Quick Guide to Online Dictionaries

Revised

Do you ever reread an important email or report you recently sent out only to discover that you misspelled or misused some words?

I know I have, even though I thought I had thoroughly reviewed the document for errors.

Being able to check the spelling and definition of words is essential to preventing such mistakes.  Checking a dictionary helps avoid making a fool of yourself. Fortunately, online dictionaries make it quicker and easier than it used to be before the advent of the internet.

Here is an alphabetized list of the most popular online dictionaries and my opinion of the clarity of the various user interfaces.  Some sites present too much distracting information, such as featured videos, words of the day, hot topics, and other material unrelated to the word you are trying to understand. For a similar reason, I prefer sites without ads, since advertisements divert attention and waste time.  Of course this might not affect you, if you use an ad blocker.

urlInterface
Clarity:
1=worst;
5=best
AdsSpeed
American Heritage3NoSlow
Cambridge2YesFast
Collins3YesFast
Dictionary.com2YesFast
InfoPlease.com2YesFast
Lexico3YesFast
Longman2YesFast
Macmillan2YesFast
Merriam-Webster2YesFast
OneLook.com1YesFast
Oxford Learner's3YesFast
TheFreeDictionary.com3YesFast
Wiktionary5NoFast
Wordnik4NoFast
WordReference.com3YesFast
Wordsmyth.net2YesFast
YourDictionary.com3YesFast

The only two sites that are clear, ad-free, and fast are Wiktionary and Wordnik.

Wiktionary has the cleanest interface.  The grouping of definitions by parts of speech, the numbered and bulleted lists, and the use of font types and color make it easy to quickly grasp the information.  Furthermore, Wiktionary shows words not only as they are used in English, but also how they are used in many other languages.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below.  
What is your preferred online dictionary?  Why? 

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