A survey of dictionary APIs

A survey of application programming interfaces (APIs) on the Internet which provide access to lexicographic content in machine-readable formats. This page accompanies my talk Lexicographic APIs: the state of the art at the eLex 2021 Conference.


Lexicala API

By K Dictionaries (formerly Kernerman Dictionaries), the publishers of many mostly bilingual dictionaries, including the well-known Password series of "bilingualized monolingual" learners' dictionaries. The API contains many monolingual and bilingual dictionaries in 50+ languages.

URL
https://api.lexicala.com/
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
JSON.
Entry schema
Their own.

Oxford Dictionaries API

By Oxford University Press. The API contains several monoligual English dictionaries (intended for for native speakers of English) and bilingual dictionaries in 30+ languages paired with English.

URL
https://developer.oxforddictionaries.com/
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
JSON.
Entry schema
Their own.

Oxford Learner's Dictionaries API

Yet another API by Oxford University Press. This one is for their monolingual English dictionaries for learners.

URL
https://languages.oup.com/oxford-learners-dictionaries-api/
API format
REST + JSON or XML.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
XML or HTML.
Entry schema
Their own.

Macmillan Dictionary API

By Macmillan, the publisher of a monolingual English dictionary for learners. The API gives access to this dictionary.

URL
https://www.macmillandictionary.com/tools/aboutapi.html
API format
Unclear, probably REST.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
No, you need to sign up first.
Entry format
No information available, you need to sign up to find out.
Entry schema
No information available, you need to sign up to find out.

Cambridge Dictionaries API

By Cambridge University Press. The API gives access to their monolingual English dictionaries for learners.

URL
https://dictionary-api.cambridge.org/
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
No. Trial account for 30 days.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
XML or HTML.
Entry schema
Their own.

PONS Dictionary API

An API for bilingual dictionaries in 13 languages with German, from the German dictionary publisher PONS.

URL
https://de.pons.com/p/online-woerterbuch/fuer-entwickler/api
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
JSON.
Entry schema
Their own.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary API

An API for a few monolingual English, an bilingual with English, dictionaries by the US dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster.

URL
https://dictionaryapi.com/
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
JSON peppered with some home-baked inline makup.
Entry schema
Their own.

Collins API

Collins is the publisher of the legendary Collins COBUILD monolingual dictionary for learners of English. This API provides access to that dictionary, and to a handful of their other bilingual dictionaries with English.

URL
https://www.collinslanguage.com/collins-api/
API format
Unclear, probably REST.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
No, you need to sign up first.
Entry format
No information available, you need to sign up to find out.
Entry schema
No information available, you need to sign up to find out.

ABBYY Lingvo dictionaries API

An API for 15 bilingual dictionaries (with Russian) from the Russian dictionary publisher ABBYY.

URL
https://developers.lingvolive.com/
API format
REST + JSON.
Usable free account
Yes.
Publicly available documentation
Yes.
Entry format
JSON (highly complex, with lots of inline markup).
Entry schema
Their own.
Michal Měchura, 2021-07-03, CC BY-SA