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Proofreading Resources: Online Dictionaries

As a proofreader, you may be proud of your vocabulary. But we all need to look up words now and then. And with that in mind, it pays to bookmark a few online dictionaries! Which are the best for hardworking proofreaders? Take your pick from the following…

Free Online Dictionaries

Of the major print dictionaries available online, Cambridge and Merriam-Webster stand out. The online Cambridge Dictionary covers British and American English, with definitions, examples, pronunciations, idioms, synonyms, and grammar advice all present.

Merriam-Webster, meanwhile, is the leading American English dictionary. In addition, it features medical and legal dictionaries for all your jargon needs.

Merriam-Webster in action...
Merriam-Webster in action…

As for dedicated online dictionaries, top choices include the Dictionary.com and the Free Dictionary. Dictionary.com – as well as having an enviable domain name – is easy to use and offers an excellent thesaurus. And in addition to a standard English dictionary and thesaurus, the Free Dictionary also features medical, legal, and financial dictionaries.

Other online dictionaries of note include:

  • Macmillan (also includes a thesaurus and crowdsourced open dictionary)
  • Collins (also includes a thesaurus and grammar guides)
  • Lexico (a free online dictionary from the Oxford University Press)

Subscription Dictionaries

You may have noticed the absence of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) above. That’s because the OED is only available online with a subscription. However, it remains the foremost English historical dictionary, so it is worth the price for dedicated logophiles!

For those working with Australian English, meanwhile, the Macquarie Dictionary is a great resource. Again, though, it requires a subscription to use.

Legal Dictionaries

Legalese can be difficult to penetrate, but the following dictionaries will help:

Scientific and Medical Dictionaries

If you proofread scientific writing, you may find the following sites useful:

Other Dictionaries

Other online dictionaries you may want to use include:

Are there any online dictionaries you think we should include in this list? If so, leave a comment below to let us know. And don’t forget to check out our proofreading and editing courses.

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