FreeDict API

Sebastian Humenda edited this page May 5, 2018 · 8 revisions

FreeDict API


The FreeDict API is a statically generated resource, providing information about all available dictionaries, including name, headword count, maintainer, download links and checksums of the downloads. It comes in two flavours: XML and JSON. Most of the FreeDict tooling uses the XML version, but new projects are free to choose whatever version. The API allows retrieving information about the dictionaries, their meta data and their releases (with download links).

Mount Point

You can retrieve the API file from either


These are CORS-enabled, so that you can retrieve it across domains.

API Structure

The following sections will explain the the general structure of the XML file. The JSON format is discussed further below, but is basically a one-to-one translation from the XML file.

The XML file is encoded in UTF-8 and contains a root Element called FreeDictDatabase. The dictionaries are listed below this elements in Dictionary nodes. Each Dictionary may additionally contain Release nodes.


The dictionary element represents one source dictionary from FreeDict. It is independent from the underlying format (in fact, all dictionaries are encoded in TEI XML). A dictionary is identified by its name (attribute name), which is a hyphen-separated string of two ISO 639 codes. For instance, the Latin-German dictionary would be identified by `name="lat-deu". All other attributes are listed below.

Attribute Overview

name Required Explanation
headwords yes number of headwords in the dictionary
edition yes version number in the format release.major.minor, major and minor are optional, but must be separated by a dot
date yes date in the format year-month-day (year 4 digits, month 2 digits, day 2 digits)
maintainer yes name of the maintainer or a String like "FreeDict - no maintainer assigned"
maintainer email no email address of maintainer; might be escaped
status no the state of the dictionary, e.g. "too small" or "big enough to be useful"
source URL no link to the upstream project, if applicable


Each dictionary may have one or more releases. Each release has multiple, required attributes, listed in the table below.

name Explanation
platform target platform, e.g. dictd for a file intended for the dict server in a .tar.xz archive (try make list-platforms in a dictionary of your choice for an up-to-date list)
version same format as edition of the Dictionary node, see overview table
date same format as for the Dictionary node, see overview table
size size of the download, in bytes
size size of the download, in bytes
checksum SHA512 checksum of the downloadable file to validate its integrity after download

Validation / Schema

The API is build on a RELAX NG schema, which allows for validation of the produced XML file. It is located in the git repository at If you compiled the latest API file using "make api" from the tools directory, you can use make api-validation to execute the validation.


As mentioned before, the JSON API is a rough one-to-one mapping from the XML version. There is no root element, but a list/an array of dictionaries. Each dictionary object can have all the key → value pairs as the Dictionary node from the XML version.

Each dictionary object has an additional key called releases. This contains an array of objects, each representing a release. They are again a one-to-one mapping from the XML Release node.


    "date": "2017-10-21",
    "edition": "0.7",
    "headwords": "38000",
    "maintainerName": "John Smith",
    "name": "abc-def",
    "releases": [
        "URL": "",
        "date": "2017-10-21",
        "platform": "src",
        "size": "198178",
        "version": "0.7"
    ]  ,
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