This issue’s NetWatch features the best of online dictionaries. Past editions of NetWatch and additional sites for some topics can be found online at the Archives.

by Lynda Scarrow

Searching for words on your desktop

The Free Dictionary

sounds, games and quizzes

Hear how a word sounds with this dictionary. A click of the mouse loads audio clips with no lag time. You can play electronic scrabble, hangman, spelling bee and word matchups. Home-page clutter and advertising are minor irritants.

Math Dictionary for Kids

this site adds up

Penguins lead the way in this sweetly designed math dictionary for kids. It includes more than 600 math terms. Fun is provided by corresponding quizzes and animated examples, like a pelican’s beak that opens at different angles – depending on the value entered – to catch a fish.


word games plus

Word games and an exceptionally nice visual dictionary can be accessed at the top of the home page. To build vocabulary, subscribe to the Word of the Day and let students solve the daily word game. A link to Word Central ( offers word puzzles and a build-your-own-dictionary section. Daily Buzzword is good for vocabulary-building exercises.

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Canadian history who's who

For senior students or teachers, this U of T / Université Laval project provides a fully vetted, in-depth resource. Hosted by Library and Archives Canada, it’s easy to navigate and the search mechanism works well. It is limited to people who died before 1930.

Cambridge Dictionaries Online


quick word search

This site is simple to use with clear and concise definitions. Phonetics are neatly tucked under the Show Phonetics button. Spell a word incorrectly and you are given lots of options. Best alternate dictionary choices for quick lookups in the drop-down menu are Advanced Learners, Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.

Your Dictionary

language-resource smorgasbord

This site provides all kinds of resources. Look up an obscure word, translate between languages, learn to write your name in 14 languages, play word games or convert currencies.

The Visual Dictionary

much more meets the eye

 Simple word searches lead to layer upon layer of meanings with large, clearly presented visuals.

Lynda Scarrow is the College's web editor. She can be reached at