Searching in the online Dictionary

•    Typing in Search Terms

  1. Umlauts (ä, ö, ü) and other diacritics such as é, á, ú, ã, õ, ą, ę, ć, ç, ł, ñ, ń, ś, ź, ż, can be entered as a, o, u, e, a, u, c, l, n, s, z; words can also be typed in lower case letters even if they are normally spelled with capitals. If the Online Dictionary cannot find an exact match it will display an item spelled similarly, e.g. if you key in musli or cafe the Dictionary will find Müsli and café respectively.

    Furthermore we provide a virtual keyboard with which you can key in all the special characters you need for your selected language combination. Simply click on the keyboard icon in the search field and then select the flag which corresponds to your desired language. Please note that a number of diacritics – and this is especially interesting for keying in the tones in Chinese Pinyin – can be found by clicking on “AltGr”. If you wish to use the "Alt" key to type individual characters, you can consult our handy overview.

  2. In our dictionaries, you can search directly for typical word combinations (e.g. parking facility, to tackle a problem, Krabben pulen), entire phrases (e.g. many happy returns, können Sie mir sagen, wie ich nach Köln komme?), and idioms (e.g. to look like something the cat brought in, Pudding in den Beinen haben).
  3. If you key in a word spelled according to the former German spelling, the new spelling which came into effect in 2006 will be displayed.
  4. If you key in an inflected form, the matching headword will be displayed in the uninflected form.
  5. Words belonging to more than one part of speech (e.g. the noun project and the verb to project are listed under two (or more) Roman numerals as in our printed dictionaries.
  6. Words with more than one meaning (e.g. chip) are listed under two (or more) Arabic numerals as in our printed dictionaries.
  7. When a word is spelled identically in both languages and you are using the default search (which searches in both sides of the dictionary), the result will appear in both languages, e.g. bank in English-German and Bank in German-English. You can switch between both sides by clicking the link next to “Go to …” .

•   Words in Bold
A word displayed in bold type is the search word which can be uninflected or inflected. Translations of the search term also appear in bold type.

•    Light Grey words in italics
Light grey words in italics provide additional usage information; this includes information about grammar, morphology and syntax as well as style (formal, informal, etc.), field (Medicine, Computing, etc.) and regional usage (e.g. English from the UK, Canada, U.S.A., etc, Northern German, Southern German, Austrian and Swiss German, Spanish from Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, etc). A number of regional items, e.g. American, Australian, British, Canadian, Swiss, Austrian, European Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese are marked with a corresponding flag.

•    Show/hide examples in all entries
Clicking this button hides/shows example sentences. This is especially useful in long entries, for example, some. Click the “i” at the top right of the part of speech (i.e. Roman numeral) category for which you wish to hide the examples, then on “Hide examples”. To redisplay the examples simply click on “Show examples”.

•   Changing the target language
You can change the default setting and select the language direction of a search by opening the dropdown menu between the language names.

•    Abbreviations
In our dictionary entries we use conventional abbreviations such as sb or jd, jdn for somebody, jemand and jemanden and sth or etw for something and etwas. Pointing at any abbreviation in the Dictionary with your mouse will open a message which tells you what the abbreviation stands for.

•    Feedback Form
You can call up a feedback form by clicking first the “i” at the top right of each entry, then the envelope icon. We invite you to use this form to send us any feedback you may have about a particular entry. No dictionary is ever perfect, so we welcome all reports of errors in our dictionaries.

•   Criticism, Comments, and Suggestions
You can send us comments, suggestions or criticism by email. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Open Dictionary (OpenDict) at PONS

•    What is the OpenDict?

The Open Dictionary (OpenDict) is the part of our Online Dictionary which can be added to by our visitors. You can add new entries, or supplement existing OpenDict entries directly in the Online Dictionary by adding an item and translation that are missing. For more details about the OpenDict and about compiling entries, see also  About the Open Dictionary.

•    How do I create a new entry in the Online Dictionary or supplement an existing one?

You can add a new entry to the Dictionary by logging on as a registered user. Each time you look up a word, the button “Create new entry” appears at the bottom left of the results screen. Click this button to add a new OpenDict entry. For more details see How to Compile an OpenDict Entry. If you wish to edit an existing OpenDict entry, just click the pencil symbol at the top right of the entry.

•    Who can create a new entry?

Every user who has signed in and logged on can create an entry in our OpenDict.

•    What do I do if I’ve forgotten my password?

If you have forgotten your password simply click the link “Forgotten your password?" on the login page. To get there, click the link "Login" at the top right of the homepage. We will send your password to your e-mail address.

•    Where can I see a list of my entries?

Each registered user has a Contact Card. Here, a list of the entries you have compiled can be consulted. This way, other users can also see your areas of specialization.
If you look up one of your entries by keying it into the search field and pressing “Search” it appears on the results screen. Press first on the “i” at the upper right, then follow the link “Authors & versions” to view the history of that particular entry.

•    Can I change or delete entries?

Every PONS Online Dictionary entry can be supplemented with an OpenDict entry. In turn, each OpenDict entry can be expanded by you yourself or by other users. We reserve the right to delete any entries which are not in accordance with our Terms and conditions of use.

•    How can I send feedback to PONS about a particular PONS or OpenDict entry?

Just use our feedback form: click the “i” at the top right of the entry, then follow the link “Send us feedback” to report any errors or anomalies to our editors.

•    Can I delete entries in the OpenDict?

Deletions of duplicate or nonsense entries can be suggested by clicking the pencil icon and then following the link “Recommend deletion”. As a registered user you can modify existing entries. This can be done by clicking the pencil icon. The latest version of an OpenDict entry is the one that will be displayed on the results screen.

•    Who verifies the entries?

New entries are verified on an ongoing basis by our PONS Editors.

One of the ways in which we aim to expand our dictionaries at PONS is through interaction with our Community. At the same time, we strive to present all information professionally, correctly and clearly so that it can be beneficially used by all. This is not always easy when dealing with organically growing entries. Therefore, please understand that we may expand, restructure or otherwise optimize your entries in the interest of the Community.

Online Vocabulary Trainer  

  • Our Online Vocabulary Trainer is a tool especially developed to record, in a separate list, words which you have looked up in the Online Dictionary and then, to practise them in various training modes and at your leisure.
  • With our Vocabulary Trainer you can compile vocabulary lists tailored to your own personal needs - for work, for school, or for private use. This helps you to expand your vocabulary on an ongoing basis.
  • The Vocabulary Trainer Help can be found in the trainer by clicking the button “?” at the top right of the screen.

The Visual Dictionary

Clicking on the “i” symbol in the PONS English-German and German-English Dictionary displays the navigation point “View entry in Visual Dictionary”. This link takes you to the PONS Visual Dictionary. Please note that this link appears only when the Visual Dictionary contains a corresponding entry.

In addition to the function “View entry in Visual Dictionary” a widget is available on the right-hand side of the results screen with the heading “Visual Dictionary”. This widget gives you an overview of all the illustrations containing a match for your search. Just click the arrow at the bottom right to display more results.


At our Online-Dictionary there are many ways in which you can interact with other users: participate in language forum discussions, exchange private messages, follow users who compile dictionary entries that interest you, or share Vocabulary Trainer Lessons with your classmates or friends.
The button “Inbox” can be found at the top left of your Contact Card. To get to your Contact Card, log in, then click your name at the top, right next to the Facebook and Twitter icons. By clicking on the author name in a particular OpenDict entry you can view somebody else’s Contact Card. There, you can click the button “Follow” to create a link from your Contact Card to the other user’s Contact Card.
On your own Contact Card, you can present yourself to other users by filling out your profile. Here, a list of your OpenDict entries can also be viewed. To compile an entry, click the button “Create new entry” at the bottom left of every results page. An entry template appears to assist you (here is an example for English-Slovenian). For more information about compiling entries, see OpenDict.
If you want to write us an e-mail, click on Contact and then select the appropriate E-Mail Address. If you wish to send us feedback about a particular entry, simply click the “i” at the top right of the entry, then on the envelope icon. We can send you a reply if you are logged on. If you are not logged on, please make sure to key your e-mail address into the appropriate space on the feedback form.
In our Language Forums you can discuss translation issues which could not be resolved in the Dictionary, intercultural topics, or questions about grammar. All discussions are accompanied by our PONS Moderators.
With our Vocabulary Trainer you can create customized vocabulary lists to which you can add usage examples, then practise them. You can even share your lists with your friends or classmates.


As described above there are several ways in which you can participate in our Online Dictionary: compiling entries, writing posts in our forums, using our vocabulary trainer or sending feedback to PONS. For each activity we award you credit points, the so-called CreditPONS. Users who gather a particularly high number of CreditPONS are eligible for special mention and gift prizes.
CreditPONS are awarded on the following basis:


per OpenDict-entry
10  creditPONS

per feedback message
4  creditPONS

per post
5  creditPONS

per report of abuse
4  creditPONS
Vocabulary Trainer

per completed exercise
5  creditPONS

private message max. 2  creditPONS  per day

per follower
2  creditPONS

for completion of your contact card
2  creditPONS  for 50%

3  creditPONS  for 75%

5  creditPONS  for 100%

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