Recommended free vocabulary apps and websites (part 2)

This continues on from last week’s post recommending free vocabulary learning apps and websites.  See my final six recommendations below.  Happy vocabulary studying 🙂
A very extensive vocabulary learning site.  Choose pre-made word-lists from a range of topics (including Coxhead’s corpus-based Academic Word List).  The site includes a range of functions enabling you to quiz or review your words. If you register, you can also do things like create your own lists and bookmark your difficult words.  The definitions and examples use difficult English, so it’s more suitable for more advanced learners.  Link:

VOA: English in a Minute
A collection of short 1min videos introducing common idioms.  The videos are fun to watch and explain how to use the idioms clearly with realistic examples.  Most or the idioms are widely used but some are only used in US Egnlish.  Recommended for intermediate or advanced learners.  Link: VOA English in a Minute

Oxford learner’s
A great online English-only dictionary designed for language learners.  The best feature is it’s very easy-to-understand meanings and examples.  It also includes audio of both US & British pronunciation.  The site now has new features such as word-origins and a save-to-my-favorites function.  Suitable for all learner levels from beginner upwards. The site also marks words that are key words according to their CEFR level (ie. A1-C2).  More recently the site has a lot more advertising on it which can be a bit annoying.  Link: Oxford learner’s dictionaries

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Word Engine
Actually this is not a free app.  You need to pay a small annual subscription fee but it comes with a 7-day free trial which gives you time to get a detailed vocabulary ability score report and experience the personalized vocabulary training.  You start by taking a vocabulary ability test and then study words that are customized based on your ability score. You can choose the type of vocabulary you want to learn eg. general, business, TOEFL, EIKEN, GTEC, etc and learn that vocabulary in a range of ways.  I thought the context activity where you choose correct words for example sentences was especially useful.  Word Engine also has a very effective and free LMS (Learner Management System) for teachers to closely monitor student progress etc.  This platform includes a spaced repetition system and the word lists are all corpus-based on word frequency. Link: Word Engine

Words with Friends
This app is based on the popular crossword-style board game Scrabble.  Test your vocabulary (and spelling) ability by playing online against the app or by inviting friends.  It isn’t designed for language learners but it can be a lot of fun, especially if you’re playing someone at a similar level (eg. a classmate).  Recommend for intermediate to advanced level learners.  Link: Words with Friends

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Words & Monsters (WAMLive)
This is a free game app where you defeat various monsters by quickly answering vocabulary questions. The way you study (and battle monsters) is by reading or listening to words and tapping the correct answers (yes, you will need headphones if playing on the train). When you first start playing, the words you study will adjust to meet your ability level (it takes about 20 minutes). Then you can see your ability scores and select special courses to study (eg. General English, TOEIC).  This app also uses spaced-repetition. You can play this game alone or together on small teams with other players. One really cool thing is you can fairly complete with players of different levels because the app is giving each player words according to their own level. Link: Words & Monsters


To finish up, I’m also interested in looking the Anki site for vocabulary learning as it’s a free platform and also uses spaced repetition.  I’ve heard good things about it but I’m not so sure how easy it is to use.   I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it yet, so haven’t put it on the list.  Perhaps on the next one.

Extra tip!!

Context is also very important for vocabulary learning.  It’s a good idea to also look at how the words are used in examples.  Look at the other words your new word is often used together with.  Some words (called collocations) are used together more often.  Doing a lot of general (extensive) reading and listening is also a great way to learn and review vocabulary in context.  

Related links:

Recommended free vocabulary apps and websites (part 1)

Recommended free reading sites & apps

Recommended free online dictionaries & app