The following collection of worksheets will teach your students how to use a dictionary.

Dictionaries are reference tools that provide an alphabetical listing of words and their meanings. A dictionary can have many different features that can give you a great deal of information about a word beyond just the meaning. They are useful to find the proper spelling of a word and some will show you how the word is phonetically pronounced. In many cases they provide you with a list of possible synonyms and antonyms which can be a helpful reference when you are writing. Some advanced dictionaries can indicate the level of word usage within cultural language. Certain words may also appear that are slang words to certain cultures. This is why you see the title of these books that are targeting a certain culture within the same the same language. E-books are convenient, and it is very easy to type a word into a search engine to find out what it means, but your students should still learn how to use an actual, physical dictionary.

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Print Dictionary Skills Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Practice Worksheet

Dictionary Practice

Grab one of those good ole' reference tools to help you answer the following questions.

Multiple Meanings Worksheet

Multiple Meanings

Some words are spelled the same, but have completely different meanings.

Abbreviations Worksheet


Did you know that you can also use them to find the meanings of these abbreviations. Write the term or phrase on the line.

Practicing Worksheet

Practicing with Your Dictionary

We get you on the front line with some really good practice on this worksheet. It gets easier as you start to practice it more.

Patterns Worksheet

Stress Patterns

We look at syllable classifications of words and learn their meaning too.

Past Tense Worksheet

Irregular Past Tense

Write the irregular past tense of each verb. Check your answers, with what else?

Parts of Speech Worksheet

Parts of Speech

You will need a speech classification key or legend to help you here. Determine the part of speech for each of the terms that are given. There may be more than one correct answers.

Guide Words Worksheet

Guide Words

Circle the pair of guide words you might find on a page where the bold term could be found.

Guiding Worksheet

Working With Guiding Words

Read each set of guide words. Underline where you would find them on that page.

Syllables Worksheet

Spelling and Syllables

Use a reference tool to help you divide the following words into syllables. Write each of them on the line, placing a hyphen between syllables.

Full of It Worksheet

The Dictionary Is Full of Answers

See how well you can answer these questions when you have your favorite reference tool handy.

Using Worksheet

Decoding Unfamiliar Words

Fill in the chart for each word on this selection of phrases and terms in the matrix. This will help you understand waht to do when you come across unfamilar terms.

Using Them Worksheet

Using the Dictionary

You will look up the assigned words. Then you will fill out the chart for each of the terms and use them in a complete sentence.

Synonym Worksheet


In addition to giving you the definition of a word, the dictionary sometimes also gives synonyms for all of the terms that are given.

Show Off Worksheet

Show Off

Look up the assigned words. Fill in the chart. Then use the term in a sentence.

These activity sheets will teach your students how dictionaries are formatted for use, including questions about guide words, definition priority, synonyms and antonyms, and more. Answer keys have been provided for most sheets, but answers may differ depending on the dictionary used. Fun Class Contest: Divide the class into teams for dictionary drills. Present challenges similar to the worksheet activities and see which team can complete them first!

Why are Dictionaries Important?

A dictionary is a collection of words and their definitions. We use them to look up the meaning of a word or find words with similar meanings. These are important tools for understanding language. They provide definitions of words, examples of how they are used, and sometimes pronunciation information. They can also help you determine the parts of speech a word belongs to and whether a word is considered formal or informal.

Dictionaries are usually arranged in alphabetical order. They can be used to sort words by their starting letter or by the number of letters in each word. They are also commonly known as word books or lexicons.

Types of Dictionaries

There are many different forms of dictionaries, including general, special-purpose, language focused, and pronunciation references. Each type of dictionary serves a specific purpose and contains more or less relevant information depending on your particular area of interest.

For example, if you want to look up the spelling of a word, then a general dictionary may be your best option. A pronunciation dictionary would be more appropriate if you need information about how a word is pronounced or its origin and history.

Specialized Forms

There are specialized dictionaries geared toward certain industries or types of use. For example, dictionaries may be specifically targeted at (e.g., Longman Business English Dictionary), legal uses (West's Law Dictionary), medical terminology (Stedman's Medical Dictionary), or scientific vocabulary (Websters' New Millennium Science Dictionary).

These type of specialized books often provide additional information not found in other dictionaries, such as word etymologies and definitions that include important dates, places, people, and historical events related to the word.

Regardless of which type of dictionary you choose to use, it's important to familiarize yourself with its organization and contents to find the information you're looking for quickly and easily.

The Most Famous English Reference Tool

The Oxford English Dictionary is the most famous English dictionary ever written. It contains more than 400,000 entries and includes every word that has been used in the English language since 1150 AD. The OED is a historical document - it not only records new words as they are created and traces the history and development of individual words throughout time. This makes it an invaluable resource for linguists.

Today, many different types of dictionaries are available, both in print and online. They range from small, pocket-sized dictionaries to huge tomes that contain hundreds of thousands of entries.

The Importance of a Dictionary

These reference tools are essential because:

- They allow us to look up words quickly and easily. This is especially useful when writing essays or papers because we can find the definition of a word without interrupting our flow of thought.

- They also provide us with additional information about a word, including its pronunciation. This is especially useful when reading and coming across a difficult word that we don't recognize or understand. We can simply find the definition of that word in a dictionary and gain a greater understanding of what we're reading.

- They help us learn new words because they contain all of the definitions for each entry in most of what we read.

Additionally, dictionaries often include example sentences that give us insight into how those words are used in context. This can be extremely helpful when trying to understand how to use a word properly.

Ending Note

Dictionaries are critical tools for writers that allow us to find the meaning of unknown words quickly and easily and access crucial extra information about those words, such as their pronunciation and usage. Dictionaries also help us to learn new words and expand our vocabulary.

Whether you're looking for a word's definition or just trying to improve your vocabulary, a good dictionary is an invaluable resource that should always be kept close at hand.