Dictionary.com – Review

On April 14, 2009

Developer’s Notes: 
The Dictionary.com app delivers world-class reference content from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com including more than 275,000 definitions and 80,000 synonyms. No Internet connection is needed. The app also features audio pronunciations, similarly spelled words and Dictionary.com’s popular Word of the Day that is enjoyed by more than a million users. 
• "Dictionary.com wins…App of the Day award. Go grab it." – Trusted Review 
• "The application is straightforward, but attractive." – CNET 
• "A sensational app that is easy to use and divine to have." – TMC Net 
• "275,000 definitions, no Wi-Fi needed. Our word for today – horray!" – SF Chronicle 
**We recommend connecting to a Wi-Fi network or using iTunes on your computer to download this app.** 
• Dictionary, Thesaurus and Word of the Day 
• More than 275,000 definitions in the Dictionary 
• More than 80,000 synonyms in the Thesaurus 
• Alphabetical indexing 
• Similarly spelled words 
• Spelling and audio pronunciation 
• Example sentences 
• Non-standard uses 
• Word origin and history 
• Editable recent word look-up 
* No Internet connection required for Dictionary and Thesaurus content 
**Internet connection required for Word of the Day, audio pronunciations and similarly spelled words.** 

Our Take… 
Just released on the app store about a week ago, Dictionary.com is a free gateway to the well known and comprehensive web site. Many companies offer dictionaries on the app store at a premium, but Dictionary.com offers their app for free mainly for branding purposes. I’d imagine that users who have downloaded the iPhone/iPod Touch app will likely visit their website for all their future needs. 

At first glance, the app looks to be rather simple. That said, there’s more to Dictionary.com than meets the eye. The app offers a robust set of offline features that can be used without any data coming into the device. A large searchable dictionary and thesaurus open up the offering. Search suggestions are offered in real time while searching. 
Once you find a word, you are taken to its definition. Included is an audio pronunciation (data required) which helps you pronounce the work. The accent it distinctly North American, but still sounds like a real person. Also included is a rudimentary word history for the etymologist in you. From there, hitting the thesaurus button takes you to the thesaurus entry (if available). 

Misspelling a word or searching for an unavailable word brings you to a page showing you similarly spelled words. This is helpful for finding the word you meant to spell. It also serves as a handy reminder that you need to work on your spelling. 

The application also stores a history of your searches, saving you from having to re-enter them later. What’s more is that the app remembers whether you were using the dictionary, thesaurus, or word of the day and provides a corresponding button for each. 
Finally, Dictionary.com packs in a word of the day tab. This tab is updated daily with an uncommon word as well as its definition and example sentences. It’s sort of like those calendars people buy which motivate people to use new words in everyday conversations. It requires a data connection to use, however. 
It’s also worth noting how well designed the application is. Relative to other dictionary apps, it’s just plain pretty. The title bar changes to indicate which function you’re using, the fonts are clean and readable, and the contextual buttons in the recent tab is a nice touch. Do note, however, that there appears to be an ad placeholder which may start pushing ads in the future. 





Quick Take

Value: High 
Would I Buy Again: It’s free, but even if it wasn’t, it’s still worth a couple of bucks. 
Learning Curve: None, simply search and learn. Heck, the app even uses voice if you can’t read the pronunciation text. 
Who Is It For: People who want to bolster their vocabulary 
What I Like: Robust feature set, offline dictionary index, great design, pleasant voice for audio pronunciations. 
What I Don’t: Nothing really.

Final Statement: The only dictionary app most people will ever need. It’s really a no brainer. 


By: Dictionary.com