Looking up facts and definitions is easier than ever with the rapid progress of technology. 

But if you're one of the many folks who prefer an old fashioned book, you're in luck. And some of the best pocket dictionaries around have unique qualities. We'll recommend a variety of books below, each with a different claim to fame. Some are from publishers you might immediately recognize. Others aren't quite household names. 

One thing each of the volumes has in common, though, is a commitment to inform. Whether you're looking for synonyms, translations or phrases, these books can help. Just determine what type of assistance you need. Then find the best pocket dictionaries to get the job done.

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The Best Pocket Dictionaries for Learners of All Levels

People need assistance with words and definitions for a variety of reasons. Maybe you just have some trouble spelling certain words. Perhaps you're in the process of learning a new language and could use the extra help. No matter the reason you're in the market, we think the books below are likely to help. If nothing else, it will give you a sense of the varied marketplace that exists for the best pocket dictionaries. 

1. Barron's Spanish-English Pocket Dictionary

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Barron's is known as a great source of information for travelers. So it is perhaps no surprise that it also produces an incredible language resource. This dictionary qualifies for our list of best pocket dictionaries for a variety of reasons.

First of all is its compact size. This is truly a pocket book and travelers can easily stow it away in a bag for easy access on the move. But despite the limited real estate, this book packs quite a punch. It has one section for English to Spanish translations. Another portion offers translations in the other direction. So you can easily find the word you're looking for out of tens of thousands of entries. These guides are compiled by truly bilingual editors and provides accurate, appropriate translations.

There's also a section for special interest words and phrases. Find suggestions for technological references, including terms typically used online. And it also comes with a downloadable version you can install on your own computer. Common abbreviations, a section for numbers and several other features offer a robust look at the languages.

2. Pocket Oxford American Dictionary & Thesaurus

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Here's one you might have predicted would be included in our list of the best pocket dictionaries. This one has been in print for generations and is packed with almost all the tips you'll need. Find a concise dictionary with virtually any word you could think to look up. It's all organized easily along with a definition and pronunciation guide.

It's also got the incredible thesaurus you'll need to put some variety into your writing. Find a synonym or antonym to all the words you're hoping to use. But you won't be limited to just what is between the covers of this volume. You can also check out a far wider range of entries in the reference section of the dictionary. It's all contained in a very portable edition that will serve users well in school and beyond.

3. Dover Language Guides Easy Italian Phrase Book​

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Sometimes all you need is a reference book. And few hit the high points as succinctly as this one. You'll find the best ways to say almost any of the most common phrases imaginable. In all, there are 770 concepts you'll be able to easily translate to Italian in the moment.

It's all organized intelligently, so you can find exactly what you're looking for without wasting time. You can quickly turn to sections on common themes like banking, postal services and transportation. When it's time to have some fun, simply turn your attention to sections on entertainment or shopping. Find the stores, restaurants and other destinations you'll need while on your tour.  Never worry about mispronunciations, either. There's a handy pronunciation guide so you always know how to say it in an understandable way.

If the worst happens, you can confidently seek medical attention with the easy to use guide. And since it can pack up with just about anything you take with you, it's a convenient addition. That all adds up to one of the best pocket dictionaries we've reviewed.

4. Random House Webster's Pocket American Sign Language Dictionary

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When considering which languages to translate, don't forget about the hearing impaired. If you've been wanting to learn sign language, here's a good place to start. You'll start to get the hang of signing what you intend to say. Of course, it's a bit different translating into gestures. But Random House is a big help in making sure you get it right. 

You'll find a selection of detailed drawings. Find out exactly what the signs should look like before you begin a conversation. And you'll see more than just the hands as the illustrated characters act out each word or phrase. Some have more than one gesture, and you'll have a clear picture of them all. Plus, you'll be able to look up what you want to say easily with the handy index included inside.

5. Langenscheidt Pocket Phrasebook German

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Getting around in a foreign country can be especially tricky if you're not fluent in the native language. But last minute business opportunities and adventurous vacations can put you in that situation anyway. So what do you do if you don't have time to complete a language learning program? Maybe you'll find one of the best pocket dictionaries helpful.

And we think this one is truly packed with phrases you'll want and need to use if traveling among German speakers. Find easy references to words related to hotels, restaurants and transportation for daily insights. Ask about local shops, spots to spend the day and much more. A guide included in the book helps ensure you can pronounce everything correctly. Even get some easy help with grammatical issues and other possible pitfalls as you speak to others.

6. Scholastic Pocket Dictionary of Synonyms, Antonyms, Homonyms

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Not all of the best pocket dictionaries are aimed at mature world travelers. This one will provide a lot of helpful assistance to kids of all ages. Find access to more than 12,000 synonyms to the words you're most likely to use. Then add another 10,000 antonyms to help describe their opposites. 

Finally, there's a great option to help with some more confusing worlds. Many examples in English show multiple words pronounced the same way. With a list of about 2,000 common homonyms and their meanings, you'll write with confidence. Kids can carry this reference book with them just about anywhere. And when they need it, the easy to search format will give them answers right away.


Referencing the best pocket dictionaries can help you out of a wide range of jams.

But you have to make sure you have the right tools for the job. And there are so many different types based on the disparate needs of those reading them. 

We hope our guide has helped you determine which dictionaries are right for you. If so, share this article with the language learners in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions. 

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