One of the most basic yet fundamental tools for learning a language is the good old dictionary. Whether online or in print, dictionaries provide you descriptions of a word’s meaning and explains how it is used in a sentence. Rather than lugging around a heavy paper copy, you can access tons of free online dictionaries. Simply type the word you want to look up, and you’ll get meanings, expressions, contextualized sentences, and some even have audio files. The following is a list of the best free online dictionaries that are free to use. It’s a matter of personal choice, but our selections are based on what has proven effective for our learners of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German.
The Best Free Online Dictionaries for Spanish, German, French and Portuguese
The Best Free Online Dictionary for Spanish
Anyone from the casual learner to a professional linguist can make use of WordReference. This dictionary provides translations for multiple languages. Just type a word in the search box, and you’ll see a list of meanings, parts of speech, sentences, pronunciation, possible compound forms and explanations of expressions. If you scroll down, you can even see questions that people have posted in forums. Sign up for a free account and you can pose any question, and get a response from users around the world!
Diccionarios El Mundo
This online dictionary from one of the most famous Spanish-language newspapers has useful videos, audio clips and images incorporated into their dictionary. It’s best to check this out if you’re at an intermediate level or above. One of the best aspects of this site is that
really provides a comprehensive view of each word. You get to see meanings, sentences and synonyms, which I’ve used to increase my vocabulary.
The Best Free Online Dictionaries for French
A popular French TV channel, TV5 has an amazing website, with a huge section dedicated to French learners. They feature activities broken down into specific levels that use video, audio, TV shows, and more. They also offer a monolingual dictionary that is very useful, with meanings, phrases, expressions and synonyms. Plus, you can download a toolbar for easy searching (I don’t like added toolbars on browsers, but some people do!).
In my opinion, Larousse is the best dictionary for vocabulary. They have monolingual and bilingual dictionaries. What’s even cooler, they have a conjugation tool that lets you see how any verb breaks down across various tenses and moods. It’s fast, efficient and informative!
The Best Free Online Dictionaries for Italian
Check out Collin’s dictionary to see a variety of expressions. Simply type in a word, and suggestions come up so that you can see how a word is commonly used. Every given meaning is accompanied by several examples of how to use the word in a sentence.
Take advantage of Sapere’s resources and immerse yourself in Italian! They have a monolingual dictionary and a bilingual version for numerous languages. You can also take a peek at their encyclopedia to pick up on new vocabulary.
The Best Free Online Dictionaries for German
Leo is an amazing resource that provides a dictionary and fun ways to practice. Next to any language pair, you’ll find a link for forums and for the “trainer,” where you can access Leo’s Word of the Day, activities, and more.
EGO, or English Grammar Online, is not only helpful for those learning English. Their thorough dictionary works great for English speakers learning German and other languages. You can type in a word as it is spelled, or you can also type it in term of its pronunciation if you’re not sure how to spell it.
The Best Free Online Dictionaries for Portuguese
A space dedicated to the Portuguese language, with 22 different online dictionaries translating from any language into Portuguese. It’s a great resource with only one downfall: no pronunciation guidelines. Available online and as an app.
This dictionary specializes in Brazilian Portuguese and contains more than 110,000 entries. Since it’s a monolingual dictionary, you really get to learn new vocabulary and structures just by looking up words. It may be more beneficial for those with an intermediate level.
These are some that we have come to love, but don’t hesitate to suggest your favorite dictionaries in the comments section!
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