A dictionary is the most basic aid you can turn to if you want to improve your skills in any language. The thick volumes of yore are still there (some as bookends), but a modern pundit is more likely to consult an online dictionary or any of the smartphone dictionary apps that give the term ‘pocket dictionary’ a modern twist.
Online dictionaries aren’t only about words and their meanings. They also bring in other cool features which make for a fun learning experience for both children and adults alike.
Dictionary.com and its resources make it almost a portal that takes you on a journey of word discoveries. Word has it that it is probably the most frequented of online dictionary and reference sources on the web. Why not – after all you can do much more than merely look up a word here. Try these 8 for starters.
The Hot Word
Words are never one-dimensional. There’s always an interesting story behind them or you can create an interesting one around a word. The Hot Word shows just how interesting the English language is. The blog not only dives into the origins of words, but also discusses their present context. Even a casual read through the blog gives you interesting tidbits like the language that’s only spoken in one tiny part of Portugal.
This is a weekly compilation that picks up interesting definitions from areas of medicine, gardening, cooking, and more. Browsing through them takes you to entire word lists and in turn to their meanings. The compilation perks up interest because you might thing that you know all about a specific area, but the word list tells you that you still have some learning to do. Dictionary.com comes with comprehensive listings on medical terms, abbreviations, cultural words, idioms etc.
Solve a Daily Crossword
I can’t get to the Times crossword or solve it, but I do try my word associations and recall with the Daily Crossword here. You can time yourself, pause and save your progress, and even print the puzzles though it’s much better to solve them online. The game also gives you letter and word hints if you are stuck at a square.
By the way, if you are attempting to solve the Times crossword, you can take the help of the Crossword Solver here at Dictionary.com. Just a helpful tool to bookmark if you are into crosswords.
Fun ‘n Free Games!
The fun doesn’t end at crosswords but continues with the cool word based puzzles and games in the Games section. Making words starting with a provided letter sounds lame, but some interesting rules make the game a bit more challenging. There are more ‘complicated’ games like Word Kingdom which is like playing Age of Empires with words. Word Games has a lineup of nice games that should set up someone who is trying to get better with English.
Become a Word Millionaire with Word Dynamo
Word Dynamo is a beta feature but it already looks useful as an educational tool. Word Dynamo is about learning words in an engaging way. Word challenges are arranged according to grade levels and topics. You have to progress up by unlocking the levels as in any game. Quizzes, word lists, and word games make up Word Dynamo. You can also learn a bit about French, Spanish and Latin.
Which Word Is The World Searching For Today?
A small section that is tucked away near the foot of the homepage shows what the world is searching for on Dictionary.com. Capturing trending words from the whole web would be too much to ask for, so let’s do with what the nearly 50 million visitors landing here are making popular each day. You can look at Popular Searches, Words in the News, and Where Is It.
Rave on Quotes
There are many places you can go in your search for quotable quotes. Dictionary.com happens to be one more. There’s the Quote of The Day right on the homepage and more quotes beyond that. You can cite the quotes or choose to embed them in your blog.
Last but not the least; Dictionary.com includes a very handy translation engine that can handle 50 languages. The translation is limited to 100 characters, but that should suffice for short bursts. One limitation is that the translator does not detect the language when you insert it into the field.
Dictionary.com goes beyond being a simple online dictionary. What sets it apart are these add-on learning features which make this a complete ‘word portal’. Which is your favorite online dictionary? If it’s this one, tell us what appeals to you here when you come looking for some meaning.