Looking for a good free Spanish-English dictionary online? Well, I have done the search for you, and I am glad to say that there are some really good free Spanish dictionaries out there. But I didn’t only want to write a list of links, I also wanted to answer a simple question: What is the best Spanish dictionary online?
To do that, I first found the
five most popular online Spanish dictionaries (at least, according to Google), and then I compared them using the following (technical, slang or simply uncommon) Spanish words:
fronterizo: border, neighboring (states, etc.)
guillotinar: to guillotine.
instar: to urge.
interpolar: to interpolate.
fagocitar: phagocytize, phagocytose.
libar: to sip.
pinche: mainly it means “cook’s assistant”, but I wanted to find the Mexican slang meaning “bloody, damn”.
concha: mainly “shell”, but I was looking for the slang meaning “vulva, c*nt” (from Argentina, Chile, Peru and Uruguay).
de), (colloquial): loads (of), tons (of).
fardar(colloquial): to show off, to brag.
ligar(colloquial): to make advances, to pick up.
- Update Oct-05-2012 (five new obscure words):
zurumbático: stunned, dazed.
pintiparar: to compare something to another thing, or to make something look like another thing.
protervia: protervity, wickedness, peevishness.
taheño: red (hair), having a red hair or beard, ginger.
And here are the results. These are the most popular Spanish online dictionaries I found:
- Google Translate
- Dictionary.com (new)
- TheFreeDictionary.com (new)
In this table I show how each of them performed on translating the words:
And the winner is…
It seems there is a clear winner. SpanishDict has the correct translation for
17 of the 18 words. In fact it also has a translation for the word
fagocitar, which was “to engulf, to swallow up”, but it is not a precise translation and so I did not considered it correct (for the purposes of this comparison).
Update Oct-05-2012: Since the date when this article was first written (back in 2008), things has changed a bit. First, Google Translator doesn’t have a dictionary, as such, anymore. Now it has only one function: translate texts. It’s still possible to use it as a dictionary, but sometimes it is necessary to include some “context” for it to decide the right translation. In any case, it certainly has improved a lot since then. Second, now two other good dictionaries are also competing for the crown: Dictionary.com and TheFreeDictionary.com.
So, I repeated the comparison including the two new contenders. Also, this time I gave half a point to any result that is not the precise translation I was looking for, but at least could be of some help (like “to engulf, to swallow up”).
At first, the result was three dictionaries in a tie, so I decided to make things really hard. I added five new, really obscure, words. In fact, until today, I didn’t even know these existed:
Well, guess what, the winner is, again, SpanishDict. In fact, it is the only one that have translations for each of the five new words. Pretty impressive! 🙂
Do you know of another good Spanish dictionary online? Well, you may search the words above and see if it is even better than those I found. If that is the case, please don’t forget to drop a comment to share your findings. Happy searching!