Until recently (although I'm not sure how recent), macOS shipped Dictionary.app with dictionary definitions built in.

As of macOS Mojave, this is no longer the case. The first time you open Dictionary.app, you are prompted to download definitions from the internet.

How can I transfer a copy of these definitions to a fully offline computer? I can't seem to figure out where they are stored.

A way to capture the original .pkg file from Apple's servers (assuming this is how the downloads are distributed) would also be an acceptable answer.

Update 10/11/18:

Per answers below, I now know that dictionaries are stored as .dictionary files in /System/Library/Assets/com_apple_MobileAsset_DictionaryServices. However, moving them to this folder on a new machine does not cause them to be recognized in Dictionary.app.

Interestingly, if you open one of these .dictionary files in Dictionary.app, you get a message saying the dictionary could not be imported, because the "folder" format is not supported. Which begs the question, what format would be supported...

  • do not copy the folder, just the Dictionary file it self. – Ruskes Oct 14 '18 at 19:12
  • @Buscar웃 That's what I'm doing! Although it should be noted, these files appear to be like .app's, folders with a special extension which Finder displays as files. – Wowfunhappy Oct 14 '18 at 19:23
  • OK, one more try, right click on the .dictionary file and click on show package content, now copy the Resources Folder .... (without the Plist) – Ruskes Oct 14 '18 at 19:43
  • @Buscar웃 To where? Remember, the offline Mojave computer has zero dictionaries installed by default, so it's not obvious where to replace it. – Wowfunhappy Oct 15 '18 at 23:21

They are located in (HighSierra)

Aside from this, you will find packaged dictionaries here:


there is also the words file here /usr/share/dict/words

User specific Dictionaries are stored here /System/Library/Assets/com_apple_MobileAsset_DictionaryServices (based on your Language and Keyboard selection), here is mine, so if you have chosen Polish it will be there.


copy and paste in to Finder GoTo

Do not copy the Folder, just the dictionary it self.

  • On my machine, ~/Library/Spelling/LocalDictionary is a 0kb file. ~/Library/Dictionaries/ was the first thing I tried, and doesn't seem to contain the downloaded dictionaries. – Wowfunhappy Sep 27 '18 at 20:41
  • @Wowfunhappy you are on Mojave, I am reporting from HighSierra – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 20:46
  • I'm actually experiencing the same thing on High Sierra! (The High Sierra machine is not a new install, and I thus can't remember if I originally had to download the dictionaries or if they came prepackaged.) – Wowfunhappy Sep 27 '18 at 20:54
  • there are so many dictionaries, for example the Apple Dictionary is in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Dictionary – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 21:43
  • Open Dictionary app and select preferences to see all the Dictionaries that came pre installed with the OSX – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 22:07

On my computer running High Sierra 10.13.6, one of the dictionaries I was presented with was called: "New Oxford American Dictionary". I did a global search on my computer for that name and I got a hit on this name: New Oxford American Dictionary.dictionary. It is located in:

/System/Library/Assets/com_apple_MobileAsset_DictionaryServices_dictionaryOSX/975b56580ea4bbbe1d29ca14a3b5e1a81411c787.asset/AssetData/New Oxford American Dictionary.dictionary.

I don't know if this is what you're looking for but its the only hit I got on the dictionary name. Another one of my dictionaries is located similarly. Maybe these dictionaries were written to that location after selecting them for use. I dont know.

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