Children’s dictionaries have come a long way in the last couple of decades. There are electronic options that come in a variety of forms and resemble tiny laptops. We especially love the ones that double as bookmarks! There are also many online options that can be used on a desktop or as an app on a phone or other device. These online options have so many features that we just adore like translation services and even crowdsourced definitions. And don’t worry: We haven’t forgotten about traditional hard-copy dictionaries. Illustrated dictionaries are perfect for the littlest readers, while more advanced options are ideal for older students. We’re sure you will find just what you are looking for in our comprehensive list of the best dictionaries for kids.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
This compact electronic dictionary will help older students and even adults find just the right word for their writing since it has over 118,000 words, phrases, and definitions built into it. We especially love the spell-checker.
Buy it: Franklin-Collins English Dictionary With Thesauraus at Amazon
A Bookmark Dictionary for Young Kids
What’s handier than a bookmark that can help you understand words you don’t know as you’re reading? We think this little electronic dictionary that doubles as a bookmark will definitely be perfect for the 7-to-12-year-old bookworm in your life!
Buy it: Children’s Electronic Dictionary Bookmark at Amazon
A Bookmark Dictionary for Older Kids
This is a more sophisticated version of an electronic bookmark dictionary that will likely appeal to the older students in your life. They can keep it with them for the more challenging reads that might be assigned in school.
Buy it: IF Electronic Dictionary Bookmark at Amazon
Interactive Dictionary for Little Kids
We love that this dictionary can be used by little ones before they are able to read independently. When kids touch a word, this interactive dictionary will read the definition to them. There is even a game mode for slightly older kids!
Buy it: LeapFrog A to Z Learn With Me Dictionary at Amazon
A Dictionary for Scrabble Lovers
While this electronic dictionary can be used for far more, we love that it is the official one filled with acceptable words and abbreviations that can be played in Scrabble.
Buy it: Lexibook: The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary at Amazon
Macmillan Online Dictionary
The best dictionaries for kids do so much more than just provide standard definitions. This one includes collocations, idioms, sound effects, videos, and even a crowdsourced Open Dictionary. We also love the games and quizzes that can help students improve their grasp of the English language. Go use it right now to look up collocation … we know you want to!
Try it: Macmillan Dictionary
Word Web Pro has options to install the app on your phone or tablet so that any definition you need is just one click away.
Learn more: WordWeb: How It Works
Wordsmyth Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary
We love that this online dictionary can be used for different ages since there are a number of features based on the reading level of the user. Register to get a free 15-day trial subscription.
Try it: Kids’ Wordsmyth
Just type a word into the search bar, then read through the full definition that appears. There are also tabs where you can explore articles, videos, websites, and images pertaining to the word you searched.
Merriam-Webster Online Student Dictionary
No list of the best dictionaries for kids would be complete without some options from Merriam-Webster. We especially love the pronunciation tool that sounds out the word and the example sentence feature.
Online Dictionary for High School
This is one of the most thorough online dictionaries we’ve come across and is therefore probably best suited for high school students and up. We like that it even shows you the words that would be found near your search term in a hard-copy dictionary since that can be lost when utilizing an online option. The Word of the Day feature is a fun way to learn a new word each day!
Try it: Dictionary.com
A Dictionary Plus Sentence Search Engine
While Ludwig can be used as a regular online dictionary, it is so much more than that. It helps you find contextualized sentences that use your word from reliable sources. We especially love the translator feature that enables you to translate from over a dozen languages.
Try it: Ludwig
A Picture Dictionary
Dictionaries for kids in elementary school should include interesting photos and easy-to-understand definitions, and this one fits the bill!
Buy it: Children’s Dictionary at Amazon
Fully Updated Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
Regardless of what you need to define, this fully updated and revised dictionary should have it! We especially love all the extra information given for each search term.
Buy it: Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary at Amazon
A First Dictionary
We love the beautiful illustrations that accompany the straightforward definitions in this Merriam-Webster dictionary for the littlest learners. The best dictionaries for kids should be visually appealing while still being informative, like this one!
Buy it: Merriam-Webster’s First Dictionary at Amazon
A Word-Origin Dictionary
This unique dictionary explains the origin stories for various words in addition to the definition. One Amazon review calls this book “not your parent’s dictionary,” and we totally agree! This dictionary is a progressive and entertaining option for upper elementary and middle school students (or even adults!).
Buy it: Once Upon a Word: A Word-Origin Dictionary for Kids at Amazon
An Intermediate Visual Dictionary
This is another perfect option for the 11-to-14-year-old crowd. As detailed as it is beautiful, this dictionary will definitely delight your favorite middle schooler.
Buy it: Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Visual Dictionary at Amazon
A Perfect High School Dictionary
Another Merriam-Webster option, because they really do make the best and most varied dictionaries on the market! We think this dictionary will provide a better alternative for your teen than asking Alexa or Google.
Buy it: Merriam-Webster’s School Dictionary at Amazon
A Spanish-English Dictionary
This is definitely a must-have for any student studying Spanish. Spanish teachers might also want to keep a copy in the classroom.
Buy it: Webster’s Spanish-English Dictionary at Amazon
A Dictionary for Exam Taking
This dictionary is the perfect companion piece for high school students studying for exams. We love that it includes grammar and punctuation tips!
Buy it: Oxford Student’s Dictionary at Amazon
If you liked these dictionary recommendations for kids, check out these meaningful vocabulary activities.
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