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Online English language resources

Submitted by Druss on Sun, 2012-07-22 01:37

Here are a list of sites that help when it comes to looking up, learning, or researching the English language.


COCA is a corpus of millions of words sourced from everything from magazines to newspapers. This database can be queried to mine information on word usage and is, in particular, handy when looking for collocated words.

American Heritage Dictionary

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language is, as the name suggests, a dictionary for American English. The online edition is quite excellent but not terribly comprehensive.


The Cambridge equivalent of the Oxford English Dictionary is unfulfilling and sparse on any information beyond the basic meaning of a word.


A dictionary published by HarperCollins with the Collins being William Collins of Scotland. The online edition is pretty good with audio pronunciation guides and etymologies.


The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English is another dictionary of British origin. The online edition is a little stingy with its information, but can still be a good resource sometimes.


Macmillan is another publishing firm with roots in Scotland; its online dictionary is very basic and lean on information.


The Macquarie is an Australian English dictionary and requires a subscription (boo!).

Merriam Webster

Of Noah Webster fame; primarily for the American English variant. The online version is relatively sparse in comparison to the dead tree Webster.


One of the best dictionaries in the world, the Oxford English Dictionary's official online version is not free, but well worth paying for. A free alternative can be found with Oxford Dictionaries Online, but it's not nearly as comprehensive.


Wikipedia's open dictionary. It is not always reliable. But it does not restrict access to words and provides etymology, meaning and usage information along with synonyms, antonyms and other interesting titbits including links to Wikipedia pages where applicable. It also services languages other than English.


Wordnik is a unique resource which displays entries from various dictionaries in a single location along with practical examples of usage, etymology, synonyms, and a host of other related material. But what's best of all with this site is its layout - clean and refreshing!


Ninjawords is basically a Wiktionary front-end, but, built for speed. It's basically uses JavaScript to retrieve word meanings from the main dictionary. It's very quick, handy and also remembers past searches. That said, it does not link to certain words that are present in Wiktionary.

Online Etymology Dictionary

etymonline has collated etymological data from various sources into one large queryable database. While not as detailed as I might like, it is invariably correct.


Forvo is a community-driven database of word pronunciations which appears to include multiple languages and accents and also accommodates proper nouns such as names etc.

Sound Comparisons

An uber-cool site that allows you to compare the pronunciations of words according to accents. This is maintained by the University of Edinburgh.

Regex Dictionary

This is a dream application for any scrabbler who is also a programmer :) Regex Dictionary is a word matcher which uses regular expressions to query its database.


OneLook is essentially a word finder. It supports wildcards which while not as flexible as regular expressions, are nevertheless quite powerful. It also enables searching for words using wildcards and word meaning.

As the name suggests, this is where to go to find synonyms of words and even some phrases. All the ads can be a little annoying. But it's worth it.

Paper Rater

Paper Rater is a free service that analyses your document and returns a report on its grammatical validity, style, vocabulary, and so on. It also comes with a plagiarism checker.


A pretty nifty plagiarism checker. It's free for basic use.

Please feel free to suggest resources that are not listed here!