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Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer(s), Internet access, projector (optional), speakers and/or headphones

Activity Description

Use this online American English Dictionary for ESL Students in class whenever students need to know a definition of a word or learn words with similar meanings to a given vocabulary word. You can also assign students to use the Web site to look up definitions, synonyms, and see sample sentences of given vocabulary words on word lists and hear pronunciations of words.


  1. Make sure that the Web site is not blocked at your school before using it with students.
  2. Set volume of computer at an adequate volume for using the audio component.
  3. Identify vocabulary that you want your students to study.


  1. Open the Example Web Site (above).
  2. Type a word in the text box at the top of the page.
  3. Select the magnifying glass/search icon or press the Enter key on your keyboard to demonstrate for students how to use this tool.
  4. Select the speaker icon to hear the word pronounced.
  5. The resulting entry will include definitions for the word with its part(s) of speech, example sentences or phrases that use the word.

Teacher Tips

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Other features of the site include the following:

  • Ask the Editor  section where students can read questions and answers posed by others
  • Word of the Day (which you can subscribe to and a new word will be sent to your e-mail daily) would be a great daily vocabulary teaching/learning opportunity for advanced ESL students
  • Core Vocabulary  that are most important for learners to know. Learners can study the list to improve their vocabulary.
  • Learner's Quizzes  - Vocabulary Quiz and a Name That Thing quiz
  • There is a free app for the merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (available for iPhone, iPad, and Android) that offers voice search, example sentences, synonyms, antonyms, Word of the Day, and more. They also offer an app (iPhone or iPad) for the Learner's Dictionary, but there is a $4.99 charge at the current time (2014)


  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced


Basic Communication

  • (7.4) Demonstrate study skills
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.