Learning a new language is all about having a strong vocabulary base. The more words you know, the better you can convey your thoughts and emotions. However, vocabulary build-up is a long and tedious process. And, in most cases, practicing vocabulary only for a few minutes will not cut it out.
You need to pick up the habit of building vocabulary on the go. Thats why a vocabulary app plays a massive role in the modern-day context.
You can have a dedicated practice hour at any time of the day or you could use your spare time for practice. The intensity of vocabulary practice is entirely up to your needs. For example, an IELTS or GRE examinee will put their heart and soul into practice. On the other hand, an average sixth-grader will prefer casual practice sessions.
That being said, we need to find the ideal vocabulary app that can cater to our needs and preferences.
So, what are the best vocabulary apps?
It depends on peoples individuality some might prefer casual apps like Words with Friends while others need something serious like Magoosh Vocabulary Builder for their GREs.
As you can guess, well discuss some of the best vocabulary apps. But rather than making a simple listicle, wed talk about vocabulary apps catered towards different use cases and practice diversities.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android
Price: Free for Students, $159/year for Educators
Vocabulary.com is one of the simplest and versatile vocabulary apps out there. The specialty of this platform is its approach to teaching new words for learning new language.
The platform focuses on context-based questions instead of flashcards or a definition-oriented teaching approach. The students then use the context to answer the question. After they submit their answer, the platform offers a simple definition and word origin for further study.
For example, lets take a look at this question from Vocabulary.com
The pain in his face is very evident as he struggles with his emotions.
In this sentence, emotions means:
After the user chooses their answers, the platform offers a definition and the origin of the word Emotion.
Vocabulary.com incorporates several questions from different angles to teach one single word. To be more specific, the platform teaches 15,000 words by offering 230,000 questions. The higher frequency of exposure helps the learners to master words more efficiently and ensures long-term retention.
As you have seen, Vocabulary.com has a premium version for educators. The premium version comes with a robust assessment dashboard.
Such features have made Vocabulary.com very popular as over 3.8 million students in 56,000 schools use this app.
Platform: Web, iOS, Android, Amazon, Amazon Alexa
This English vocabulary app is designed for advanced learners, especially for the GRE examinees. However, students preparing for GMAT, TOFEL, SAT, or IELTS can also benefit from their programs.
While their overall training app is a premium offering, the Vocabulary Builder app is completely free and helps the students to master the 1,000 high-frequency GRE words.
Now, you might think that why should anyone bother learning only 1,000 words. But the thing is these words are uncommon and more relatable to an advanced learner.
For example, think of the word peevish. This is one of the uncommon words that we dont generally see in day-to-day usage. Users often label these words as GRE words.
Lets take a look at another example. If someone asks what does base mean?
You would probably think about a structural foundation or a military establishment or a thematic relevance. However, there is an uncommon definition of this word which is an adjective and means having low morality!
Magoosh Vocabulary Builder app works with such words. The following example will help you understand
So, if you consider yourself as an advanced learner, you could start your vocabulary practice with the Magoosh Vocabulary Builder app.
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Platform: iOS, Android
Price: Free (in-app purchases cost $1.99 - $47.99 per item), $2.99/month (Quizlet Go), $3.99/month (Quizlet Plus)
The flashcard technique has always been one of the best learning methods for vocabulary building. While numerous great vocabulary apps for students use flashcards like Anki or Reji, Quizlet offers by far the most intuitive option.
Apart from the flashcards, Quizlet offers a few other means of vocabulary practice. There is a writing mode for practicing spelling and vocabulary at the same time. Plus, there are matching modes and learn and test modes that can benefit a lot of eager learners.
But the strongest feature of the Quizlet is its UI its clean, modern, and easy-to-use. Overall, if you prefer using flashcards for your vocabulary practice, Quizlet is one of the best apps to get.
Platform: Windows and Mac OSX
Price: $67 (one-time payment for 10 years)
For an ESL learner, the useful tool for learning new words is contextual learning. One might learn a new word in a second. But the information/definition will not be stored in long-term memory if he/she doesnt use the word in a different scenario.
This is why enriching vocabulary through contextual learning is important.
Vocab1 extensively uses contexts for teaching new words. The app follows a simple rule they teach one word through 10 or more contexts. Apart from utilizing the contextual learning approach, Vocab1 has nine games and learning activities, rhymes, visualization tools, a built-in dictionary and thesaurus.
Overall, the app does a fantastic job teaching vocabulary through various teaching methods. Also, the pricing of the product makes it quite appealing to the students.
However, vocab1 has one issue you cant have it on your smartphone. Vocab1 is a desktop-only application that runs on Windows OS and Mac OSX.
Are looking for a curated list of vocabulary activities online? You should take a look at this comprehensive guide!
Platform: Browser, Android, iOS
Price: Free, $8.99/month for the paid version ($119.99 lifetime subscription)
Although were mainly focusing on the Best English vocabulary app today, Memrise can help you learn 21 languages (counting only the official courses). The official courses begin with the introduction of the letters and alphabets that gradually focuses on teaching vocabulary.
Memrise utilizes two popular teaching tools interactive flashcards, MCQ questions, and spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is one of the better teaching methods for improving vocabulary.
Another great thing about Memrise is that the Free version is adequate to teach you a new language. youll probably never have to subscribe to their premium version. The premium version lets you learn from actual native speakers through personalized learning.
The downside of Memrise is that the spaced repetition could be too repetitive for you. So eventually, the process might become boring.
Otherwise, this vocabulary app is by far one of the best options out there.
Platform: Android, iOS
Price: Free with in-app purchases on Android, $4.99 on iOS
Without a doubt, Merriam-Webster is one of the most respected English language dictionaries in the world. This app, despite being a dictionary has several features that make it a great English vocabulary app.
For example, the app has several vocabularies-building quizzes, voice-search, Word of the Day, and real audio pronunciations. These features make it one of the must-have vocabulary apps for students. Dictionary - Merriam-Webster is free to install on Android devices and quite cheap for iOS too.
So, why shouldnt you have this powerful dictionary-cum-vocabulary-teacher on your phone?
Price: Free, Paid $12.95/month or $119.95/year (for parents), $15.95/month or $149.95/year (for teachers with 2 licenses), $29.95/month or $299.00/year (for teachers with 25 licenses)
Finally, we should talk about the capabilities of SpellQuiz as an English vocabulary app. SpellQuiz takes multiple approaches to enrich the English vocabulary of the students.
For example, spelling tests at SpellQuiz uses a multi-dimensional teaching approach with dictation, writing, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. While most other vocabulary apps focus on teaching vocabulary to advanced students, SpellQuiz is suitable for first graders, as well as, twelfth graders.
Think about Vocabulary.com or Magoosh Vocabulary Builder. These apps do a splendid of teaching vocabulary to an SAT or GRE prepper. But they dont have any plan for teaching vocabulary to the young kids reading in grade 1 or 2.
This is where SpellQuiz outshines others being one the best vocabulary apps for teachers.
Then, with SpellQuiz, one can have an idea about their approximate vocabulary size. Vocabulary Assessment from SpellQuiz is a free tool that can give students an idea about their vocabulary size and equivalent grade level. It offers an opportunity for the students to strategize their study plan.
SpellQuiz also offers a free service called Spelling Bee Online. This real-time virtual Spelling Bee lets a student compete with others. The drive to their names on the international leaderboard motivates students to practise spelling and vocabulary.
Its very true that every student is different and learn at a different pace. So, teachers or parents shouldnt pressurize the young ones too hard. SpellQuiz offers a solution with Adaptive Learning where students can learn and practice spelling at their own pace. This solution is particularly great for dyslexic students or students looking for ESL activities for beginners.
Overall, SpellQuiz is one of the best English vocabulary apps for students catering to the needs of the younger students.
Spelling Tests per Grade