Gone are the days of bulky pocket dictionaries. The following websites offer powerful, modern, online dictionaries you can use at no charge:
WordReference.com offers a fantastic, free English to Spanish and Spanish to English dictionary that includes examples, technical uses, and links to interesting discussions on the different online translators’ forums that the website hosts. When you enter a word in their dictionary, either in English or Spanish, its algorithm finds all the possible meanings in the target language.
2. Diccionario de la lengua española
Real Academia Española, the organization that publishes the most comprehensive and widely used Spanish dictionary available, offers its work to the public free of charge on their website. This dictionary, written 100% in Spanish, is a great tool for the intermediate or advanced student. In addition to explaining the meaning of words, this dictionary features verb conjugation tools, information on plural and gender variations, and tags indicating regional differences across the different Spanish-speaking territories.
3. Diccionario panhispánico de dudas
This incredible work, undertaken by the Real Academia Española and the Association of Spanish Language Academies, aims to resolve questions related to the proper use of the Spanish language. Featuring lengthy articles on a variety of topics, this dictionary, which is also offered for free at the RAE website, may help clear up doubts and shed some light on certain idiomatic, figurative, and allegoric uses of the language.
Not a dictionary in its more traditional meaning, Linguee is a powerful translation tool that finds real, translated texts using the same word or expression in context in two different languages. By reviewing the different sentences in which a specific word or expression is used both in English and Spanish, students can easily recognize and understand the nuances and connotations that often accompany words and idioms across different languages.