2014-10-30 11.56.21

The Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law has been available as an iOS and Android app for more than two years now, but the iOS version just came out in an upgrade that adds new functionality by taking advantage of the new extensions feature of iOS 8, which allows apps to talk to each other.

screen568x568I reviewed both the iOS and Android versions of the app two years ago. I refer you back to that review for a full discussion of the app’s features.

One of the enhancements in this new version is the ability to look up words while reading in other apps, such as the Safari browser. To do this, simply highlight the word you want to look up and tap the “share” icon. The law dictionary appears as a sharing option. Tap the dictionary icon and it opens to the word’s definition. (If the icon does not appear, tap the “more” icon and toggle the dictionary’s on/off switch.)

This latest version of the app also adds full-text search. That means that you can search not only for defined words, but for any word appearing in any definition.

The app already had wildcard searching, fuzzy searching and anagram searching. Wildcard searching is helpful when you do not know how to spell a word or want to find words with the same structure. Fuzzy searching can also be used when you are unsure of the correct spelling of a word or to find words that are similar in their spelling. Anagram search finds words that have the same letters. For example, if you search “own,” you will also get “now” and “won.”

You can view your full search history or save any search as a favorite.

This new version also adds new customization options, including the ability to adjust font sizes, modify animated menus and choose background colors. It also supports viewing in landscape mode. It works on either an iPhone or an iPad.

The app was developed by Paragon Software Group for Merriam-Webster. It is available from the Apple store for a price of $24.99.

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.