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How to use the built in Dictionary and Thesaurus

22nd January 2020

Jacob Woolcock


Unlock the power of iOS’s hidden gem in this video, where I demonstrate how to use the built-in Dictionary and Thesaurus feature on your iPad. Learn how to easily access a variety of dictionaries and a thesaurus, regardless of the app you’re using, with a simple long-tap on any word. Additionally, discover how to customise your dictionary settings to suit your specific needs, whether you’re bilingual, learning a new language, or just need the right word in your native language.

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One well-hidden feature of iOS is the built-in Dictionary and Thesaurus. Here’s how it works: To activate the Dictionary, you just need to long-tap on a word. It doesn’t matter what app you’re using. On the pop-up menu, press ‘Look Up’. From here, you’ll have a choice of different dictionaries, including a Thesaurus. British, American, whatever language your iPad is set to, all of these dictionaries will come up as an option, and you can tap onto any of these to get a more in-depth description of your word. Of course, if you’re using the Thesaurus, you can get synonyms and other similar words, depending on what you selected. Now, it might be that you don’t want a certain dictionary – for example, I may not have much use for the US Dictionary living in Great Britain. You can change this by going to Settings, then General, and then scrolling down to Dictionary. From here, you can enable or disable whatever dictionaries you like. This could be particularly helpful if you are bilingual, or if you’re trying to learn a second language – for example, in a French lesson at school, you could enable a French dictionary and ‘Look Up’ words that you’ve typed in Pages, Notes, or whatever it is you’re doing.

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