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In some applications, such as nvAlt, the Dictionary popup (accessed by double-tapping with three fingers or by using the Look Up command in the context menu) won't go away once called. The only solution I've found to make it close is to quit the program. Is there any way I can do it without quitting the application?

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As in, how to dismiss then normally, or that they get stuck and will not go away? – jmlumpkin Mar 26 '12 at 2:00
@jmlumpkin They get stuck. – timothymh Mar 26 '12 at 10:42
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This popover is built into the NSView class (showDefinitionForAttributedString:atPoint:). Since (as far as I can tell) it isn't controlled or powered by a distinct system process, it is completely owned by the app that owns the view where the popover was triggered.

In short, since the popover is owned solely by whatever app triggered it, there's no way to get rid of a stuck one without killing its parent app.

FYI, if the popover isn't dismissed with the escape key or by clicking outside of its body, something has gone wrong. I would file a bug report with the developers of the app where this happens.

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In my case the popup came from hovering over a spotlight result and became stuck. Running

killall SystemUIServer

restarted my menu bar and cleared the popup.

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That sounds like it will work for when it occurs in Spotlight, since as Nathan said above the popup is owned by the parent app and removing it requires killing the parent app, but not if it happens in a normal application. – timothymh Feb 27 '14 at 6:05

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