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8 Best Dictionary Apps for iPhone (2020)

by Kaushal

iPhones have an inbuilt dictionary that you can use to look up unknown words. Simply tap on the word to highlight it, and then tap “Look Up” from the action menu to see its dictionary definition. While this is good enough for most people, it does have a few limitations. For instance, in my experience, the results often get mixed up with Wikipedia suggestions and don’t work for every word. Thankfully, there are tons of third-party dictionary app that offers way more features than the built-in dictionary. Let’s check them out.

lookup a word in native dictionary

Best Dictionary Apps for iPhone

1. Oxford Dictionary

For: Meanings and Translations

Oxford dictionary is probably the most sold dictionary. The app version adds even more features to the dictionary and you can look up the meaning in 14 different languages or translate on the go. The dictionary has more than 4.5 million words and definitions which makes it one the largest dictionaries out there.

Apart from that, you get features like offline mode, audio pronunciation, advanced search, and you can revisit recently searched words. The Dictionary app is free to download and only has a few features behind a paywall.

Install Oxford Dictionary and Translator (iOS)

oxford dictionary

2. Merriam Webster

For: Offline Use

Unlike the Oxford Dictionary, Merriam-Webster offers more than just words and definitions, you can learn new words and add more content to your vocabulary with a curated list of words in the notification badge. It lets you search for a word using your voice and the best part of this dictionary is that you can use it offline without the internet. It means that you can be away from an active internet connection and still look up words, just like a real paperback.

You can favorite words in the app to look up later, and even access it from Apple Watch. Merriam-Webster Dictionary is free to use and has in-app purchases.

Install Merriam-Webster Dictionary (iOS)

merriam-webster dictionary with tutelage word's definition on screen

3. Urban Dictionary

For: Learning Pop Slangs

Slangs are constantly evolving. Urban Dictionary is probably the only place where you can find the meanings for all the slangs around the world. The app is more of a stripped-down version of the website, customized to fit in the app but it makes it more convenient to access it this way. You can search for a slang with a simple search and get the meaning, phonetic representation, and an example sentence. You can also bookmark the phrases and words to quickly discover them later.

Just for giggles, it also has a quiz where you have to correctly guess the meaning of the slang, no points for getting it right. Urban Dictionary is completely free.

Install Urban Dictionary ( iOS)

urban dictionary showing the definition of Shadow

4. WordBook Dictionary

For: Building Vocabulary

WordBook is one of the most comprehensive dictionaries out there with five online dictionaries supplementing its existing content. You can bookmark your favorite words, advanced search, find root etymologies,  and also get spelling suggestions. However, my favorite feature is the Word of the day that gives you a new word to learn every day and you can shake your iPhone to get a new word with its definition.

Apart from that, WordBook doesn’t use text to speech algorithms, the app has professionally recorded pronunciations for words. It also has an inbuilt thesaurus and word links that offer semantic navigation.WordBook is available on the App Store for $1.99.

Install WordBook Dictionary (iOS)

wordbook showing word of the list

5. Scrabble Dictionary

For: Scrabble Players

I can’t remember how many fights I have over an acceptable word in the game of Scrabble. That’s why the Scrabble dictionary exists and it’s not just for a friendly session, it is recognized and accepted by National SCRABBLE Player’s Association. It has around 150,000 words ranging from two to fifteen letters. You can search for a word and check it’s validity in Scrabble, favorite a word for later use, and a Recents section.

My favorite feature is that you can input the tiles you have and the dictionary would suggest all the words that you can create from it. Scrabble Dictionary is $4.99 on the App Store.

Install Scrabble Dictionary ( iOS)


6. Science Dictionary

For: Science Definitions

If you’re a student and have any subject related to science, maths, and biology, you’d need this dictionary. The app has more than 100,000 scientific terms with their meanings and more than 35000, audio pronunciations. Not just definitions, you also get access to diagrams, illustrations, and pictures of the words you’re looking for. For instance, if you search for alternating currents in the dictionary then you’d find proper illustrations and diagrams that would help you better understand the concept.

The app is completely free and you can remove ads for just $0.99.

Install Science Dictionary (iOS)

Science Dictionary

7. Legal Dictionary

For: American law and Legal Definitions

Instead of scouring the internet looking for definitions, Legal Dictionary brings all the legal terms and procedures in one single app. You get access to more than 14000 legal terms, that include US law and constitution, precedences, and important legal cases. For instance, you can type in a legal phrase such as “hostile witness” and the dictionary would present a brief description word with context.

Just like the Science Dictionary, it has a voice search, bookmarks, advanced search, and audio pronunciations. Legal Dictionary is free and costs $0.99 to remove ads.

Install Legal Dictionary (iOS)

legal dictionary

Special Mentions

Although the Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are not dictionary apps, these certainly get the job done when you quickly need a solution. You can always ask them for help when you want to look up the meaning of a word.

Final Words

These were a few of the best Dictionary apps that I could find for iPhone users. Each of the apps offers a unique set of words for a specific niche such as Urban Dictionary is famous for Slangs, Legal Dictionary is recommended for legal terms, etc. Which app do you find the most useful, let me know in the comments below?

Related: How to Stop iPhone from Autocorrecting Curse Words?

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