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What good online Latin dictionaries do you know? What are their benefits and drawbacks?

Please give only one dictionary per answer. If you have many dictionaries to suggest, give multiple answers — but read the other answers to avoid duplicating answers. This way people can vote on individual dictionaries, causing the best ones to rise up and the worst ones to sink down, so that we can easily find the most loved dictionaries. If there are many dictionaries listed in an answer, it's hard to link the answer score to the quality of each listed dictionary.

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  • 1
    Very interesting question and answers, but if someone could add a Latin/Latin dictionary, because the only one given above doesn't work. – Quidam Nov 2 at 2:07

17 Answers 17

19

The best free, online Latin-English dictionary is undoubtedly Lewis and Short. There are several ways to access it, too, and they are given in separate answers.

Most people seem to go straight to Tufts' Perseus website, which has the Lewis and Short in its entirety. As it provides a direct link to each word, this is a great way to link someone to a definition. Moreover, their Morphological Word Study Tool is a god-send to any new student, and it also has morphological analysis for Ancient Greek, Arabic, and (new!) Old Norse.

For just dictionary-entry look up, it's probably not the best interface. It's rather slow, for one.

  • What make you say it's the best (not saying it's not, but why?) – Quidam Nov 2 at 2:05
  • @Quidam Because I haven't seen better. I'd be happy to learn of an even better dictionary that is freely available online. That said, what makes a good dictionary depends on the exact task at hand; different goals call for different focuses in a dictionary. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 2 at 10:38
  • I'm not saying it's not the best one. It's not about whether it's not the best or the best, but rather the argument. What makes a good Latin dictionary for you? (For instance, for me, a good dictionary has to give the examples of the use of the word in contexts.) – Quidam Nov 2 at 13:22
11

For more thorough comparisons with different Latin dictionaries, including the Latin-Dutch dictionary LaNe, one can use Chicago's Logeion. You can type in either Latin or Greek (transliterated or unicode) and it will bring up a drop down menu for you to select the word (good for seeing a bunch of potentially related words very quickly). Besides LaNe and Lewis and Short, it also includes the Frieze-Dennison's lexicon to Vergil's Aeneid and, great for many members here, the Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources for those special Medieval Latin words (e.g. dictamen).

11

If you're looking for an English-to-Latin dictionary, I recommend A Copious and Critical English-Latin Dictionary, by William Smith and Theophilus (!) Hall. The most recent edition was published in 1871, so there are lots of ways in which it's not really suitable for today: many English words have changed their meanings since then, and many more have changed nuances - I find myself referring to Google to find appropriately archaic English synonyms when looking for the modern word returns no results. However, it's still an excellent resource and the best source of synonyms and phraseology I've yet encountered. It's one downside, besides the archaic English, is that the difference between the synonyms isn't always explained clearly. You can access the dictionary as:

There's a reprint published by Bolchazy-Carducci.

10

Collatinus

I highly recommand Collatinus. There are a web version and a desktop version, and it's a free software (CC BY-NC).

Functionalities

  • search for lemma in several Latin dictionaries (Gaffiot, Calonghi, Lewis & Short, du Cange, Georges, Valbuena)
  • flex a lemma
  • scan a Latin text
  • lemmatize a Latin text (with 7 target languages)
  • perform its morphological analysis
  • This one is really the best, as it gives very quickly the definition of Lewis & Short, Gaffiot, etc... Thank you! I love meta-dictionaries. – Quidam Nov 2 at 1:51
9

One possibility is to use Webxicon.

It translates between several languages, including Latin and English. You can even leave the target or source language blank to get answers for all possible languages. It is sometimes useful to translate a Latin word to several languages at once and to see many translations options in all languages at one glance. If you know several languages, this can help you find a tone. You can use the same tool between many languages, so it's not limited to Latin at all.

For some words you get use examples and pronunciation help.

There are downsides as well:

  • It is not very consistent: Some words are there, some are not. Sometimes translations are abundant in some language and scarce in others. Sometimes declined forms appear as separate entries.
  • Macrons are rare.
  • You get a list of translations, not an explanation.

This dictionary is based on Wiktionary, which is not the most reliable of all sources.

  • It's not my favorite, but it gives very nicely and quickly the inflections! – Quidam Nov 2 at 1:53
9

One option to consider is the online Latin-English Dictionary. It is essentially an online version of William Whitaker's words, and uses the exact same word list.

(Full disclosure: this is a shameless self-plug for a side-project I worked on while teaching myself Python / Django.)

Pros

  1. 35,000+ words
  2. Can accept and parse inflected words. (Searching for tulisset, gnaee, and maria all return the appropriate entries.)
  3. Basic word-usage information, especially for medieval words/spellings
  4. Relatively smart English-Latin translation with some advanced search

Cons

  1. Few word usage examples or citations from classical authors
  2. Generic "list-style" definitions
  3. Unable to accept more than one word at a time
  4. Server speed needs some work
9

Pollux: Archimedes Project Dictionary Access

Here you can search Lewis & Short, Liddell Scott Jones, and a few other dictionaries. The layout is not as good as on Perseus, but it loads much faster, so it is what I use.


You can add a bookmark with keyword in Firefox in order to search from the address bar. You can then simply type e.g. le meretrix in order to search for meretrix immediately.

You have to create a new bookmark. Then use this as the url of the bookmark: http://archimedes.fas.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/dict?name=ls&lang=la&word=%s&filter=CUTF8

And this as the keyword of the bookmark: le (or pick some other keyword of your choosing: this stands for "Latin–English").

9

One option is Philolog.us which not only allows for quick looking up of entries in Lewis and Short, but also the Greek dictionaries Liddel and Scott's and Slater's Lexicon to Pindar. The big bonus for Philologus is its iPhone app. Sorry Android users, no Philologus yet, though one is in the works.

But now there is: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.philolog.philologus&hl=en

9

The online version of William Whitaker's Words (originally an MS-DOS program, see Wikipedia) is very useful: http://archives.nd.edu/words.html

It is very useful, especially translate from English to Latin or Latin English words. It can identify an inflected or derived form of a Latin words based on tables of conjugations and declensions it contains. Some forms it identifies as possible may actually be unattested or even impossible.

It is belonging to archives.nd.edu. That means University of Notre Dame archives. It also contains the Windows and Linux version of the original program.

Another online version is https://latin.ucant.org/

There are also excellently-reviewed mobile apps that contain William Whitaker's Words for Android and iPhone.

  • 1
    Can you describe what the site is and what it's based on? To me that looks like a link to an executable file on a site I don't recognize, causing me not to even consider opening it. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 18 '16 at 8:23
  • Name of the this site is William Whitaker's Words. it is very useful, especially translate from English to Latin or latin English words. Belonging to archives.nd.edu. That means University of Notre dome arvhives.Please write on Google William Whitaker's words. – turuncu Nov 18 '16 at 8:30
  • 4
    Can you add more details to your answer? The question asks for details, pros and cons. It should make sense for users who have not heard of Whitaker's Words before. (Personally, I would prefer a link to the html page of the dictionary, which contains a browser UI and a link to the same file you link to: archives.nd.edu/words.html) – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 18 '16 at 8:36
8

I often use Numen, the Latin lexicon (latinlexicon.org). It is easy to use and allows searches for both Latin and English words.

Many entries have use examples, although they can be quite cryptic.

It also has a "word study tool" where you can enter a passage of Latin text and look at all possible translations word by word. This tool works because the dictionary can decline and conjugate all words (you can also see all forms of a Latin word in its entry), but unfortunately there seem to be occasional errors in irregular conjugation.

The dictionary is based on two printed dictionaries, An Elementary Latin Dictionary (by Charlton T. Lewis) and A Latin Dictionary (by Lewis & Short). The dictionary contains macrons.

  • 1
    Well, I've come from the future to confirm that conjugation-and-declension-related errors are everywhere. But, this is still really cool. – Middle School Historian May 8 '17 at 13:46
8

First of all, I must confess I don't know many. However, the one I commonly use meets my needs pretty well and isn't mentioned above: it is University of Notre Dame's Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid.

Pros:

  • 15,000+ Words. Classical-Latin prone.
  • Latin and English search, very intuitive. It looks for words starting with your query by default, allowing great flexibility.
  • Conjugation and declension descriptions by their principal parts.
  • My vocabulary is not very broad, but I have found it reliable enough so far.
  • It offers a couple more resources besides the dictionary.

Cons:

  • Doesn't cite any sources. So if you want to perform an academic translation to Latin, maybe it won't be enough. Even the original dictionary source is unkown. Like, literally:

Florin Neumann, who found the data on the Internet (...) says

  • No examples of usage.
  • No length markings.
  • When looking for a common English word to translate to Latin, you might get a too many unwanted results, since it searches whole entries in the Latin dictionary (just for fun, try searching the: it gives maybe 3,000 entries).
7

There's a widget that lets you look up any word in the Oxford Latin Dictionary.

Pros:

It's the Oxford Latin Dictionary

Cons:

It's behind a paywall (subscription-based) - available to institutions only.

There's a free YouTube tutorial that shows its functionality in all its glory.

  • Now it's freely available! See here. – luchonacho Apr 1 at 10:53
  • @luchonacho I would consider that a separate online (and downloadable!) dictionary which therefore merits a separate answer. – Joonas Ilmavirta Apr 1 at 15:22
  • @luchonacho It has been removed. – Quidam Nov 2 at 3:46
7

Latin is Simple!

http://latin-is-simple.com/ is a dedicated online dictionary that contains most latin words:

  • Over 44,000 vocabulary entries (with translations)
  • Thus over 3,100,000 inflected (conjugated/declined) forms! Including all tenses, cases, persons, participles, .... Each word can be displayed individually including all details and inflections
  • optimized for mobile as well as desktop computers (this is rare among all those old other websites)
  • A Vocabulary Trainer which also asks for stem forms (only one on the web yet)
  • Sentence Analysis! This is indeed the coolest feature; give it a latin text and you'll get a handful of information about every word: Matching vocabulary entries, which forms they correspond. It also detects relations and clauses! so e.g. which noun belongs to which adjective or clauses like "Accusativus Cum Infinitivo" (A.C.I.) and "Ablativus Absolutus" (Abl.Abs.)

    e.g. "legimus" comes from "lego legis legere legi lectum" and matches the 1. person active indicative in present as well as perfect tense).

Latin Text / Sentence analysis

Sentence Analysis

Vocabulary Trainer

Vocabulary Trainer

I have to add that I am the ambitious and proud developer of that site, so my opinion may be a little bit biased.. My site is only about one year old and has since been subjected to constant development and improvements and this will continue! Give it a try!

Right now I'm working on design and usability improvements as well as functionality advancements such as the recognition of cum/ut/si sentences

6

I always use the site: https://en.glosbe.com/ I like the site because it has got more than 15.000 words, new and old Latin. It shows:

  • The conjugation of the word
  • Many meanings
  • A lot of example sentences
  • You can listen to the pronunciation
  • It is based on several online dictionaries

It's a great site, I recommend it.

  • It has old French, which really help for English words etymology from Latin roots. – Quidam Nov 2 at 2:03
2

Latdict is a free online Latin-English dictionary based on Whitaker's words. The biggest handy feature is, when searching by the Latin word, a dropdown displays suggestions with the standard forms of the word. It also has a work-in-progress grammar section.

2

jclsource.org/dictionary is a good free Latin to English and English to Latin dictionary. It uses Whitaker's words as a database. The rest of the site has lots of good resources, and as a developer of JCLSource, I strongly recommend the site not only for the dictionary. We are still working on improving the dictionary UI and adding auto-fill, but this is still a comprehensive dictionary.

  • This is great!! Great job! – luchonacho Feb 22 at 8:33
2

Serious students should have at their disposal at least one Latin-Latin dictionary. The Forcellini Lexicon is an early modern edition that is still very useful.

  • Is it working? I get a message asking me to pay. – Quidam Nov 2 at 2:01
  • @Quidam It asks for donations but doesn't require payment. You can just click ok and get to the dictionary. – Joonas Ilmavirta Nov 2 at 10:44

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