Useful Online Dictionaries for Learners of English

dictionary-200x200In my lessons, I often get asked by students about online dictionaries. There are a lot of different dictionaries available online for free. That’s why I decided to compile this list.

I recommend using a monolingual dictionary (this means word definitions are given in English only) designed for learners of English. Apart from the definition of words you will also find a lot of background information on grammar, collocations (words which often appear together) and common errors etc.




So here are my top five dictionaries!

My personal favourite:
Cambridge Dictionaries Online (lots of useful additional information like showing at which CEFR level a word should be known, BrE /AmE, Business English, Thesaurus etc.) Try it

Also very useful are:
Merriam Webster (definition, word origin, collocations, synonyms / antonyms etc) Try it

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (definition, example sentences, quizzes) Try it

If you are looking for a definition of an idiom, I recommend using a monolingual dictionary as well. Because idioms cannot be translated literally. Therefore, to fully understand the meaning of an idiom (and how it’s used in context!) it’s best to consult a monolingual dictionary.

The Free Dictionary (idioms, idiomatic expressions, lots of examples) Try it

Once you know the meaning of a word and you are interested in how it is actually used in everyday English I recommend a collocations dictionary:

Ozdic (collocations ,phrases, word position, no definitions) Try it

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of preference which dictionary you like best. This list is  not exhaustive; the above mentioned dictionaries are my favourites.

Which dictionary do you like best? Do you use any others than the ones mentioned? Leave me a comment below!


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