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I wanted to verify my understanding of the Greek phrase "hoi poloi", which has been borrowed by English, so I typed it into Safari's search bar and was prompted with a suggested dictionary entry. I clicked on it and was taken to a page on Dictionary.com that had virtually nothing other than ads and similar assorted trash. Nowhere on the page was any definition of "hoi poloi"

This is obviously totally useless. I don't know whether the fault is with Safari or (more likely) with Dictionary.com or something in between, but it doesn't really matter—it simply needs to be fixed somehow. How or where can I configure this to behave differently. The worst acceptable case is that I just disable this and am not lured off the normal path of searching through DuckDuckGo.com/search.Brave.com/whatever, which actually works.

trying to get a dictionary definition with Safari

I'm using Safari 16.1 (17614.2.9.1.13, 17614) on macOS 12.6 (21G115). Safari's search engine is set to DuckDuckGo.

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  • Platform and version ( IOS, macOS, etc.)? What is the Search Engine setting in Safari?
    – Allan
    Dec 21, 2022 at 2:32
  • It's probably sending you to Lexico.com, which was shut down and now redirects to Dictionary.com, though that is missing some entries.
    – Laurel
    Jan 25, 2023 at 19:02

2 Answers 2

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You should be able to change the Dictionary sources the Dictionary App used (what you’re clicking on). In the app, go to Settings and you should be able to configure the sources, their order and what options (where applicable) are available.

You can find more info on Apple Support for Dictionary App.

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DuckDuckGo may not do what you want with "hoi polloi" because technically that is not Greek. If I type οι πολλοι into DuckDuckGo, I get several useful explanations. But there's not much you can do to change the way DuckDuckGo searches.

I would suggest that an easier way to look things up is to use Apple's built-in dictionaries, which Allan mentioned in his answer. That is configurable. You just right-click or Ctrl-click on a word or a selected phrase and a menu pops up. The top two items are usually "look up (item)" and "translate (item)" For lookup, in MacOS, you can then click "open in Dictionary" to see the whole thing. In IOS, you tap a definition to see the whole thing.

The translate option is apparently Apple's own product rather than a call to something else. But I'm not certain, because without internet access, it just says "not available."

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  • If you get the free or paid version of DeepL.com, it will add itself to the bottom of your services menu. DeepL (in my opinion) is usually better than Google translate. But it also requires internet. Lookup, however, works with local dictionary files and doesn't need internet.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 21, 2022 at 4:56
  • Actually, Apple translate can be used without internet, IF (like Dictation) you first go into settings and download (with internet) the languages you want. Now that I think of it, that tells me it's probably not Google, because Google isn't likely to sell their language data to Apple.
    – WGroleau
    Dec 21, 2022 at 4:59

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