The Free Dictionary by Farlex

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Comprehensive reference tool with games and customization.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The interface is busy with lots of content, but the app is still pretty easy to use.

Violence

Contains excellent definitions of terms, including words relating to violence.

Sex

Contains excellent definitions of terms, including words and slang relating to sex.

Language

Contains excellent definitions of slang and curse words.

Consumerism

The free version has banner ads at the bottom and embedded into entries. Users can remove ads from the free version with a $1.99 in-app upgrade.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Contains excellent definitions of basic terms, including slang about substances.

Privacy & safety

Users can share entries via Facebook, Twitter, SMS, and email, and links in the app can take users to outside commercials and other websites. User-friendly privacy policy states that the company doesn't collect personal information or provide or sell information to third parties except to process credit card payments.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Free Dictionary by Farlex is packed full of vocabulary-related content, all on one busy page. The free version has banner ads at the bottom and embedded into entries with links, but these can be removed with a $1.99 in-app purchase. 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 them via SMS or email. Accessible in 14 languages, the definitions are taken from respected sources.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • investigation
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • initiative
  • personal growth
  • academic development

Communication

  • asking questions
  • conveying messages effectively

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Games, a daily word, news, and more pull kids and adults in, though the layout is quite busy and almost overwhelming.

Learning Approach

The breadth and depth of content is impressive, as are the options for display, search, and language. Kids can play a variety of word games.

Support

Fourteen world languages, translation, audio, and main-page controls make the app accessible for many kids. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • phonics
  • reading
  • reading comprehension
  • spelling
  • vocabulary

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • asking questions
  • investigation
  • part-whole relationships
  • thinking critically

Self-Direction

  • initiative
  • personal growth
  • academic development

Communication

  • asking questions
  • conveying messages effectively

Kids can learn a basic but nearly endless body of knowledge in addition to basic language skills such as spelling, pronunciation, derivation or etymology, parts of speech, synonyms, and antonyms. Definitions include objective and non-glorified definitions of sex, drugs, and curse words. The Free Dictionary by Farlex is crammed full of games, cited classic reference information of all kinds, and flexible controls so users can customize the content.

This Learning Rating review was written by Leslie Crenna

Kids say

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What's it about?

THE FREE DICTIONARY BY FARLEX features a black-and-white page full of content, from a word of the day to horoscopes, daily quotes, and lots of word games. The app pulls dictionary and encyclopedic content -- including legal, medical, financial -- from numerous respected sources such as McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, HarperCollins, the Farlex clip-art collection copyright Princeton University, and Wikipedia and provides citations for each search. The Customize button allows users to choose which of 12 main-page daily updates to include. It's a dictionary too. At the top, users type words into the text box for word searches or expand for advanced search options, bookmarks, settings (such as larger fonts), and sharing. It can be toggled into 14 of the most common world languages and translated for individual searches.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Free Dictionary by Farlex may be the most comprehensive, well-cited, fun, crammed-with-content dictionary app available in the app stores. Elementary school-age kids will want to play the games, and everyone will find something of interest in the daily updates (though they're written at the upper elementary school-age level). With the ability to customize daily content, change font size, access various languages, and access simple word games and cartoon graphics, The Free Dictionary by Farlex is engaging for kids of almost all ages. One downside is that the design is very busy, and some kids may find it overwhelming. Another is that the incessant ads are distracting, though that can be turned off with an in-app purchase. Overall, however, it's a great tool for learning on the go.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the benefits of using a dictionary when encountering new words. How is it helpful? Does it work better to stop in the middle of reading or wait until the end of a section to look up a word?

  • 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.

  • Discuss the possible meanings, origins, and connotations of words to get kids thinking about how language changes and has shades of meaning.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Free
Release date:May 5, 2015
Category:Reference
Size:12.60 MB
Publisher:Farlex, Inc.
Version:4.5
Minimum software requirements:iOS 7.0 or later; Android varies

This review of The Free Dictionary by Farlex was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byLexman August 8, 2015
 
LEARNING

The Best Word Usage App

This is by far the best dictionary I have ever found for making me comfortable that I am using an unfamiliar word correctly. Other dictionaries leave you wondering if a verb can be used transitively or intransitively. Searching on an adjective using an 'ing' suffix for an intransitive adjective rapidly leads me to the improved version/form of that adjective with the same meaning. Verb, adjective, and noun forms of the search word all appear neatly organized with no extra effort. There are useful/illuminating examples of words used in sentences. Hyperlinks on the synonyms respond quickly. My only problems have been that I had to migrate from my desktop version to a tablet because the desktop version got painfully slow. I type better on a keyboard than a tablet. I also think the search box font size is too small (I admit I am old), and I haven't found a way to make it larger. There are no font issues at all except for the search box; in fact, the presentation and font are far more readable for Farlex than the alternative apps. Until I complete my own Definitionary someday, I think this will be the best word finder and word usage tool that I will find.

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