[This post has been written with ESL/EFL students in mind, CEFR level B1 and above.]
There are countless resources on the internet that can help you with learning and practising new vocabulary. In this post, I’ll introduce you to just three websites I always recommend to my students and that I regularly use myself. Make sure you have them in your browser’s bookmarks!
To illustrate how these three websites differ from each other, I’ve taken snapshots for their entries on the same word, ‘garden’.
Merriam-Webster is the website of the leading American dictionary publisher, founded in 1831 and continuing the work of the trailblazing lexicographer Noah Webster. It’s a treasure-trove of information: you can access both the dictionary and thesaurus entries for each word you wish to look up. (A dictionary lists the meanings and definitions of a word, while a thesaurus gives you its synonyms and antonyms.)
On top of that, the website contains various word games and quizzes, also short videos, newsletters and podcasts with language and grammar tips. For those who prefer to use a smartphone, Merriam-Webster has some very useful free apps that you can also check out.
OZDIC is an online dictionary of collocations – common word combinations. It won’t give you the meaning of the word you’ve typed in the search box (some entries do contain synonyms), but it will list other words that often go with it, i.e. that collocate, sorted according to parts of speech. It can be of great help to students preparing for English language exams, especially with writing tasks.
ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY
This one may be for more advanced learners interested in etymology – the origin of words. It’s a fascinating field which explores the history of words, as far back as it’s possible to trace. If you want to find out where a word originally came from, when was it first used in the English language or how many different cultures and languages has it travelled through before appearing in its current form, make use of this rich resource.
Is there another website that has proven helpful to you in your vocabulary study? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
And if you still prefer to use a good, old print dictionary, have a look at my earlier post titled ‘Do I need a dictionary? And what kind?‘ (also available in Serbian).