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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser Apps
This is a simple hint, but one that can be very useful. You can look up any word is the OS X Dictionary application by typing the following into the address bar of your favorite browser:
dict:///word_to_define
For example, dict:///sesquipedalian will display the meaning of the word sesquipedalian in Dictionary, if Dictionary is already running. If not, it will simply open Dictionary. So to look up words, you need to first open the application, then the protocol will be available.

Note the need to use three slashes, not two as most protocols require. Also, if you misspell the word, the Dictionary application will open (or come to the front if it is already open) but will not find anything. (This differs from when you misspell a word directly within Dictionary -- when you do that, you'll usually see "No entries found. Did you mean?" followed by a list of possible matches.)
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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser | 15 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: terryb on Sep 08, '06 08:23:10AM

I prefer "command ctrl D"... Don't you ?



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: landis on Sep 08, '06 08:57:44AM

How the &$%@ do you guys figure this stuff out?!?

Greatly impressed. I will definitely be using the Cmd-Ctrl-D function a lot more now. Good bye Dictionary.com bookmarklet.



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: chleuasme on Sep 08, '06 09:33:56AM

may be by reading this website daily : http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20050429100017391 ;-)



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: ascanio on Sep 10, '06 11:59:29PM

I would if it worked...



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: RussellK on Sep 08, '06 08:29:30AM

Does not work as advertised for me.

Repeated attempts simply open up the Dictionary application without any entry.



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Command line
Authored by: googoo on Sep 08, '06 08:42:53AM
That means you can enter

open dict:///word_to_define

from the command line. The same caveat applies, though: Dictionary.app must already be running to get the definition.

-Mark



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: gshenaut on Sep 08, '06 09:09:44AM
It appears that this is just a "defective" URL (in the sense that it is not fully implemented). So, if dictionary is not running, you can type "dict:" followed by anything, and it will just start the dictionary: "dict:", "dict:abv", "dict://////word". If dictionary is running, then you can put anything between the 2nd and 3rd slashes: "dict://www.apple.com/word", "dict://xyzabvNotaDNSname/word" or just leave it blank as in the hint, and it will look up the word. Greg Shenaut

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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: Twist on Sep 08, '06 09:25:09AM

I think that a more useful hint would be that you can use Google (and the Google search box in Safari) as a dictionary. Just type in "define: word". That way if you already have Safari running you don't have to wait for Dictionary to launch. Google also deals with mis-spellings better and has a larger database of definitions in my experience.



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Google requires internet access
Authored by: lullabud on Sep 08, '06 09:43:19AM

The one benefit to doing it with the dict:/// method is that it doesn't require you to be online. As others have mentioned, it's still probably easier to just hit cmd-ctrl-d, even if you have to type out the word in the location bar of Safari.



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: chocky on Sep 08, '06 09:30:32AM

Seems to work for some words but not for others.



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Automate Dictionary word lookup in Firefox
Authored by: tx.logic on Sep 08, '06 11:06:08AM
This is a nice hint, but it still requires that you type a URI into your browser. An earlier followup pointed out that Cntl-Cmd-d does the job automatically, but that only works in Cocoa apps (and frankly I've found it to be a bit spotty -- sometimes it works, sometimes not). If, however, you are partial to Firefox or any other non-Cocoa browser (though this will work in Cocoa browsers as well, of course), you can get almost the same functionality with a little javascript. Specifically, create a bookmark called "Dict" and for the location enter:

javascript:x=escape(getSelection());if(!x)%7Bvoid(x=prompt('What%20should%20I%20look%20up?',''))%7D;window.location='dict:///'+x
Stick that bookmark on your Firefox toolbar. Now you can call up (a running copy of) Dictionary.app for a definition of a word you come across while browsing just by highlighting it and clicking on your new bookmark. (Just clicking on the bookmark without highlighting anything will bring up a dialog box in which you can enter a word manually.)

Note the same trick can be used to call up Google for definitions. In this case, create a bookmark called "GoogleDict" (or whatever) and use the following code for the location:


javascript:x=escape(getSelection());if(!x)%7Bvoid(x=prompt('What%20should%20I%20look%20up?',''))%7D;window.location='http://www.google.com/search?query=define:'+x
More generally, you can alter this code to do a search on any site with a searching mechanism -- Wikipedia, Amazon (nice for looking up highlighted book titles or authors), whatever. Just go to the site in question, enter a search string, and use the resulting URI as the basis for revising the javascript to define the location of a new bookmark for searching that site. Just replace the specific search string you used with "x" in the javascript, as that is the variable that is carrying the string that you've highlighted.

BTW, I did not invent the basic code here. I've been using it for so long I don't remember where I found it, but it is quite likely that I saw it in a MacOSXhints hint!

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Automate Dictionary word lookup in Firefox
Authored by: quangtonthat on Sep 09, '06 07:55:12AM

Your javascript does not seem to work with OmniWeb 5.5. It always comes up with a dialog box with an empty text box and I have to enter the search string (although it is already highlighted in the webpage)
.



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: jcull on Sep 08, '06 11:32:54AM

Ummm.... select the word, then control or right click for a contextual menu, and choose "Look up in Dictionary."

If it's spelled wrong, the contextual menu will have suggestions for correction, too.

This is Tiger, don't know if it's the same in earlier OSes.



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: davelentz on Sep 08, '06 07:32:07PM

I put the dict:/// into the Camino search menu (you can put lots of single-entry query items into the Camino search field -- I have Big Charts, Dictionary, Froogle, Google, Google Images, Google Maps, and Wikipedia in mine), and set the Dictionary app to be launched and hidden at login, so it is always loaded. I do have to copy & paste the word I want to lookup to get there, so this isn't the most efficient way to use it.

Most apps will have the Dictionary in the Services menu as well, so that it you pre-launch the Dictionary, you can simply highlight the word and select the Look up in Dictionary item in the Services menu.



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10.4: Look up words in Dictionary via web browser
Authored by: rodl2 on Sep 10, '06 08:43:37AM

Cool hint. Also like the javascript bookmarklet, but why not just use the dicationry Widget?

---
"He who limps still walks." -Stanislaw Lec

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