I want a latin word list for research / reference purposes. (Like /usr/share/dict/words)

There would appear to be no such word list (apt-file search /usr/share/dict | sort | uniq | grep latin), but there is a DICT english latin dictionary: dict-freedict-eng-lat.

Is there an easy way to get a word list from this?

I tried some quick manual parsing of the .dz using sed but the format looks complicated enough that it needs a little parsing. I tried the dictunformat command, however it produces a c5 database which looks to be a binary format. I can't find tools to interact with such files.

  • Does it have to be a "DICT formatted dictionary"? You can get wordlists e.g. from spelling dictionaries (ibritish, ibritish-huge, ...) using e.g. aspell (aspell -l en dump master | aspell -l en expand).
    – dirkt
    Mar 16, 2017 at 12:23
  • That's useful to know and would apply in many cases. There doesn't seem to be a latin aspell dictionary in debian (apt-cache search aspell | grep latin)
    – Att Righ
    Mar 16, 2017 at 12:49

3 Answers 3

zcat /usr/share/dictd/freedict-eng-lat.dict.dz | perl -e 'my %dict; $start=0; $/="\n"; while (<>) { next if $_ =~ m/(\/|\x90)/; chomp; $_ =~ s/[0-9\. ]*//g; $start = 1 if $_ eq 'abecedarium'; next if $start==0; @words=split(/\;/,$_); foreach my $word (@words) { $dict{$word}=1;} }; $,="\n"; print sort keys %dict;'

to uncompress file, skip all english lines containing /pronounciation/, skip lines with weird DLE character, skip all header lines till we reach the first real word "abecedarium", remove numbers, dots and spaces, split conjugations separated by ";" and add every word to a hash to have unique entries. in the end, print all words separated by $, set to new-line \n

sample output:

  • Thanks for doing the parsing I was too lazy to do :). I wonder if there's a more magic way with less code, but in the absence of other answers this works.
    – Att Righ
    Mar 16, 2017 at 23:38
  • of course there is. zcat /usr/share/dictd/freedict-eng-lat.dict.dz | grep -e '^ [a-zA-Z0-9]' | grep -o -P '[[:alpha:]]+' | sort -du
    – claudiuf
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:19
  • it is just less efficient imho
    – claudiuf
    Mar 17, 2017 at 1:20
  • cool +1 (just one warning: grep -o -P '[[:alpha:]]+' woud fail words like ævitas)
    – JJoao
    Mar 17, 2017 at 10:15

If I remember correctly, .dz is a variant of gzip that allows to gunzip just the necessary chunks. Try:

zcat dict-freedict-eng-lat.dz

Most of the ".dz" are generated from more comprehensible formats (in the case the format is TEI) using freedict-tools.

UPDATE: (I like hacking solutions but) now the "not so hacking" way:

1) If you want Latin, get the sources of freedict Lat-Eng (the inverse dictionary):

wget "https://sourceforge.net/projects/freedict/files/Latin%20-%20English/0.1.1/freedict-lat-eng-0.1.1.src.tar.bz2"

2) unzip it:

tar -xvjf freedict-lat-eng-0.1.1.src.tar.bz2

and enjoy the pleasure of dealing with the sources...

3) get Latin entry (orth xml tag) from the XML-TEI source (lat-eng/lat-eng.tei):

xidel -e "//orth" lat-eng/lat-eng.tei

One last suggestion: use the Latin-German dictionary (more complete)

tar ...
xidel -e //orth lat-deu/lat-deu.tei |  sort -u | wc        (9730)
  • Yep that's correct. It gives you something human readable. It's one of the first things I tried (together with a head and a sed 0~2 p) but there are multiline entries that confuse this (I think the index file might deal with these somehow)
    – Att Righ
    Mar 16, 2017 at 23:41
  • @AttRigh, sorry I misunderstood the problem. I updated with a complementary suggestion.
    – JJoao
    Mar 17, 2017 at 9:30
  • Awesome. I didn't realise that freedict have a nice collection of xml dictionaries in this xml TEI format. These don't seem to be packaged by debian but can be fetched directly (as you do).
    – Att Righ
    Mar 17, 2017 at 12:52
  • @AttRigh, Installing one at the time is always a better Idea... (see also dict-freedict-all -- it will show you the list of near 100 debian packages of freedicts)
    – JJoao
    Mar 17, 2017 at 14:55
  • 1
    Cool cool. I meant to say that the xml files aren't contained in the debian packages as far as I can tell.
    – Att Righ
    Mar 17, 2017 at 14:56

I wrote an article on how to dump and convert Aspell dictionaries to wordlist and later to searchable MySQL/MariaDB database:


  • Please don't post link-only answers on here.
    – jesse_b
    Feb 13, 2018 at 18:52

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