In OS X I can select a word or phrase and define it, but that is not possible on my Xubuntu 14.04. Is there a way I can do this?


3 Answers 3


Here's what you need to do:

Install GoldenDict:

sudo apt-get install goldendict

In GoldenDict, click Edit->Preferences and choose the second tab titled "Scan Popup". On that page, you need to select "Enable Scan popup functionality" and its subfield "Start with scan popup turned on".

Then choose the first tab titled "Interface" and select "Enable system tray icon" and both the sub fields.


At this point in time, everytime you select a word or phrase, goldendict is going to pop-up a helpful window showing some text. If you select a word, it will show you the meaning.

Do you need access to offline dictionaries?

Install a few offline dictionaries:

sudo apt-get install dict-gcide wordnet

Get GoldenDict to rescan the dictionaries available Edit->Dictionaries->Sources and choose the rescan button.

Having said all that, let me also say that GoldenDict, being a NON-INTEGRAL piece of Linux-distro goes crazy and pops-up a window any time you select some text. That can be annoying. So, in that way, this dictionary app on Linux is NOT the same as the dictionary app on OS X. (That's coming from a recent Mac convert! :D )



In google chrome you can use Google Dictionary:

  • I'd say the translation by Google is way too simple and sometimes even inaccurate. Definitely not as flexible as what GoldenDict offers.
    – xji
    Dec 10, 2015 at 0:16

It's been about a month since I started using Ubuntu 16.04. About 15 days ago, I had exact doubt and I read this answer. I installed Google Translate plugin Link to the site that explains it nicely.

But it works online only, and most of the times gives pretty useless results.

I also installed Golden Dictionary but somehow I still didn't get what I want. Then today I found the 'Artha' application that's also available on Ubuntu Software Centre . You can download it from here.

I kind of like the Hotkey feature which was exactly what I had been looking for, an uninterrupted, feature rich offline definition tool. While I still use Google translate Hotkey to translate to my native language, but the 'Artha' application is truly a delight.

P.S. This is my first answer here , so please excuse me for any broken link or something. ;)

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