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?

  • Definr...the site's title says it all. :) Sep 30, 2010 at 21:01
  • Uses Wordnet, which isn't all too recent or contentful.
    – digitxp
    Oct 2, 2010 at 2:28

12 Answers 12


Try thefreedictionary.com with print layout.

  • This seems the best combination of speed and content. Thanks! Oct 1, 2010 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

  • That is eerily fast. Not massively comprehensive, but it does flip out and kill dictionary.com. Oct 1, 2010 at 22:02

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

  • I second this recommendation. Wiktionary is a pretty good resource, and very speedy.
    – Noldorin
    Sep 30, 2010 at 18:10
  • 1
    I find Wiktionary invaluable for foreign language study, but when looking up English words I find it too full of foreign words :) Oct 1, 2010 at 22:08
  • @Ian Mackinnon: So don't look up the foreign words (-; Apr 8, 2011 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.


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.


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.


Google Dictionary seems to be good & fast.

  • 1
    though imperfect. It is based on statistical analysis, which may give wrong results at times. Sep 30, 2010 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.


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

  • 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.
    – ale
    Sep 30, 2010 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 :) Sep 30, 2010 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.


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

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