The 10 best English to French dictionaries to use in 2022

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One of the most important tools you’ll need when you learn French is a French-English/English-French dictionary.

Whether it’s a print dictionary or an app you download and save on your phone, tablet, or computer, a French-English/English-French dictionary is a must. Even when you reach fluency in French, you’ll probably still need to look something up from time to time. I know I do!

But how to choose the right one for you?

To give you some ideas, here’s our selection of some of the best print French dictionaries and French dictionary apps out there.

The best French-English print dictionaries and apps

A man standing by a window is holding his tablet and looking at it.

Here, in no particular order, is our choice of the best French-English dictionaries in print and app form.

Collins-Le Robert Concise French-English Dictionary

Format: Dictionary app

It’s hard to find a French dictionary app that garners praise beyond customer reviews, but this one crops up on many lists of the best French dictionary apps or essential apps for French learners. It’s even the subject of a personal blog entry.

The Collins-Le Robert is a standard even in the print dictionary domain. It contains more entries than most of the other French dictionary apps out there, although the Android version seems to have more entries than the iOS one.

Price: $14.99+. Offline?: Yes.

Collins Robert French Unabridged Dictionary, 11th Edition

Format: Print dictionary

This massive, unabridged print French-English/English-French dictionary has a special place in my heart. I’ve had my copy (albeit an older edition) since I was a teenager learning French. It took many transatlantic flights with me in the years before I finally came to live permanently in France, which often caused my bag to be overweight!

Today, I still use it when I’m working on tricky translations or looking for a thorough definition of a word.

Price: $44.00-55.00. Check for sales and promotions on Harper Collins’ website.

English-French Dictionary by Larousse

Format: Dictionary app

This is another classic staple for any modern-day French-learner and includes more words than the Collins-Le Robert app, which is especially important if you’re going to use your app for reading in French. The word count is the same for both the Android and iOS versions, which is nice and highly reasonable.

On the other hand, unlike the Collins-Le Robert, this app only seems to have verb conjugation tables, instead of a full-out conjugator, which may explain the lower price.

Price: $4.99. Offline?: Yes.

Word Reference French English dictionary

Format: Dictionary app

Like many foreign language speakers, translators, and teachers, I use the Word Reference dictionary almost every day.

Like the site, the app has a simple interface and is easy to use. Also like the site: you can consult and post questions on the forums.

Available for Android and iOS.

Price: Free. Offline?: No.

French Dictionary & Thesaurus + English Translation by Farlex

Format: Dictionary app

Available for both iOS and Android, this highly rated, popular app includes a voice search option, as well as other helpful features.

Price: Free. Offline?: Yes.

Grand Tour French Dictionary

Format: Dictionary app

This is a good, basic, no-frills French dictionary app, with a simple interface. As of now, it’s only available for iOS.

Price: Free. Offline?: Yes.

Ascendo

Format: Dictionary app

While the first two French dictionary apps on this list are cornerstones, Ascendo seems to be the young upstart. Available for iOS and Android, this popular app has great reviews and its features and interface seem to be genuinely helpful.

Price: Free. Offline?: Yes.

A paperback Robert & Collins abridged French-English dictionary

The other suggestions on this list are easy to find, but this one – and any comparable dictionary – is a lot harder. Although it’s best to have an unabridged print dictionary at home, if you need to take one to class or on a trip, there are many paperback French-English dictionaries that will get the job done quite nicely.

Le Dictionnaire Le Robert & Collins Poche Anglais is available in France and includes a PC version as well.  But it doesn’t seem to be widely sold in places like the US or UK. The same goes for other abridged paperback French-English/English-French dictionaries that have been updated in the past few years.

That said, a visit to a real-life bookstore in your area may be the answer. Many bookstores cater to students and language learners and will sell these special resources. The same is also true for public libraries.

Price: Extremely variable. Offline?: Yes.

Specialized French-English dictionaries

A person holds their phone, looking something up. They seem to be in a restaurant but the background is blurry

Some French-English dictionaries fit specific needs. Two of the most useful are travel dictionaries and pronunciation dictionaries. Here are are favorites in each of those categories.

Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary

Format: print and/or e-book

Although dictionary apps make it easy to carry a French-English dictionary with you, I personally prefer to also have a small print one on hand whenever I travel abroad. This way, you don’t have to worry about internet connection, your phone’s battery level, weather or other conditions, or potential theft (sadly, print books aren’t usually targets for thieves and pickpockets). A French-English travel dictionary won’t contain every word in French, but it will provide a decent amount of vocabulary, as well as sections on specifics like helpful phrases, food, and so on.

The Lonely Planet French Phrasebook & Dictionary is probably the best print French-English travel dictionary I know of that’s still published today. In addition to a 3500 English-French/French-English dictionary, this pocket-sized resource also contains things like tips on French culture and specific sections to help you understand French menus and communicate in case of an emergency.

If you’re still not convinced about having this book in print, it’s also available as an e-book you can save on your phone, tablet, or e-reader.

Price: Around $6.00 for the print book and around $7.50 for the print and e-book purchased together.

Forvo French pronunciation dictionary

Format: Dictionary app

Most of the dictionary apps on our list include audio so that you can hear how a word sounds. But if you want to take your French oral and aural skills to another level, you should think about downloading or using a French pronunciation dictionary.

Most French pronunciation dictionaries feature recordings of individual words, but several offer sentences or even full texts.

Some of these apps also have interactive elements, like being able to ask native French speakers to pronounce particular words or sentences for you.

Benjamin reviewed several French pronunciation dictionaries in this article. The standout for him was Forvo, which has the most entries of any French pronunciation dictionary. Available for iOS and Android, or even simply usable via its website. Forvo features audio of individual words as well as some sentences, that interactive capability I mentioned earlier that lets you ask native French speakers to pronounce something, and even French lessons.

Price: Free. Offline?: At the time of this writing, the iOS version of the app has an offline version, but the Android version doesn’t.

The most important feature to look for in a French dictionary app

Keep in mind that the most important feature of a French dictionary app is offline accessibility. After all, you want to be able to use it even if you don’t have internet access or have a bad connection.

Should I choose a dictionary app or a print dictionary?

A stack of books set on their sides so that we see their bottoms in a row

There are advantages and disadvantages to each French-English dictionary format.

Some advantages of French dictionary apps include:

  • Many are free
  • They don’t take up physical space
  • They can be taken with you just about anywhere your mobile device can go
  • They can be updated to include new vocabulary.
  • Many also include features like audio and verb conjugators.
  • You can often connect a French dictionary app to your e-reader so that you can select a word and get its translation.

Some disadvantages of French dictionary apps include:

  • Certain apps can only be accessed with an internet connection
  • Your mobile device must be charged
  • May be hard to use in extreme weather or temperature conditions

As for print print French-English/English-French dictionaries, advantages include:

  • They can be used without a power or internet source
  • It may be easier to flip through a page than to wait for something to load
  • A print travel dictionary is less likely to be stolen than a dictionary app on your phone.

Some disadvantages of print French-English/English-French dictionaries include:

  • None of them are free (although most are relatively inexpensive, especially if you get them secondhand)
  • They take up physical space
  • They may be heavy if you want to take them somewhere.

So, should you get a print French-English dictionary or an app? For me, the answer is…both!

I love using French dictionary apps like Word Reference, but I’m also very glad to have my unabridged print Harper-Collins French/English dictionary as well. I get the best of both worlds, and since my dictionary app doesn’t cost anything, it’s like getting two for the price of one.

Two French references – or even more than two – can be a great way to verify tricky words or phrases, or to find information (for instance, etymology) that’s in one but not in the other. So, why not take advantage of old-school pages and new-school screen displays when it comes to your French resources?


Do you have a favorite French dictionary app or pronunciation dictionary? If you do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments. If not, I hope this list is a good jumping-off point for finding the perfect one for you!

Alysa Salzberg

Alysa Salzberg is an American writer, worrier, teacher, and cookie enthusiast who has lived in Paris, France, for more than a decade. She has taught English and French for more than ten years, most notably as an assistante de langue vivante for L'Education Nationale. She recently published her first novel, Hearts at Dawn, a "Beauty and the Beast" retelling that takes place during the 1870 Siege of Paris. You can read about her adventures here, or feel free to stop by her website.

9 thoughts on “The 10 best English to French dictionaries to use in 2022”

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  1. I use Bravolol Dictionary & Translator by Bravolol Limited because gives part(s) of speech and use in sentences with audio pronunciation. Also like the way it makes clear gender of nouns with definite and indefinite articles, including elisions. Also way it allows to control speed of audio pronunciation. No link to verb conjugations but for that use Conjuu French Conjugations which also gives audio pronunciation. Thanks for the listing of resources will check them out.

    Reply
  2. What I am looking for is an app that will save the words I have searched with the definition so I can review them to increase my French vocabulary. Can this app save the words I have selected with their definition?

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  3. I have seen what looks like a dream ideal : “SSZZ Electronic Dictionary Point Reading Pen Portable Reader Scanning Pen Translation Machine “, BUT it only appears to translate between English and Chinese 🙁 ! Does anyone know of of a similar device which would scan and translate French words?

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  4. I do use the Collins but often my first choice is Bravolol. It searches both French and English at once, has pronunciation, shows alternate forms (noun, adjective, etc. and sample usage.

    Reply
  5. I have been using the LaRousse app on android for a couple of years and found it really helpful for translating both ways between French and English. There are loads of idioms and until mentioned in the review above I hadn’t even thought about conjugating. I use a separate app if needed.
    The good thing is that it keeps a list of everything you looked up in history so you can go back and jog your memory. A
    And of course it’s remarkable value – the paper copy would cost £30! (and doesn’t fit in your pocket)

    Reply
  6. Hello, I am struggling to find an English to French dictionary app (preferably a free one) with French transcriptions. Do you know of any? Thank you. Katya Hvass

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  7. How do you feel about the Microsoft Translator app? You can download languages for written translation, and it seems to work pretty well, although you would need Internet connections for spoken translations. I assume the Google Translator app is about the same.

    Reply
  8. Many thanks for this guide.

    I have twice previously downloaded French “assistance” applications and been utterly disappointed.

    As I live in Australia and (for the past 12 years) have frequently travelled to New Caledonia for business, I have been embarrassed about my lack of ability to speak French, at least in some basic way. The Parisians and the locals have always been so accommodating that I felt even more embarrassed with each consecutive visit.

    The biggest issue has always been the lack of Internet connectivity – the price of roaming data in New Caledonia is enough to make a millionaire’s eye water so, on my salary, I wouldn’t dream of activating data roaming.

    Your guide to dictionaries that support offline operation was a total god-send – Mon Dieu! Merci beaucoup!

    Reply
  9. Many thanks for this guide.

    I have twice previously downloaded French “assistance” applications and been utterly disappointed.

    As I live in Australia and (for the past 12 years) have frequently travelled to New Caledonia for business, I have been embarrassed about my lack of ability to speak French, at least in some basic way. The Parisians and the locals have always been so accommodating that I felt even more embarrassed with each consecutive visit.

    The biggest issue has always been the lack of Internet connectivity – the price of roaming data in New Caledonia is enough to make a millionaire’s eye water so, on my salary, I wouldn’t dream of activating data roaming.

    Your guide to dictionaries that support offline operation was a total god-send – Mon Dieu! Merci beaucoup!

    Reply

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