Discourse is a dictionary app for the iPhone with a slick user interface and interlinked navigation features for checking out related words, bookmarking, and search history. If you are a fan of the Dictionary app on the Mac, you’ll love the clean and easy to use interface of the Discourse app on the iPhone.
The app is split into 4 main tabs: Search, Bookmarks, History and Settings. Find any word by searching for it. Discourse lists matching words as you type. Tap any word to read the definition along with a list of related words on the bottom like synonyms and verb-forms of the word. There is also an example of the word used in a sentence. As you start going deeper into the app you can swipe left or right to go back and forth to retrace your steps. Tap the bookmark icon on top of any page to save it for later using a nice little red tape icon. Tap again to remove the bookmark. History is self explanatory.
Settings includes the following: Shake for Random Word, Word of the Day, and a way to clear the history. To view the word of the day you have to go to the settings tab and hit the link for “Show Word of the Day” which seems awkward. It would be better if it was its own tab or something. The shake feature is pretty good for spending a few minutes here and there and learning a new word.
Some issues: The app uses a network connection, so if you are offline, it doesn’t work, at all. Storing the dictionary database online, does however help keep the app size down to only 4MB. The words you find using the shake feature cant be bookmarked, and don’t show up in your history. There is no way change the font size or type in the app. And finally, the app only works in portrait mode.
Overall, Discourse is a beautiful iPhone dictionary app, that is easy to use. It is currently unable to work offline, making it less useful, and is also missing customizable features. Commendable first revision release by Emilio Pelaez.
Here is a video demo of the Discourse app on the iPhone
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