Can anyone suggest a good "Dictionary" software in Linux. I have artha, but I am actually expecting a better one.

Ok here are things which i look out for in a dictionary:

  • Good database

  • Word pronounciation (This is not available in Artha.)

  • 1
    You might consider adding a list of what what you are looking for out of such software.
    – Steven D
    Commented Nov 13, 2010 at 19:36
  • @Steven D: Edited
    – C.S.
    Commented Nov 13, 2010 at 20:03
  • Pronunciation is going to be a problem, since I wouldn’t ever use anything that didn’t use IPA, and for that, you usually have to pay the Big Bucks, like for the OED.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 13, 2010 at 20:17
  • Which languages are you interested in? Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 1:26
  • 1
    In any case, separating the interface and the database would be reasonable for any dictionary software. There are many databases around, usually at least available in the form prepared for dictd, but a quality database in my understanding must be interconvertable between the formats for different interfaces. (If the authors didn't care about conversion, such a database doesn't look well-maintained, and hence doesn't look like a "quality" one.) And there are some interfaces around. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 1:32

4 Answers 4


Goldendict: http://goldendict.org/

From the link, features include:

  • Use of WebKit for an accurate articles' representation, complete with all formatting, colors, images and links.
  • Support of multiple dictionary file formats, namely:
    • Babylon .BGL files, complete with images and resources
    • StarDict .ifo/.dict./.idx/.syn dictionaries
    • Dictd .index/.dict(.dz) dictionary files
    • ABBYY Lingvo .dsl source files, together with abbreviations. The files can be optionally compressed with dictzip. Dictionary resources can be packed together into a .zip file.
  • ABBYY Lingvo .lsa/.dat audio archives. Those can be indexed separately, or be referred to from .dsl files.
  • Support for Wikipedia, Wiktionary, or any other MediaWiki-based sites to perform lookups in.
  • Ability to use arbitrary websites as dictionaries via templated Url patterns.
  • Ability to run arbitrary external programs for audio playback or content generation (text-to-speech, man pages etc) (use the latest Git version for this)
  • Support for looking up and listening to pronunciations from forvo.com
  • Hunspell-based morphology system, used for word stemming and spelling suggestions.
  • Ability to index arbitrary directories with audio files for pronunciation lookups.
  • Full Unicode case, diacritics, punctuation and whitespace folding. This means the ability to type in words without any accents, correct case, punctuation or spaces (e.g. typing 'Grussen' would yield 'grüßen' in German dictionaries).
  • Scan popup functionality. A small window pops up with the translation of a word chosen from another application.
  • Support for global hotkeys. You can spawn the program window at any point, or directly translate a word from the clipboard.
  • Tabbed browsing in a modern Qt 4 interface.
  • Cross-platform: Linux/X11 and Windows + portable to others.
  • Free software: GNU GPLv3+ license.
  • 1
    Please expand on what are the features of Goldendict.
    – landroni
    Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 11:19
  • For those who, as I was, being used to Adblock'ed browsing, shocked by having found ads in the GoldenDict-showed online pages, try going to Preferences_→_Network and checking the option "Disallow loading content from other sites".
    – Ruslan
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 15:53

My favorite is the "dict" command. It doesn't pronounce words aloud, but it will give you the written pronunciation. I'd also recommend StarDict, which has a GUI.

  • stardict is nicer when it comes to displaying special characters (pronunciation, Greek etc.), but the databases need to be specially prepared for stardict, the standard dictd databases can't be immediately used. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 1:28
  • Also, stardict does popups and tracks the selected text. Commented Jan 30, 2011 at 1:55
  • StarDict is now dead...
    – jdhao
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 4:35

As for the database, and in the case you are looking for an English-English dictionary (you haven't stated that explicitly! :( ), I'm quite content with GCIDE (derived from Webster1913; has pronunciation and middle-quality etymologies) and wordnet.

As for the interface, I use these databases installed in my local dictd through emacs-dictionary client. (Formerly, I used to use Stardict to access these databases.)

Packages with the mentioned stuff in the distro I use:

  • 1
    The links are dead as of January 2024 Commented Jan 3 at 17:44

I love the simplicity of the Xfce4 Dictionary (it is not tied to Xfce and can be easily used in any DE).

It can be used with an on-line dictionary server dict.org (by default) or with a localhost server (if you install dictd and accompanying databases like dict-wn for WordNet, dict-jargon, etc.). Independently you may also configure a Web Service like Wiktionary, for example. It has no word pronunciation, though.

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