Pulling a page from the book of extra-long titles, here now is WordDigest English Dictionary, Thesaurus & Spell Checker from Global Delight (blessedly shortened to just WordDigest hereafter). Since the title is so self-descriptive of the app’s function, I’ll list the unique features straightaway, paraphrased from their website:
- Dictionary containing more than 147,000 words
- IPA pronunciations for 87,000 words (IPA stands for International Phonetic Alphabet…ya I didn’t know what it stood for either)
- Built-in hyperlinked thesaurus for more than 28,000 words
- Built-in hyperlinked intelligent spell checker
- Bookmark favorite words for easy recall
- History of previously searched words
- Built in web search for Wikipedia, Wiktionary and Answers.com
- Option to show the etymology (word origins) for a word. This feature requires an active Internet connection.
- Option to alter the text size
The app absolutely does everything above and is quite thorough since even though the amount of words may seem small compared to the latest dictionaries with twice as many, it’s still a lot of words. The interface is very simple and easy to use. First you lookup your word (this is a smart lookup as you will see matches dynamically as you type). Then you select Dictionary for the definition and from here you can also pull up the thesaurus entry if there is one. Then you can select the Web button if you’d like to see the etymology of the word. If you’re having trouble recalling the word you’re looking up back on step 1 you can use the Spell Check button to set you straight.
After spending a little time with this handy utility I of course have some gripes and suggestions.
- Would like to see landscape mode support to make input and viewing just that much easier
- Really like to have a ’read it like a book’ mode where you pick a starting point and can move to the next word indefinitely until you get bored of geeking out reading a dictionary
- Make the lookup history searchable
- Be a timesaver to be able to quickly move to the extreme top/bottom of the page when using the Web function
- Unfortunately the lookups are a bit slow (up to 5 sec sometimes) and not sure why as it’s clear that the dictionary unpacks (locally) the first time you run the app. Bit of a quandary there though in fairness I’ve not used any other reference apps on the iPhone so I’d be curious to know if behemoths like the $30+ Oxford offerings take just as long.
To me, this seems a fantastic price for this much function in 1 linguistic app and the gripes above are minor (though speeding up the lookups sure would be helpful). Recommended!
Version reviewed – 1.1
Reviewed on – iPhone 3G 8 GB 2.2.1