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Sep 1, 2020
libenchant -- Generic spell checking library
Maintainer: Reuben Thomas
Home page:

libenchant is licensed under the terms of the GNU LGPL (see the file
COPYING.LIB), with a special exception allowing the use of proprietary
spell-checking systems.

Enchant aims to provide a simple but comprehensive abstraction for dealing
with different spell checking libraries in a consistent way. A client, such
as a text editor or word processor, need not know anything about a specific
spell-checker, and since all back-ends are plugins, new spell-checkers can
be added without needing any change to the program using Enchant.

Enchant can be configured by the user, who can even add spell-checker
plugins if desired.

Enchant currently works with the following spell-checkers:

    * Hunspell (formerly Myspell)
    * Nuspell
    * GNU Aspell
    * Hspell
    * Voikko
    * Apple Spell (macOS only)
    * Zemberek

Enchant is written in C and C++, and its only external dependency is glib.

Enchant bindings are supplied for C and C++; there are third-party bindings
for various languages (see the home page).


Users should install from a release tarball. See the file INSTALL for

Developers or others wishing to install from a git repository, see HACKING.

Personal word lists

Personal word lists are simple plain text files with one word per line.
Lines starting with a hash sign (#) are ignored.

Sharing personal word lists between spell-checkers

It is possible, and usually safe, to share Enchant’s personal word lists
with other spelling checkers that use the same format (note that other
spell-checkers may not support comments!). The spell-checkers known to be
compatible are Hunspell, Nuspell and Ispell. (Although Enchant does not
support Ispell as a back-end, it’s still fine to share word lists with it.)
Other spell-checkers supported by Enchant are either incompatible, or have
no personal word list mechanism. There may well be yet other spell-checkers,
unknown to Enchant, that use the same format.

Some applications use Hunspell or Nuspell, but store the personal word list
under another name or in another location. Firefox is one example. Firefox
also seems to reorder its word list when updating it; again, this is OK, as
the result is still in the same format. Anonther example is Thunderbird.

To share word lists with Enchant, find the other spelling checker’s word
list file, e.g. ~/.hunspell_fr_FR or ~/.config/nuspell/fr_FR, and merge it
with the corresponding Enchant file, in this case ~/.config/enchant/fr_FR.dic
(on a GNU or BSD system). Use the following command, replacing ENCHANT-DICT
and OTHER-DICT with the corresponding dictionary file names:

cat ENCHANT-DICT OTHER-DICT | sort -u > merged.txt

Take a look at merged.txt to check the merge has worked, then

mv merged.txt ENCHANT-DICT

to replace the other dictionary file with a link to the Enchant dictionary,
again filling in the name of the dictionary files.

Bug reports and development

To report libenchant bugs or request features, please visit

If you can't use GitHub do get in touch with the maintainer, Reuben Thomas: