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This tip requires
Mac OS X Tiger

Dictionary is a free application provided by Apple as part of Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). It provides both a dictionary, based on the New Oxford American Dictionary, and a thesaurus, based on the Oxford American Writers Thesaurus.

The dictionary can also provide its "services" to other applications that wish to use the dictionary functionality.


Accessing the Dictionary

The dictionary can be accessed in several ways. You can:

  • Open the Dictionary application located in the Applications folder
  • Use the Dashboard Dictionary widget
  • Control-click a word and choose "Look Up in Dictionary"
  • Move the mouse over a word in a Cocoa application and press (by default) command-control-D to bring up a "mini" dictionary, as described in the Tiger article.

Spell Checking

Spell checking does not use the Dictionary. Instead, it uses its own custom dictionary, which stores spelling only and not definitions. More information is available in the Mac OS X Spell Checker article.


The "mini" dictionary in action: