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 five 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

Word Engine
Actually this is not a free platform/app.  It costs around JPY4,000 (USD$40) for a 12 month subscription (about half that for an institutional one).  It’s on this list because it gives personalized vocabulary training.  You take a level-check test at the beginning and the quizzing is then customized according to your level, which can save you time in your learning (eg. searching for appropriate word lists).  You can also choose the type of vocabulary you want to learn eg. business, TOEFL and be quizzed in a range of ways.  I thought the context activity where you choose correct words for example sentences especially useful.  The site is also very effective as a LMS (Learner Management System) where teachers can set up online homework classes and closely monitor student weekly progress.  This platform is also based on a spaced repetition system and corpus-based data.  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


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 reading sites & apps

Recommended free online dictionaries & app