Dictionary and Thesaurus review

Reviews 11:23, 9 Mar 2010

We review Dictionary and Thesaurus for BlackBerry, an app that's all about the words

Smartphones really do change the way we do things. We used to carry around A to Zs and road atlases, now we have Google Maps.

We used to go into libraries to look things up in encyclopaedias, and now Wikipedia and the web are just a click away. So what’s happening to the dictionary, that staple of the bookshelves?

The folk at Dictionary.com are putting it into our phones too, with their first BlackBerry application, Dictionary and Thesaurus.

Just fill in the word you want to define, then choose Dictionary or Thesaurus, and click search.

The dictionary gives you the definition and the pronunciation, along with a sound snippet of the word so you can hear the pronunciation.

If you’ve spelt the word wrong you’re given a possible match, along with a list of words that could be the one you’re trying to define.

The thesaurus option is more use for creative writers, or for crossword puzzlers, as it gives you lists of different words that have the same or similar meaning.

You can check on what you’ve looked up recently using the Recent button, which gives you a list of your recent searches.

You can cut and paste words from other application, or you can take advantage of Dictionary and Thsaurus’ integration with the BlackBerry’s built-in applications.

Definitions can be SMSed or emailed to friends. It’s a good way of proving to your friends that, yes, you were right (but don’t use this power for evil – so no texting the answers in the middle of a pub quiz!).

Word of the Day is an online version of those old Reader’s Digest “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” features. 

You get a word, followed by its definition, along with examples of usage – and some important trivia about the word, including its history and its cultural significance.

Where Dictionary.com’s service differs is that it’s multilingual, with a Spanish version alongside the English.

So know we know that the Spanish word “barba”, meaning beard, also means “fan”.

This is really a BlackBerry-formatted version of the Dictionary.com web site.

That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that you need to be online to use it. Still, it’s a handy tool to have around, and doesn’t take up much space on your phone.

Dictionary and Thesaurus info

Ease of use:

Platform: BlackBerry

Cost: Free

Developer: Dictionary.com

Website/Demo: Download from App World

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