Merriam Webster: An Excellent Free Dictionary for Offline Use

Ben Stegner 09-11-2016

While everyone uses their phones differently, there are some Android apps that every user should install Top 10 Android Apps Everyone Should Install First Got a new Android phone or tablet? Then you absolutely need these apps! Read More . These include slick utilities like AirDroid How Do I Manage My Android From My PC? Meet AirDroid 3 For a seamless connection between your Android and your PC or Mac, you've got to try AirDroid 3. You can even mirror your device's screen to your computer! Read More that let you control your phone from a PC, and apps that let you block spam callers How to Block Unwanted Calls and Texts on Android for Free Sick of spammy calls and texts on Android? Here's how to take control and block them for free and without rooting your device. Read More . Though not nearly as exciting as other apps, there’s another type that’s great to have around: a dictionary.


You might think of as the best dictionary app, but there’s another solution worth looking at, too. Let’s jump into the latest version of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary app for Android, which lets you take your words offline.

Download: Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (Free) on the Google Play Store

Meet Mr. Webster

Once you’ve installed Webster’s app, you’ll be greeted with a clean interface. The home page holds the word of the day A Word A Day In 140 Letters Or Less: Follow These Twitter Dictionaries To Be A Logophile You might think that 140 characters just doesn’t cut it when you have to pick a word apart, and get to its meaning and usage. But let’s leave some room for surprises because Twitter and... Read More , which is a great way to increase your vocabulary bit by bit. Of course, being a dictionary, you’ll probably open the app to look up a specific word.

While a paper dictionary helps you find what you’re looking for with header text, the app will match your search query to similar words in the database. Typing “dinosaur,” for instance, also brings up “dinosaurs,” “dinosaurian”, and “duckbill dinosaur.” If you prefer not to type, you can also use the voice option to speak your query — great if you’re unsure of the spelling 8 Grammar Apps That'll Help You Improve Your English Weak in English grammar? Here are the best grammar apps for iPhone and Android to improve your fluency with the language. Read More .


The actual pages are full of useful info. For most words, you’ll find quick definitions as well as full definitions. Webster also includes example sentences, origins, etymology, and spoken pronunciations. Tapping any word on a page will bring you to the dictionary entry for that word.


Not content to just be a dictionary, you can also switch between a dictionary page and thesaurus page for a word with one tap at the bottom of the screen.

Navigating the Dictionary

Those who often get lost in an endless trail of links Everything You Need To Know About Wikipedia And More Wikipedia is one of the most famous sites on the Internet. It's informative, as well as controversial, and having a page on there is highly sought after. Let's get to know it better. Read More will enjoy the features Webster has in place to help you navigate. Once you’ve landed on a definition, the app keeps it as a sort of tab at the top of the screen. So, if you go to “fish” and then tap on “animal”, you can slide back to “fish” with a simple swipe to the left.


Additionally, the left slide-out menu has a Recent tab, where you can quickly jump back to anything you’ve looked at recently. The app also lets you remove items in this menu if you’d like to clean it up.


When you find a new word that you love, you can tap the Favorite heart icon to add it to your favorites. In the same slide-out menu, you can access your favorites at any time. This could be useful for learning new words or practicing ones you have trouble with.

If you’d like to get social with your dictionary usage, you can use the Share icon present on every word to send it out using any compatible app you have installed. Oddly, Webster’s app uses the iOS-style share icon instead of the Android one.


Word Games

Language fanatics know that there’s no shortage of awesome word games on Android Words Without Friends: 7 Mind-Bending Single-Player Word Games When all you want is a quick test for your vocabulary without relying on someone else, just fire up one of these fantastic single-player word games: Most will work either on iOS or Android. Read More . However, Webster’s dictionary includes three games to help you work on your linguistics in just a minute or two.


The first is a vocabulary test, which tasks you with choosing the word closest in meaning to one that you’re presented with. Second is True or False, which asks you random trivia questions. Lastly, you can play Name that Thing, which shows you pictures that you must match with a description.

These games won’t win any awards for exciting gameplay 10 Best Free Android Games of the Year Did you miss out on an Android game that you should be playing? Our end-of-year roundup is a handy checklist to know what your thumbs should be tapping on. Read More or unique features, but they’re a valuable way to kill a few minutes while learning some new words.


Taking it Offline

These days, whether from Wi-Fi or mobile data, phones have a network connection most of the time. While accessing your dictionary in a dead zone probably won’t be your first priority in an emergency, it’s nice to have access to thousands of words in your pocket anytime. This also prevents you from using too much data How to Prevent Any App From Using Mobile Data on Android If your apps use too much mobile data, try restricting background data on Android. Here's how to turn off data and save money. Read More when you’re out and about.

Thankfully, nearly all the app’s features work without a connection. Tested in airplane mode, the only items that didn’t work were voice typing, word pronunciation, and illustrations on word pages. Other than these restrictions, you have full access to the entire dictionary, and the games work offline too.

If you like the idea of offline apps for Android 10 Essential Offline Android Apps for People Without Mobile Data or Wi-Fi Here are the best Android apps that work offline, whether you don't have a data plan or are in an area with no service. Read More because you spend a lot of time outside, then these offline Android apps for outdoor adventures 7 Offline Android Apps for Surviving Outdoor Adventures If you often go on outside adventures, you need to install these Android apps to help you navigate, handle emergencies, and more. Read More are for you.

A Solid Dictionary Choice

The dictionary app on your phone probably won’t be your most-used app, but it’s still important to keep around. When you think about the amount of information contained in a dictionary, and how large they are physically, it’s pretty incredible that you can fit the entire thing into one app. In our testing, the app took up around 282 MB. This isn’t huge, but it’s another reason why you should avoid buying a tiny 16 GB phone Live Photos & 4K: Why You Shouldn’t Buy a 16GB iPhone 6s If you want to take advantage of the new iPhone 6s camera, you'll probably want to avoid picking the 16GB storage option. Read More .

Webster’s dictionary does include ads (both on-screen and overlaid), but you can remove them by purchasing the Premium edition for $3. This version also includes some extra content, so it’s a no-brainer for wordsmiths.

In case you didn’t know, the dictionary has been updated recently with technology terms. Check out ten tech words to know Tech Jargon: Learn 10 New Words Recently Added To The Dictionary [Weird & Wonderful Web] Technology is the source for many new words. If you are a geek and a word lover, you will love these ten that were added to the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary. Read More in case you spot them in your dictionary travels.

Have you tried Webster’s dictionary for Android, or do you prefer a different dictionary app? Talk to us about anything dictionary-related down in the comments!

Originally written by Erez Zukerman on August 18th, 2011.

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  1. Little Sister
    August 27, 2011 at 3:34 am

    Is there an offline MW dictionary program for regular PCs too?

    (I mean, besides the *other* offline edition.) ;-)

    I still use MS Works' built-in Encarta dictionary. Kind of buzzword-heavy but then again, so is modern language, apparently..."Lol" ^_^

    • Erez Zukerman
      August 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Yes, there is one:

      (Comes with a CD)

  2. Anonymous
    August 20, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I just uninstalled it few days back the reason was that the audio thingy requires internet connection too. It really sucks (not the app) that you've to connect to internet for listening to pronounciation I miss my old N73 where I was able to download offline audio files. :( :(

    • Anonymous
      August 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I think downloading audio files for the entire dictionary would take up a ton of space, actually. Do you know how much space it took on the N73? Also, what dictionary app was that?

      • Anonymous
        August 20, 2011 at 11:38 am

        roughly around 120mb and the application name was MSDICT ... well atleast that much space you can spare on your 4gb memory card.. :)

        • Anonymous
          August 20, 2011 at 11:39 am

          ... or 16gb, in my case. ;) That's true. Who knows -- maybe one day they'll enable something like this!

        • Anonymous
          August 20, 2011 at 11:42 am

          in my android I got 8gb :D
          4gb was back on my N73..

          yeah I wish somebody would do so... android is totally internet based phone half of the application wont work without you having a stable internet connection :)