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How to use the built-in dictionary on Microsoft Edge

Windows 10 version 1809 (October 2018 Update) delivers an updated version of Microsoft Edge that introduces a number of improvements, including a new feature to look up definitions for words when reading a document or page without needing to open a new tab.

The new dictionary comes as built into Microsoft Edge, and unlike the Google dictionary extension for Chrome, it's a feature that works while viewing a web page using Reading view, reading an ebook, or working with a PDF file.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to get started with the Edge dictionary available starting with the October 2018 Update.

How to enable or disable the Microsoft Edge dictionary

On Microsoft Edge, you can decide on which type of content the dictionary is available, or you can disable the feature completely using these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge.
  2. Click the Settings and more button in the top-right corner.
  3. Select the Settings option.
  4. Click on General.
  5. Under "Show definitions inline for," turn on or off the toggle switch to enable or disable the dictionary.

Alternatively, instead of disabling the experience, you can clear the checkbox for the experience that you don't want to have the ability to look up definitions.

How to use the Microsoft Edge dictionary

Using the built-in dictionary on Microsoft Edge is a straightforward process. While viewing a website using Reading view, reading an EPUB book, or working with a PDF file, simply double-click the word to see its definition appear above the selection.

Alongside the definition, you can click the speaker button to hear the pronunciation, and you can click the more option to expand the definition.

This feature is limited to single words, which means that you cannot look up the definition for combinations like "Windows 10." However, you can select a phrase, right-click it, and use the Ask Cortana option.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

7 Comments
  • That's a great feature. Unfortunately, it doesn't work UNLESS you are using Edge in Read mode, reading ebooks or PDF files...none of which I do. It would be awesome if it worked in the normal browsing mode.
  • +1 to this. This article got me to use read mode just to try it out, not a feature I use often although edge does a good job of making stuff look really pretty (no idea what other browsers do). But definitely not sure why it's just not in every part of edge, at least in the right click menu
  • You can Right Click -> Ask Cortana on anything else and get the definition (but it won't look as good...)
  • It's really useful for books. Love it.
  • Grammarly extension does it in normal browsing mode.
  • This is Good idea
  • Dictionary should be Windows-wide, not just in Edge.