What is the most wonderful thing about today’s language is its being as alive as life itself. Each new thing in our life deserves a special word (sometimes more than one), and we have to make the new out of the old because that is all we have got to make it out of. That’s the way language evolves
What is the most wonderful thing about today’s language is its being as alive as life itself. Each new thing in our life deserves a special word (sometimes more than one), and we have to make the new out of the old because that is all we have got to make it out of. That’s the way language evolves. And what for us, its modest users (and sometimes creators, why not?), we have to keep track of what happens to language. New loud-as-a-bomb words like “selfie” or “cryptocurrency” are all around us, but there are a hundred minor innovations behind any major one.
So what dictionaries are the best help in keeping that track?
- Collinsdictionary.com. One of the best dictionaries, covering a great number of English words, with thesaurus and grammar query. There are also translation sections for 7 other languages (mostly European, plus Hindu) and even a special Scrabble tools section.
- Macmillandictionary.com. It has been one of the greatest dictionaries ever printed; now it’s gone online. And it’s crowdsourced; that means, you can support a dictionary by adding a word with its explanation. Of course, like in Wiki projects, your article will need an approval; but if you have a word to say, say it. The dictionary consists of two parts: the classic dictionary assembled by professional linguists and the crowdsourced one.
- Dictionary.com. The pro of it is being divided into Dictionary and Thesaurus, with several sources processes to cover all it can grab. It offers amusing articles, word quizzes, interesting facts and motivating quotes. But first of all, it’s a classic modern dictionary, with approved lexicon and actual trends.
- Dictionary.cambridge.org. This one is especially useful for students, as it’s been done primarily for academic purposes. Not too sophisticated, its definitions are clear and understood even for those speaking English as a foreign language.
- Urbandictionary.com. As it’s clear from the name, this dictionary is focused on slang. As a word appears in speech or on boards, it gets covered in Urban Dictionary. Sometimes it’s rather an encyclopedia than a dictionary, as it explains facts, persons, cultural phenomena and even memes. Warning: it may contain explicit content even if the page has no warning signs!
- Wordpanda.net. The usability of this dictionary is upgraded due to AI usage and big data processing methods. Thus you get the fullest thesaurus, the history of how the word has been used, when it appeared and when reached the highest popularity. Thesaurus is combined with recommendations of related words that are selected by analyzing large text archives. As WordPanda works both with classical sources and modern colloquial speech, the coverage seems to be absolute.
- Wiktionary.org. Again, it’s a word encyclopedia rather than a conventional dictionary, and that makes it the most versatile. Based on Wiki engine, it can be edited by any user, and the team only have to approve the right updates and decline the wrong ones. This crowd model is also used in Macmillan’s, but Wiktionary covers many more languages and so seems to be the most global one.
Well, you may find some dictionary more useful to you, in other languages, covering some professional branch or historical period. But these seven seem the most obvious choice for those digging for words online. So have a good trip in the linguistic ocean!