translation is based on Ithe International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). There are both British – English and British – American pronunciations.

Content: The online dictionary is updated every 3 months with lots of vivid examples of word usage. In addition, Oxford is also famous for its synonym dictionary, grammar dictionary and collocation dictionary.

Distinctive features: The Oxford dictionary is already very popular in the community of English learners. One of the reasons for this great popularity is due to the huge volume of content, professional writing team. It is possible to say that the Oxford dictionary is one of dictionaries tha provide the largest amount of English vocabulary.

Suitable users: learners at Intermediate level or above.

The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

4) Cambridge

General information: The Cambridge English Dictionary for English learners was first published in 1995, compiled by the Cambridge University Press. The dictionary is suitable for English learners at levels B2 to C2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF).

Information on English pronunciation: phonetic translation is based on Ithe International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). There are both British – English and British – American pronunciations.

Content: the meaning of the word is explained in two separate ways, including: British and English. Cambridge also has a dictionary specifically for English learners, with a fairly simple word explanation, but few suggested synonyms. In addition, Cambridge also has the grammar dictionary.

Distinctive features: The Cambridge Dictionary is another well-respected print dictionary with a lot of history behind it that has a web counterpart. The online version is made up of four dictionaries: the Cambridge Dictionary of American English, the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary, the Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs and the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. It’s a big website that you might want to explore if you’re looking for one of the more serious online dictionaries.

Suitable users: learners at Intermediate level or above.

The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

5) Longman

General information: Longman dictionary was first published in 1978 by Longman Publishing, of Pearson PLC, London, UK.

Information on English pronunciation: phonetic translation is based on Ithe International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). There are both British – English and British – American pronunciations.

Content: including the origin of words, many example sentences with context for using vocabulary. Longman suggests synonyms and how to use them.

Distinctive features: Longman English dictionary not only provides context for using words but also how to use their collocations.

Suitable users: learners at Intermediate level or above.

The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

6) MacMillan

General information: The dictionary was first published in 2002 by Macmillan Education, London, UK.

Information on English pronunciation: phonetic translation is based on Ithe International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

Content: MacMillan offers detailed types of vocabulary for each subject in English. This is very helpful for beginners to learn English. Vocabulary is explained in very close and simple way. However, the number of examples and synonyms is limited. In return, MacMillan offers the most common collocations for each word.

Distinctive features: MacMillan English dictionary marks common (widely used) English words with color. The word colored red is a very common word. The word colored black is the less common word.

Suitable users: learners at Intermediate level or above.

The Best Online Dictionaries For English Learners

Have you ever used one of the above-mentioned dictionaries? Is there any dictionary that makes you curious to try right away? Please share with Learn English Fun Way about the English dictionary that you use the most in the comment section below! Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!

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