GoldenDict: A Dictionary Nugget

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Jul 01, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

While StarDict touts itself as "the best dictionary program for Linux and Windows," it has a serious challenger to the title called GoldenDict. On the face of it, GoldenDict looks like any other dictionary application. But dig deeper, and you'll discover a few rather neat features that make it not only a rather competent dictionary but also an excellent research tool. For starters, GoldenDict supports a wide range of dictionary formats, including StarDict dictionaries, Babylon .BGL files, Dict dictionary files as well as ABBYY Lingvo source files and audio archives. In addition to that, GoldenDict supports MediaWiki-based references, which include both Wikipedia and Wiktionary. But that's not all. Since GoldenDict is based on the WebKit toolkit it can parse and display data from virtually any Web site, so you can use GoldenDict to look up words in many popular online references, as long as they support URL-based queries. GoldenDict's other comfort creatures include Scan Popup and global hotkeys. When the Scan Popup feature is enabled, GoldenDict pops up a dictionary article for the currently selected word, and you can use this functionality in any application. Thanks to the global hotkeys, you can evoke GoldenDict's main window from any application using the specified key combination as well as translate the word in the Clipboard.


Getting GoldenDict up and running on Linux is not particularly difficult. Download the latest tar.bz2 archive, unpack it, and run the goldendict-bin executable (or use the script). The project's Web site also provides an excellent English-Russian dictionary, so if you are learning Russian or just need a good Russian dictionary, you might want to grab it as well. To install the dictionary (or any dictionary in one of the supported formats for that matter), choose Edit -> Dictionaries, switch to the Files section, and add the path to the directory containing dictionary files. Press OK, and GoldenDict processes and adds the dictionary. Besides the described feature set, GoldenDict sports two other rather nice touches. The main interface supports tabs, so you have several articles opened at the same time. And the Save article command lets you save the currently viewed article as an HTML file.

No matter whether you are on the market for a good dictionary application or you are looking for a research tool, you should take GoldenDict for a spin. Chances are it becomes an essential tool in your arsenal.


  • Goldendict and Artha

    Someone mentioned trying Artha instead of Goldendict...

    Actually this is an error - Artha is an excellent wordsmith tool (great for writing) but it's a Thesaurus, great for finding words (tabs include: Synonyms, Derivatives, Similar, Kinds, Part of..., Parts)

    Artha is an incredible application - I'd dearly love to see it merged - it does indeed feature a dictionary of it's own and should be installed as default on any and every device - but Goldendict needs to go alongside (unless you have the skill to begin a project merging the two...).
  • Best of the Bests

    It is really great dictionary I've ever seen and used. In addition it is completely free.
  • GoldenDict is defenitely the best dictionary application

    Earlier I was using ktranslator in kde3. That was a cool application which supported almost all the dictionary formats which goldendict is supporting. I was unaware of goldendict at that time. In KDE4 ktranslator was not included by our distro. I was crying for this application and mailed to its developer, who said he has no free time left to develop this application anymore. And he suggested goldendict as substitute. Half heartedly I tried this. I was in for a big surprise. goldendict has all the features I was looking for in ktranslator. Beyond that, its interface and scan popup are much superior to ktranslator. Now I dont feel that ktranslator is being missed. Goldendict is defenitely the best.

    I dont know how come startdict is in competition. Stardict sucks. what is the point in pushing unnecessary info in which what we look for goes unnoticed? stardict is not at all a good application.
  • Best Dictionary for Linux

    i've already tried plenty of dictionaries for linux and im sure GoldenDict is far better than others.
    It supports .bgl and other dic file extensions that you usually must convert them to use them on other dicts.
    Its well made( really !!!), easy to use and i never experienced a crash on it.
  • Very nice

    I just installed this on KDE 4.3.2 and I am very impressed!

    Well, worth checking out!

    thanks for the tip.

  • Offline capable?

    If you want an offline dictionary, similar to wordweb on windows, i recommend Artha, available from artha.sourceforge...
  • A Great Dictionary App for KDE4

    Thanks for the great tip on GoldenDict. It works wonderfully on KDE4 desktops as it appears to be QT4 based. The old kdict from KDE3.5 was never ported over to KDE4 which only has a very poor dictionary plasmoid for a dictionary app. GoldenDict more than makes up for the absence of kdict on KDE4 and I would recommend it to any KDE4 users looking for an excellent dictionary app.
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