2017-01-14 I'm now using the right dictionary

Almost one and half years ago I read an interesting post on Irreal, and – as a great fan of the English language – I immediately went to the original post it mentioned. I did not regret it; I return to that post from time to time, since it is so beautiful, even poetic.

Of course, I started using Webster’s dictionary right away. (Especially with my habit of learning a couple of new English words on a daily basis.) But it being available in a web browser (and somehow eww choked on it), it was rather inconvenient for me, and hence I forgot to use it more and more.

And one day I found it’s gone from the Internet. I hoped that the server was temporarily down or something. Alas, it seemed to be dead. It was no more. It had ceased to be. It was an ex-server. (SCNR.)

Happily, Somers’ post mentioned a possibility of downloading Webster’s dictionary. I did that, discovered it being in some strange format and promptly forgot about it.

Until a few days ago, when I recalled all that and decided to do something about it. Mind you, Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary is not bad, but it can’t compete with Webster’s. I was quite determined to find a way of accessing the One True Dictionary from within the One True Editor. And so I did.

So, without further ado, here’s how you do it (at least on a GNU/Linux system).

  1. Download the Webster’s dictionary in StarDict format, as Somers tells you to do. (Apparently it’s not “some strange format”, but a standard format for a digital dictionary.)
  2. Unzip the files and put them in ~/.stardict/dic.
  3. Install sdcv, a command-line utility for accessing StarDict dictionaries. (On Arch GNU/Linux with yaourt, it is yaourt -S sdcv.)
  4. Don’t go to Melpa for the sdcv package; it’s usable, but slightly broken. Get sdcv-mode from here instead and load it in Emacs.
  5. Now, with point on a word you want to look up, say M-x sdcv-search and confirm the selection with RET (or just say M-x sdcv-search anywhere and type the word you want to check).
  6. You can press RET on any word in the definition to look that one up. Sorry for destroying at least a few hours of your life with that tip.
  7. Relish thy copy of Webster’s in Emacs.

CategoryEnglish, CategoryBlog, CategoryEmacs