Web Applications Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for power users of web applications. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The content on dictionary.com is clear and comprehensive... once... it... finishes... loading.

It's even slow if I disable advertising, plus I prefer not to do so as I appreciate that ad-revenue may be important for the services I use.

As I type, it's still loading. I'm giving up...

What's the fastest (reasonably detailed) dictionary app on the web?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Al E., Alex, jonsca May 19 '15 at 3:01

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Application/website recommendations are off-topic and out of scope. It is better instead to use a particular web app or website and ask for help in any issues you have with it specifically." – Al E., Alex, jonsca
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Definr...the site's title says it all. :) – Matt Peterson Sep 30 '10 at 21:01
Uses Wordnet, which isn't all too recent or contentful. – digitxp Oct 2 '10 at 2:28

12 Answers 12

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Try thefreedictionary.com with print layout.

share|improve this answer
This seems the best combination of speed and content. Thanks! – Ian Mackinnon Oct 1 '10 at 22:04

Ninjawords's tagline is:

A really fast dictionary... fast like a ninja.

For comprehensive and relatively fast, try The Free Dictionary. Tagline:

The world's most comprehensive dictionary

share|improve this answer
That is eerily fast. Not massively comprehensive, but it does flip out and kill dictionary.com. – Ian Mackinnon Oct 1 '10 at 22:02

Have you tried Wiktionary? Same caveats and advantages as Wikipedia and should be pretty darn fast.

share|improve this answer
I second this recommendation. Wiktionary is a pretty good resource, and very speedy. – Noldorin Sep 30 '10 at 18:10
I find Wiktionary invaluable for foreign language study, but when looking up English words I find it too full of foreign words :) – Ian Mackinnon Oct 1 '10 at 22:08
@Ian Mackinnon: So don't look up the foreign words (-; – hippietrail Apr 8 '11 at 13:43

I love wordnik. It's fast, covers many obscure words, the examples(usage) are very good. It also has an API. It's brilliant I think.

share|improve this answer

If you don't need a full dictionary but just a short definition, Google with define: in the URL.


If you do need a full dictionary, Google Dictionary has already been mentioned.

share|improve this answer

Surprised no one has mentioned the meta dictionary tool:


It is fast, gives you a short definition, but also looks up the word in 100s of other dictionaries.

share|improve this answer

Google Dictionary seems to be good & fast.

share|improve this answer
though imperfect. It is based on statistical analysis, which may give wrong results at times. – Nathan Fellman Sep 30 '10 at 21:58

You mentioned you're looking for an etymological dictionary. In that case, http://www.etymonline.com/ is probably your best bet.

Note that with Firefox and Opera, you can set up a custom search, which saves you having to visit the homepage of the site. If you set up ed, for example, as your custom search keyword, you can just type ed dictionary into the address bar, and be taken directly to the results page.

share|improve this answer

Well, if you're not into huge definition lists or synonyms, Google Translate translates instantaneously. Like, really fast.

share|improve this answer
For that matter, plain old Google Search will give you a dictionary definition on single-word queries (assuming it's a real word). With Google Instant active you probably can't get anything faster. – Al E. Sep 30 '10 at 15:48
generally I use it for fairly obscure words and am after a phonetic guide and etymology. A few choice quotes for example use can also be very helpful. Also on the connections where I am even "instantaneous" isn't that fast :) – Ian Mackinnon Sep 30 '10 at 16:20

If you use Chrome, you can do a couple of things:

  1. Perhaps you already know about it, but use the Google Dictionary extension. With that, you simply double click on a word and meaning pops up.

  2. Next, what I've done is completely minimized Merriam Webster and dictionary.com using the Stylebot (stylebot.me) extension. That way, they feel a lot less intrusive and also feel faster.

Here is custom CSS I use for both:

dictionary.reference.com: gist.github.com/587652
merriam-webster.com: gist.github.com/606237

PS: I couldn't post more than one hyperlink since I'm new here, so excuse me for lack of proper reference links.

share|improve this answer

Vocabulary.com's Dictionary is blazing fast. It calls itself the world's fastest, smartest dictionary and I think they are right.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.