Changing Your Kindle’s Default Dictionary

Your Kindle comes pre-loaded with a dictionary, which is handy at times to look up various words and other things you may not know the definition or context the author is using. For example, the standard dictionary on my Kindle is called The New Oxford American Dictionary; I find it ironic an American dictionary is published by a company with a UK-sounding name, as we don’t use the Queen’s version of English over here but then again, I have a strange sense of humor.

Strange sense of humor aside, this brings up the point I want to make: what if you want to use some other dictionary, say in another language or one that uses the Queen’s English, or Spanish, a specialized topic, etc.? Amazon has a special category with well over 100 dictionaries that can be changed to be your default dictionary. You can click here and shop away.

Want a medical dictionary? They have it: click here for an example.

Spanish to English? click here for an example.

English to French? Click here for an example.

Looking for a Bible dictionary? There’s over 100 of them – click here for an example.

There’s also things like an Official Scrabble Players Dictionary (click here)

A review of the Top 50 best-selling dictionaries you can make as your default Kindle dictionary has most of the “major” languages (defined in terms of the world’s population), each of which you can put on your Kindle.

The next question you will have is, “how do I make one of these my default dictionary” vs. staying with the default New Oxford dictionary. Of course I am going to tell you it is pretty easy (because it is), and here is how you do it for an e-Ink Kindle:

  • I’ll start off with you need to buy or acquire from one of the free sites a new dictionary and it has to be on your Kindle; I would stick with one from the Amazon Kindle store as they have been formatted and tested to work with your Kindle – I know, that’s not a free book, but the point I want to make is you want to make sure it works (and not giving you a bogus definition to boot). Additionally, if you don’t have another dictionary on your Kindle the following instructions will not work at all.
  • Once you have acquired this new dictionary and have it on your Kindle, go to your Kindle’s Home or Settings screen.
  • Press the “All Settings” icon.
  • Scroll down and select the “Language & Dictionaries” option.
  • Select the “Dictionaries” option.
  • Tap the name of the dictionary you want to use and select it.

For a Fire Tablet, while you can put as many dictionaries as you want on the device, it is very hard to change the default dictionary: you can change it to a different language (and get a free dictionary), but you can’t, as an example, make a medical dictionary your default dictionary. To make Spanish the default dictionary, you will need to change the language on your Fire. Here is how you do it courtesy of the Fire discussion board on the Amazon website:

The menus and default dictionary on Kindle Fire HD can be changed to support the following languages: English (United States), English (United Kingdom), French, Spanish, German, Italian, or Japanese.

To change the language on your Fire Tablet:

  • Swipe down from the top of the screen and tap the “Gear” in the top right-hand of the pull-down screen.
  • Scroll down and tap Keyboard & Language.
  • Tap Language, and then tap your preferred language.

The menus and user interface language will change immediately to your new preferred language selection. You can also download a dictionary for your new language selection (make sure your Wi-Fi is on and connected):

  • While reading, highlight a word in your preferred language.
  • In the lower-right corner of the dictionary dialog box, tap the language name.
  • Select your preferred language. A free dictionary for the language will download.

When the download is complete, you will see a definition of the word in your preferred language if the word appears in the dictionary. This will set the default dictionary to your preferred language.


Hope that helps!



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