When it comes to improving your vocabulary, there is no substitute for reading books. That said, reading books is not the only way. Dedicated apps like GRE Vocabulary Builder or Red Herring allow users to learn in a fun and engaging way. And apart from these, there are many more vocabulary builder apps for both Android and iOS platforms. So without further ado, here are the best apps/games to improve your vocabulary and speak correctly.
Best Vocabulary Builder Apps
Wordly follows the old conventional saying – “One new word a day”. It’s the most minimal app on the list. You see one new highlighted word every day with the date at the top. The word is in a large bold font with the meaning below it followed by an explanation in a paragraph to provide context to the user. So, you can easily understand how the word is used in a sentence.
There is only one setting you can tweak, which is to show the word of the day as a daily notification. There is an option to share it with others as well.
- Minimal Interface with 1-word a day
- Easy to grasp
- No word history or pronunciation
Download Wordly for Android
Similar to Wordly, Orphic shows you a new word every day. However, unlike Wordly, it shows you the pronunciation of the word. In addition to this, you can add the word to favorites, hear it in audio, and even find synonyms. Moreover, Orphic provides you with space to take quick notes with every word.
In terms of UI, you can switch between dark and light themes. You can also enable pitch blacks if you have an AMOLED display. Customizable widget support makes this app more usable.
- Feature of adding custom notes
- Integration with third-party dictionaries
- Unusual repository of words
Download Orphic for Android
3. 7 Little Words
Crossword puzzles are a fun way to discover and learn new words. On top of that, it also helps in remembering the words you already know. But what if rather than showing you multiple rows and columns, you get to work your way with only 7 words?
7 Little Word is a simple app and it’ll develop your love for trivia quizzes. In each puzzle, you get seven mystery words and seven corresponding clues. To solve the clue, you have to choose from 21 tiles that consist of the right words but in scrambled form. Besides thousands of puzzles that you get with a purchase, you get 25 puzzles for free and two new ones are added every day, accessible without any purchase. There are five themes in total to choose from. In addition to that, you also have a puzzle store.
- Sync to multiple devices
- New daily puzzles
- Fewer words, hence better retaining power
- Daily puzzle reminder
4. Red Herring
One way to improve vocabulary is grouping familiar words together. To put it into perspective, suppose you’re given a few words and I tell you to categorize it based on similarity. If you’re able to do it, you’ll not only learn new words but also be able to recall their synonyms. For instance, in the following screenshot, consider US Coins. You have 4 different words for it and it’ll expand your vocabulary further.
That’s the basic plot of the Red Herring game. But, to make things trickier, there are 4 tricky words that don’t belong to any category. You get free daily puzzles every day with 3 different difficulty levels. You can ask for a hint or restart the puzzle anytime. There are three puzzle packs – imagination (25 free puzzles), curiosity (paid), and brilliant (paid). There are in-app purchases to access older puzzles. For those who get hooked to games easily, there is support for night mode as well.
- Grouping boosts connecting similar words
- Easy and fun way to learn
5. GRE Vocabulary Builder
Whether you’re taking GRE or simply looking to boost your vocabulary, this app can be used either way. It’s made for students and hence the quality of information and the difficulty is satisfyingly amazing.
The quiz is divided based on the exam. So you’ve GMAT, ACT, SAT, etc. These exams are further divided into 3 different difficulty levels – basic, intermediate, and advanced. You can select any of these and as the rounds progress, the difficulty level gradually increases. The meaning of each word is defined by its usage. This approach creates a lasting impression. In addition to this, you can also play puzzles with strangers, guess words, and remain in the challenge until you go wrong.
- Words picked by experts with audio pronunciation
- Example sentences
- Progress tracker
- Play with strangers
6. Mnemonic Dictionary
Mnemonic is a productivity tool rather than a vocabulary builder app. It’ll provide you a quick mnemonic (Memory Aids) at the bottom for the word.
Apart from this, you have multiple sections like the Manhattan GRE world list, Magoosh’s 100-word vocabulary, and more. The words are given with the meaning. At the bottom, you see mnemonic generated by users which you can edit and share. In addition to this, you have the option to add your own mnemonic as well.
- Creative ways to recall words
- User can add Mnemonics
- Limited database
Download Mnemonic Dictionary for Android
7. Moon+ Reader
Now, the best way to learn new words is to read more books. In the sea of multiple e-book reader apps, I would recommend Moon+ Reader. It has a huge catalog of free books from Project Gutenberg, feedbooks.com, etc. In case you have your own books, Moon+ Reader supports most formats like EPUB, PDF, DJVU, AZW3, MOBI, FB2, and PRC. The reading view is highly customizable in terms of text size, color, etc. You can translate, highlight, and even search for words in the app’s dictionary right from the reader.
- Largest catalog of free books
- Inbuilt dictionary for searching words
- Supports a majority of file formats
Download Moon+ Reader for Android
8. WordUp Vocabulary
The audience had to switch on the subtitles while watching Peaky Blinders because of the accent. They couldn’t understand it. WordUp exactly tackles that problem and provides a complete package to improve one’s vocabulary in interactive ways. You start with a vocabulary test to ascertain your level. You can choose between British or American English and also add your native language to translate English words.
My favorite feature is “Remember forever” which enables the app to prompt the word every 3 days, a week, and then a month. This ensures that the word is distilled inside your mind. Moreover, you can track vocabulary-building progress, view words you’ve discovered, and create a knowledge map to know which level you’re at. There is a pro version that targets specific themes like animals, colors, etc. Pro Mode also provides the option to watch a movie/TV show or take an exam to make your leisure time a great time to practice.
- Track progress
- Watch movies/TV shows to learn new words
- Multiple games to sharpen your vocabulary
9. Free Rice UN
Considered tackling world hunger? This game could help you do that by guessing the right meaning of a given word. Every time you get the right meaning, you see a pop-up ad from the World Food Programme’s sponsor. Hence, when you play the game, you’re paying approximately 10 grains of rice which are represented by the bowl in the UI.
It is a bit on the easier side. You get 1 word and have to choose the correct meaning out of the 4 available options. In addition to it, you can also sign-up and compete with other people on the leaderboard. In case you feel bored, there are several categories besides vocabulary to choose from. For instance, identifying countries, flags of the world, world capitals, etc. So, help yourself grow and be a part of the change!
- Social contribution
- Multiple categories
Ulangi is a vocabulary builder app based on the popular open-source Anki flashcard technique (spaced repetition). If you see a word repetitively after a certain interval, it will be implanted in your memory. It has mostly GRE-based content. Ulangi can also show flashcards of your saved words. Next, you have to recollect the pronunciation and meaning. Further, you rate your memory of the word, and based on it, Ulangi will flash the word later. For instance, if you couldn’t guess the word, it’ll flash it immediately. In case you performed well, it’ll show you the flashcard after 12 hours.
In addition to this, you also have word quizzes and idioms to browse.
- Based on Anki flashcard technique
- Mostly GRE-based content
- Quizzes to test your knowledge
Anki is the original vocabulary builder app to memorize words using flashcards. Similar to the previous app, it shows flashcards at intervals. It’s a great way to retain more words effectively. Although you can manually create a deck of words, it also has tons of shared decks that allow you to practice with cards other users have added.
There are over 100 decks related to vocabulary which range from words for IELTS to basic English words you must know. Since too many shared decks can get confusing, Anki allows user ratings. This helps you pick the best ones easily. In addition, you can search for similar keywords like idioms, grammar, advanced English, etc., and add more decks as well.
- Teaches vocabulary through flashcards
- Downloadable shared cards
- An effective way of learning
12. Kindle App
You do not actually need a Kindle device to use the Kindle app. Firstly, the Kindle app allows you to simply double-tap and look at any word’s meaning while reading. You can highlight the word or phrase you wish to remember and also add additional notes. Unlike other apps, it does not target vocabulary building directly but helps learn words while you are reading books.
Apart from that, you can easily create flashcards by copying words on the Kindle app. Since you’re making it from the book you are currently reading, the chances of retaining it are high.
- Easily sync with Amazon Kindle
- Allows highlighting words
- Manually create multiple flashcards
13. Words with Friends
Bored of trying to learn new words? Words with Friends is one of the best word games you can play with your friends and family. It’s like scrabble where a user has to drag a word tile onto the board with the aim to create a word. You can do it either vertically or horizontally in order to score points. The app has plenty of game modes such as solo, lightning round, practice mode, etc. Moreover, you can also play with a random user or invite a friend.
Since the game is all about using words that you know and learning new words from others, it’s a fun learning process. The only downside is that the app displays banner ads at the top which can be intrusive for some.
- Scrabble themed gameplay
- In game chat
- Challenge friends, at random or play solo
Closing Remarks: Which Vocabulary Builder App You Use
Out of all the apps that I suggested, 7 Little Words and Red Herring are great vocabulary-building apps if you want something casual. But if you consider yourself a disciplined student and want to follow a test pattern, GRE Vocabulary Builder and WordUp are ideal with features like tracking progress, content updates, and a gradual learning curve, which helps you stick to it for longer.
You can buy a Kindle and stick to reading books, plus, you’ve options to highlight text, add words to the dictionary, and it even has a dedicated vocabulary builder. Whatever your reason might be, it’s never too late to start learning. Hope to see you master the dictionary.
Also Read: 6 Best Android and iOS Apps for Writers