(Updated March 7, 2023)
For anyone born before online and mobile broadband, the dictionary was a thick, heavy book a kid lugged to school for reference. Adults kept a dictionary on a bookshelf. The print was tiny, the pages thin, and the definitions short.
Now that everyone has a phone, Internet access, and services like Dictionary.com, 1,500-page paper dictionaries gather dust in bookcases.
Dictionary.com’s apps and website provide reliable access to millions of word definitions and synonyms, improve spelling, deliver word pronunciations, show example sentences, and translate words. Competitor apps and sites are also expanding rapidly as well.
But you needn’t remind Shravan Goli, President of Dictionary.com (now COO at Coursera), about the advantages of mobile dictionaries. Every month over 50 million unique digital visitors go to Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com,
An Internet and technology veteran, Shravan Goli manages the company’s overall business and strategy. Before joining the Oakland, California-based firm in 2009, Goli was General Manager at Slide, Inc., Operations GM for Yahoo Video, and Head of Products for Yahoo Finance. Shravan also stinted with Microsoft’s Home & Entertainment and MSN divisions for eleven years and co-founded Corners, Inc., a social networking company.
Now Dictionary.com dominates the online and mobile dictionary/thesaurus space, claiming it’s the most comprehensive, up-to-date, trusted, and convenient source for words and knowledge. In 2015, the site’s traffic handled 5.5 billion words.
Dictionary.com, says Goli, has become so popular that many Twitter and Facebook followers refer to word look-ups as “Dictionary dot com’d it,” similar to “Googling it.” That says a lot. When I checked several Twitter tweets, I found followers who wrote things like “gotta love dictionary.com; so brief. Love it.”
Services and apps, such as Dictionary.com and Grammarly, make me feel hopeful about the future of the English language. In our digital age of misspelled and incorrect words, having a quality, reliable source of word definitions and grammar should help improve literacy.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Email | RSS | More