20 Must-Have Dictionaries for Kids of All Ages

Electronic, online and hardcopy options!

Examples of dictionaries

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!)

Electronic Dictionaries

Pocket-Sized Dictionary

A small black electronic dictionary is shown with a small screen and a keyboard. It flips open. Text reads Collins English Dictionary Express Edition with Thesaurus

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

A flat keyboard that is white with lime green trim is shown with a white pop up screen attached.

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

A thin, white bookmark that resembles a tv remote has a small screen on it and the rest of it is a long, thin keyboard (dictionaries for 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

A hard plastic book says A to Z Dictionary. It has cartoon drawings of different things on the cover like a diver and an astronaut. It has buttons on the right-hand side. (dictionaries for 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

A small red, flip open dictionary is shown. It has a screen and a keyboard (dictionaries for kids)

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

Online Dictionaries

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

Kids Britannica

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.

Try it: Kids Britannica Online Dictionary

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.

Try it: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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

Hard-Copy Dictionaries

A Picture Dictionary

A book cover has large letters on it in different bright colors. There are photos of various items as well including bananas and a butterfly. (dictionaries for kids)

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

A red dictionary cover has a white circle in the middle that says Merriam-Webster's Children's Dictionary. It has objects and people on the perimeter like an astronaut, a soccer player, and birds.

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

A yellow dictionary cover says Merriam Webster's First Dictionary. A blue and yellow bird is featured.

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

A cover says Once Upon a Word. A Word Origin Dictionary for Kids.

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

A blue cover says Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Visual Dictionary. It is blue and has musical notes on it and a large dolphin.

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

A dark blue dictionary has white lettering that reads Merriam-Webster's School Dictionary; The Authoritative High School Dictionary (dictionaries for kids)

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

A yellow book says Webster's Spanish-English Dictionary for Students; Second Edition.

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

A dark blue dictionary has large white writing that reads Oxford Studen'ts Dictionary. Ideal for exam success with curriculum vocabulary and top tips. (dictionaries for kids)

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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Kids (and even adults) come across words every day that aren't familiar to them. This list of the best dictionaries for kids can help!