Choosing a children's dictionary

Just as you might not give War and Peace to an 8 year old, giving them an adult dictionary, with complex definitions and phonetic symbols is likely to be difficult to understand. Our children’s dictionaries are compiled specially for children – they are not cut-down versions of our adult dictionaries.

Children will benefit most from a dictionary that:

  • is specially written with an understanding of where they are in their development, and what kinds of language they will understand
  • includes terms they will encounter at school that an adult may rarely have to use – like phoneme, or grapheme
  • tailors examples of words to a context children will relate to - children ‘buy’ sweets, they don’t ‘buy’ a house.

Oxford University Press dictionaries are compiled by experts, tested by schools, and supported by a corpus database of thousands of examples of writing for children, so we can ensure our dictionaries are perfectly suited to children at different ages.

Guide to our Oxford Children’s Dictionary range

Find the right dictionary to suit your child with our English dictionary selector and bilingual dictionary selector:

Dictionary selector

English Dictionary Selector


Bilingual dictionary selector

Bilingual dictionary selector