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Best Spanish-English Dictionaries (books) 2022

Best Spanish-English Dictionaries (book format) post image

Written by Gwenydd Jones

Translator, translator trainer and copywriter

Looking for the best Spanish-English dictionary? There are many different options on the market. Certain Spanish-to-English dictionaries are more suitable for translators and advanced foreign language learners. Others are perfect for beginners and intermediate users. What’s the best choice for you? Read on for our take on the best Spanish-English bilingual dictionaries in book format, to suit a wide range of language needs.

How do I choose a bilingual dictionary?

With so many English-Spanish dictionaries to choose between, you may struggle to figure out which is best for you. Ask yourself these questions when you select your bilingual dictionary:

  • When was the latest edition published? Languages evolve and new words are coined all the time. That means the more recent the Spanish language information the better.
  • How many words does it contain? If you’re a translator or advanced language learner, you’ll want as many Spanish words and English translations to be included as possible. For younger foreign language learners, having to wade through too many words in a multilingual dictionary may be demotivating. Smaller dictionaries cost less and are more user friendly.
  • What bonuses does the dictionary include? Do you need Spanish verb conjugations? Are you interested in Spanish punctuation help? Are their audio recordings or a dictionary app that will come in handy?
  • How will it complement your favourite online Spanish dictionary? With so much available online, it’s worth thinking about how you plan to use this physical addition to your collection. For instance, if you plan to carry it around with you, size matters. If you’re sitting an exam or want to avoid the information overload you get when searching in online Spanish dictionaries, a more comprehensive physical dictionary will be just the ticket.

One thing that confused us when researching these dictionaries is that the name is often simply Spanish Dictionary rather than Spanish-English. Don’t let that worry you. All the dictionaries mentioned here are bilingual.

We’ve have a good look online and at Amazon to see which Spanish-English dictionaries we’d buy this year. If you want to complement your favourite online Spanish dictionary with a physical copy of the best Spanish-English dictionary in 2022, scroll down for all the help you’ll need.

DISCLOSURE: We sometimes review or link to products and services we think you might find helpful. Wherever possible we use referral links. This means if you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission or other compensation at no extra cost to you.

Our top pick for the best Spanish-English dictionary in 2022

It’s a good idea to read this complete article for detailed information on each of the bilingual dictionaries researched. But if you want your Spanish language bilingual dictionary and you want it now, here’s what we recommend.

Best choice for professional translators and university students

Collins Spanish Dictionary Complete and Unabridged. In terms of comprehensiveness, this dictionary is similar to Oxford. But since the latest edition came out in 2016 (compared to 2008 for Oxford), this is our choice. Buy it here.

Best choice for learning Spanish at beginner or intermediate level

In the UK: Oxford Learner’s Spanish Dictionary. This recently updated dictionary includes content designed to help school students doing their GCSE exams. It’s a manageable size and less is more when it comes to the vast challenge of learning Spanish at beginner and intermediate level. Buy it here.

In the USA: Webster’s New Explorer Spanish-English Dictionary, Third Edition. Updated in 2014 and with 80,000 words in Latin American Spanish, this is a well-priced choice for speakers of US English. Buy it here.

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Collins Spanish Dictionary Complete and Unabridged 

Latest edition: 2016

First published in 1971, this is the tenth edition of what Collins claims is the world’s leading Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish bilingual dictionary. Its user-friendly layout includes extensive coverage of contemporary Spanish and English, along with plenty of idioms and examples.

Features

  • Contains 310,000 words, meanings and phrases and 442,000 translations.
  • Thousands of the latest words from a wide range of areas.
  • Examples and idioms based on evidence from a multimillion-word corpus of real Spanish and English.
  • European and Latin American Spanish.
  • Notes on language, grammar and culture.
  • Supplement on language in use.
  • Help with typical translation issues.
  • Eng to Spanish and Spanish to Eng.

Pricing

This is a comprehensive and weighty tome. So, it’s one of the more expensive options on the market.

Bottom line

If you’re a professional translator or an advanced student of Spanish, this is a worthwhile investment. You’ll get a detailed and comprehensive dictionary you can use in your home or office.

Check out the Collins Spanish Dictionary Complete and Unabridged.

Oxford Spanish Dictionary

Latest edition: 2008

This internationally acclaimed dictionary is a hot contender for the best bilingual dictionary for language professionals and anyone learning the Spanish language. It has been described as the most authoritative Spanish bilingual dictionary available, with all the words you’ll need.

Features

  • Contains over 300,000 words and phrases.
  • Half a million translations.
  • Thousands of new words and updated translations.
  • A clear colour layout and a new menu help you to navigate longer entries.
  • Accessible and easy to use.
  • New and updated cultural notes.
  • Notes on subjects from politics and industry to technology and ecology.

Pricing

As a comprehensive English-Spanish dictionary, this is at the higher end of the pricing scale. However, like with the Collins, the price is reasonable for such a good dictionary.

Bottom line

This thorough bilingual Spanish-English dictionary provides stiff competition for the best option for language users. Its main disadvantage when compared to the Collins is that the latest edition is less recent.

Check out the Oxford Spanish Dictionary.

A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish: Core Vocabulary for Learners

Latest edition: 2017

This dictionary was developed using an online corpus containing more than 2 billion words collected from 21 Spanish-speaking countries. It offers expansive and up-to-date guidelines on Spanish vocabulary to give a boost to your language learning.

Features

  • Contains the top 5,000 most frequently used Spanish words.
  • Each entry is accompanied by example sentences and a full English translation.
  • Entries arranged alphabetically and by frequency.
  • A separate CD version provides the full text for digital viewing.
  • Available for Kindle.

Pricing

The price of this dictionary is at the top end for dictionaries of the same size, but the focus on frequently used words could be a useful tool for lower-level learners of Spanish.

Bottom line

You might not have considered a frequency dictionary before, but this English-Spanish dictionary could be a good addition to your library of resources, whether you’re a translator or a language student.

Check out A Frequency Dictionary of Spanish: Core Vocabulary for Learners.

Webster’s New Explorer Spanish-English Dictionary, Third Edition

Latest edition: 2014

This dictionary was revised and updated in 2014. It deals with American English and Latin American Spanish.

Features

  • Contains 80,000 words and 100,000 translations.
  • Fully revised and updated.
  • Up-to-date coverage of essential vocabulary and everyday language from American English and Latin American Spanish.
  • Clear definitions for efficient language learning.
  • Thousands of words and phrases in context.
  • Sections on Spanish grammar, irregular English verbs and conjugation of Spanish verbs.

Pricing

This is well priced for its size and what it offers.

Bottom line

This affordable, mid-range dictionary is a good option for American translators and students, or anyone with an interest in Latin American Spanish.

Check out the Webster’s New Explorer Spanish-English Dictionary.

Merriam Webster’s Pocket Spanish-English Dictionary

Latest edition: 2002

This is a pocket dictionary containing essential Spanish and English words and common phrases. A great tool for language learning.

Features

  • Contains 45,000 words.
  • English pronunciations given in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
  • Bidirectional structure: English to Spanish and Spanish to English.
  • Flexi paperback binding.
  • Sections include conjugation of Spanish verbs, common Spanish abbreviations, irregular English verbs, and English and Spanish numbers.

Pricing

At under 500 pages, this is not an expensive, weighty tome. It’s a reasonably priced pocket dictionary.

Bottom line

This is a portable option for students of Spanish or for holiday-makers who want to quickly check a word or phrase on the go. Do note, though, that the latest version was published 20 years ago.

Check out the Merriam Webster’s Pocket Spanish-English Dictionary.

Oxford Learner’s Spanish Dictionary

Latest edition: 2017

Fully revised to offer up-to-date vocabulary and wide-ranging coverage for English speakers learning Spanish at GCSE and beyond. 

Features

  • Contains 35,000 words with translations.
  • Includes all current exam board vocabulary.
  • Curriculum words are flagged with a key symbol. 
  • Word tips with information on common grammatical errors and confusable words.
  • Culture boxes with interesting cultural information.
  • Full verb tables, including English translations of the different tenses, to help with translating to and from Spanish. 

Pricing

If you’re studying for exams in Spanish, this mid-range dictionary is an affordable option.

Bottom line

An essential tool for beginner and intermediate students of Spanish, at a reasonable price.

Check out the Oxford Learner’s Spanish Dictionary.

Collins Beginner’s Spanish Dictionary, Seventh Edition

Latest edition: 2015

Now in its seventh edition, the Collins Beginner’s Spanish Dictionary has been fully revised and updated. It’s designed to help beginner language students learn Spanish.

Features

  • Contains 79,000 words.
  • Easy to read, easy to use and easy to understand.
  • Comprehensive entries that highlight key translations and vocabulary.
  • Set expressions with clear, helpful examples.
  • Games, English verbs, Spanish verbs, numbers, dates, times and English phonetics.
  • Full-colour supplement includes sections on relationships and feelings, in town, at home, jobs and hobbies.

Pricing

This is at the top end of the pricing scale for dictionaries of its size, but its thorough nature makes the investment worthwhile.

Bottom line

This is a good option for anyone starting to learn Spanish. A great, portable dictionary that you can use at home or take with you to your Spanish class.

Check out the Collins Beginner’s Spanish Dictionary.

Larousse Concise Dictionary: Spanish-English / English-Spanish

Latest edition: 2009

Although this is a concise dictionary, it’s more comprehensive than the Larousse pocket and mini versions. It’s a good dictionary for learners of Spanish who want something more portable than an unabridged dictionary.

Features

  • Contains 230,000 words, expressions and translations.
  • General and professional Spanish and Latin American terms and word usage.
  • Supplemental information on life and culture in Latin America.
  • Weighs in at 1.19 kg.

Pricing

The fact that this is a concise dictionary is reflected in the price, making it a more affordable option than a more comprehensive dictionary.

Bottom line

This is an affordable option for anyone working with Spanish or learning the language. It represents good value for money, though the latest edition came out over 10 years ago.

Check out the Larousse Concise Dictionary.

Building up your library? Check out our other dictionary articles

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