Webster’s 1913 Dictionary for macOS

A contemporary-update to the CSS styling of dictionary results for the Webster’s 1913 English Dictionary.

This is by no means a “perfect” styling but it feels much more aligned with the rest of the dictionary than previous stylings. It’s just CSS — please fork this sucker and make it even prettier using mystical CSS selectors.


To install on macOS:

  • Download and unzip the websters-1913.dictionary.zip file
  • Open Dictionary.app
  • File > Open Dictionaries Folder
  • Copy the unzipped webster-1913.dictionary file into the dictionaries folder (default location: ~/Library/Dictionaries)
  • Quit and re-open Dictionary.app
  • Dictionary > Preferences
  • Webster’s 1913 should be at the bottom of your sources list
  • Select it!

screenshot of results for "Monkey"


Dictionary madness kicked off by James Somers back in 2014:

A book where you can enter “sport” and end up with “a diversion of the field” — this is in fact the opposite of what I’d known a dictionary to be. This is a book that transmutes plain words into language that’s finer and more vivid and sometimes more rare. No wonder McPhee wrote with it by his side. No wonder he looked up words he knew, versus words he didn’t, in a ratio of “at least ninety-nine to one.”

Based off the output of @ponychicken’s parsing of the original dictionary files.


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