What is WordReference and how the best online dictionary works | Technology

What is WordReference and how the best online dictionary works |  Technology

Most people use tools like Wikipedia, DeepL or Google Translate to meet your language needs. But it is not always enough.

Sometimes you need a real dictionary to explain the meaning of the words, with or without translation.

WordReference is one of the best free dictionaries that exist on the Net. Also translate, conjugate verbs, explain grammar, and has a very active forum that offers all kinds of help on languages.

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We’ll see what is WordReference and how it works, to get the most out of it.

It can be used through a web page, or from an app. It is a tool widely used by students and professionals.. It is among the 500 most viewed websites in the world, and among the 100 most viewed in Spain.

What is WordReference and how to use it

What is WordReference?

Created by Michael Kellogg in 1999, Wordreference was born with the intention of create free online bilingual dictionaries.

Over time it has become an idiomatic tool that covers from dictionaries to translators, synonym finder, conjugations, grammar, and much more.

It is a great tool for those who are looking for more than just machine translation, and need additional information.

Wordreference provides translation explanations, audio with pronunciation, example sentences, and much more.

different versions

As we have mentioned, you can access Wordreference from different places. The most classic and used version is the web page WordReference.com, which is the one we are going to use for the tutorial.

But it is also available as an app for iOS or Android:

In addition, it can be selected as alternative search engine to google in Firefox and Chrome browsers.

Numerous options to suit all tastes.

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Configuring the dictionaries

Use Wordreference it’s simple. To explain it, we are going to use the web page as a guide, but from mobile apps it is very similar.

We came in WordReference.com and we look at the language of the menus. We can change it by choosing a language highlighted in gray in the central part of the screen:

Is it availabe Spanish and Catalan, among others. Choose the option that you like the most.

Little by little they are adding more languages.

The searches

Before starting to work, we must choose the type of tools we want to use.

To do this, click on the pop-up menu in the center of the screen:

Here we can find translation dictionaries between languages, definition dictionaries, synonyms, verb conjugators, etc.

Once an option has been selected, all that remains is to enter a word or phrase to obtain the result.


If we choose one of these tools, we enter a word in one language, and get its translation in another.

As we see in this screenshot, it is not a simple automatic translation as in Google Translate. There is a lot of information here:

In the example, we are looking for the Spanish translation of the English word Windows.

Playing on the speaker icon, we can hear how it is pronounced.

In the tab next to it we choose the language version. In this case, we can choose American or British English.

By default the WordReference dictionary is used, but we can select it in the central tab collins dictionary or another, if they exist.

At the bottom we see the translation, along with some example sentences that include the searched word.

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Finally, in the left column we have related words that can help us.

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If you choose the option Spanish: definition in the central pop-up menu, you access the dictionary of definitions.

The results screen is similar to the previous one:

We can listen to how it is pronounced in Spanish from Spain or from Mexico, and we get the definitions, as well as some examples of use.

In the left column are related words.


Another very valuable option that WordReference has is the thesaurus, which we again choose in the central menu.

It is very similar to the definition:

The only difference is that in the search results, instead of the definition, they appear synonyms that can be used.

By clicking on them we will activate their definition.

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This tool solves common doubts about the use of different words in the speech and writing of Spanish, and explains differences between homonyms and other words that are easily confused.

also allows consult the verb tenses, the subjunctive, and even the punctuation in Spanish.

Finally it contains information about words that are used in different ways depending on the region.

As we see, there detailed explanations about accents, for example.

We just have to write the doubt in the search box: accents, homonyms, etc.

verb conjugator

Finally, we have the verb conjugator, a very useful tool for students, or to resolve a specific question with a verb.

When selecting the conjugator in the central pop-up menu of the web page, we only have to enter a verb to get all its conjugations:

We will see the indicative in different verb tenses, the subjunctive, common compound forms, etc.

Other related verbs appear in the left column.

to learn languages

Conjugators, definitions, synonyms, and other features are also available in other languages.

So it is a really useful tool to learn languages.

other functions

Searches are the raison d’être of Wordreference, but there are other interesting tools.

They are accessed through the purple menu bar at the top of the cover:

We see a button for direct access to dictionaries, without having to go through the popup menu every time we change.

We can also access from here to the grammar, already the verb conjugators.

In the section Tools we have the links to the stores to download the app for iOS and Android, and how to select the dictionaries in the search boxes of Chrome and Firefox.

word of the day takes us to the Word of the Day, where the origin of one is explained in detail.

last in lists we can find related word lists that people have created.

For example, the list of colors and their translation, food lists, words to buy in a store, etc.


The last option on the menu (actually the first) is the language forum, where an active community of tens of thousands of members ask questions and answer questions.

As in any other forum, you will have to register to be able to write:

There are independent forums for each language, and within them subforums to answer questions about definitions, or translations into other languages.

We have seen what is Word Reference and how the best online dictionary works.