How to Use the Google Dictionary Browser Extension

Get definitions on any website with a quick click

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. If you're a Chrome user, you can use the Google Dictionary extension to look up words.

If you 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 may want to learn how to install Chrome on a Mac or 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. You don't even have to open a new browser tab to navigate to an online dictionary.

How to Install the Google Dictionary Chrome Extension

Follow these steps to install the Google Dictionary extension for Chrome.

  1. Open Chrome and navigate to the Chrome Web Store.

  2. Search for "Google Dictionary" or follow this link to navigate directly to the listing.

  3. Select Add to Chrome.

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

  5. 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. If not, select the puzzle icon (Extensions), then select the Pin icon next to the Google Dictionary listing.

    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 may need to either reload all of your windows and tabs or close and relaunch Chrome.

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

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

    The word must be highlightable. It cannot be an image of a word or 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 may need to refresh the page.

  3. Select 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.

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.

    The Dictionary extension button in Chrome
  5. Select inside the search field and press Cmd+V (Mac) or Ctrl+V (PC) to paste the previously copied word. Alternatively, skip previous steps and just type the word you'd like to look up directly into the search bar.

  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 look up its definition.

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.

    A screenshot of Chrome with the More Options menu highlighted
  2. Hover your cursor over More Tools, then select Extensions.

    Extensions under "More Tools" in Chrome
  3. Locate the Google Dictionary extension and select Details.

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

    Extension options in Chrome
  5. Select Store words I look up, including definitions.

    The "Store words I look up" option
  6. Select Save.

    The Save button
  7. Once the extension has tracked a few words 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 how sometimes, when you double-click a word, no definition bubble appears. This may 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, the bubble will not pop up.

It's also possible Google Dictionary does not recognize some words you try to look up, such as 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 within a web page.