How to Look Up a Word Definition in iOS 11

iOS 11 includes a neat built-in dictionary feature that lets you quickly look up the definition of words on your iPhone or iPad, even if an internet connection is unavailable.

It's a handy recourse if someone breaks out a "big word" during a conversation, or you come across an expression in a book or on the web that you don't quite understand.


There are a couple of ways to access the dictionary which we've outlined below. Keep them in mind, and with a little luck, you won't have to consult a physical dictionary, a third-party dictionary app, or an online definition service the next time you want to know the meaning of a word.

How to Get a Word Definition in iOS 11


  1. On your iOS device, swipe right on the Lock screen or Home screen to display the Today view. Alternatively, swipe down on the Home screen to invoke the Search screen.
  2. Tap the search field if it isn't already active, and begin typing the word that you want to define. (You can also tap the microphone icon and say the word – if you know how to pronounce it.)
  3. Read the dictionary definition preview that appears in the search results, or tap it to see the extended definition.

In our experience, these definitions can occasionally get mixed up with Wikipedia suggestions from Siri. If you want to increase the chances that you get a dictionary definition first, go to Settings -> Siri & Search and toggle off Suggestions in Search.

How to Look Up a Word Within an App in iOS 11


If you come across a word you don't know in a document or email, or even when browsing the web, use the following method to look up its definition.

  1. Tap and hold your finger on the word to highlight it.
  2. Tap Look Up in the pop-up menu.
  3. Read the dictionary definition preview that appears in the Look Up results, or tap it to see the extended definition.

If you don't see any word definitions in the search results, it's likely you haven't got any dictionaries installed on your iOS device.

To remedy this, scroll down to the bottom of the results screen and tap Manage Dictionaries. You'll be presented with a list of dictionaries available to you. Simply tap the ones you want to download and they'll be automatically installed on your device.


The next time you look up a word, you'll get individual definitions from every dictionary that's installed. Note that you can add and remove dictionaries at any time by ticking/unticking them in Settings -> General -> Dictionary.

Finally, if you're seeking a more feature-rich lexical resource to explore words and phrases, check out the Terminology app for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]


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21 weeks ago

These how to guides are becoming spam when you have nothing else to report. Keep all this in one section so it doesn’t mix with actual rumors and news

More interesting and useful than a story about Carpool frickin’ Karaoke, thanks.
Rating: 8 Votes
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21 weeks ago

More interesting and useful than a story about Carpool frickin’ Karaoke, thanks.

Seriously, I want this kind of post. I moved to macOS like 6 months ago and iOS not even 2 years ago.
Rating: 7 Votes
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21 weeks ago


[LIST=1]
* Tap the search field if it isn't already active, and begin typing the word that you want to define.


You aren't defining the word, the dictionary is defining the word. You are looking up the definition.

And that's the definition of define. You could look it up.
Rating: 5 Votes
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21 weeks ago
These how to guides are becoming spam when you have nothing else to report. Keep all this in one section so it doesn’t mix with actual rumors and news
Rating: 5 Votes
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21 weeks ago
Didn't know this. I hardly use the Search function on iOS. Thanks for this handy information!

....I also just found out the other day the Notes app can act as a document scanner. I told a bunch of people this when I found out, and they also didn't know. Apple should promote these functions more than they do.
Rating: 5 Votes
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21 weeks ago
I wish Apple would expand the dictionary on iOS to include a thesaurus like it does in macOS.
Rating: 4 Votes
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21 weeks ago

More interesting and useful than a story about Carpool frickin’ Karaoke, thanks.


Agreed. They've had a couple of these useful (for me) usage articles lately.
Rating: 3 Votes
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21 weeks ago
Thanks!

Great guide! : )
Rating: 1 Votes
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21 weeks ago
You can also say "[word here] definition" and Siri will get it for you.

Edit: Never mind. I see that's mentioned in the article itself.
Rating: 1 Votes
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21 weeks ago

These how to guides are becoming spam when you have nothing else to report.


1.) These guides are not even _remotely_ close to becoming spam. I think you’re confusing the actual published article versus Spam, which actually means something that is intrusive or unwanted advertising. Two things are not mutually exclusive as you’re referring too.

2.) Macrumors reports these guidelines every so often, I find them helpful, and even if it helps only two members, don’t you think it be beneficial to have guides versus articles all the time? If you prefer not to read the article, you simply could just ignore it altogether.
Rating: 1 Votes
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