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Sdcv is a command line dictionary. It provides access to dictionaries in StarDict's format.


sdcv is available from the official repositories


sdcv can be started from the command line:


This gives you a 'shell-like' command-line from which you can query the database.

Adding dictionaries

(You can find a comprehensive post here [1])

Download the dictionary files according to your requirements from the following sources:

- The Collaborative International Dictionary of English (GPL, 35MB, 174222 words) [2]


- Free On-Line Dictionary of Computing [3]

- Jargon File - A comprehensive compendium of hacker slang illuminating many aspects of hackish tradition, folklore, and humor[4]

- GNU Linux English-English Dictionary [5]

Make the directory where sdcv looks for the dictionary:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/share/stardict/dic/

Then you can extract the files into /usr/share/stardict/dic.

If it is a .bz2 file:

sudo tar -xvjf downloaded.tar.bz2 -C /usr/share/stardict/dic

If it is a .gz file:

sudo tar -xvzf downlaoded.tar.gz -C /usr/share/stardict/dic

If you don't have root permissions, you can set the STARDICT_DATA_DIR environment variable. A good choice might be:


sdcv will look in the dic subdirectory so make sure that is created and place your dictionaries inside it

After that, you should be set


Alias sdcv

sdcv isn't a very good name for a terminal command you are likely to use a lot. A good name might be:

alias def="/usr/bin/sdcv"

See Also