The Right Word, Anywhere

As a teacher of creative writing, I have one technotrick I couldn’t live without—looking up the exact definition of a word on my iPhone while standing at the chalkboard. There are a number of mobile dictionary and thesaurus applications now, but the best ones on a phone are the same as on the Web—Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com.

The Dictionary.com app is free and comes with a companion thesaurus. Merriam-Webster’s is a pricey US $60 but is based on Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged, the aircraft carrier in a bookstore’s fleet of American dictionaries. (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is also available, for $25.)

The databases go right on the phone, so there’s no time-consuming lookup that depends on a good connection to the Internet cloud. If you love words or need them for your work, these apps are indispensable.

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