Tag Archives: checker

hunspell: A spellchecker with vast dictionary support

I see an occasional spellchecker around here — there was aspell and ispell a long while back, look was another one. codespell was good for picking through code for spelling errors, and I guess in an offhand way, dict is a spellchecker. Here’s a great one for stepping through a document and picking out errors: hunspell.


hunspell was already installed on my Arch system, as a dependency to a dependency to a dependency to Pidgin. I see that it’s also optional for a lot of other programs, like Pale Moon or even re-alpine. Which I suppose, is a testament to its usefulness.

In its console interface, hunspell shows the possible error in context, alongside a list of suggested replacements. Key in the number of your correction, or use one of the other options to replace or ignore the error. Reach the end of the document, and you have the option to save. Easy as that.

It’s very sparse, but then again, it’s a tried-and-tested formula. Text-based spellcheckers have been around since the 1970s, if not earlier. We’re working with the benefit of experience here. … 😉

Besides the obvious “no color” complaint, I can’t find anything that is a detriment to hunspell. Like I said, my Arch installation had hunspell installed already, but I needed to install the English dictionary before it would work directly on a text file.

And that might be part of hunspell’s greatest asset: An immense number of dictionaries. I doubt that list is complete; add to that the number of LibreOffice and Mozilla extensions that the home page implies. Plus MySpell dictionaries. And Android and Abiword support.

I’m drifting off-target again though. My real desire here was to show you the terminal interface, and point out that it’s a very real possibility that you’ve already got it on your system. Install a dictionary, and hunspell is ready to roll.

Now I had better go over this post one more time, to make sure I didn’t commit any errors in here. … 😐

ispell: With this, yes you can

Spellcheckers are in no short supply at that console, and we’ve already seen aspell in action. ispell is similar, even if the interface is a little different.


By comparison, ispell seems a bit meticulous. One of the reasons I liked aspell was because it showed a list of alternatives by default.

As best I can tell, if you want to look up a word, not only will you need another package like words, you’ll have to ask ispell specifically to poke around for it.

ispell does show you what it thinks is the right word, and it may be that there are several that are similar.

As I understand it, ispell has better support for European languages, but I can’t attest to that. Check and see what you think.

Aside from that there’s not much that will surprise you about ispell. It behaves much as you might expect, and depending on your personal preferences, it might be more useful than the competition. 😉

aspell: A spellchecker at the console

I’m into a short slew of software that I’ve worked with for quite a while, but want to mention again.

It’s always good to go over old ground. You never know what you’ll notice. Here’s aspell again:


Animated, just for fun. 🙂

I ran into aspell first when I made the shift to charm a few years ago. I brought it out again a few weeks ago for reference and kept it around for a while.

Dictionaries abound in Linux, and aspell makes for a very nice frontend.

Simple word-by-word checks, custom dictionaries, one-key replacement and correction, the ability to ignore or replace words document-wide … all the features you would expect in a standard spellchecker.

Best of all it is light as a feather and can practically nuzzle up to any other application without causing a scene.

Personally, I plan to incorporate this, vim and pip into something vaguely like a homemade word processor. We’ll see how that goes. … 🙄