Can one use wildcard characters to look up words in online dictionary? (have ver. 2.14.0)

Asked by Greg Supina on 2007-04-11

Regarding the online dictionary which comes with Ubuntu (have version 2.14.0):

If I want to look up a word, but I only know an inflected form of that word (e.g., paraenetic), and I do not know any lexical form of that word, I would like to enter something like PARANE* in the dictionary -- using the wildcard character ( * ) to fill in for all the remaining characters after PARANE. Then, after entering this, I would like to receive a list of possible forms existing in the dictionary, i.e., all the forms which begin with "parane."

Is there any way to do this?

Thanks. Greg.

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Greg Supina
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Mariano Mara (marplatense) said : #1

It's no exactly what you're after but maybe can help:
You can, with Control+T, enable the "Similar words" feature (sorry if that is not the english name, I use a castilian ubuntu so I'm doing a literal translation here).
When you press enter for the word you're after it should retrieve a list of similar words you can navigate.

Carles Oriol (carlesoriol) said : #2

It could work?

cat /usr/share/dict/words | grep paran

Greg Supina (salttalk) said : #3

Hi again.

Well, perhaps I am doing something wrong, but I tried Ctrl-T and nothing happened. Perhaps you (Mariano) are thinking of a Thesaurus in your particular version of a dictionary. It seems that my version of the dictionary does not have a Thesaurus. Perhaps they will add that feature someday.

Actually, I did not really want to look up synonyms right now anyway, but rather all the words which begin with the same characters. I wanted some way of producing a list of all the dictionary words which begin with the characters “paraen.” It would be nice if those words in the list also were linked to the corresponding dictionary definitions too.

Also, Carles, I tried typing in “cat /usr/share/dict/words | grep 'parae'” as well as “grep -i 'parae*' /usr/share/dict/words” and a few other combinations. However, my computer keeps saying that there is no such file. Yet the “words” file does exist in that directory.

So, I suppose that I will just have to try to find a dictionary on the web or something. Some of the words I am trying to look up are linguistic terms, and do not seem to be found in most dictionaries (like many tech terms are also not found in common dictionaries). But I should be able to find some kind of information on the web.

Thanks very much Mariano and Carles, for trying to help.

God bless you.


Mariano Mara (marplatense) said : #4

Hi Greg.
Strange. At first I though it was because you're using 2.14 and I'm with 2.16, however the source of information I checked says "Similar Words" it's there since pre2.14.

Let's try this just to be sure:
Go to the "View" menu option, and there, the third option should be "Similar words" (Maybe control+t is for castilian only and you have a different combination).
If it's there, your dictionary should look exactly like this:
Here's the blog entry from the developer:

It seems "Similar words" is not for synonyms but words that have the same group of letters you entered. So it might help you a bit.

Carles Oriol (carlesoriol) said : #5

Install your wlanguage dictionary.

May be wamerican? I use wcatalan.

Then you get a plain list with all words that you can use as you want.

Best Greg Supina (salttalk) said : #6

Hi Mariano and Carles.

Mariano, I looked at the png image on the link you suggested. My dictionary is the same dictionary, by Emmanuele Bassi, but my dictionary does not even have a "View" option on its top menu bar. I suppose that Ubuntu did not provide a full-featured version of the program. So I am going to try to get an update. Thankyou.

Carles, I downloaded the "wcanadian" dictionary (huge). Then I opened it with the "gedit" text editor (in the /usr/share/dict directory) and searched for various strings of characters. That was a good idea. Thankyou. It can be very useful, when one needs to find the various forms of an inflected word with different prefixes and suffixes.

God bless.