Best Free iPhone Dictionary

You really ought to have a dictionary on your iPhone. You can get this one– Dictionary.com– for free, and it’s terrific, so what are you waiting for? Click this link and start the download. It’s big (35 megabytes, not that it will make much of a dent in your 8 or 16 or 32 gigabyte iPhone), so do it from your computer and sync it into the iPhone. May as well start the download while you read the rest of this review.

(With a name like “Dictionary.com” you might guess that you’d need an internet connection to use this program. Good guess, but wrong. Only the Word of the Day and the audio pronunciations require an internet connection. FYI.)

You know how people are always saying that you can’t get something for nothing? Next time they tell you that show them Dictionary.com on your iPhone. Look at what you get for nothing:

  • 275,000 word dictionary
  • 80,000 word thesaurus
  • Audio pronunciation
  • Word of the day
  • Handy list of recently looked-up words

Seems like a lot to me.

Let’s look at some pictures. Here’s how the program looks when you start it up: very simple and clean. The buttons across the bottom are easy to figure out, and obviously the big box at the top is where you type the word you’re looking for.
Dictionary.com main screen

To look up a word, touch either the Dictionary or Thesaurus button, and then enter your word. A list of matching words appears as you type. Here’s what it looked like as I typed the first bit of “recession”:
Dictionary.com live search

This “live search” is a real time-saver as it means you don’t have to completely type out a word. Type just enough for Dictionary.com to display it in the list (which scrolls) and then touch it. It’s faster to touch a word in a list than to type it all the way out, especially for the kinds of words you’re likely to be looking up in a dictionary.

Here’s how it looks after I touched “recession” in the list. The speaker icon does what you think it does: it says the word out loud. Very handy, and a nice use of the technology.
Dictionary.com word looked up in Dictionary

Here’s something nice: when you touch the Thesaurus button, it remembers the word you were looking up in the dictionary. So you don’t have to type it again. A small thing, but it could have been overlooked. Way to go, Dictionary.com!
Dictionary.com word looked up in Thesaurus

Gee, look at all of those ways to say “recession” without actually saying it. Good to know that there are so many other ways to describe our current economic situation. I like “big trouble” the most.

Touch the Recent button and you see a list of the words you’ve looked up recently, and how. The blue circles with white chevrons were looked up in the dictionary. The yellow circles with the white chevrons were looked up in the thesaurus. The blue circle with the white “w” means “Word of the Day” (see below). Touch any of the words and of course you will look them up again. Touch the symbols in the circles to “do that” again. Easy and obvious.
Dictionary.com recent words

Finally, here’s what happens when you touch the Word of the Day button. Actually, it’s only what happens on October 21st, 2009. Your word is going to be different because you’re going to be touching the button on a different day. I’m sure you get the idea.
Dictionary.com word of the day

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Dictionary.com iPhone app. Simple, easy to use, handy, and free— without ads, other than the entire app being an ad for the very useful www.dictionary.com website. Your download should be finished by now, so plug in that iPhone and sync.


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