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How to use an English-Spanish dictionary to study

隆Hola amigos! 驴C贸mo est谩n? 馃ぉ

One of the most frequent questions I get from my students when they start studying Spanish is which online dictionaries they should use as an alternative to the usual Google Translate. And the thing is, there are many options of online dictionaries on the Internet, some dictionaries focus only on Spanish regionalisms or a certain specialization such as legal, medical, or engineering terminology while others even focus on slang and colloquial terms. And regardless of the words, you are looking for it is always good to have a wide range of dictionary options for when you need them. I hope these will help you to get started. 

For beginners 

It can be a bit difficult for beginners to use an all-Spanish dictionary to start with, that is why I recommend you to go for a translator dictionary. But try to avoid using google translator as far as possible, since it doesn’t provide context when translating words. I think better options for a translator dictionary are: 

1. SpanishDict聽

This dictionary besides giving you the word you are looking for provides examples to help you understand in context how to use it.聽

2. Deepl

This is a very accurate translator for paragraphs and texts, but the problem with translation tools like these is that the translations are not always entirely accurate. Especially when translating idioms or slang. However, it is a good alternative to google translate and you can click on the translated words and the program gives you other equally valid options for you to choose from. 

3. Pons

With PONS Translate you have access to 44 PONS Dictionaries in a total of 36 languages. Whether you need help with single words, phrases, or texts 鈥 PONS Translate offers solutions for all your searches. The Vocabulary Trainer collects words you have searched in the PONS Online Dictionaries. Depending on your individual learning level, you practice the specific words that are least familiar to you. 

For advanced and intermediate levels

聽For intermediate and advanced levels I recommend using an all-Spanish dictionary.聽

4. RAE

Here you will find all the words that are officially recognized in the Spanish language. You can also find sections on grammar and spelling. The grammar assistance here is more advanced so higher-level students will find it quite helpful.

5. Wordreference

The WordReference language forum is the largest repository of knowledge and advice about the English language, as well as a number of other languages. If you have a question about language usage, first search the hundreds of thousands of previous questions. If you still are unsure, then you can ask the question yourself. Native speakers from around the world will be happy to assist you.

6. Spanish Dictionary of Mexico

If you鈥檙e interested in learning Spanish specific to Mexico this dictionary is everything. Its database has collected information since 1921 and contains words that were used then and up through current vernacular in Mexico. Searching for a word gives you not only a definition but also some examples of its use.

7. Forvo

Here you have a dictionary where you can learn and practice pronunciation. There are several tools for pronunciation, but this website is particularly interesting. The difference is that with Forvo you can find the Spanish and Latin American Spanish pronunciation of words separately. 


Diccionarios.com is a portal of Larousse Editorial, which publishes dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference works under the Larousse and Vox brands. It has specialized dictionaries (medical dictionary and encyclopedic dictionary). To access you need the promotional code that comes with the paper dictionaries but the free part offers definitions in English, French, and Spanish which are quite good. 

For Spanish slang 

9. Jergas Hispanas

For slang and colloquial words, you have this dictionary which works quite well. You can do four types of searches; by exact words or phrases, by keywords, search in the definitions and finally you can search for words by country.  To use it you have to create a profile


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