12 Apps That’ll Increase Your Vocabulary (and Make You Sound Smarter)

updated Mar 20, 2024
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You know those people who effortlessly drop complex, little-known words in casual conversation, sounding ever-so-charming and smart? Ever wonder how they do it, and wish you could? While this enviable skill comes naturally to some, there’s hope for everyone else in the form of vocabulary builder apps. 

Downloading a vocabulary builder app will help you learn new words while having fun on your phone. From Scrabble-style games you can play with friends to solo flash card quizzes, here are 12 apps that’ll expand your vocabulary in no time.

1. Word of the Day

Learning a new word every day is one of the best ways to expand your vocabulary. That’s why Word of the Day is so great. It’s an app for Apple devices that sends one “rare and inspiring” word each day, curated just for you. 

Available for iOs, free with in-app purchases

2. Word to Word

Making word associations is a great way to commit new and unfamiliar words to memory. The vocabulary builder app Word to Word gives you lists of words and challenges you to make different connections between them. Pro tip: The connections between the words aren’t always as straightforward as they seem! 

Available for iOs, free with in-app purchases

3. WordUp 

WordUp uses examples from movies, songs, famous quotes, and more to help you learn new words. It utilizes repetition to make remembering them easier. 

Available for iOs, free download with in-app purchases

4. Magoosh Vocabulary Builder

While this is actually a GRE test prep app, Magoosh makes a game out of learning new words. You get to beat levels, each of which offers more challenging vocabulary words than the last. 

Available for iOs, free download

5. Vocabulary.com

Designed with sophisticated algorithms that customize exercises based on your responses, Vocabulary.com is an app that helps you learn new words via short quizzes and games. Download the app for free and answer a series of short vocab questions to reveal a whole new world of words.

Available for iOs and Android, free download

6. Words with Friends

If you haven’t already been hooked on the game Words with Friends, chances are you’ve at least heard of it. The wildly popular game from Zynga — the company that created Farmville — has been around for nearly a decade and perseveres for a reason. Kind of like Scrabble for your smartphone, Words with Friends forces you to learn new (and often uncommon) words while allowing you to play (and keep in touch) with friends.

Available for iOs and Android, free download with in-app purchases

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7. Anki

If you’re searching for a more old-school style vocabulary builder app, then Anki is for you. Equipped with shared flashcard decks and mega-downloads such as “4,000 Essential English Words,” Anki uses images and sounds to offer a multimedia vocabulary-boosting experience that still relies on flashcard-style techniques.

Available for iOs and Android, $24.99 to download

8. 7 Little Words

Short and sweet, 7 Little Words is a clever vocabulary game that gives you seven different definitions and lettered tiles to arrange into words. The idea is that you’ll learn new words as you narrow down your choices from the ones you already know, while still having fun playing on your phone.

Available for iOs and Android, free download with in-app purchases

9. Linked Words — A Reverse Dictionary

Thesaurus lovers, rejoice: Linked Words — A Reverse Dictionary allows you to search for similar, related, and same-sounding words. Like the ultimate thesaurus, you can also search for rhymes, homophones, and even words comprised of a given word. You can count on this app to find the perfect word (and learn a whole lot of new ones).

Available for Android, free download

10. Duolingo

Technically this isn’t going to better your native vocabulary, but Duolingo will help you learn a whole new language in just a few minutes a day. Duolingo lets you learn a new language for free, in less than 10 minutes per session, through reading, writing, and pronunciation exercises.

Available for iOs and Android, free download with in-app purchases

Credit: Wachiwit / Shutterstock

11. NYT Games

Crosswords are a fantastic (and fun!) way to learn new words, and the New York Times crossword is iconic. The NYT Games app includes the daily crossword, as well as Spelling Bee and The Daily Mini, and, of course, Wordle (here’s a Wordle explainer, if you need one)  — all fun word games that are bound to include words you may have never heard before. 

Available for iOs and Android, free download with in-app purchases

12. Wordela

In search of a vocab app that uses an AI-based algorithm to increase learning and help you achieve your goals faster? Wordela is the app for you. No matter who you are and what your reason is for wanting to expand your vocabulary, Wordela has a course for you. From wanting to ace a standardized test to expanding your vocab to boost your career, this app offers tons of wordlists, programs, and even brain training to help you achieve your vocabulary goals.

Available for iOs and Android, free download with in-app purchases

Hooked on these vocabulary builder apps, and looking for some more apps to level up your life? Check out these apps for learning a new language, starting an at-home yoga practice, and even managing household cleaning routines