Language and study skills
Advice about the best dictionaries to help with your English.
The best dictionaries today are fantastic and are very powerful learning tools
Dictionaries help you to build up your vocabulary in a completely different way from the old dictionaries. They can also teach you about writing and many other things. Most of the best are published by these companies: Cambridge, Oxford, Collins, Macmillan and Longman.
The dictionary in your mobile phone may be old-fashioned and poor quality: new technology but old (and bad) content. Most hand-held electronic translators have the same problem. You can now get excellent electronic dictionaries and there are links to some below.
A translating dictionary is useful but it is not enough to help you develop a better vocabulary - and learn how to use the new words. You need both a translating dictionary and an English-to-English one.
The best dictionaries are available both in electronic and book form. If you are going to study English seriously, it's helpful to have the book too. You may be able to download the dictionary without buying the book, but it's not always cheaper.
Some of the best dictionaries are now available free online (see links below). They have many excellent extra features, though. You only get these extras when you buy the dictionary.
- Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary.
- Oxford Learner's Dictionary of Academic English. This also has an iOS app.
- Cambridge Learners Dictionary (website)
- Cambridge Learners Dictionary (book)
- Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary
- Macmillan Study Dictionary
- Oxford Students' Dictionary for learners using English to study other subjects
- Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
- Bilingual dictionaries
- Online English - Japanese dictionary
Online dictionary pages
The following pages are free to access:
- Oxford Learner's Dictionaries
- Macmillan Dictionary
- Cambridge Dictionaries
- Cambridge Dictionary Plus - this includes word lists