Switch your Kindle dictionary, Kindle Thesaurus options

Your Kindle’s default Kindle Dictionary can be replaced by another Dictionary, a Kindle Thesaurus + Dictionary combo, or a language translation dictionary.

Your Kindle ships with The New Oxford American Dictionary as the default. If you have a Kindle 3 or Kindle WiFi then it probably also includes the Oxford Dictionary of English. However, these two aren’t your only options.

How you can switch Your Default Kindle Dictionary

There are 24 ‘Kindle Default Dictionaries’ available in the Kindle Store. The link will take you to a page that shows the best-selling ones – However, the section at the top has a link called ‘compatible dictionary’ which will show the 24 ones that can replace the default Kindle dictionary.

You can buy one or more of these and then set them as your default dictionary. 

Switching Your Default Kindle Dictionary 

  1. Buy and download the new ‘default kindle dictionary’ option to your Kindle. It must be on your Kindle (physically on the Kindle) for the switch to work.
  2. Go to your Kindle’s Home Page and press the Menu button.
  3. In the Menu choose settings and on the Settings Page again press the Menu button.
  4. In the Menu on the Settings Page press ‘Change Primary Dictionary’. It’ll be the third link and just below ‘Shop in Kindle Store’.
  5. You will be shown a list of options – Only the two dictionaries mentioned above (Oxford, New Oxford American) and those out of the 24 additional default dictionaires that you have bought will be shown.
  6. Click on whichever dictionary you would like to set as the default.
  7. That’s it.

You’re limited to these 26 options so let’s take a look at what’s available.

Kindle Dictionary Options

Your options are (all are available at the link listed above) –

  1. The two dictionaries that ship with the Kindle 3.  
  2. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.  
  3. Easton’s Bible Dictionary.
  4. Dean’s Law Dictionary. 
  5. Merriam-Webster’s Advanced Learner’s Dictionary and Pocket Dictionary.
  6. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Desk Dictionary.
  7. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
  8. Translation Dictionaries from Merriam-Webster including Spanish-English, English-Spanish, English-French, and French-English.
  9. Translation Dictionaries from Barron’s including German-English, English-German, Italian-English, English-Italian, English-Spanish, French-English, Spanish-English, and English-French. 
  10. Oxford Dictionary of Idioms.
  11. Mobile Reference’s Encyclopedia of Politics and Big Polish Encyclopedia.
  12. Perhaps most interestingly there are two Dictionary+Thesaurus options – WordNet 3 and Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus.

Nearly all of these have negative reviews. Where the reviews are good overall the Kindle edition reviews are terrible. It seems that most dictionary publishers haven’t really put much effort into making these suitable for Kindle use.

The language translation dictionaries are news to me as are the Thesaurus+Dictionary combinations.

The Thesaurus options are really interesting so let’s take a closer look. 

Kindle Thesaurus Options

If you’d like a thesaurus on your Kindle there are two paths to choose from.

Replace your Dictionary with a Dictionary+Thesaurus

You can choose one of the two Dictionary+Thesaurus options – WordNet 3 from Princeton, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus.

The benefits are that these can be your default Kindle dictionary and save you a lot of time. They are also reasonably priced. The negatives are that both are considered rather limited and the Kindle edition reviews are poor.

Here’s more on WordNet 3 –

WordNet is a lexical database of the English language containing about 150,000 words organized in over 115,000 synsets for a total of 207,000 word-sense pairs. It groups English nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs into sets of cognitive synonyms called synsets each expressing a distinct concept.

WordNet provides short, general definitions, and records conceptual-semantic and lexical relations between these synonym sets. The resulting network of meaningfully related words and concepts is a combination of dictionary and thesaurus that is more intuitively usable than traditional dictionaries.

This Kindle edition is a fully functional dictionary and thesaurus and can be installed as a default dictionary on the Kindle.

This has a lot of negative reviews for the Kindle version as does the other one.

Pick a Dedicated Thesaurus that is basically a separate Kindle Book

Your other option is to pick something like Roget’s Super Thesaurus which you would use as a separate reference book. You would leave the book you are reading, open this Thesaurus separately, and search for the word you want. It’s obviously not as good as being able to use a Dictionary+Thesaurus as your default Kindle dictionary but a dedicated Thesaurus does have better word coverage.

The description for the Super Thesaurus says –

Easy to use and comprehensive in content, Roget’s Super Thesaurus includes these unique features:

· reverse dictionary
· sample sentences
· enlightening quotes
· more that 400,000 synonyms and antonyms

However, the reviews for the Kindle edition are brutal. It’s described by Kindle owners as a ‘waste of money’ and a ‘Kindle disaster’.

We also have other Thesaurus options like The Doubleday Roget’s Thesaurus in Dictionary Form but they too have terrible reviews from Kindle owners.

None of the Kindle Thesaurus and Dictionary options have good reviews

It’s pretty interesting that each of the 24 additional default dictionaries and every Thesaurus available as a standard Kindle book has terrible reviews. Perhaps Kindle owners expect more functionality, perhaps they are all just implemented terribly. The most common complaints were a lack of word coverage, difficult navigation, and poor search.

There seems to be a big opportunity to release a thesaurus or dictionary that is built specifically for the Kindle.