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Comprehensive tool with voice search, fun daily features.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids can learn a basic but nearly endless body of knowledge in addition to basic English language skills like spelling, pronunciation, derivation or etymology, part of speech, synonyms, and antonyms. This is an adult-level dictionary with historical, geographical, biographical, and scientific entries, not to mention objective and non-glorified definitions of sex, drugs, and curse words. Dictionary.com spruces up our reliable old reference with modern technology: voice recognition searches, favorites, and relatively engaging daily updates.

Ease of play

Menus are simple and the navigation is intuitive. The ability to save favorites and view recent words facilitates continuity.


Contains excellent definitions of basic terms, including slang.


Contains excellent definitions of basic terms, including slang.


Contains excellent definitions of slang and curse words.


The free version of the app has discreet banner ads at the bottom. Dictionary.com participates in the mPOINTS rewards system. Users earn mPoints by completing tasks such as visiting the app daily, searching for words, viewing the word of the day, downloading other apps, and checking in on Twitter. Users can redeem mPoints for gift cards for iTunes, Xbox LIVE, McDonald's, and more. You can also choose to donate your points to a charity like one for Hurricane Sandy victims.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Contains excellent definitions of basic terms, including slang.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Dictionary.com app provides sophisticated dictionary content with intuitive menus and navigation. It's a semi-hip reference (as hip as a standard dictionary can be) for kids as young as 9 (with assistance) all the way to adults. Complete dictionary entries give a full experience including geographical, biographical, historical, and scientific terms. As with any good dictionary, definitions for sex, drugs, and curse words give useful objective information, not dramatization or glorification. Users can post word entries to Facebook or Twitter, or send via SMS or email. The free app includes banner ads at bottom. The app participates in the mPOINTS rewards system, where users complete tasks to earn points to redeem for gift cards, contest entries, or charitable donations. 

Parents say

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What's it about?

Dictionary.com has two easily interchangeable modes: dictionary and thesaurus. The search box with voice recognition button (microphone) is present at the top of all pages. The main page lets users choose and read daily (and previous) updates, view recent searches, and access saved words. Links to referenced entries are an obvious but lacking feature, and illustrations are mentioned but do not seem to be present.

Is it any good?


Dictionary.com is a pretty darn convenient way to improve spelling, vocabulary, and knowledge with modern bells and whistles not possible in a traditional book format -- voice recognition, daily updates, favorites, and search history. "Hot" words ("How the prefix 'Franken-' took on a life of its own"), Question of the Day ("What is the plural of virus?), and Spanish Word of the Day might hook older kids. Quite good but not perfect voice recognition ("babble" gave "Babel") solves the age-old problem of not knowing how to spell the word you want to look up. Dictionary.com destroys similar apps like Merriam-Webster (Android version) in downloads, ease of use, and overall functionality. Unfortunately, there are no built-in games and no interactivity outside of basic social sharing and relatively engaging and well-done daily updates.

Families can talk about...

  • Prepare a list of favorite words, then read definitions and see who can blurt the corresponding word fastest.

  • Play dictionary games. Choose a difficult word and send one player out. Have other players make up definitions and write them down, along with the correct definition. Have the player come back and guess the correct definition.

App details

Devices:Android, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone
Subjects:Language & Reading: phonics, reading, reading comprehension, spelling, vocabulary
Skills:Self-Direction: academic development, initiative
Thinking & Reasoning: investigation, making conclusions, part-whole relationships, thinking critically
Pricing structure:Paid, Free
Release date:December 21, 2012
Size:2.30 MB
Publisher:Dictionary.com, LLC

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