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Best Spanish dictionaries for students

Are you looking for the best Spanish dictionaries for students? I can help you with that!

Dictionaries are extremely useful when it comes to learning new words and expanding your vocabulary.

And although it’s just as valid to use translators such as Google Translate, you can’t rely on them completely.

It’s well known that they do fail sometimes, when the Artificial Intelligence isn’t intelligent enough to get the context right, something that could lead to confusion.

Besides, a translator can’t give you the exact meaning of very specific slang and colloquialisms used by native speakers of a particular country.

So keep reading to find the best Spanish dictionary online for you!

Best Spanish dictionaries for students

If you resort to translators because they give you a quick answer, that’s not an excuse anymore. The best Spanish dictionaries are available online!

I love physical dictionaries and I have a couple of them to study my languages, but now they are all at hand. Just one click away!

Some of them even have mobile apps and you can download them to your phone, so you can continue looking up words even when you don’t have access to an internet connection.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

1) Diccionario de la lengua española

The Diccionario de la lengua española (DLE) is probably the most complete you will find on the internet.

It’s true that sometimes its definitions are a little bit wordy, but if your level is already really good it shouldn’t be a problem!

Any Spanish dictionary will indicate whether a word is a noun, adjective, verb, etc., and if a term is colloquial or vulgar.

But the DLE will also tell you when a certain word is used in a specific region or country with an acccuracy not found in others.

And as if that wasn’t enough, every time you search for a word, the entry will include an exhaustive list of collocations, expressions and sayings containing it!

This will be especially useful if you hear or read a sentence and although you understand the words separately, you sense that there might be a special meaning you are missing.

I took corazón randomly as an example. Check it out yourself!

And since we are talking about sayings, you can read here the most popular sayings in Spanish for everyday life!

Let’s carry on exploring the other best Spanish dictionaries for students!

2) Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

Native speakers have doubts about the usage of the Spanish language too! And when they are really fond of proper grammar, they know exactly where to start looking for.

The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (DPD) contains more than 7000 entries solving the most frequent doubts that concern both native speakers and students!

It covers a wide range of topics, from pronunciation and accentuation to word selection and the correct use of grammatical gender and number.

For example, have you ever wondered why el agua, a feminine word, goes with a masculine article, but then in plural we say las aguas?

Check the definition of agua yourself to find out the answer!

When my students ask me one of those really difficult questions of theirs, I usually look for the answer here.

But then I do know how to turn those cryptic definitions into a language accesible for them 😉

A man looking up words on a dictionary - best Spanish dictionaries
Un estudiante buscando palabras en un diccionario físico. Foto de ArtHouse Studio en Pexels

3) WordReference.com

WordReference doesn’t need further introduction. It’s the most popular dictionary online among students!

Since it supports so many languages (Spanish, French, Italian, German, etc.), its bilingual dictionaries are ideal for beginners who are giving their first steps.

It’s actually my go-to option whenever I need to look up how to say a word in the languages I study!

If you are more advanced, its monolingual Spanish dictionary offers very clear definitions that aren’t as obscure and wordy as those on the DLE.

In fact, I use WordReference to create my own flashcards and study new vocabulary with Anki and its fabulous spaced repetition technique!

Let’s continue with the last one!

4) Best Spanish dictionaties to learn slang

You might be already familiar with Urban Dictionary, which contains slang and colloquial expressions in English.

So what happens with those really colloquial terms that you can’t find on more formal dictionaries such as DLE or WordReference?

Actually there are some on Urban Dictionary, too. But is there an equivalent especially dedicated to Spanish?

Yes, there is! AsíHablamos is the best online dictionary to find out the meaning of hundreds of slang words and phrases.

The site is even divided into countries, in case you are looking up terms from a specific country.

The downside is that the server sometimes falls down and you could not access the site at all.

So you need alternatives!

If you are studying Latin American Spanish, chances that you have chosen the accent of one the biggest Spanish speaking countries are high.

In that case, you have a series of dictionaries that explain slang and colloquial expressions for each one: Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.

All the definitions are written by real native Spanish speakers, who know how to use this informal language better than a group of academics in Madrid.

Diccionario Argentino helps even me understand the vocabulary used by centennial Argentines nowadays!

So that should cover all the possible slang you might come across in your Spanish learning journey.

A few more recommendations in case you have trouble accessing the ones I mentioned before: Diccionario Libre and tuBabel.com.

And that’s all for today!

Do you want to learn more Spanish?

I hope you have enjoyed this article about the best Spanish dictionaries for students!

Do you want to learn more Spanish? Subscribe to my newsletter for free! You will get notifications of new posts by email, as well as a copy of my ebook, the Definitive Guide to Learn Conjugations in Spanish.

Do you want to boost your vocabulary in Spanish? Follow me on social media! I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Every day I post typical words and expressions from Argentina and the Hispanic world.

And if you are looking for a native Spanish teacher to have some Skype Spanish lessons (or whatever platform you prefer), book a lesson with me!

Thank you very much and until next time,

Kevin.

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