StarDict dictionaries have the benefit of being entirely offline and secondly, they come in a wide selection — from language and translation dictionaries to fully fledged encyclopaedias. Even more incredibly, most of these dictionaries are available on the internet for free.
The only challenge with this dictionary format is finding free (and ad-free) reliable apps that support it. On Android there are few good apps that support the format, however almost all are ad-supported or the free versions come with limitations. Examples include ColorDict, Fora Dictionary and GoldenDict.
I’ve used the former two in the past and can attest to their excellent performance with multiple StarDict dictionaries (10+) and integration with e-book reader apps like Moon+ Reader, FBReader etc. Other apps like the cross-platform KOReader have an inbuilt dictionary that supports the stardict format.
On the other hand, GoldenDict has a robust freeware version for Windows which has served me reliably for several years now. I highly recommended it if you look up words on your desktop.
Back to the Android front, things are not entirely hopeless in the ad-free freeware department. My search has led me to three apps, which although outdated, still work reliably well on my test device running Android 11. Here they are:
1. Twinkle Star Dictionary
Twinkle Star Dictionary is my first pick for the simple reason that it’s reliable. It has a simple straightforward interface dating back to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) days, however don’t let that put you off.
The app runs surprisingly well on Android 11 even though it was clearly not designed for modern android versions. Just make you grant it the necessary permissions on first run.
It was last updated in 2015, but it’s still available for installation from Google Play Store.
QDict is a FOSS fork of an older open source app of the same name. This fork, last released in 2021, only aimed to fix some bugs in the original app and thus is not actively developed.
Nevertheless, it works reliably well with multiple stardict dictionaries loaded. Its interface is also by far the most modern / polished compared to the other two apps on this list.
QDict would have been my first choice and go to dictionary app were it not for its occasional crashes which are triggered by one of the stardict dictionaries I use. This, however, may not be an issue for you, so definitely give it a try.
You can download its APK or install it from F-Droid store.
EBDic is evidently the most feature-packed of the 3 apps we have here. It not only supports the Stardict format but also 2 other formats new to me called EPWING and MDict. The app also boasts of a web service feature that apparently turns your device into a server, though I haven’t tested this portion to comment on it.
The app is quite fast and stable even with multiple dictionaries, however, am not a big fan of its interface layout and workflow: looking up words and navigating through the available dictionaries feels a bit tedious if not overwhelming at times.
Nevertheless, this is a minor issue and clearly a personal one; you may actually prefer its design over the more simplistic ones in the previous two apps.
Last updated back in 2017, EBDic is available for download from APKPure store.