If you work at your PC, you have a choice between fumbling with a
heavy paper dictionary or firing up your browser to surf to one.
Talking Merriam-Webster Dictionary makes things easier, keeping a
dictionary handy in your PC’s system tray.
The Talking Merriam-Webster Dictionary includes 75,000 definitions
in 45,000 entries. The program can pronounce ten thousand of these
words for you. In Basic Mode, the dictionary uses a main window for
scrolling and search and a tabbed second window for definitions. In
Advanced Mode, the program presents itself as one window with a
Notes field to let you annotate the entries yourself. In both
modes, the dictionary is quick and easy to use. The definitions I
sampled appeared sound. I’d like to see language of origin for
every word, but that may be a geeky wish that others don’t share.
The accent issues from earlier versions have been fixed. The
speakers now sound like native speakers of American English. The
choice of spoken words could be better, though; surely we’d get
more benefit from hearing “trompe l’oeil” than “troop,” and I’d
rather hear “aegis” than “advocate.”
Paragon Software offers a number of different Merriam-Webster
dictionaries, from smaller (Pocket, $16) to much bigger
(Unabridged, $62), foreign language (various prices) and
specialized (Medical, $43). Any of the programs can search the
other dictionaries from the same interface.
Note: This demo version works indefinitely, but nag
screens begin popping up after 100 definitions. Buying the full
version removes the nag screens.