An electronic dictionary is a dictionary whose data exists in digital form and can be accessed through a number of different media. Electronic dictionaries can be found in several forms, including software installed on tablet or desktop computers, mobile apps, web applications, and as a built-in function of E-readers. They may be free or require payment.
Most of the early electronic dictionaries were, in effect, print dictionaries made available in digital form: the content was identical, but the electronic editions provided users with more powerful search functions. But soon the opportunities offered by digital media began to be exploited. Two obvious advantages are that limitations of space (and the need to optimize its use) become less pressing, so additional content can be provided; and the possibility arises of including multimedia content, such as audio pronunciations and video clips.
Electronic dictionary databases, especially those included with software dictionaries are often extensive and can contain up to 500,000 headwords and definitions, verb conjugation tables, and a grammar reference section. Bilingual electronic dictionaries and monolingual dictionaries of inflected languages often include an interactive verb conjugator, and are capable of word stemming and lemmatization.
Publishers and developers of electronic dictionaries may offer native content from their own lexicographers, licensed data from print publications, or both, as in the case of Babylon offering premium content from Merriam Webster, and Ultralingua offering additional premium content from Collins, Masson, and Simon & Schuster, and Paragon Software offering original content from Duden, Britannica, Harrap, Merriam-Webster and Oxford.
F.A.Q about Electronic dictionaries
What are the capabilities of electronic dictionaries?
Compared with printed analogues, computer dictionaries provide the user with many additional features:
- multiple increase in search speed;
- a set of entries in the dictionary: vocabulary, alphabetical index, entering words and phrases from the keyboard, from a text editor;
- search for words with insufficient spelling;
- full-text search (not only in the vocabulary, but also in the texts of all dictionary entries);
- the use of multimedia tools for vocabulary semantization;
- the presence of a hyperlink system;
- the presence of cross-references to all words in the dictionary;
- the ability to store a large amount of information;
- in bilingual dictionaries - the possibility of direct and reverse translation;
- the inclusion in the structure of a computer dictionary of several dictionaries of different types and genres;
- simultaneous search in several dictionaries;
- restriction of the search area by keywords, thematic groups, parts of speech, etc.;
- replenishing the dictionary by the user, or creating a custom dictionary;
- preservation of the search sequence during the session (the so-called chronology/search history);
- saving "bookmarks" in the dictionary;
- compatibility with text editors, the ability to copy dictionary entries and access to the dictionary from the editor;
- compatibility with machine translation programs;
- compatibility with web browsers and other types of programs (application, training, gaming);
- providing additional background information on phonetics, grammar, style and other aspects of the language;
- the possibility of using dictionaries in local and global networks, etc.