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

This is an excellent tool, thank you for making this publicly available. Just right-click the unknown word in any Cocoa App and select “Dictionary”. Alternatively you can hit and hold Ctrl+Command+D and move the mouse cursor over a sentence. Assign a more accessible shortcut like Command+F1 in the System Prefs. Georg

I have some electronic texts in German and would love to be able use Georg's Ctrl+Command+D method to check definitions of individual words as I go through the text. Is this possible? Would I have to convert Word or PDF files to something else? Not sure what counts as a Cocoa application, so forgive me if the question is stupid!-)

Just try it. The shortcut will work in some programs and in some it won't. In Skim - for viewing PDFs - it works fine so far. In Word it doesn't. If you're favorite App doesn't support Dictionary lookups via this popup window, then just add Dictionary.App to your Dock. I occasionally select and drag single words from my browser to the Dictionary.App Icon in the Dock and it will be looked up instantly.

Thanks so much. Skim works great. Also, word documents, if opened in Textedit, work as well. This is a really helpful tool!

Great buddy, This is awesome. I am gonna check it out soon =D Thanks! -Wai

I was looking for something like this a few weeks ago befor i took of too the us. Thank you!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Finally!

...now all you need to do is make one for the iPhone/iPod Touch... I would use it dozens of times a day since I'm studying in Berlin :D

I would love to. But I don't have an iPhone and there's currently no Dictionary.App for it. But I realy hope that Apple will create one and maybe my dict.cc-dictionary can be imported without any troubles...

Think there's any way to get it to work on Tiger? I'll do it myself if I have to. Just thinking it'll help me get through the last few weeks of German class a little easier without worrying about my sketchy internet connection. Thanks.

this is great, thanks a lot (gave it a digg)

As someone now living in Germany and slowly learning the language, I have to say thanks for this. It will be very helpful.


Would it not be possible to have a version for OS 10.4? Given all the trouble with 10.5, I am not in any hurry to move to Leopard, but another German dictionary would be wonderful to have—an alternative to the Ultralinqua product.

I would love to provide a Tiger version of this dictionary, but Tiger's Dictionary.App is not extendable via plugins.

just one problem i put in the same word as you did but i got different results? any ideas JayJay golook@gmail.com

strange indeed. is this a serious difference or just slightly different rendering or sth. like that? and are you referring to a difference between my screenshot of the widget and a query in the action Dictionary.App? i noticed that the widget is a bit picky when searching for a word. Dictionary.App merges "*download*", "*Download*" and "*to download*" together, whereas the widget will treat these as different entries.

really nice, some time ago i was looking for something like this, thanks for making it public

Nice work! Is it possible / are you planning to extend this functionality to other languages? I'm moving to Spain in a few months and would LOVE to have my Mac able to translate spanish! Thanks for your good work on this!

Just wanted to say how grateful I am to have such a piece of software now! However, I am also working with the beolingus plugin and think the visuals are slightly better there (indents, separator lines). If you could easily implement that too, your software will at least rule on my macbook for some good time to come. Further, do I have to check for updates or does it do that automatically? Kind regard and many thanks!

Yeah. Wolfgang did a fairly decent job. I'm working on the text rendering. Well. I'm not sure about the update frequency yet. Currently you have to manually check for updates, but I'll set up a newsletter for that. Check back tomorrow. :) Regrettably I can't provide an automatic updating system, as this would dig deep into OS X. Anyway. How often should I update the dictionary? I mean the core vocabulary will not change the next 50 years or so and very few people need the latest cutting-edge translation just added to dict.cc. Any ideas? Once a month? Every six month?

Nice to hear that! Personally, I think an update every half a year is perfectly fine considering there is some amount of work on your side. BTW, does anyone know which of the two data sets does have the better dictionary included, the dict.cc or the beolingus? AFAIK, dict.cc is considered more reliable than leo.org at least, though leo certainly does a fine job, too. Kind regards!

Maybe this is of interest: http://code.google.com/p/mac-dictionary-kit/ Haven't checked it out, though.

Can you make a script to convert XDXF dictionaries and import them. They are free and they have a ton like French, German, Russian, Hungarian. I am in desperate need of converting a portuguese dictionary. If you haven't seen their website it is here: http://xdxf.revdanica.com/down/

I can but I won't. 1. Just providing a script for creating a Dictionary.App plugin is pretty useless, as most users won't be able to install Apple's Developer Tools and probably don't want to deal with the command line. 2. Providing pre-build packages is a bad idea as the licensing is a bit chaotic. Some dicts are GNU and others don'T have a specific license at all. 3. Last but not least: I can't check and I can't support packages for languages I don't speak.

Hey, Great findings!! Thanks so much for sharing. I have a question. I was unable to execute the following: In some applications, such as Mail and Safari, you can use a shortcut. Select the word, Control-click it, and then choose Look up in Dictionary. You might also be able to look up the word by placing the mouse over it and pressing Command-Control-D. What is actually the problem? Mfg, Terence aus Düsseldorf.

hmm... works fine for me. what exactly do you mean? it usually shows me entries from the wrong dictionary, but you can select the dictionary to use in the lower left corner of that nifty info-popup.

Hi...great addition to the dictionary but I cant' get the contextual menu to work with Firefox 3 as it works with Safari. Any tips, ideas? Greetz from down under.

I guess you can't get it to work in Firefox, as the dictionary mini-window only works in native Cocoa applications. What I usually do is select the word I want to translate (double click) and drag it onto my Dictionary.App icon in the dock. This will look up the word and open the application if necessary. You need to sacrifice some of the valuable dock space, though.

[...] Their German-English dictionary is quite solid, with lots of entries. It costs $34.95.    dict.cc Dictionary plugin is not as good as Ultralingua, but it is free. After youdownload the plugin and install it, it [...]

Hey, I have a problem, I downloaded this dictionary application and I do have Leopard on my Mac, but when I try to install it, it keeps saying I need Leopard to do it and then all I can do is close the installation window. Can anyone help me? Please!

[...] that they only work when you’re connected to the internet. Thanks to Philipp Brauner’s Dictionary.app plug-in, you can now use a translation service (German to English) right within the Dictionary application. [...]

it does not work under Firefox neither under Safari. Es klapp nicht

I can't seem to download the application or find it in dict.cc Whenever I click the "Get the installation package" button, it leads me to a translation of the text "download/macosx10.5_dict.cc_dictionary.zip"

Hey, I'm also having the same problems as 'Barrera'. I'm running 10.5 Leopard but whenever I try the install it says I'm not using that, and closes down the install. Anybody have any ideas? Thanks in advance!

is there a way you can make this application usable in tiger 10.4 ???? I would so love it then.

hi thanks a lot. i was waiting for a long time to get dict.cc dictionary in a reasonable offline software.

I'm looking for a german dictionary which shows dots between the syllables of a word (ie like the english dictionary.app). Anyone know if that exists?! Either online or offline would be great!

Hi, Thanks a lot for such a wonderful offline plugin. However when I install it using the installer package for Mac OS X, it says "Install Failed. The following install setup failed: run preinstall script for dictcccDeutschenglishDictionaryPreflight". Which script is this? What should I do? Am I not doing it correct? Are there some steps that need to be followed as a prerequisite. My machine is Mac OS X Leopard, hence I am guessing that shouldn't be an issue. ANy help in this context would be greatly appreciated. Thanx again.

Thanks, this is just great. Have been using dict.cc for a long time and having this offline all the time will be sooooo useful!

Thanks, this is just great. Have been using dict.cc for a long time and having this offline all the time will be sooooo useful!


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