Today, Merriam-Webster announces its free iPhone app, featuring Voice Search.

photo Merriam Webster unveils its free iPhone dictionary app with Voice SearchThe voice search feature, powered by Dragon voice recognition technology, allows users to look up a word by speaking it directly into the phone.

“Voice search is an example of the kind of innovation that Merriam-Webster has been bringing to the dictionary business for more than 150 years,” says President and Publisher John M. Morse. “And with the mobile platform being the fastest growing part of our business, we’re pleased to bring our content to wherever our audience happens to be.”

Along with voice search, the free app offers more than 225,000 definitions from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and 300,000 synonyms and antonyms from Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus. Additional features include the popular Word of the Day, example sentences, audio pronunciations, and recent look-up history.

First let me say that I am a huge fan of MW’s Word of the Day. I usually get it right in my inbox, but this is much more convenient (one less e-mail to get through), since I can now open it when I want to. And I will want to.

Right now Dictionary.com‘s app (an extension of Ask.com) sits on my home screen and it’s one of my most used apps. Both apps work without an Internet connection, although a connection is required to pronounce each word and for Voice Search on MW, which is a feature Dictionary.com doesn’t have. Both apps also provide the etymology of each word.

It’s a close call. Merriam Webster’s Voice Search only recognized about half of the words I spoke, although I did learn a few new fun words with trial and error (see below). But unless you really dig the Voice Search Dictionary.com is the winner since it offers 50,000 more words than MW.

Alas I’m still going to give MW, a household name, a fair try for now.

photo 1 Merriam Webster unveils its free iPhone dictionary app with Voice Search