1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. What is the best German dicti…


What is the best German dictionary?

Even though I am pretty early in my German tree and I have a long way to go, I was inspired by other posters to try to read as soon as possible. What's the best German dictionary? Preferably online as that will be where most of the things I plan to read are, but physical dictionary recommendations are appreciated for the long-term.

June 11, 2017



I really like dict.leo.org! It also exists as a free app (at least for Android).


I was also thinking about "Duden".


The best monolingual dictionary is Der Duden, it's available as a printed book or online.

For bilingual, the online dictionary I often use is dict.cc


Well, when I went to school in Germany we had to get a copy of the "Duden". That is basically a book which helped us with the spelling of the words. But I recently found out that it is also a website. That website helps you with the grammar and it gives you the definition. As long as you know German it won't be hard to use because it is a German website. Just type in www.duden.de and that should bring you straight to the website. Although I have to say as a native German speaker I had some trouble getting around the website but I can assure you it's the best one. There is also a shop on the website where you can buy books for crashcourses or others. I hope this helped.


I agree with those preferring dict.leo.org. It even helped me to translate some technical terms. If you start reading, use texts you might want to read in your native language as well. That may help you when you stumble over unknown words.

When I started reading English books (I am native German) I was lucky to read a school book version of The Wave by Morton Rue. It started with a good idea how to have fun reading foreign texts. Since you go from English to German, they might work for you as well.

if you find a word you do not understand, try...

1) to speak it aloud - sometimes it sounds familiar

2) to read it again - sometimes it looks familiar enough to grasp it's meaning

3) to put it in the context of the sentence - sometimes this is enough to find out what it means

4) if it is there just once and you understand the rest of the sentence - ignore it! If it shows up again you still can look it up. Nothing can sap the fun of reading as fast as the need to look up every second word in a text.

For me, this worked pretty well. After a couple of hundred books and magazines I still remember the book and the hint and I am glad I used it. Have fun reading


I was recommended the Collins dictionary. I use it almost daily. The definition for seid is 2nd person plural of present Yeah not the best dictionary but no one has given me a better one. A positive to the dictionary is that most words it gives you the pronunciation of the word. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/ I hope I was helpful.


Online: dict.cc is my favorite dictionary. I've found it to be far more comprehensive than dict.leo.org, although dict.leo.org is a very solid resource.

Physical: Absolutely the best physical dictionary I've ever used is my handy-dandy Langenscheidt. The header words of each entry are in blue, and after having to use Collins for a few weeks, I was desperate to switch back. It's easier on the eyes and much faster. While I have never used Duden, I have heard of it. I would recommend the pocket sized version or one size up to start out with.

Another consideration would be to get a dictionary app. I found this this is the most functional option for me. Langenscheidt has various dictionaries available, but the basic dictionary is probably what would serve you best for now.


Duden, DWDS and Word Reference are the best online German dictionaries, IMHO. The first two are completely written in German, but Google Translate can help if you are a beginner. The last one is a usual English-German/German-English dictionary.

IMHO Word Reference is better than dict.cc and leo.org because it groups the translations by meaning and presents a short list of most usual translations first, which helps a lot when learning new words. dict.cc gives you dozens of definitions and synonyms; it can be useful for translators looking for the ideal translation, but it is rather confusing for language students seeing a word for the first or second time. I only use dict.cc for compound words which do not exist in WR and set phrases.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.