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Tricks with dict! Find similarly spelled words! Find phrases!

Tricks with dict

I use dict a lot from the command line.

Usually I type something like dict tricky to get back a definition and synonyms.

That's about as simple and user friendly as you can get.

But dict has a few more advanced tricks up its sleep.

dict can find similarly spelled words.

I wrote a short story with an alligator. I wanted words with "gator" to use as puns.

This command did the trick: dict -s re gator -m

Here's what I got back:

gcide:  Abnegator  Abrogator  Aggregator  alligator  Alligator
  alligator  "Alligator apple"  "Alligator fish"  "Alligator gar"
  "Alligator pear"  "alligator pear"  "alligator press"
  "Alligator snapper"  "Alligator terrapin"  "Alligator tortoise"
  "Alligator turtle"  "Alligator wood"  "Alligator wrench"
  alligatored  alligatorfish  Alligatoridae  Castigator  castigatory
  Castigatory  Circumnavigator  Compurgator  Compurgatorial
  Corrugator  Delegatory  Depurgatory  Derogator  derogatorily
  derogatoriness  derogatory  "Derogatory clause in a testament"
  Disobligatory  Expurgator  Expurgatorial  Expurgatorious
  Expurgatory  "Expurgatory Index"  Fumigator  Fumigatory  Indagator
  "Index expurgatorius"  Instigator  Interrogator  Interrogatories
  Interrogatory  Investigator  investigator  investigatory  Legator
  Ligator  Litigator  Mitigator  Mitigatory  Navigator  Negatory
  Nugatory  Objurgatory  Obligatorily  Obligatoriness  Obligatory
  "obligatory anaerobes"  Promulgator  Propagator  Purgatorial
  Purgatorian  Purgatory  Rogatory  "spectacled alligator"
  Subjugator  Suffragator  Supererogatory  Underogatory
  "Writing obligatory"
foldoc:  aggregator  "global network navigator"  navigator
  "netscape navigator"
devil:  alligator
gaz2k-places:  Alligator  "Alligator, MS"
fd-spa-eng:  obligatorio
fd-eng-spa:  instigator
moby-thesaurus:  derogatory  instigator  interrogator
  interrogatory  investigator  mitigator  navigator  nugatory
  obligatory  purgatorial  purgatory  supererogatory

Wow! A little more than I expected.

I almost went with "Abnegator" as the hero's name, but decided that was stupid!

Find phrases with dict

Here's another trick.

Let's say you notice "obligatory anaerobes" in the above results.

The next day you forget the phrase. You also forget where you saw it.

You think, "I know it was obligatory something or other."

You can tell dict the first word of the phrase you need .

dict -s first obligatory | less

I usually pipe results through less because sometimes they're long.

"Obligatory anaerobes" shows up in the results.

You can also look for the last word of a phrase.

dict -s last obligatory | less returns "Writing obligatory" among other things.


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