I have "Look up & data detectors" set to three-finger tap in the Trackpad preference pane. This means that when I three-finger tap on a word, I get a dictionary tooltip/overlay like so:

dictionary tooltip

This is something I use and want. However, there is also something I don't want. When I three-finger tap on something other than a word, like the blank background of a page, or a nonselectable word, Dictionary.app opens, like so:

Dictionary.app crashes the party

Bizarrely, this Dictionary.app happens in Google Chrome, but not Preview or Finder, where three-finger tapping on a background does nothing, as expected.

Is there a way to keep the dictionary lookup tooltips for words, but get rid of the Dictionary.app opening for non-words?

1 Answer 1


In google chrome, you cannot change the functionality of the "Look up & Data Detector" three-finger tap. You can only turn it off completely. More information on the functionality below.

This functionality is called "Look up & Data Detectors" in your trackpad options. This can be turned on and off.

The reason this happens in Google Chrome but not other Apple applications is because it is an Apple functionality. For example, doing a three finger tap in Safari on a hyperlink will cause it to open up a smaller preview window of the page or other very detailed information that the OS can find if it was just a single word.

However it won't do this in Google chrome. In chrome it'll only give a basic dictionary definition, or anything very basic about the word tapped on.

  • I would like to suggest for those looking for a "preview window" like I described above for google-chrome, an extension to do a similar functionality. HoverSee for Safari, and HoverZoom for Google chrome. Enjoy!
    – Jahhein
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 4:58

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