Free online English-English dictionary (My Ranking)

G’day mate. How’re things going? Today, I am going to release My Ranking in relation to free online English-English dictionary. There are heaps of online dictionaries out there, but I selected the best five for you. Let’s introduce each and explain why I chose.

No.1 Longman dictionary

I’ve already introduced this dictionary before. This is the best of the best one, precisely because it’s really easy to follow and understand word definitions of what you are after, and presentation is second to none, I reckon. For those seeking for a free English-English dictionary as a starting point of English learning should be suitable. For me personally, I often use this one as a reference of pronunciation, because even if I’ve known about sounds, I sometimes need to check the exact phonetic symbol, making sure my understanding is absolutely right. For instance, if you want to check the word ‘undermine’, the result will be like this:

It’s very concise and easy to understand, isn’t it? And you can learn collocations and word-choice, which are so beneficial for your writing and speaking. You just pick one of those, and then you rearrange them as your own sentences for your Writing and Speaking practice.

No.2 Collins dictionary

I’ve selected this dictionary, because this one provides you with heaps of synonyms and pronunciation videos. But just one downside of this one is the existence of ‘translator’, which has a negative impact on English learners. I don’t personally like translator as it discourages you to think of words’ meanings, definitions and collocations by yourself. This dictionary is excellent, but please don’t rely heavily upon ‘translator’ functions. Ok, so I’ll give you an example of the same word ‘undermine’.

Good thing is that it’s got a pronunciation video demonstrating how it sounds, which is great. With regard to the definition of the word ‘undermine’, there’re a bit too much info which sometimes confuse you, but if you are already intermediate or upper-intermediate learners, then you should be alright. For beginners, Longman is much more suitable.

No.3 Merriam-Webster dictionary

Personally, I sometimes use this dictionary when I want to know a bit of the word history or origin. It’s got plenty of commentary audio recording about words’ history and origin, which are quite intriguing for those being curious about how a word is born and evolved as of today. This dictionary is a bit of advanced one, so if you are already an advanced learner, this one is good for you mate. Anyway, here is an example of the same word ‘undermine’:

It’s beautifully presented, and easy to understand the meaning of the word, isn’t it? But, one drawback is perhaps lack of audio recording samples compared to Longman and Collins. Good thing is, nevertheless, offering audio recording samples of the word history such as this:

The audio reads the above sentences aloud on your behalf. You can do shadowing, reading them aloud or even repeating sentences. Personally, shadowing is not effective training for boosting your English skills. But the other two are my recommendations.

No.4 Cambridge dictionary

This dictionary has a long history, and reputation as well, so why not? Presentation is great, so much info for beginners. However, since this one is for beginners, there is a translator function, which is unfortunately detrimental to the sustenance of your healthy English learning, like Collins dictionary. I don’t recommend using this function.

And another downside of this dictionary is, although there are heaps of useful sentences which contain key collocations and word-choices, there’s no audio recording voice. So, I don’t understand why it’s not got one. Here is an example of the same word ‘undermine’:

If it’d had audio recording voices, it’d have been much more effective and popular amongst English beginners. So, my recommendation is to combine Longman dictionary with this Cambridge dictionary as they each provide you with excellent elements and tips that could enhance the development of your English competency.

No.5 Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

Last but not least, this one is also a good start of English learning as it offers all essential basic 500 words. Although this is meant to be for children, there are heaps of useful words for everyday spoken language. This source is associated with BBC radio, so you might want to listen to the radio programmes intensively. At the same time, you learn so many useful words, which is beating two birds with one stone!!

However, English dictionary itself has a limitation as this one hasn’t got an audio recording sample of sentences, like Merriam-Webster and Cambridge dictionaries. This sucks. Here is an sample of the same word ‘undermine’:

So, I also recommend combining this one with other dictionaries. But, it’s good to do read them aloud, and record yourself instead. This is what I always do if there is no audio recording voice.

In conclusion, this is just my personal ranking, so it’s all up to you mate. But, probably my recommendations should be a piece of advice for some English learners. I myself, as an English tutor and leaner, want to keep using these all five dictionaries for different purposes. If you have any further info or queries, please feel free to contact me via email or leave comments here.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!


Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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