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Cambridge Essential English Dictionary

With short definitions that are easy to understand, this monolingual dictionary is suitable for beginners and pre-intermediate students.

Cambridge Essential English Dictionary has all the words and phrases that you need to learn in British English. Select "Essential British English" from the list of dictionaries at the top of any page on Cambridge Dictionaries Online to search this dictionary.

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Simple definitions using the words that you know.

See which words to learn first

English Profile symbols tell you the level of the most important words in English: At about, the first sense is marked A1, which tells you that this is a very important sense. The phrase what about/how about has two senses marked A2 and B1 that are important for more advanced users.

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Thousands of short, natural example sentences: At able, the example shows how to use be able to, as these are words which are often used together.

British English Pronunciation

Hear the words spoken online with thousands of British English recordings: Try listening to the two different pronunciations for the verb record and the noun record.

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  • Special notes that tell you the most common mistakes in English – and how to avoid them.
  • 600 pictures
  • 16-page 'Guide to the Dictionary' with exercises for use in class or at home.
  • 16 colour pages help with learning vocabulary for topics such as Clothes and Sport.
  • 'Essential Phrasal Verbs' section gives extra help with phrasal verbs.

Other dictionaries

In other dictionaries...

“expenditure” in other dictionaries

If you search for a word, then decide you want to see what another Cambridge dictionary says about it, you can use the ‘In other dictionaries’ section on the right.

For example if you look up the definition for expenditure in British English, then want to find out what the American English dictionary says, click on ‘American English’. If you then want to find a Spanish translation for that word, click on ‘in Spanish’.

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fairy

an imaginary creature with magic powers, usually represented as a very small person with wings

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford​,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

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