With all of the awesome app games on the market, it’s hard to separate the best from, well, the pointless. And while some of us may revel in crushing candy or starting a farm from our phones, others prefer to partake in app games that are a little bit more enriching.
Case in point: Vocabulary building apps. Designed to help you learn new words while having fun on your phone, vocabulary-minded apps are great for those of us searching for a more cerebral distraction from our days. From Scrabble style games with friends to flash card quizzes, read ahead for eight apps that’ll increase your verbiage in no time.
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 smartphone app for free and answer a series of short vocab questions to reveal a whole new world of words and meanings to decipher.
2. Words with Friends
If you aren’t already hooked on the phone app game Words with Friends, then chances are you’ve at least heard of it. The insanely popular game from Zynga—the people that created Farmville—has been around for nearly a decade and still 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.
Sort of like a flash card quiz for your android, the PowerVocab app builds your vocabulary with timed mini-tests where players match words with multiple-choice definitions. Even cooler, you can play against other people when you feel like showing off your new vocab skills.
4. A Word A Day Widget
Also from the good folks who brought us PowerVocab is the simple but oh-so-insightful A Word A Day Widget. Much like dictionary.com for your phone, the A Word A Day Widget app reveals a new vocabulary word on your device’s home screen every day.
If you’re searching for a more old-school style vocab builder then Anki is the app for you. Equipped with shared flashcards decks and mega-downloads such as “4000 Essential English Words,” Anki uses images and sound to offer a multimedia vocabulary-boosting experience that still relies on retro flashcard-style techniques.
6. 7 Little Words
Short and sweet, 7 Little Words is a clever little 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 mobile.
7. Reverse Dictionary
Thesaurus lovers, rejoice: There’s an app the actually lets you search for words by description. Reverse Dictionary has a reverse lookup engine that generates dozens of potential words based on your description phrase, so you can always find the perfect word (and learn a whole lot of new ones).
Okay so technically this isn’t going to better your native vocabulary, but DuoLingo will help you learn a whole new foreign language in just a few minutes a day. Filled with everything from reading, writing, and pronunciation exercises, Duolingo lets you learn a new language for free, in less than 10 minutes per session.