Volume 2, Number 4

Your FREE Monthly ESL Newsletter

May 2006

Top Online Dictionaries


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Your ESL All Editors: 

Christine Lepine

Paola Di Muzio

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Dear ESL All subscribers from all around the world,

In answer to some of your requests, here's the May issue of the ESL All monthly newsletter dealing with top unilingual and multilingual online dictionaries. As you are probably aware of, there are thousands of language dictionaries on the Internet and English learners are often at a loss when it comes to choosing the one that best suits their needs.

Unilingual or bilingual dictionaries?

Inasmuch as we encourage our students to use an English unilingual dictionary as often as possible, the fact remains that using a bilingual dictionary is not only useful but also at times essential, especially in the case of less advanced language learners.

For this reason, we have decided to introduce you to some of the best British and American online dictionaries as well as to multilingual and picture dictionaries. Moreover, those of you who are in an adventurous mood will find some sites pointing to hundreds of multilingual online dictionaries covering numerous aspects of the English language.

Dictionaries are more than a dull collection of words, they reflect old and new ways in which we share our experiences and speak or write to one another. Noah Webster, the author of what is probably today's most famous American dictionary, has expressed this idea better than anybody else:

"Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground."

Do not hesitate to send us your comments or questions if you have any.

Happy surfing!

The ESL All Team

1-Merriam-Webster Online
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: A free online dictionary (based on Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary) and thesaurus. It features audio pronunciations, a new spelling helper, Word of the Day, word games, and word for the wise (a 2 minute radio show script that explores the English language).

2-The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
Bartleby. com: Free online version of the American English dictionary featuring over 90,000 definitions, most with audio word pronunciation guides, 10,000 new words and senses, 900 full-page color illustrations, language notes and word-root appendixes.

3- Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary: Your guide to six Oxford English Dictionaries available online: 1) Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, 2) Cambridge Dictionary of American English, 3) Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, 4) Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms, 5) Dictionnaire Cambridge Klett Compact (French-English), and 6) Diccionario Cambridge Klett Compact (Spanish-English). Best of all, use of these dictionaries is free, so check it out!

4- AskOxford.com
Oxford Dictionary Online: Searchable online version of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, as well as thesauri, quotations, foreign language dictionaries, a word of the day, lexicography, and games.

5- A few Online Picture (visual) Dictionaries
Visual Dictionaries: Although rather limited, there exists a few interesting and useful online viusal dictionaries for beginners and low-intermediate learners. Most of them are multilingual and cover a great variety of topics. Some have audio support while others are merely text-based.

a) The Internet Picture Dictionary
http://www.pdictionary.com/ (multilingual)
b) Language Guide.org (multilingual)
c) InfoVisual.info (English and French)
d) Little Explorers Picture Dictionary (multilingual)

6- Answers.com
Answers.com: Answer engine, with talking dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, bios, tech terms, news, sports, weather, and much more. Get answers from over 100 encyclopedias, dictionaries, glossaries, and atlases.

7- One Look Dictionary Search
OneLook.com: Meta-search dictionary tapping hundreds of general and highly specialized reference sources. A comprehensive index of over 5 million words in more than 900 online dictionaries. Contains a database search that allows you to find a word contained in any of the dictionaries. If you can't find a word here, odds are it doesn't exist!

8- Encarta.MSN.com
Encarta® World English Talking Dictionary: Enter a search term and find dictionary definitions and thesaurus results from Encarta. Also features an encyclopedia, atlases, and multilingual word translations.

9- HyperDictionary.com
HyperDictionary.com: A continuation of an educational project to provide free dictionary services to any user on the web. Features the following dictionaries: an English Dictionary, a Computer Dictionary, a Thesaurus, a Dream Dictionary, and a Medical Dictionary.

10- The Language Box
A list of hundreds of other online dictionaries available on the net in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, French, Dutch, German, Hebrew, and Italian.

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