Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is there any command line offline dictionary? I know that there are some like StarDict and Artha but how about one in the command line?

Also, I tried dict but it is an online dictionary.

share|improve this question
up vote 47 down vote accepted

sdcv is the console version of Stardict.

1. Install the dictionary

Run the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install sdcv

2. Download dictionary files

Download the dictionary files according to your requirements from the following sources.

3. Install downloaded dictionaries

Make the directory where sdcv looks for the dictionary:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/stardict/dic/

The next command depends on whether the downloaded file is a .gz file or a .bz2 file.

If it is a .bz2 file:

sudo tar -xvjf downloaded.tar.bz2 -C /usr/share/stardict/dic

If it is a .gz file:

sudo tar -xvzf downlaoded.tar.gz -C /usr/share/stardict/dic

4. Done!

To search for a word use:

sdcv word

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
Marked and also +1 for the installation guide – PALEN Sep 21 '12 at 14:51
That's amazing. Thanks for the informational answer! – SirCharlo Sep 21 '12 at 15:28
glad it helped :) – green Sep 21 '12 at 17:01

Easy offline dictd installation

Actually, dict can easily be used offline. It suffices to install the dictd daemon with its dependencies alongside a local, offline dictionary. This turns out to be a much easier procedure than installing sdcv as suggested elsewhere on this page.

Below is shown how to install dictd along with the dict-gcide comprehensive English dictionary. There are many more dictionairies available from the standard repositories.

$ sudo apt-get install dict dictd dict-gcide

$ dict word

 3 definitions found

    From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 [gcide]:

      Word \Word\, n. [AS. word; akin to OFries. & OS. word, D. woord,
         G. wort, Icel. or[eth], Sw. & Dan. ord, Goth. wa['u]rd,
         OPruss. wirds, Lith. vardas a name, L. verbum a word; or
         perhaps to Gr. "rh`twr an orator. Cf. {Verb}.]
         [1913 Webster]
         1. The spoken sign of a conception or an idea; an articulate
            or vocal sound, or a combination of articulate and vocal
            sounds, uttered by the human voice, and by custom
            expressing an idea or ideas; a single component part of
            human speech or language; a constituent part of a
            sentence; a term; a vocable. "A glutton of words." --Piers
            [1913 Webster]

                  You cram these words into mine ears, against
                  The stomach of my sense.              --Shak.
            [1913 Webster]

                  Amongst men who confound their ideas with words,
                  there must be endless disputes.       --Locke.
            [1913 Webster]

         2. Hence, the written or printed character, or combination of
            characters, expressing such a term; as, the words on a
            [1913 Webster]

         3. pl. Talk; discourse; speech; language.
            [1913 Webster]
share|improve this answer

You probably also have aspell installed, which has the advantage of giving suggestions for misspelled words. You can call aspell directly on your text, with

aspell check text.txt,

or use it on a single word:

echo wrd | aspell -a
share|improve this answer

If you're just looking to see if a word is spelled correctly or exists, you can use grep to look through the word list files in /usr/share/dict/, which are provided by the appropriate wordlist packages. An example to see if "emu" is a valid word:

grep -i "^emu$" /usr/share/dict/american-english

That doesn't have any definitions, however.

share|improve this answer
Actually, I'm looking for definitions... – PALEN Sep 20 '12 at 22:44

How about downloading dictionary text file from the sites for example this link (warning: 4.5 MB), and then finding the text with command like grep "word" dictionary.txt

Or also by using VIM editor to search for the word with its command eg. /Word. And by pressing n or N for next or previous occurance of the pattern is more fun with finding meaning of the word.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.