Tuesday 15 April 2008

Free dictionary for Windows and Linux

All macs come with a dictionary, so why can't Windows and Linux computers have the same advantage as well? Here's a great little free and open source dictionary application that curious windows users like me are most likely going to utilize quite frequently.

The application is called StarDict and is available for both Windows and Linux computers. Although its interface has the 'Pidgin IM' look, I find its definitions to be quite accurate and concise. Very helpful indeed when you want to edit a speech your going to give in front of hundreds of people.
It runs on GTK runtime so the speed at which it runs isn't quite optimal but it does seem to snap into action whenever you need it. However it does have some great features. Just remember to get some dictionaries from the dictionaries page and then place it in C:\Program Files\StarDict\dic then restart the application if it is already open.
  • It can translate from one language to another
  • Show definitions of any word your mouse pointer hovers over (this can be disables by unchecking the 'Scan' button in the main window of the application)
  • It has a feature called 'Net Dict' which searches the internet for definitions so you don't have to download all the definitions
  • You can also add dictionaries to it as you wish by downloading additional dictionaries
  • It even conveniently places a StarDict icon in the system tray in your taskbar (that's the area in the right bottom corner of your computer screen where the time is displayed)
  • It suggests words as you type so if you are uncertain about the spelling of a word you can find that out too
  • It is a great tool to help you find out alternative words that mean the same thing
  • You can even download the CIA world factbook dictionary (from the additional dictionaries page) and search through it
Although it might be a bit tricky to use this dictionary application at first, you'll soon get the hang of it. Now lets just hope that having a dictionary on the computer will prevent people who are Shakespeare wannabes from making up their own words.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to beyondteck+question@gmail.com and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!

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