A few years ago I read a great post about the value of a good dictionary, which I installed on my laptop and then promptly forgot about. The post is very moving, and I recommend checking it out.

It was recently mentioned on the planet emacs blog circuit and so I thought I'd document how to get it up and running on my laptop.

Also I don't understand what the appeal of John McPhee's writing, I've tried a few of his books but found them all so plodding. Perhaps it's because I'm not savoring the sentences enough…

Get the dictionary

We are going to download the dictionary from J Somer's S3 bucket. Uncompress this thing (which looks like an MacOS Application) then uncompress the dictionary inside, and move it to a newly created ~/.stardict/dic directory.

mkdir -p ~/.stardict/dic
cd /tmp
wget https://s3.amazonaws.com/jsomers/dictionary.zip
unzip dictionary.zip
tar -xjf dictionary/stardict-dictd-web1913-2.4.2.tar.bz2 
mv stardict-dictd-web1913-2.4.2 ~/.stardict/dic/

Install stardict

Using debian, you need to install the sdcv command package. Emacs will talk to this once we are all up and running.

sudo apt install sdcv -y

Test this with sdcv billow or whatever word you fancy.

Install sdvc-mode

cd ~/.emacs.d
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/gucong/emacs-sdcv/master/sdcv-mode.el

And then in your .emacs file:

(load-file "~/.emacs.d/sdcv-mode.el")
(global-set-key (kbd "C-c s") 'sdcv-search)

This binds C-c s to search, or you can use M-x sdcv-search to look up the word you want – or a word that you lack the power or knowledge of.