7 Chrome Extensions That Help You Look Up Words & Meanings As You Browse

Saikat Basu 31-05-2011

Bloggers, wordsmiths, and writers of all hues live in a sea of words. Thanks to the web, we also live most of the time in our browsers. Looking up words for their meanings and definitions is no big deal. A glut of free online dictionaries has made it a matter of a selection and click. Helping you further are right-click context menu searches, browser add-ons and extensions. Just like any other browser, Chrome has its own legion of extensions that help us look up words and meanings as we browse.


The Chrome Web Store is where we are headed. Now let’s pick up seven extensions that make word searching not only easy, but also fun and educational.

Google Dictionary (by Google)

chrome word meanings

This dictionary extension has probably seen the most downloads. On a webpage, you can double click on any word and see its complete definition displayed in a bubble. The extension supports multiple languages and also can translate a foreign word to your default language. Clicking on the reference link takes you to the Google Dictionary page where you can see more web definitions on the word. You can set language and other choices from the Options menu of the extension.

Dictionary Lookup

word definition add on

This dictionary extension sources word meanings from Wiktionary, but what’s more revealing is the Dictionary Lookup Options page which tells you all about the handiness of this browser helper. The Content section allows you to streamline the information that you want to get with a click of the mouse. The meanings are displayed in a clean and minimal inline box. You can set the extension to show other info like usage examples, audio pronunciation and synonyms. You can also lookup manually-entered queries using a shortcut which displays a small lookup box.


Quickrr Dictionary [No Longer Available]

word definition add on

You can search for a dictionary meaning by clicking the address bar icon and entering the word in the field box. Quickrr also lets you lookup Google Dictionary, Google Image Search, and Wikipedia for the word. This extension could benefit from a richer display of meanings as it seems a bit too simplistic.

Image Definitions for Dictionaries

word definition extension

To enhance your vocabulary, it pays to use words in sentences and also visualize them with the help of real world images. This extension solves part of the recommendation by sourcing relevant images from Flickr and inserting them into the three online dictionaries it supports – Google Dictionary, Google Search (using the define: operator), and the Urban Dictionary. You can set it to search for ‘Safe’ images from the extension’s Options.


Urban Dictionary Search

word definition extension

If you are talking about Urban Dictionary and if you want to look up the usage of a slang or a colloquial word, then this handy extension is just the thing to have in your Chrome browser. Click on the icon and enter the word. You will be taken to the page with the meaning in a trice.

word definition extension

If you are in any way interested in the English language then this phrase comparison extension is a must install. This extension is for the grammar buffs who would like to see which among two phrases is a better fit. You can compare two phrases and also contextualize them to see their usage in real world sentences.


Codec Dictionary [No Longer Available]

chrome word meanings

So far, we have catered to the English buffs. As this is a tech website, you could also do a bit with the Codec dictionary. It’s a dictionary for multimedia geeks who want to look up words like DivX, colorspace, transcode etc. I have found it to be useful on more than one occasion. All the definitions are under 300 characters.

Remembering the meanings of all words that we are bombarded with every day may be a problem. Looking up their meanings and their usage context certainly is not with the help of these educational extensions. Do you have one installed in your Chrome extension gallery?

Related topics: Dictionary, Education Technology, Google Chrome.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 29, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I recommend WebDict if you want to to En-Vi, Vi-En dictionary. It supports many other dictionaries.

    July 3, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I suggest you another chrome extension by which only hilighting a group of words you can hear how's the correct pronunciation here it is the link
    [Broken Link Removed]

  3. Diego Presno
    June 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    This other Chrome extension might let you do similar stuff you mention (at least looking on most of those sites) with right click on selected text. All from the same context menu...
    Maybe you can try it out and let me know what you think of it?Thanks

    • Saikat Basu
      June 20, 2011 at 5:59 am

      Hi Diego,
      Thanks for the comment.Will try it out in a short while.

  4. Ianjimboaz
    May 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Great suggestions.  Now I can sound R-tic-u-lit!  :)