Which is the best offline dictionary for Ubuntu ?

It should be like Cambridge or Oxford dictionaries with pronunciation.

The dictionaries, I found did not have enough examples of the sentence in use nor do they tell a lot about meaning.

  • 3
    I suppose there is no more development for such offline dictionary. I currently use Goldendict, needs internet but very good which is currently available.
    – atenz
    Aug 1, 2012 at 13:02

5 Answers 5


(I). dict - a CLI client to dictd server (offline usage):

Section - text


sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

(to allow Universe repo)

sudo apt-get install dict
sudo apt-get install dictd

Installing English dictionary databeses (gcide, wn, devil):

sudo apt-get install dict-gcide
sudo apt-get install dict-wn
sudo apt-get install dict-devil

Installing English Thesaurus database (moby-thesaurus):

sudo apt-get install dict-moby-thesaurus

It also supports various translation/bilingual dictionaries.


  1. Using a particular database (eg. WordNet - wn):

    dict -d wn "dictionary"
  2. Not specifying a dict-database will output definitions/translations/thesaurus from all available databases. eg.

    dict "dictionary"

    Workaround to include phoneme mnemonics:

    Let's define a function that will use espeak for phoneme mnemonics and dict for definitions, thesauri, and others.

    • First install espeak (if it's not already):

      sudo apt-get install espeak
    • Open the .bashrc file in your user-home directory with text editor of your choice:

      nano ~/.bashrc


      gedit ~/.bashrc &

      (even better if you place your custom aliases and functions in ~/.bash_aliases rather than in ~/.bashrc)

    • Append the following function and save the file:

      function define {
      # espeak for the pronunciation audible output and phonetic alphabet string
      echo "Phoneme mnemonics: $(espeak -ven-uk-rp -x -s 120 "$1" 2> /dev/null)"       
      # dict - the client for the dictionary server
      dict "$1"       

      [here I've used the switches -ven-uk-rp for British English Received Pronunciation (espeak --voices for more), -x to display mnemonics, -s for speech output speed. You can modify the switches for espeak or dict as per your needs.]

    • Open a new instance of terminal and use define to look for definitions. e.g.:

      define dictionary


      define dictionary | less

      snap_hash (with less you can use arrow keys to scroll through the definitions; pressing h will show you some more controls that you can use; to quit press q)

(II). Gnome Dictionary:

Section - Universe/gnome


sudo apt-get install gnome-dictionary


Note: To use gnome-dictionary offline, you should first install a dictionary server and the desired databases (the installation of dictd and some databases are shown in option (I) above.)

After installing gnome-dictionary, a dictionary server (e.g. dictd) and the databases (e.g. dict-wn, dict-gcide) you'll have to configure so that it looks up the locally installed server. To do this, start gnome-dictionary and from the menu navigate to Edit -> Preferences. In the Dictionary Preferences window, click Add button, then in Add Dictionary Source add the information about your local dictionary server; add the Description (like dictd), the Hostname - localhost (or some other in your local network), the Port number to 2628 (2628 is the default as specified in the DICT Protocol RFC.excerpt from dictd documentation) and hit the Add button. Then in Dictionary Preferences window, select dictd radio button and close the prefs window. Now you should be able to use it offline.

configGnD4offline selectSourceDictd

(III). "Artha", A handy off-line thesaurus based on WordNet:

Section - Universe/utils


sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

(to allow Universe repo)

sudo apt-get install artha


(IV). "GoldenDict", offering feature-rich dictionary lookup program using WebKit for an accurate articles' representation, complete with all formatting, colors, images and links.

Section - Universe/utils


sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu $(lsb_release -sc) universe"

(to allow Universe repo)

sudo apt-get install goldendict


  • Is gnome-dictionary offline?
    – Anwar
    Mar 26, 2014 at 5:45
  • 4
    @AnwarShah it's not by default, but you can configure it.. I've edited the post to include that. Thanks for the feedback. :)
    – rusty
    Mar 26, 2014 at 7:10
  • How do I use the use the define command to give definitions from a specific dictionary (eg: - WordNet).
    – abst
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:17
  • GoldenDict requires the same/similar configuration changes as Gnome Dictionary in order for it to work offline.
    – user435587
    Mar 8, 2019 at 6:56

I have installed Artha, Good dictionary. But Artha doesn't provide 'Pronunciation' functionality.

you can install it either from software center or from terminal with

sudo apt-get install artha 

or using graphical Software center Install artha via the software center


Take a look at Aard Dictionary.

You can download the *.deb file from the homepage and install any dictionary of your choice. Available dictionaries from the website are: Wikipedia, Wikiquote, Wiktionary, Wikispecies, WordNet, Collaborative International Dictionary of English, Jargon File and Hitchwiki.

You can install as many dictionaries at same time as you want.

I would recommend to try it Wiktionary and Collaborative International Dictionary of English installed and see how it goes.

Btw: It's GPL v3 licenced.

It's also available for Android phones, I currently have the german Wikipedia always with me on my phone.

  • 1
    This is a kde base dictionary which may require downloading lots of stuff from kde library. But, The dictionary is good I think
    – Anwar
    Aug 1, 2012 at 14:35
  • @AnwarShah I don't think so, as it is written in Python language. Here is a quote from the makefile: 'Depends: ${misc:Depends}, ${python:Depends}, python-pyicu (>= 0.8), python-simplejson, python-pkg-resources, python-qt4 (>=4.5)'
    – shaddow
    Aug 1, 2012 at 14:42
  • I downloaded and installed it. It is KDE stuff. Do you have kde-desktop installed. If yes, then you'll not informed or alarmed for the huge download.
    – Anwar
    Aug 1, 2012 at 14:57
  • Yes, seems I still had installed most KDE ibraries despite removing kde-desktop. My bad. Still, it's a very nice dictionary.
    – shaddow
    Aug 1, 2012 at 15:35
  • In 13.10 the dictionary installs without adding too much KDE library. Working fine.
    – Anwar
    Mar 26, 2014 at 5:42

Goldendict with wybbandtts file.

Install Golden dict via the software center

or From terminal

sudo apt-get install goldendict
  • Adding more details about the process will be more helpful
    – Anwar
    Aug 5, 2012 at 9:46


You can use WIktionary database offline with this app.


Download page http://gnosygnu.github.io/xowa/download.html

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