How to Use the Google Dictionary Browser Extension

Get definitions on any website with a quick click

An image of a man looking at a news site on a laptop.

 

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Whether you're reading your favorite blog or browsing your Facebook feed for friends' updates, chances are you'll eventually stumble across a word you're not familiar with. In this case, it can be helpful to use the Google Dictionary extension for the Chrome web browser — if Chrome is your preferred browser to use.

If you typically use another browser, but are willing to switch to Chrome, you'll need to download and install Chrome. Depending on your computer's operating system, you might want to check out some of our resources on how to install Chrome on a Mac and how to install Chrome within Ubuntu.

Why Use the Google Dictionary Chrome Extension?

When you have the Google Dictionary extension installed on your Chrome browser, you never have to waste time and energy looking up words manually.

With the Google Dictionary extension, you can forget about reaching for your big, bulky dictionary every time you need to look up a word. You don't even have to open a new browser tab to go to an online dictionary.

With as little as two clicks, you can instantly have a word's definition right in front of you. Expanding your vocabulary has never been faster or easier.

How to Install the Google Dictionary Chrome Extension

  1. Open your Chrome web browser.

  2. Select Add to Chrome.

    A screenshot of Google.com.
  3. Chrome might ask you to confirm you want to add the extension. Select Add extension to proceed.

  4. A pop-up box will appear in the top right of your browser confirming the installation was successful. You should now see a small red dictionary icon.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.

How to Use the Google Dictionary Extension From Within a Web Page

This is the fastest and easiest way to get a short, concise definition for any word.

If you just installed the Google Dictionary extension, you should either reload all of your windows/tabs or close and relaunch Chrome.

  1. In Chrome, navigate to any web page with highlightable text on it. This could be a website, a blog, a social network, a forum, a product listing, etc.

  2. Double-click any word you want to look up. A bubble will pop up directly above the word with a short definition.

    The word must be highlightable. It can't be an image of a word nor can it be a word within a hyperlink.

    A screenshot of Lifewire.com.

    Not seeing anything? If the page you're viewing has been open in your browser for some time, you might need to refresh the page.

  3. Select the X in the top right of the bubble to close the definition. If you want to see more details about its definition, select More in the bottom right of the bubble.

How to Use the Google Dictionary Extension From Your Chrome Browser

This method involves a few more steps, but you'll get more detailed definitions.

  1. In Chrome, navigate to any web page with text on it.

  2. Locate a word you want to look up.

  3. Highlight the word, then press Cmd+C (Mac) or Ctrl+C (PC) to copy it.

  4. Select the small red dictionary icon in the top right of your browser. A search tab will appear.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.
  5. Select inside the search field and press Cmd+V (Mac) or Ctrl+V (PC) to paste the previously copied word.

  6. Select Define.

  7. You'll be shown a few top definitions of the word, along with an option to hear how it's pronounced, its grammatical function (noun, adjective, etc.), and a list of synonyms.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.

Select any synonym to instantly see the definition for it.

Store and View Your Google Dictionary History

If you want to keep track of the words you look up, you can do this in the extension options.

  1. Select the three vertical dots in the top right of your Chrome browser.

  2. Hover your cursor over More Tools, then select Extensions.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.
  3. Locate the Google Dictionary extension and select Details.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.
  4. Scroll down and select Extension options.

    A screenshot of Chrome web browser.
  5. Select Store words I look up, including definitions.

    A screenshot of Google Dictionary in Chrome web browser.
  6. Select Save.

  7. Once the extension has tracked a few word lookups for you, you can return to the previous tab in the extension options and select Download history to download it as a CSV file.

Google Dictionary Extension Limitations

You may notice that when you double-click a word, you won't see a bubble pop up above it. This could be because you're using a web-based tool or program that's incompatible with the extension. For instance, if you double-click a word in a Google Doc, you won't see the bubble pop up.

It's also possible Google Dictionary doesn't recognize some words you try to look up — especially slang terms.

Using the Google Dictionary Extension Within Google Search Results

One place you can definitely use the Google Dictionary extension is within the descriptions of Google search results when you perform a Google search. Just type any search term into Google and follow the steps outlined above for how to use the Google Dictionary extension from within a web page.