Concise Oxford English Dictionary review

Carrying a fully loaded dictionary with you wherever you go is now possible for any iPhone user, thanks to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary for iPhone from Paragon Software.

More than 64,000 word definitions are said be included (we didn't check them all), with a total of 240,000 words onboard. To look up a word you start to type in a word using the iPhone touchscreen keyboard. As you type, you'll start to see words listed with the same initial letters. If you're lucky, you need only type in a few letters, and the word you're looking for will already be visible from a list. Touch on this word, and you go to its own entry page with the full definition.

As with a traditional dictionary, sometimes the word you seek won't be listed at a top level, but as a variation on a root word. An example is ‘advisor', for which you need to find ‘advise', and then its noun derivative.

Concise Oxford English Dictionary for iPhone let us simply and efficiently find most words we sought. Look-up speed is relatively quick, although this could be tightened further to make it more ‘snappy'. The san serif type font is about the right size for easy reading, which is just as well as there's no facility to use the iPhone's familiar pinch gesture on screen to expand or shrink text. Nor can you tilt the iPhone to view the app horizontally.

There's a History listing available, said to list the last 15 words; in practice, we found it listed every single word that had been looked-up. And very usefully, most words within a definition can be lightly tapped, to take you straight to that word's own entry.

An added bonus is the audio pronunciation feature, available on 20,000 of the dictionary's words. Where a word has a loudspeaker icon against its entry, you press the symbol to hear the word spoken aloud, by either a male or female voice in English received pronunciation.

OUR VERDICT

Some words that suffer common misuse also carry a Usage guide, adding a footnote to describe how a word should be used, after its modern - and often more common - interpretation.

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