Right now, when I need to check a word in the dictionary, I open Notes, type in something, select the word and hit "Define..."

I'd like to directly type in a word and check something, similar to how I can just type stuff into Spotlight & look up definitions in OS X.

How do I do this?


This is an old thread, but I think it's worth noting that Spotlight on iOS 11 has a built-in dictionary widget - you can type in any word and scroll down to see the dictionary. And Spotlight itself is accesible from any Home screen page.

  • Finally the devs got around to it huh ¯_(ツ)_/¯ Now I need to figure out how to show other language words defined in English if that's at all possible :-P – Aditya M P Mar 25 '18 at 18:40
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    @AdityaMP you can add any of the built-in international dictionaries (personally, I've added the standard German dictionary and the English-German dictionary and both work just fine), because the widget shows all activate dictionaries (you can tap 'see more' to show all of them in the widget). – Eli Korvigo Mar 25 '18 at 18:59
  • Indeed! I disabled the !language dictionary and enabled !language-English version, and it is perfect :’-) thank you!! – Aditya M P Mar 25 '18 at 19:02

This is currently not possible. Apple also forbids third party developers to create a simple wrapper around the dictionary, which means that there will probably not be any applications that do just that. There are, however, several other third party dictionaries which are quite good.

A UIReferenceLibraryViewController object provides a dictionary service to look up the definition of a word or term from within an app. It should not be used to display wordlists, create a standalone dictionary app, or republish the content in any form.

According to this answer Can iOS' builtin dictionary be accessed/browsed as an independent app? you can download the application DictionaryPlusPlus, which does just that, here https://github.com/josh-/DictionaryPlusPlus, it is open source and you will have to compile and sign it yourself.

  • Wow. Any idea why it's this way? – Aditya M P Mar 7 '16 at 9:50
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    Probably because Apple does not want the App Store to be swarmed by easy to make dictionary apps. Anyways, according to this answer apple.stackexchange.com/questions/104401/… there is an open source iOS app that does just that. However you will have to compile and sign it yourself. – Jozef Legény Mar 7 '16 at 9:53
  • Excellent I will use this open source app! I have a dev certificate. Could you perhaps update your answer to include this information? – Aditya M P Mar 7 '16 at 10:09

I use DictBox to see dictionary entries that I look up. It is a multidictionary app, and also lets you see what the iOs dictionary says about the word. I find the Apple dictionary to have the best definitions actually and the most excellent etymology included. The dictionary alone on the apple products are worth something.

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