How to add additional dictionaries for iOS 7's define feature

How to enable additional dictionaries for use with the define feature in iOS

The Define option in the iPhone and iPad text selector popup gives you dictionary definitions for most common words. It's convenient because it can be accessed in only a couple of taps. But what if you're in England and the U.S. dictionary keeps coming up? What if you also speak Italian or Japanese or Chinese and want to access those definitions as well? What if you're traveling and want access to French? Luckily, iOS makes it easy to add and manage additional dictionaries so you can have the languages you want right where you want them!

How to enable multiple dictionaries in the define feature on your iPhone and iPad

  1. Hold down on the word you'd like to define.
  2. Tap on Define in the popup menu.
  3. tap on Manage in the bottom left hand corner of the Define section, .
  4. Tap on the Cloud icon to the right of the dictionaries you'd like to download.

Now try defining a word again and you should see all the dictionaries you have installed in iOS now.

That's all there is to it. If you ever want to remove a dictionary just tap the "x" next to the dictionary name. Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it works for you! Is it a feature you can see yourself using? Had you already used it previously?

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 6 comments. Add yours.

counterculture says:

Great tip!

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Rowanova says:

Sweet tip! Thanks Ally, I had no idea this existed.

RobertsDP says:

Wow, I was always thought the dictionary was linked to the language chosen from the initial setup of your iOS device. Glad to know I can add more dictionaries! I hope they add more language packs soon, unfortunately for me the 2nd most used language I use is not available :)
Thanks for the tip!

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asuperstarr says:

Very simple. Thanks for a great tip! As always this is useful information.

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ungibbed says:

This is one feature I absolutely love. I wish there were a few more technical dictionaries for products and such like the Apple Dictionary. Other bits of computer hardware aside from Apple hardware and terminology. Other computing dictionaries such as a "general" one and some others would be awesome to have one day.

getdamned says:

A medical dictionary is sorely needed. As someone who frequently types a lot of medical terminology, almost none of these terms are in the stock dictionary. A true pain in the ass when half these words are like 50 characters long then get auto in-corrected. To type any amount of content using technical / medical terminology will make you want to put a bullet in your head. Example? I dare you to type this out manually:

"The Schaffer collateral is located between the CA3 region and CA1 region in the hippocampus. Schaffer collaterals are the axons of pyramidal cells that connect two neurons (CA3 and CA1) and transfer information from CA3 to CA1. The entorhinal cortex sends the main input to the dentate gyrus (perforant pathway). From the granule cells of the dentate gyrus, connections are made to the CA3 regions of the hippocampus via mossy fibers. CA3 sends the information signals to CA1 pyramidal cells via the Schaffer collateral and commissural fibers from the contralateral hippocampus as well."

"The double immunogold labeling identified that SK2 channels and NMDA cohabit within the postsynaptic density (PSD) of CA1 regions of the hippocampus. The authors used theta-burst pairing (TBP) to produce a rapid potentiation of synaptic strength and to evoke LTP that is induced simultaneously but whose expression levels vary inversely over time, and the result of the TBP induction was compared to the control group."

You want to die now? I expected so. Now you know what I fight against every day on this infernal device.

Not even to mention it doesn't have any drug names, a problem when you are constantly referencing drug names (a fundamental necessity when you're dealing in neuropsychopharmacology. Which, ironically, the phone flags as an error. I can assure you, I don't type that out for fun. That's a long-ass word. No getting around it.

So Apple, add a damn medical dictionary or at least give us the option to manually add one. The time and frustration it would save me... ineffable, really.

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