Dictionary

For word nerds everywhere, the Dictionary (and thesaurus) is a blessing—a handy way to look up word definitions, pronunciations, and synonyms (Figure 19-11). To be precise, OS X comes with electronic versions of multiple reference works in one:

When you open the Dictionary, it generally assumes that you want a word’s definition (lower left). If you prefer to see the Wikipedia entry (top right) at startup time instead, for example, choose Dictionary→Preferences—and drag Wikipedia upward so that it precedes New Oxford American Dictionary. That’s all there is to it!

Figure 19-11. When you open the Dictionary, it generally assumes that you want a word’s definition (lower left). If you prefer to see the Wikipedia entry (top right) at startup time instead, for example, choose Dictionary→Preferences—and drag Wikipedia upward so that it precedes New Oxford American Dictionary. That’s all there is to it!

  • The entire New Oxford American Dictionary. The third edition, actually. You’ll note that its entries give you more examples, background, and tables that help to differentiate fine shades of meaning (look up weak for an example).

  • The complete Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus.

  • Two venerable guides to British English: the Oxford Dictionary of English and Oxford Thesaurus of English.

  • A dictionary of Apple terms, from “A/UX” to “Xsan.” (Apparently there aren’t any Apple terms that begin with Y or Z.)

  • Wikipedia. This famous citizen-created encyclopedia isn’t actually on your Mac. Dictionary just gives you an easy way to search the online version, and display the results right in the comfy Dictionary window.

  • Foreign language dictionaries, including Japanese, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Korean, Italian, and ...

Get Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, El Capitan Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.