Improve your English, get definitions and more in a browser

When reading news and articles on the web, do you see unfamiliar words and wonder what they mean? Get definitions and synonyms by clicking on a word in the browser. Improve your English.

Some web browsers on some operating systems have built in functions to show you the meaning of words and much more. Those that don’t, can have the feature added as an extension. You can start a web search from a word on a web page or simply show a quick and simple popup definition and explanation of the word. If you are not sure how to pronounce a word, you can hear it spoken too.

Let’s take a look at Chrome, Edge and Safari web browsers on Windows PC and Apple Mac. There are some similarities and some differences, and some combinations of browser and operating system are better than others.

Dictionary definitions in Chrome and Safari

First the bad news. Chrome on Windows does not do anything useful if you double click a word on a web page that you are not sure about. No information is provided, and the only option is to perform a Google search on the word.

A word definition in Chrome using the Google Dictionary extension
The Google Dictionary extension for Chrome

The good news is that Google Dictionary extension is an excellent tool to have installed in your Chrome browser on Windows. Double click a word and you can see a dictionary definition and you can hear it spoken too.

Chrome running on an Apple Mac does not need this extension because it has access to the system dictionary. In fact, double clicking a word on a web page in Chrome on the Mac to get a definition is identical to clicking a word in Safari.

Right click menu in a browser on the Apple Mac
Use the Look Up menu in browsers on the Mac for definitions

There is a menu option to look up the selected word and clicking it shows both dictionary and thesaurus content.

Chrome and Safari can access the dictionary built into macOS on the Apple Mac. Use it to improve your English.
Safari and Chrome on the Mac show the same dictionary and thesaurus

The popup window on the Mac also has tabs at the bottom to show Siri Knowledge, Siri Suggestions and more. A lot of useful information is available in this window if you explore all the options. It’s a great help if you want to improve your English.

Microsoft Edge dictionary definitions

Double click a word on a web page in Edge browser and a three dots icon appears above it. Move the mouse over it and a menu appears after a second or so.

Double click words in Edge and select Define to get a definition
Double click a word, mouse over three dots and click Define

On this short menu is Define and selecting it shows a small popup window containing a definition of the word and its synonyms.

Define words in Edge to get explanations
Word definitions and synonyms in Edge browser

I don’t like the design of this popup. I find that the font is small and hard to read on the Mac. The PC version is slightly more readable, but it still isn’t perfect. However, the information it shows is useful, even if it is a little hard to read.

Definitions and synonyms in Word web app

Microsoft Word web app can be used for free at the and websites. If all you need is basic word processing features, Word web app is very useful. Here I am using Word’s dark theme, which is automatically enabled when you set the dark theme for the operating system, which is macOS in this case. You can, of course, use the Word web app on a PC in a browser too.

Word web app right click menu
Right click a word in Word web app to get a menu

Select a word and right click it (PC) or Ctrl+click it (Mac) and a menu is displayed. There is a Synonyms for “xyz” menu and clicking it opens a panel on the right side of the Word web app in the browser.

Word web app showing the sidebar with dictionary definitions.
View word definitions in the sidebar in Word web app

There are multiple tiles and the first one is the best. Click the down arrow to expand it and see the full content of this tile. There are multiple definitions and synonyms, which are links to more definitions.

Expanded sidebar section in Word web app showing dictionary definitions
Expand the dictionary section in the Word web app sidebar

The other tiles provide links to other web dictionaries and to web related content that will help you improve your English and understanding. There are even media results with images related to the word. There is a lot of information and links in this side panel, and it is useful to keep it open when you are writing in the Word web app.

Leave a Reply