GoldenDict: dictionary with Wikipedia integration

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 10, 2017

GoldenDict is a free cross-platform dictionary program with Wikipedia integration and support for global hotkeys to power its functionality.

Jack mentioned the dictionary back in 2010 in his Linux Dictionary Tools overview, but I never reviewed the application for Windows.

While word definitions are just a click away in web browsers, as there are plenty of online services that provide you with information, you may sometimes prefer to use a desktop program.

Desktop programs may support the loading of local dictionary files, editing dictionaries, adding words to the favorites, and a lot more that online services don't offer usually.

Tip: we have reviewed other dictionary programs in the past: Spelr, Lingoes, or The Sage.

GoldenDict review

GoldenDict is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X desktop systems. There is also an Android application, but it is commercial.

Windows users can download a portable version of the dictionary, or a setup version. The developers plan to release version 1.50 of the program soon, and this review is based on the second release candidate of that build.  The current stable version is 1.01, released in 2010.

Once you start GoldenDict, you can start using it right away. Enter any word in the search field in the top toolbar to have it looked up on Wikipedia directly.

The program supports only Wikipedia by default, but you can change that easily in the program settings. Click on Edit > Dictionaries, or hit the F3 key, to open the dictionary management interface.

You can check additional Wikipedia, Websites and Morphology sources right away, as GoldenDict ships with sources built-in the program. It is for instance possible to add Wiktionary or language-specific Wikipedia sources to the program.

dictionary windows

The websites listing lists five services including the Urban Dictionary, Google En-En, and Multitran.

Each source you add is queried whenever you run searches in GoldenDict. These are displayed on the right, and you may switch to them easily then.

One of the strengths of GoldenDict is the program's support for custom sources. You can add new Wikipedia or Wiktionary sources for instance, or new websites. All websites work that accept parameters when you run queries.

Apart from that, you may also add local dictionary files (Babylon .BGL, StarDict .ifo/.dict./.idx/.syn, dictd .index/.dict(.dz), ABBYY Lingvo .dsl formats supported), DICT servers or external programs. GoldenDict supports sound directories, transliteration, and text to speech on top of that.

Once you have added a second dictionary you may change the sort order of them as well. This is useful, as you may move another dictionary to position one so that its results will be displayed by default.

Another option that you have there is to create dictionary groups. You may switch between groups, so that only the dictionaries of the selected group are used by the program. This can be handy if you work with multiple languages, or use the program for different kinds of research.

GoldenDict supports global hotkeys which work even if the program is minimized on the machine. You can use Ctrl-C-C to translate a word from clipboard (look it up in the program). Another option that you have is to enable the program's scan popup mode.

It is designed to pick up words that you hover the mouse over automatically. This did not work on the Windows 10 PC that I tested the program on, and I tried it in Firefox, Chrome, LibreOffice and other programs that would benefit from such an integration.

The feature supports key modifiers, and it is suggested to enable those (if it works on your system). Basically, what this does is activate the functionality only when you press the keys on the keyboard.

Other features of interest include options to enable auto-pronunciation of words, and web browsing support. The latter allows you to click on links in the program interface to open the linked pages.


GoldenDict is a powerful dictionary program for the desktop. It ships with a solid selection of dictionaries and may be extended with local and Internet-based dictionaries and services.

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5 based on 6 votes
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  1. kalmly said on July 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve been a loyal WordWeb user for more years than I can count. Solid application, no internet connection required, and full of features, including access to Wiktionary. Where it falls short of perfection is its vocabulary. Even with thousands of words being added to every iteration, I sometimes search for a word only to find it missing from the set. Then it’s either open a browser — the thing I most want to avoid — or go back to the paper tome. Maybe GoldenDict will turn into a decent competitor.

  2. Robert said on July 10, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    GoldenDict in Linux Mint and then WordWeb in Windows for me. GoldenDict is okay but WordWeb if more conveniant and feature packed.

  3. chesscanoe said on July 10, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    GoldenDict sounds powerful but I find the Chrome extension Google Dictionary (by Google) to be as easy and powerful as I need.

  4. Daniel said on July 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Although some might consider Babylon extension as some kind of spyware, it was quite handy with its immediate, little popup window with definitions etc. Have yet to find anything as good, compatible with electrolysis.

  5. Henk van Setten said on July 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    The Firefox extension Context Search X already gives me the option to right-click on any word and open its full Wikipedia page. So for myself, for browser use, just like Martin already noted, I don’t see the need for this.

    If for use with text editing etc. you want a simple but very good, dependable Windows dictionary that does what it should do — concentrate on its core functions — and that will also work fine offline, I recommend WordWeb.

  6. bufferer said on July 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

    I use AppLauncher Firefox addon to send the selected word to GoldenDict : )

  7. jupe said on July 10, 2017 at 9:11 am

    This looks feature packed. Thanks for the review.

    I never thought I would say this, but I wish I was still in school today with all the tools that are available now that weren’t available 25 years ago.

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