Using gnome-dictionary offline

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Steps to use gnome-dictionary offline


1. Install the packages dictd, dict-gcide, and dict-wn.

  • dictd is the dictionary database "server" of sorts
  • dict-gcide is a comprehensive free English dictionary
  • dict-wn is another dictionary with more up-to-date definitions, but it is not comprehensive

2. Install other dictionary packages you might want

  • Look in Synaptic at the many packages under dict- and read their descriptions. If you want to download all the dictionaries, you can just get the metapackage dict-freedict. I avoided this option because I did not want to clutter my definition screen or to wait while the program searched all these extra dictionaries I'd rarely (if ever) use.
  • dict-moby-thesaurus is available if you want a thesaurus, too.

3. Change the preferences in gnome-dictionary.

  • Applications > Dictionary opens gnome-dictionary
  • Edit > Preferences
  • change server to localhost
  • change the Database to "search all databases"

4. Possible Problems:

  • Cannot connect to localhost:2628

After changing the Dictionary Server to "localhost" in the previous step, the dictionary query from command line ($ dict <word>) works fine, but the gnome-dictionary shows the following error: Error while looking up definition. Connection failed to the dictionary server at localhost:2628

  • Solution: This is a known bug. The solution is to use instead of localhost while adding the server.

5. work in progress: Change the order in which definitions appear

  • The file /etc/dictd/dictd.order apparently controls the order in which definitions are searched, the order in which they appear, or maybe both. I want the up-to-date definition (from wn) to be listed first when they are available, so I changed my order to "wn gcide web1913..." It does not appear to have made any difference -- the old-fashioned definition still appears first.