No matter what your age, occupation, or education may be, you have likely used a dictionary more than once. The online options are plentiful for basic word lookups and definitions. But if you are in the market for something more specific or tailored to your needs, check out these 13 unique dictionaries.
1. Children: Kids.Wordsmyth
Where can my kids do safe word lookups?
When your child needs to look up a word for school, Kids.Wordsmyth is a safe, easy-to-use option. Just enter a word in the search box and click Go. You will notice that as you type each letter of the word, suggestions will appear in alphabetical order directly below the box. This is a wonderful option in cases where your child is unsure how to spell the word completely.
Double-click any word in the results window and the definition will display along with visual and audio pronunciations, photos if available, related words, and a word history. Kids.Wordsmyth provides a friendly experience with useful word details.
2. Music: OnMusic Dictionary
What does vibrato mean?
If you are taking a music class or simply want to learn more about a musical term, OnMusic Dictionary has you covered. Just enter a term or composer and the search box will show you suggestions. Select one and get its definition which includes links to additional terms.
Along with the definition, you can listen to an audio pronunciation. And, for certain items you can hear song examples. For instance, the results for violin give you a few song samples that you can listen to or download like Beethoven’s Serenade in D major.
3. Law: Law.com Dictionary
What is a lien?
Law.com offers a dictionary of legal words, terms, and phrases. Enter your search term, select All Words, Any Words, or Phrase, and click Look It Up. Your results will include all possible matches for you to review. Click the one you want and see its definition.
If you are unsure how to spell a word, you can browse by letter. Then just select your word from the list of options beginning with that letter. With everything from abatement to zoning, this is a superb legal resource.
4. Religion: The ARDA Dictionary
How do you define gospel?
When you would like to look up a religious word or term, The ARDA (Association of Religion Data Archives) dictionary is a great source. You can easily browse for a word by letter or enter a term into the search box.
The dictionary provides a definition with links for further research, examples of usage, and highlights the word in the results for you, giving you a faster way to find what you need. And, the site covers terms for a variety of religions.
5. Business: BusinessDictionary
What exactly is scope creep?
For all types of business terms and words, BusinessDictionary is a fabulous resource. As you enter a word or phrase, you will see suggestions. After you select an option, you will see the definition, usage examples, and a handy button for citing the term.
Another feature of BusinessDictionary is that you get a Term of the Day with an option to scroll through previous days. Plus, popular terms are shown on the main page. These are nice ways to expand your business vocabulary. The site covers management, finance, commerce, banking, and small business.
6. Slang: Green’s Dictionary of Slang
Oh my, what does that mean?
When you hear a word and recognize it as slang, although you have no idea what it means, visit Green’s Dictionary of Slang. Pop a word or phrase into the search box and you will get the definition instantly. You will also see helpful variations.
The website offers a Word of the Week on the main page, which is super handy. In addition, you can browse words by letter and will see that the dictionary includes more than just slang. So if you are interested in quotations, additional search options, and a bibliography, you might check out the subscription option. But a basic search in the dictionary is free.
7. Etymology: Online Etymology Dictionary
The word telephone is how old?
If the study of words interests you, then take a look at the Online Etymology Dictionary. This nifty tool provides details on the meanings and sounds of words dating back many, many years. For example, did you know that the word telephone dates back to the year 1835?
Enter a word or term, click Ok, and get the dates, details, and history along with related words and terms. If you do not have a particular word or phrase in mind, you can browse the dictionary by letter instead.
8. Rhyming: Rhyme Zone
How can you rhyme any time with a mime?
For song writers, poets, and those who need words that rhyme, Rhyme Zone is the tool you want. Just enter the word that you want to rhyme with, click Search, and see your results. The website provides a great list of rhyming words and phrases separated by syllable count. So, if you need a seven-syllable phrase that rhymes with mustache, you got it.
As a bonus, Rhyme Zone lets you do an advanced rhyme search as well as finding synonyms, antonyms, definitions, phrases, and more. Just choose your search option from the drop-down box and you are on your way.
9. Biology: Biology Online Dictionary
Can you help me through biology class?
With over 60,000 biology terms, the Biology Online Dictionary might be just what you need to get through that tough class. The Popular Pages section on the main page is quite handy and you can also browse by letter.
Read the definition, supplement, word origin, and related forms of the word. Biology Online also provides articles, tutorials, and a forum. Just keep in mind that the dictionary uses the wiki concept, so contributions come from other users. Now put those metacarpals in motion and check it out.
10. Visual: Visuwords
What if I prefer pictures to words?
For a distinctive dictionary experience that uses visuals more than words, check out Visuwords. This website uses a mind map display to provide definitions. When you enter a word into the search box, a visualization will display with the nodes as words and related words.
You can move your mouse over each node to display the definition and there is a useful key to show you what the colors and symbols mean. Visuwords is a very cool dictionary tool, but does require a strong internet connection so just keep that in mind.
11. Scrabble: Scrabble Dictionary
I hate being challenged on my wordplay in Scrabble!
If you are a Scrabble player, then you know how important an official word can be. To find out if a word is valid for Scrabble gameplay, go right to the source, the Scrabble Dictionary. Upon searching for your word, you will see immediately whether it can be used or not. Plus, the results provide you the point count, a brief definition, and related words.
The website also offers a neat word builder. Just enter the letters from your game rack and click Go for possible words. You can even combine your letters with a word on the game board, making it even easier to score.
12. Crossword Puzzles: Amo’s Online Crossword Puzzle Dictionary
Can you help me find that tough word?
Getting stuck in a crossword puzzle can be aggravating and if you are a fan of the genre, you know this. Amo’s Online Crossword Puzzle Dictionary lets you find words based on letter patterns. Say you need a four-letter word with P as the first letter and L as the last letter. Just pop in P**L and see your possible words.
You can enter any combination of letters with asterisks as the missing letters. Look through your results and you will likely see the correct word to complete that challenging crossword puzzle. If you love those puzzles, keep this online dictionary close at hand.
13. Signing: Sign Language Dictionary
What is the sign for…?
From Two Little Hands comes a terrific sign language dictionary. This resource provides a short video with each word definition showing how to create it with sign language. You can search by term, topic, or letter.
Each word you click on will display the video demonstration with a transcript and a written description of how to perform the sign. The dictionary and website are intended to teach and help youngsters who need to converse with sign language, but it can be helpful for anyone at any age.
Which Online Dictionary Do You Use?
Online dictionaries like Merriam-Webster or Dictionary.com are terrific and reliable resources for fast word lookups. But, if you are interested in one that is a bit out of the ordinary, topic-specific, or just plain interesting, then these options are worth a look.
Do you happen to have a handy online dictionary that you use and would like to share with others? If so, leave us a comment below!