Is there any better English dictionary software available to replace the simple default dictionary app in mac?

I need some features like

  • one-click word lookup,
  • hotkey to open the program,
  • hotkey to lookup,
  • speech synthesis...
  • 3
    Do you have requirements that cannot easily be fulfilled using Dictionary and the tools included with OS X? – Daniel Beck May 17 '11 at 19:19
  • Cocoaspell is a spellchecker add-on, not a reference dictionary. Dictionary.app already has one-click word lookup, doesn't it? You just Control Click on anything. There ought to be a way to get the text spoken, but I don't see it right away... – Tom Gewecke Aug 16 '11 at 0:17
  • ⌃⌘D, VoiceOver, ... what are you missing? – jtbandes Aug 16 '11 at 5:18

Cocoaspell is an open source dictionary. Cocoaspell is a MacOSX interface to Aspell.

Aspell is an Open Source spell checker designed to eventually replace Ispell. Its main feature is that it does a much better job of coming up with possible suggestions than Ispell does. In fact recent tests shows that it even does better than Microsoft Word 97's spell checker or just about any other spell checker I have seen. It also has support for checking (La)TeX and HTML files, and run time support for other non English language.

  • 1
    I don't see how Cocoaspell is relevant to a request for an alternative reference dictionary. – Tom Gewecke Jan 18 '12 at 13:11

Just for ≈$60 you can buy ABBYY Lingvo Dictionary for Mac on App Store.


  • No-click word lookup (just hover over a word).
  • Nice support of inflected word forms.
  • It's comprehensive that's why it's most popular is whole xUSSR (at least Windows version).
  • It supports English to French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian (hundreds of thousands of words each).
  • Native speaker audio pronunciation.


In my opinion it's not better but best dictionary.

  • But it doesn't integrate with Mac OS X's own Dictionary.app (or with Ctrl-Cmd-D lookups anywhere) as far as I can tell. – Markus Hallmann Aug 7 '14 at 21:15

Would results from dict.org work? If you use Quicksilver, you can get results from dict.org. Quicksilver is an application launcher, like Spotlight. Note that it is a beta. I haven't had any problems with it, but just be aware that it still is in development. You can type in the word that you want to get a definition from and then select dict.org. It will return the result in a window. I don't know about speech synthesis. I'm not sure if it has speech synthesis or not. Let me know if you do decide to use Quicksilver, as it can be confusing.


You can add dictionaries to MacOSX's built-in dictionary app., and have access to its functionalities (cntrl-click). You will find the installed dictionaries in HD/Library/Dictionaries ... or ... User/Library/Dictionaries.

FWIW, I have added a French dictionary, which is available on the net.

NB, that in Dictionary.app's prefs, you can also select which dictionaries you wish to see/use.

  • 2
    It would help if you included sources for extra dictionaries (rather than simply saying "available on the net."). Places like the following, for example: speedofmac.com/adding_dictionaries.html – user10355 Dec 18 '11 at 21:26

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