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Define Word - A Better Dictionary

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Define Word


I wanted a slightly better dictionary for lookups. In particular, I wanted well formatted previews of the entries without having to open the Dictionary app.
You can choose from all available dictionaries that are installed on your system, define the fallback dictionaries for your lookups, set the font size of the previews, or manually select a dictionary to use. The previews reflect the global appearance, i.e. they have a dark mode! The workflow also includes a preset for looking up synonyms of a word and a convenient keyboard shortcut for quick lookups.

‣Download from Github ◂


Usage Note

Specify the dictionaries you want to use (see Dictionary Options below). Define a fallback dictionary against which possible misspellings will be checked.

The workflow can be used as a multilingual spell checker.

Default keyword: def
Default shortcut:  ⌥+⇧+D 
Keyword sd: Select a specific dictionary for lookups
Keyword synd: Find synonyms by consulting the thesauri only (english)
Cache reset: def ?


  •  ⇧  or  ⌘Y  to preview the dictionary entry
  •  ⌃  to see the dictionary associated with the entry
  •  ⌘C  to copy the dictionary entry’s plain text to the clipboard
  •  ⌘⏎  to paste a word to the frontmost application (spell checker)
  •  ⌘L  to view the plain text as large type






Dictionary Options

Oxford Study Indonesian Dictionary - Inggris-Indonesia • Indonesia-Inggris
Oxford PWN Polish-English Dictionary / Wielki słownik polsko-angielski
Oxford Paravia Il Dizionario inglese - italiano/italiano - inglese
Oxford Portuguese Dictionary - Português-Inglês • Inglês-Português
Oxford Turkish Dictionary - Türkçe-İngilizce • İngilizce-Türkçe
Dicionário de Português licenciado para Oxford University Press
Dizionario italiano da un affiliato di Oxford University Press
Oxford Russian Dictionary - Русско-Английский • Англо-Русский
Gran Diccionario Oxford - Español-Inglés • Inglés-Español
Oxford Arabic Dictionary - عربي-إنجليزي • إنجليزي-عربي
Oxford Urdu Dictionaries - اردو۔انگریزی • انگریزی-اردو
Oxford Gujarati Dictionaries - ગુજરાતી-અંગ્રેજી • અંગ્રેજી-ગુજરાતી
Oxford Tamil Dictionaries - தமிழ்-ஆங்கிலம் • ஆங்கிலம்-தமிழ்
พจนานุกรมอังกฤษ-ไทย & ไทย-อังกฤษ ฉบับทันสมัยและสมบูรณ์ที่สุด
Magay Tamás szótár - Magyar-Angol • Angol-Magyar
Oxford Telugu Dictionaries - తెలుగు-ఇంగ్లీష్ • ఇంగ్లీష్-తెలుగు
Velký anglicko-český a česko-anglický slovník
Oxford Bengali Dictionaries - বাংলা-ইংরেজি • ইংরেজি-বাংলা
Diccionario General de la Lengua Española Vox
MOT sanakirja suomi-englanti, englanti-suomi
Oxford Hindi Dictionaries - हिन्दी-अंग्रेज़ी • अंग्रेज़ी-हिन्दी
מילון אבן-שושן מחודש ומותאם לשנות האלפיים
Multidictionnaire de la langue française
PONS Großwörterbuch Französisch Deutsch
Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
Duden-Wissensnetz deutsche Sprache
Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary
Толковый словарь русского языка
New Oxford American Dictionary
Prisma Handwoordenboek Engels
Prisma woordenboek Nederlands
Oxford Dictionary of English
พจนานุกรมไทย ฉบับทันสมัยและสมบูรณ์
Oxford Thesaurus of English
Politikens Nudansk Ordbog
Oxford German Dictionary
超級クラウン中日辞典 / クラウン日中辞典
Arkadaş Türkçe Sözlük
뉴에이스 영한사전 / 뉴에이스 한영사전
ウィズダム英和辞典 / ウィズダム和英辞典
Apple Dictionary
Từ điển Lạc Việt
TTY Dictionary
Norsk Ordbok
राजपाल हिन्दी शब्दकोश
NE Ordbok
뉴에이스 국어사전





Edited by zeitlings
new previews
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  • Behavior change: By default, all defined dictionaries are used. The previous “Main Dictionary” becomes the default fallback dictionary against which possible misspellings are checked.
  • Indicators for the dictionary associated with an entry: They are visible using the ctrl modifier and in the title of the Quicklook preview.
  • The workflow now doubles as a multilingual spell checker: Use the cmd modifier to paste the word into the frontmost application.
  • Add deduplication of dictionary entries.
  • Remove Wikipedia as an option as it is not functional.
Edited by zeitlings
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  • 1 month later...

Hey @andy4222, glad to hear you find it useful. The workflow is unlikely to end up in the gallery because it relies on functions that are only available through Objective-C. This means that there can not be a pure Swift version and that the program, on order to work, needs to be compiled into an executable binary, which I'm currently not having notarized by Apple. This in turn is a prerequisite for executables to be included in the gallery (which is a good thing all in all ).

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  • 2 weeks later...

@genosse There was no easy fix I could find. However, I just updated the workflow to v1.1.1 with improved dictionary retrieval. Now the Oxford Russian Dictionary should be found if it is available on your machine. Just paste either of these into the corresponding text field of the configuration:

Oxford Russian Dictionary - Русско-Английский • Англо-Русский
Oxford Russian Dictionary
Russian - English



  • Improved dictionary retrieval
    • Dictionaries previously not found are now found
    • Incomplete representations are now recognized1
    • The Short Name is now matched (e.g. Russian - English)
  • Added (hidden) environment variable log_available_dicts to log available dicts if set to 1
  • Added internal configuration option to open the workflow's cache (default: def :)
  • Fixed raising the workflow configuration (default: :def)

  1. e.g. Oxford Russian Dictionary instead of the full name

Edited by zeitlings
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  • 4 months later...

@Belfong try to make it a habit to press Shift ⇧ to preview, as this will work for anything that can be previewed. Pressing return will always either pass an argument or cause an autocomplete. It is possible to show a quicklook preview this way, but it will open in a new window that has to be closed manually. At this point you can just open the dictionary application, which I think defeats the purpose.

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Thanks for your tip. I guess I better learn this new way to Preview. It’s not easy to undo years of habits of pressing Return. 

(apparently, I have even disabled Shift key as Preview in Pref. I have now reinstated it)

Edited by Belfong
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