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18 Online Resources to Expand your English Vocabulary

18 Online Resources to Expand your English Vocabulary

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If you’ve got the desire to master the English language, the web is one of the best resources that’s available to you. Knowing the right sites and devoting some time, you can easily take the way you read, speak, and write English to the next level.

Even if you’re a native speaker, it doesn’t hurt to improve your vocabulary every now and then. New words are being invented all the time courtesy of the Web, a prime example being “to google” for something.

Here, we’ve listed 18 resources that’ll help you expand your vocabulary.

Online English Dictionaries and Thesaurus

First, let’s look at the online dictionaries and thesaurus available.

1. Dictionary.com

Unlike other dictionary sites, Dictionary.com offers more than just definitions and origins. It helps you improve your vocabulary through various games and word lists and maintains a list of slang, emoji, tech, and other new words. You can visit its sister site, Thesaurus.com, to find synonyms.

2. The Free Dictionary

Get ready to learn a lot of things at The Free Dictionary site. It’s an awesome resource that has information categorized, helps you with definitions, spelling bee games and lots more. The site also features a start page where you can add your favorite modules and learn things new every day.


3. Visual Thesaurus

At Visual Thesaurus, you can have a great time exploring words and related terms and play around with them. It includes a pronunciation helper, so you need not worry about getting a word mispronounced.

Some other features include examples of usages and additional tips to prevent you from mistakenly using the wrong word. It’s available as a download and requires a subscription, costing $2.95 per month.

4. Google’s Define Operator

Since people have got used to googling for everything, it’s not a surprise that Google has included a little functionality to their search engine. If you want to know the meaning of a word, just type define: followed by the word in the Google search box, and get the definitions instantly on your screen. For example, define: intuitive.

Similarly, you can refer to our Google search cheat sheet for more operators and tips.

5. Howjsay

This is a handy audio dictionary, available on the web and as a mobile app. Just type in a word and get its definition or pronunciation immediately. It has a large database of words, divided into categories. This site is especially very useful for non-native speakers.

6. Merriam-Webster

Founded in 1828, Merriam-Webster is one of the most popular American dictionaries. Its website has an online dictionary, thesaurus, games, and quizzes. There are separate dictionaries for legal and medical terms. Merriam-Webster has mobile apps for improving vocabulary, in case you want to practice on the go.

7.Wordnik

Wordnik is a non-profit organization and claims to have the largest collection of English words online. It isn’t a dictionary itself, but fetches meanings from numerous sources. It also displays the words related to the one you entered.

You can create your own word list on Wordnik and view random words to improve vocabulary. Wordnik is an extremely useful tool if you want to view the meaning of a single word from multiple sources simultaneously to compare or double-check.

Offline English Dictionaries

8. WordWeb

WordWeb functions as a dictionary tool that comes packed with the features you would expect in any dictionary. Select a word from any application and then press a shortcut to find out its meaning in WordWeb. Something you’ll love is the way its interface has been designed.

In case you need synonyms, related terms, etc., just click on the appropriate tab, and you’re done. The Pro version includes a few more capabilities, although the free version might be more than enough for your needs.

English Grammar Resources

9. BBC Learning English

The BBC Learning English site has loads of information on English vocabulary and grammar, such as FAQs, exercises, and quizzes. The vocabulary section is divided into basic and intermediate level, depending on your proficiency. There are several activities in both these categories that take six minutes to complete.

If you still need more, you can test yourself in these quizzes:

A Word a Day to Pick Up New English Vocabulary

The following sites are updated every day with words that you might have never heard of. You can see their origin, etymology, pronunciation, and a lot more. You can subscribe to their newsletters and spend less than a minute daily to enrich your English vocabulary,

10. A Word A Day by Wordsmith

The newsletter shares a new word daily and has over 400,000 subscribers. You can subscribe to it for free and view archives.

11. The Word of the Day by The Britannica Dictionary

You can visit The Britannica Dictionary’s the Word of the Day page to learn a new word every day. It doesn’t have a newsletter, so you’ll have to bookmark it or view archives periodically. Besides this, it has quizzes and a list of the most common 3,000 words.

Podcasts

If you’re an auditory learner or doesn’t have much time to read, you can tune in to any of the several podcasts on English language.

12. Grammar Girl Podcast

Hosted by Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl podcast aims to help you improve your writing. To that end, it discusses grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary.

English eBooks

13. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg has over 60,000 free downloadable ebooks. These included dictionaries and books on English language. But reading books on other subjects is also a great way to improve vocabulary. Books from many languages are available, just take your pick from the online Gutenberg catalog.

Besides this, you can visit the other sites to find and download ebooks.

Educational Games

Looking for a fun way to learn? Try these games.

14. Chicago Tribune Jumble

Chicago Tribune has various fun activities on its sites, including scrambled word games called Jumble. They don’t take much time, are quite interesting, and help you learn new words.

15. Play Scrabble

You can play scrabble on this site, either with the computer or other players. To make it more interesting, invite your friends.

16. ManyThings

ManyThings has numerous vocabulary games and quizzes, including some pictorial games.

Blogs

There are countless blogs that provide tips on improving your English, like:

17. Daily Writing Tips

Daily Writing Tips covers all the aspects of writing, but you’ll find a ton of posts on vocabulary and word usage. You can view by category to find relevant posts.

Start Pages

These are quite great, and can save you loads of time. A Start Page is a page on the web that you can customize with stuff that you need to keep an eye on. For example, my start page contains modules that give me access to a few blogs, top news stories and weather.

18. Netvibes

Using Netvibes, you can create a start page with modules like a dictionary, word a day stuff, etc. It offers a great deal of customization options, letting you add apps, feeds, and panels to your start page. Once you get used to them, these will not only help you to learn new words, but also track all the important information.

Learn New English Words Daily

Improving your vocabulary doesn’t have to be boring. Whether you like to play games or listen to podcasts, you can benefit from the above-mentioned online resources to learn new words.

Besides adding new words to your vocabulary, it’s essential to master your grammar. This, too, can be done with the help of sites and apps.

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