In Mac-OS Catilina, how can I convert the included dictionaries (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary etc.) into a format readable without requiring Dictionary.app?

  • @nohillside, is the term 'free software' somehow offensive here? May 15 '21 at 11:19
  • 1
    I understand the question as an attempt to reverse-engineer the file format used by Dictionary.app, or to find other ways to access the content of the dictioniery. Free vs non-free doesn‘t seem relevant for this.
    – nohillside
    May 15 '21 at 11:47

Apple's Dictionaries are compiled data structures, and Apple publishes no documentation on the format.

This blog provides a detailed description of reverse-engineering Apple's dictionaries.


(I know it's customary to provide an account of the link, but it's a very detailed and complex process.)

There are of course a wide range of existing open source dictionaries.

  • thanks! the github gist works for extracting xml (if one ads print(definition) at the bottom and remembers to use python2). i'm not sure what to do with the xml codes other than stripping them. i suppose doing something more sensible with them would be rather involved. May 16 '21 at 14:47

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