I have been learning Thai for close to 3 years now and in the process have found the Thai Dictionaries I think are the best and most useful. Out of all the ones I’ve encountered, the following list are my 3 favorites in no particular order. Each have their strengths which I discuss below.
1) thai2english website
thai2english.com has the best English Transliteration I have seen. It really helps for all those tricky looking Thai words that you are just not quite sure how to pronounce.
An awesome thing about this website is if the word is a “compound” word or is part of other words, it has a list showing you all these words. So you can use it to discover new words. For example, if you search for ใจ jai meaning heart, thai2english will show you a bunch more words that contain ใจ in it like เข้าใจ, สนใจ, etc.
Another awesome feature is that thai2english rates words based on if it’s commonly used or not. I have found this feature to be very accurate. So you can search a few words that all have similar meanings and use the rating to figure out which ones are the more commonly used versions.
Also, if the word you are searching for is a classifier, or a particle, or has a hard to define meaning – thai2english will let you know. For example, if you search the particle เนอะ (núh), which we wrote about here, thai2english will let you know this is a particle and there isn’t a direct English Equivalent.
Lastly, most words also have a couple example sentences at the bottom.
2) longdo Dictionary
dict.longdo is another one of my favorite Thai Dictionaries. My favorite part about this website is that is always has example sentences for the words. So you can learn the words in the context of a sentence.
Aside from having example sentences, dict.longdo also has a section with the words being used in different movies. If you go to the “Open Subtitles” section, it will show you quotes from movies containing the word you searched for.
3) Google Translate
I am sure everyone reading has heard of google translate. However, there is a feature that not everyone might know about.
In case you don’t know how to spell the word in Thai, you can actually type the Thai word using English Transliteration. Make sure to select “Thai” as the language. See the gif for an example.
This is extremely useful if you hear a new Thai word but don’t know how to spell it. You can simply type it in English.
You can also click on the audio icon to hear the word being pronounced.
How I use these Thai dictionaries
Normally, when I am looking for how to say something in Thai, this is what I do.
I first search for the word in google translate. Then I check google’s suggestions using thai2english.com and I try to find the most commonly used one. Then I search for the word using dict.longdo.com to see the example sentences and make sure the context of the sentence is the context I wanted when I was looking up the word.
This helps prevent me from finding definitions I didn’t intend. I remember when I first started learning Thai I thought “table” (as in dining table) was ตาราง dtaa-raang because that was google translate’s first result. Turns out ตาราง actually means table as in an Excel Table. A regular table is โต๊ะ dtó. This is why, now I always then check the word with dict.longdo.com to see the word used with context.
To summarize, I recommend using all these 3 sites thai2english.com, dict.longdo.com, and translate.google.com. These 3 websites all have their strengths.
I hope this helps you in your journey learning Thai. You will now have the Thai Dictionaries I found to be the most useful at your disposal.