Merriam Webster Dictionary Android app is, in a word, respectable

Jul 12, 2011

Dictionary apps are a bit of a crap shoot. They either fall in the category of “the most expensive apps you’ve ever seen” or cheaper ones that usually aren’t very high quality. Merriam Webster’s free app for Android is both a respectable and reliable solution to your dictionary app problem.

Finding the word you’re looking for is as easy as typing it in the search bar. Then, you’ll be given pronunciation, synonyms, antonyms and example sentences.

If you aren’t the greatest speller in the world, Merriam Webster Dictionary does its best to figure out what you mean. When this fails, you can tap the voice search “Record” button next to the search bar and say the word out loud.

I immediately noticed a flaw with this feature, though, when I mispronounced “onomatopoeia.” The app listed seven different “possible words,” and some of them weren’t the proper spelling of the word I was looking for (I got a lot of “ottoman” with some strange extra letters on the end), and the correct spelling was on there. But, if you weren’t sure exactly which vowel-heavy word was the one you needed, you might quickly become annoyed with this app.

When I tapped on the spelling “onomonopiea”, for instance, I was directed to a page that said “Sorry, no match found.” From there, I had to go back and redo the voice search again. There was no way to just click back to the previous page. This also makes me wonder, if the words listed are not actual words, why even list them as clickable options?

The app’s key, really neat feature is its “Daily Word” tab. Each day the word is different, providing synonyms, antonyms and use in a sentence, but it also includes a “Did you know?” trivia section about the word. It’s hard to say how much users will be challenged by these daily words (I knew what the daily word “eccentric” meant), but it’s safe to say that these descriptions are very easy to understand and fun to look at.

Merriam Webster Dictionary’s ads can be a bit intrusive at times, but it is nice to have a high-quality dictionary app without having to pay for it.

This app is a great tool for reference, education and building a stronger vocabulary. A must-have pocket dictionary for anyone who does any kind of writing, whether for work, keeping in touch or even play.

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Caitlin M. Foyt

Caitlin M. Foyt is another young journalist chasing after her dreams. She wishes it was physically possible to document everything she saw, heard, felt or thought -- kind of like a more neurotic Harriet the Spy.

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