THE FCE BLOG by Claudia Ceraso

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Online Dictionaries

Which dictionaries are the most useful?

Let’s have a look at this question. First thing you should bear in mind is what you need the dictionary for. As an FCE student you need a good monolingual advanced learner’s dictionary with concise and clear definitions. Dictionary entries vary in layout among editions (you should browse and see which you find most convenient), but they all include information about pronunciation –International Phonetic Alphabet is best for this-, about grammar categories and ,of course, a definition. However, when it comes to useful dictionaries –paper or online editions- for the FCE preparation, what you should pay more attention to is the number of examples the entry includes. Not just one, as that may only exemplify one of the many meanings of the word but not its use. So the rule for examples is “The more, the merrier”.

There are countless dictionaries and glossaries in the internet galaxy. You can find so much that it may sometimes be discouraging to try and check them out, tell what is good from what is not.

I'll suggest a few to get started:

http://www.answers.com/
Definitions, synonyms, translation

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/
Options to look up your word in different dictionaries: phrasal verbs, idioms, translations. Examples are given.

Also Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
http://pewebdic2.cw.idm.fr/

Or Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary
http://www.oup.com/elt/catalogue/teachersites/oald7/?cc=ar

A tip...
Go into Google searchbar and type the following:
define: type the word you are looking for
And then press ENTER

Now if you are ready for more...

-If you need a dictionary to link you to the web dictionaries where the word appears, you should visit:
http://www.onelook.com/


-If you need to see the word in a picture, try this one:
http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/

-For an extensive coverage on synonyms go to:
http://www.m-w.com/


-Now when you are writing and you want more than synonyms, you want an aid to retrieve the right word from your mind, this visual help will prove irreplaceable:
http://www.visualthesaurus.com/overview.jsp;jsessionid=B6B1838D9D226CBB90C562A5D36EC77E

-For specific purposes, you probably need to search for a dictionary before you try finding the word:
http://www.yourdictionary.com/

-Another portal worth paying a visit is:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/
Here you will find links to computing dictionaries, financial dictionaries, acronyms, and more.

Just out of curiosity, do you know how many volumes the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language has? Mm...Guess or check:
The dictionary is available at the NRC on the 5th floor.

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