The 5 Best Dictionary Apps for Linux
If your job involves reading or writing a lot of text on your computer, a dictionary is an indispensable tool for you. This can save you from having to search the internet for a word and, in turn, help you with your workflow.
Having a dictionary app on your computer makes it easy to find the meaning of words you encounter every day, check their spelling, and learn more about them, like their synonyms and antonyms.
Here is a list of the best Linux dictionaries that can help you read, write and understand a language better.
dict is a CLI-based dictionary for Linux. It is essentially a client for DICT (Dictionary Network Protocol), which provides access to a variety of dictionaries through a uniform interface.
Being a command line tool, dict is quite easy to use. To look up the definition of a word with dict, just use the say command followed by the word. Afterwards, dict looks it up in the dictionaries hosted on dict.org and returns its definition to you. Additionally, if you wish, you can also search a specific word database for more specific and relevant meanings/definitions.
Besides looking up definitions, dict is also useful for finding new words, thanks to the matching function. So, for example, if you want to display a list of four-letter words starting with the letter ‘t’ and ending with ‘r’, you can ask dict the same, and it will return a list of all those words.
To install dict on Debian/Ubuntu, open the terminal and run the following command:
sudo apt install dict
On other Linux distributions, open the package manager, search for dict in it, and install it.
GoldenDict is one of the most feature-rich graphical dictionaries for Linux. It offers a beautiful representation of results rich in color, images, formatting, and links while also including support for some of the most popular dictionary file formats.
Moreover, with GoldenDict, you also get support for Wikipedia, Wikitionary and other similar websites, allowing you to choose a reference source according to your preferences. Moreover, if necessary, you have the possibility to use an arbitrary website as a reference to look up definitions of words in GoldenDict.
In addition to functionality, GoldenDict also allows you to listen to pronunciations, which can sometimes be useful. Similarly, another useful feature of GoldenDict is Scan pop-up window. Once enabled, this feature allows you to translate a word simply by hovering over it and pressing the key. Gap key.
How to install GoldenDict
To install GoldenDict on Debian/Ubuntu, run:
sudo apt install goldendict
On Arch Linux, you can install GoldenDict from the AUR:
yay -S goldendict-git
On Fedora, CentOS or RHEL:
sudo dnf install goldendict
Artha is a free offline English dictionary for Linux. It is based on WordNet, a lexical database that provides a wide range of word information in many languages. So you can be sure to find a match when you search for a word in Artha.
Speaking of usability, Artha is quite smooth and easy to use. It includes support for keyboard shortcuts, so you can select a word and tap the shortcut to search for it. Then there’s the AutoComplete feature, which automatically suggests the word you’re spelling to save you time and effort and comes in handy when you want to look up a word you don’t know how to spell.
Additionally, Artha also allows you to use regex (regular expression) in your searches to narrow down the results to those that are more precise and specific. One feature of Artha that stands out from other dictionaries is its tabbed user interface, which lets you check synonyms, antonyms, and other useful information with a single click.
Installation of Arta
To install Artha on Debian/Ubuntu, open the terminal and run:
sudo apt install artha
On Fedora, use:
sudo yum install artha
You can use Yay to install Artha on Arch Linux:
yay -S artha
4. WordNet Browser
WordNet Browser is a minimal dictionary application for Linux. It is essentially a window-based interface for the free, multilingual dictionary database WordNet, developed by Princeton University, which displays relevant results in an easy-to-digest format.
Featuring a minimal interface, WordNet Browser is quite simple to use. When you search for a word on it, it presents you with a bunch of information about that word sorted into different sections, which you can select from a drop-down button at the top to expand.
On occasion, WordNet results may include multi-meaning meanings, that is, different meanings under different circumstances. In such cases, the WordNet Browser notifies you of the same when you search for a word and gives you the option to narrow the search to one or more specific meanings.
How to Install WordNet Browser
Use this command to install WordNet Browser on Debian/Ubuntu:
sudo apt install wordnet-gui
On Arch Linux, run:
yay -S wordnet
Here’s how to install Yay on your Arch-based system if you don’t already have it installed.
To install WordNet Browser on Fedora, CentOS and RHEL, use:
sudo yum install wordnet
5. GNOME Dictionary
GNOME Dictionary is another minimal yet highly functional dictionary app for Linux. While the first look at its user interface might indicate that there isn’t much to offer here, going into the menus suggests otherwise and unveils the true breadth of its functionality.
For starters, GNOME Dictionary lets you select a dictionary source and even add a custom one, depending on your preference. Then there is the option to choose a dictionary database from an array of databases, including those in different languages, which further expands its scope of use.
As far as usability goes, all you have to do to look up a word in the GNOME dictionary is enter your search term in the search box, and it will return the result from the dictionary database you have chosen. The returned result includes the definition, verb, and usage examples, with hyperlinks to synonyms, which you can click to view. Finally, the software also offers some keyboard shortcuts to facilitate faster operations.
How to Install GNOME Dictionary on Linux
On Debian/Ubuntu, you can install the GNOME dictionary using:
sudo apt install gnome-dictionary
If you are using Fedora, CentOS or RHEL, run:
sudo yum install gnome-dictionary
In the case of any other Linux distribution, you can install GNOME Dictionary from Flathub using:
flatpak install flathub org.gnome.Dictionary
Look up words on Linux the easy way
Good dictionary software allows you to look up words to learn their definitions, synonyms, antonyms, etc., and, in turn, helps you improve your vocabulary and understand languages better. It’s easy to find the right dictionary software for your Linux machine, so you don’t have to manually look up words on the Internet anymore.
Alternatively, if you often struggle to find a word you already know the meaning of, the OneLook Reverse Dictionary can come in handy in those times.