dict.cc Dictionary Plugin

Here I offer you a plugin that enhances Mac OS X Leopard’s (10.5) or Mac OS X Snow Leopard's (10.6) Dictionary.App to provide the complete German-English vocabulary from the fabulous dict.cc dictionary for offline use. It works great in Dictionary.App and other core Mac OS X services like Spotlight or Dictionary-Widget.

(Spring zur deutschen Beschreibung)

Example in Dictionary-Widget


Download the appropriate installation package from the dict.cc servers (see below).

Note that the most recent version requires Mac OS X 10.6 while an older version of the dictionary runs fine in Mac OS X 10.5. You may try to download the newer version at check whether it works for you.

After the installation you need to activate your new dictionary in the preferences of Dictionary.App (Command+",").

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any feature requests or bug reports. I will update my script and the installation procedure from time to time.

Donation and support

Do you like it? Writing, testing and maintaining this packages take quite some time. Consider donating a hot cup of coffee or a book if you use them frequently. Thanks!


Languages Entries last update Compatibility Download-Link Size (installed)
Deutsch-Englisch 1.029.390 2011-05-25 Mac OS X 10.6
(Snow Leopard)
(from dict.cc)
600 MB
Deutsch-Englisch 528.637 2008-05-27 Mac OS X 10.5
(from dict.cc)
350 MB
68.378 2011-05-25 Mac OS X 10.6
(Snow Leopard)
(from dict.cc)
35 MB

Note: The Deutsch Italiensch (German Italian) dictionary is unsupported. I just checked if my script is able to build packages from the dict.cc databases besides Englisch German and it does. I do not support this package and I will not offer packages for other languages. The sources are attached. Feel free to build you own packages… :)


I do not yet provide a tool for uninstalling this plugin. However, you can remove it on your own:

The dictionary is located in /Library/Dictionaries/. Deleting the dictionary from this folder will uninstall it. If you installed the dictionary only for one users that it should be located in /Users/USER/Library/Dictionaries/.


I want to thanks Paul Hemetsberger and all users of dict.cc for this fabulous online dictionary. I hope that this offline version will not lessen the participation in his project.

Additionally I would like to thank Wolfgang Reszel who wrote a similar tool to import the BeoLingus vocabulary into Dictionary.App. I heavily borrowed from him for the renewed version of my tool, namely the installation package and the XHTML/CSS rendering.


My import tool is licensed under the GPL and you may download, modify and share it. You can download it below (Python-Script, Mac OS X Developer Tools required, no dictionary data included).

This does not apply for the actual dictionary data itself, which is licensed separately.

Frequently asked questions

Why are versions prior to Mac OS X 10.6 not upgraded any more?

I'am not able to test and appropriately support systems that I don't use myself.


  • Try your luck. One most systems the new version should run fine.
  • Download the Mac OS X 10.5 version (see above). It still features over 500.000 translations.
  • Grab the source code and the OS X developer tools and build the dictionary on your own.

Will you offer packages for other languages?

No. I can't support packages that I do not use frequently by myself. Feel free to grab the source and build the packages on your own.


  • 2011-05-28: OS X 10.6 version with 1.029.390 entries. UTF-8 support. (details)
  • 2008-05-27: Besides a recent snapshot of dict.cc’s database I incorporated a number of smaller and bigger changes. Updating is advised, although the space requirements went up to 300MB. (Details).


The links to the online version of the entry, to dict.cc, and to an update-check currently only work in Dictionary.App. They're still displayed in the Widget and this may lead to confusion...



  • deutsch englisch offline
  • deutsch englisch osx
  • apple dictionary plugin
  • mac dictionary plugins
Package icon Python sourcecode (OSX 10.6 version)193.53 KB

There are 74 Comments

didn't work for me either, until i finally read on the webpage: "After the installation you need to activate your new dictionary in the preferences of Dictionary.App" that should be in the installer instructions, it was not obvious! ps. thanks to herr brauner for all the work, great tool!

Workes (for me) in Snow Leopard (10.6) without any problems!! :)

hey, ich bin ein sehr großer fan deines tools; ich nutze es seit langem. aber gibt es auch eine version für snow leopard? beste grüße abalone

That file's extremely big at 188Meg... is there not any smaller file I can download containing just the dictionary itself - it's just text, surely - so what is filling in 188 meg? I'm just on a very slow connection offshore... any advice? Cheers

Hi, I've been using your tool for a while, great job! Is there any way to create a similar Plugin for French-German from the dict.cc database? Thanks!

If you want to build the dictionary with the latest updates from dict.cc, you generally have to get the distribution version of this plugin (dictcc-dictionary-distrib.zip) and follow the instructions in Readme.txt. Additional note: When downloading the latest dictionary from http://www1.dict.cc/translation_file_request.php make sure you get this version: DE -> EN   (Elcombri / old format, cp1252)   Eventually the output for me looked like this: Read 733566 lines with 9 comments. Errors: 2046 925017 entries in dictionary. Generating XML output. This may take some time... Wrote 925017 entries to 'temporary.xml' - Building dict.cc Deutsch-Englisch Dictionary.dictionary. - Cleaning objects directory. - Preparing dictionary template. - Preprocessing dictionary sources. - Extracting index data. - Preparing dictionary bundle. - Adding body data. - Preparing index data. - Building key_text index. - Building reference index. - Fixing dictionary property. - Copying CSS. - Finished building ./objects/dict.cc Deutsch-Englisch Dictionary.dictionary.

If you want to build the dictionary with the latest updates from dict.cc, you generally have to get the distribution version of this plugin (dictcc-dictionary-distrib.zip) and follow the instructions in Readme.txt. Additional note: When downloading the latest dictionary from http://www1.dict.cc/translation_file_request.php make sure you get this version: DE -> EN   (Elcombri / old format, cp1252)  

why do I need to authenticate with Admin password to install a dictionary? Isn't there an option for a standard user? I don't feel like giving that kind of control to any program.

Hallo, I have a problem!! I cant use this dictionary in dashboard like the picture that you have in your blog!! It's just in dictionary .app at applications directiroy,I set the preferences but I can not use it yet..plz help me how to run it in dashboard...thanks.

Works great on Lion, the dictionary tap gesture makes this indespensable.

I just want to say a huge thank-you for this wonderful service. I have used dict.cc with great gratitude for the better part of a decade, since its very early days, and I am amazed at how reliable and comprehensive it has become. I just now discovered the downloadable version. This is a gift to humanity!

Plugin works very fine, even with Mountain Lion (10.8.2)! Thanks a lot!

This works in Mountain Lion (Mac OS 10.8) but after the download completes, you can't just double-click the package (macosx10.6_dict.cc_dictionary.pkg) to run the installer. You have to right-click the package and choose the Open command from the pop-up menu. You'll be warned that the developer is not known to Apple and you should only continue if you trust them. I did and the installation was successful. But to make right-click-lookup work, I had to open Dictionary Preferences, change the order of the dictionaries (just drag DE-EN up) and close Preferences.

Phillip, please help! I tried to build the plugin following your instructions here and in the ReadMe file with a current dict.cc download version (2014-11-03). I'm on OS X 10.7.5 with Xcode 4.6.3 installed. Unfortunately (but kinda expected), the process failed. Could you take a look at the output / error message and maybe advise? I'm no real coder, just an advanced user with rudimentary insight. I can change code if I get specific instructions, so your help would be very appreciated.

MacMachine:dictccdistrib username$ ./createpackages.py dictcc20141103.txt DE-EN "Deutsch-Englisch"

dict.cc to Dictionary.app XML Converter - $Id$

Version 2.9

Philipp M. Brauner - lipflip.org

licensed under the GPL


Switching sys.stdout to utf-16...

?? switched!

Processing "dictcc20141103.txt"

Traceback (most recent call last):

File "./createpackages.py", line 512, in


File "./createpackages.py", line 91, in main


File "./createpackages.py", line 240, in readVocabulary

for line in input:

File "/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/codecs.py", line 684, in next

return self.reader.next()

File "/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/codecs.py", line 615, in next

line = self.readline()

File "/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/codecs.py", line 530, in readline

data = self.read(readsize, firstline=True)

File "/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.7/lib/python2.7/codecs.py", line 477, in read

newchars, decodedbytes = self.decode(data, self.errors)

UnicodeDecodeError: 'utf8' codec can't decode byte 0x84 in position 0: invalid start byte

MacMachine:dictccdistrib username$

Vielen Dank für das Plugin :) Es ist eine große Erleichterung für mich. danke für die Arbeit!

Hallo! Ja. Das Plugin sollte auch mit neuen Versionen problemlos laufen. -- philipp

Dear Lipflip,

thank you this wonderful plugin. As the poster before asked you for an update and so do I.

I have to ask you because I was not able to compile a new version with your code. I grabed the source, downloaded the utf-8 dictcc corpus, started the python scrit and I got a lot of errors compiling the dictionary. This might be due to me, because my skills in python coding are rather limited.

These errors look like:

*** No corresponding body_id. Skipped [doorweed noun 4866 0 doorweed noun ] ...

which always end after two hours in terminating the whole script with an error at the "- Building key_text index." stage.

I think that a lot of users would profit from a new version, since the corpus has now over 1,3 million entries.

Thanks for considering it!

What about updating your plugin? Dict.cc is becoming bigger and bigger.


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