Apple How to

How to Check the Built in Dictionary in Mac

Built in Dictionary in Mac
Written by Hassan Abbas

Your Mac has its Look Up tool for getting instant definitions and other details about a word or phrase. But if you are brand new to Mac, you might not realize that there’s an actual Dictionary app. This app that comes with your Mac can be quite useful too. In this article, we are going to tell you about how to check Built-in Dictionary in Mac.

What makes the Dictionary application on Mac handy is that you can also customize it with the sources you want. This lets you get information on something from Wikipedia, a synonym with the thesaurus, and of course, a definition with the Oxford Dictionary. Additionally, you can also have the option of multiple languages.

However, if you are curious about the Dictionary application on your Mac or want to allow your child to use it for schoolwork. Here is how to customize and use it.

Open and customize the Dictionary app | Built in Dictionary in Mac

You can find the Dictionary app in your Applications folder or by using Spotlight.

Once you open it, you can pop in a word or phrase right away using the default sources. However, in order to make it more useful, consider customizing it for those you will use most.

Click Dictionary > Preferences from the menu bar.

You will see all of the reference sources listed at the top with available languages at the bottom. If you do not see the language you want on the list. Tap on Other Languages and browse for it there.

Then it is as simple just as checking boxes for what you want to use. In the list of sources at the top. You can drag those you select to the order you want them. This makes it easier when you open the Dictionary.

When you finish, just close the preferences and then take the application for a spin.

Using the Dictionary app | Built in Dictionary in Mac

Enter a word or phrase into the Search box at the top of the Dictionary window. Then, select the source you want to use. You can also choose All that is on the right to see results from every source. Pick the result you want on the left and there, you will see full details on the right.

If your source has a link, it will open right within the Dictionary window. So you do not have to open your browser, which is convenient.

If you use Wikipedia as a source and do want to open the website in your browser. Scroll to the bottom and click the View web page link. That page will open in your default browser, Such as Safari.

The Dictionary window | Built in Dictionary in Mac

You can use the arrows on the top left to go back or forward and the font size buttons to increase or decrease the size of the text.

If you want to look up another word or phrase, but keep the details for the one you have. Just open a new tab by clicking the plus sign on the right of the tab bar. You can open many tabs all at once. Letting you get information on everything you need in one spot.

Restrict explicit content | Built in Dictionary in Mac

If you want to allow your child to use the Dictionary app for school, this is a great way to make use of it. But you may want to be sure they do not see explicit content with it.

This control is contained in the Screen Time settings on Mac. If you’d like more details on setting up Screen Time. We have a helpful tutorial. But if you already have and just need to restrict the content for the Dictionary. Now follow these steps.

  • Open your System Preferences using the icon in your Dock or Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar.
  • Select Screen Time.
  • Pick the user on the top left and select Content on the right.
  • Uncheck the box next to Allow for Explicit Language in Siri & Dictionary.

Wrapping it up

The Dictionary app is one of those built-in tools that can be handy and useful, as long as you remember it is there. So take advantage of it on your Mac the next time you need to look something up!


Alright, That was all Folks! I hope you like this Built in Dictionary in Mac article and find it helpful. Give us your feedback on it. Also if you guys still have further queries and issues related to this article. Then let us know in the comments section below. We will get back to you shortly.

Have a Great Day!

Also See: How To Combine Multiple iCloud Calendars into One On Mac

About the author

Hassan Abbas

Tech enthusiast with too many items on his wish-list and not nearly enough money! Specializing in all things tech, with a slight Apple bent he has been writing for various blogs for the best part of (too many) years

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