I think I have a pretty extensive vocabulary. When I was a kid, I read the dictionary cover to cover (not that I retained all of it). I loved Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obsure, and Preposterous Words (which has apparently evolved into this…and isn’t available for the Kindle).
So, in my egotism, I thought the dictionary function of the Kindle just wasn’t going to be that useful for me.
It turned out that I was wrong, and I do use it from time to time…and it’s very satisfying when it does know a word I don’t. I’ll admit it: every once in awhile, I can’t remember which 18th century carriage is which.
I even started a thread in the Amazon Kindle forum called Words my Kindle taught me.
Here’s a quick sampling of words (contributed both by me and by others) from that thread: verst, chiaroscuro, enthalpy, jezail, tufa, and smegma.
Don’t know what they all mean? If you are reading this on a Kindle (besides the Kindle 1…it works a bit differently), use your 5-way to get in front of the word. The definition will appear at the bottom of the screen.
If the writing is too small for you (cough, ahem, not saying anything personally), you can hit the enter key on the Kindle. It looks like a downward arrow that smashed into the ground, broke at a ninety-degree angle, and is pointing to your left. That will open the word in the dictionary itself. Once you are there, it is just like you are in any other book. You can use the Aa key to increase the text size. You can even bookmark the page (Alt+B) or make a note (Menu-Add a Note or Highlight-start typing). After you look at the word and definition, hit the Back button to go back to where you were in the book.
Making a list and checking it twice
The notes and bookmarks are the answer to a question I’ve been asked before. Some people like to revisit the words they’ve learned, as a way to reinforce the knowledge later. Others simply like to collect them like trophies: labeling where and when the capture was made.
When you go back to the dictionary, you can do Menu-My Notes & Marks to see the list.
The Kindle comes with The New Oxford American Dictionary . I think that’s the right edition…although oddly, it’s not for sale to US customers. Of course, you don’t need to buy one…it came with the Kindle.
What makes the dictionary different from any other book? It has that special lookup feature, where you just have to get in front of the word.
The Kindle store has a section for Default Dictionaries. This includes:
- a Bible dictionary
- a medical dictionary
- an idiom dictionary
- a law dictionary
- a French-English dictionary
- a Spanish-English dictionary
- a German-English dictionary (it says English-German, but describes it as appropriate for those learning German)
After you buy the dictionary and download it to your Kindle, it’s easy to switch.
Home-Menu-Settings-Change Primary Dictionary
You’ll see a list, and you can pick the one you want to use.
This option may not be available if you only have one possible dictionary.
In the future, I’m sure there will be more options. The Klingon Dictionary is available for the Kindle, but not as a default.
Do you have more Kindle dictionary questions or tips? Let me know!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.