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RedHat 9 (Linux i386) - man page for dict (redhat section 1)

DICT(1) 																   DICT(1)

dict - DICT Protocol Client
dict word dict [options] [word] dict [options] dict://host:port/d:word:database dict [options] dict://host:port/m:word:database:strategy
dict is a client for the Dictionary Server Protocol (DICT), a TCP transaction based query/response protocol that provides access to dictio- nary definitions from a set of natural language dictionary databases.
-h server or --host server Specifies the hostname for the DICT server. Server/port combinations can be specified in the configuration file. If no servers are specified the default behavior is to try,,, and, in that order. If IP lookup for a server expands to a list of IP addresses (as does currently), then each IP will be tried in the order listed. -p service or --port service Specifies the port (e.g., 2628) or service (e.g., dict) for connections. The default is 2628, as specified in the DICT Protocol RFC. Server/port combinations can be specified in the configuration file. -d dbname or --database dbname Specifies a specific database to search. The default is to search all databases (a "*" from the DICT protocol). Note that a "!" in the DICT protocol means to search all of the databases until a match is found, and then stop searching. -m or --match Instead of printing a definition, perform a match using the specified strategy. -s strategy or --strategy strategy Specify a matching strategy. By default, the server default match strategy is used. This is usually "exact" for definitions, and some form of spelling-correction strategy for matches ("." from the DICT protocol). The available strategies are dependent on the server implemenation. For a list of available strategies, see the -S or --strats option. -C or --nocorrect Usually, if a definition is requested and the word cannot be found, spelling correction is requested from the server, and a list of possible words are provided. This option disables the generation of this list. -c file or --config file Specify the configuration file. The default is to try ~/.dictrc and /etc/dict.conf, using the first file that exists. If a spe- cific configuration file is specified, then the defaults will not be tried. -D or --dbs Query the server and display a list of available databases. -S or --strats Query the server and display a list of available search strategies. -H or --serverhelp Query the server and display the help information that it provides. -i dbname or --info dbname Request information on the specified database (usually the server will provide origination, descriptive, or other information about the database or its contents). -I or --serverinfo Query the server and display information about the server. -a or --noauth Disable authentication (i.e., don't send an AUTH command). -u user or --user user Specifies the username for authentication. -k key or --key key Specifies the shared secret for authentication. -V or --version Display version information. -L or --license Display copyright and license information. --help Display help information. -v or --verbose Be verbose. -r or --raw Be very verbose: show the raw client/server interaction. -P program or --pager program Specify program to use as pager. Use "-" for none. --html (This option has been disabled pending a rewrite of the code.) Generate HTML tags in the output. The HTML generated is not very useful. Support for this option needs to be rewritten. --pipesize Specify the buffer size for pipelineing commands. The default is 256, which should be sufficient for general tasks and be below the MTU for most transport media. Larger values may provide faster or slower throughput, depending on MTU. If the buffer is too small, requests will be serialized. Values less than 0 and greater than one million are silently changed to something more reasonable. --client text Specifies additional text to be sent using the CLIENT command. --debug flag Set a debugging flag. Valid flags are: verbose The same as -v or --verbose. raw The same as -r or --raw. scan Debug the scanner for the configuration file. parse Debug the parser for the configuration file. pipe Debug TCP pipelining support (see the DICT RFC and RFC1854). serial Disable pipelining support. time Perform transaction timing.
The configuration file currently has a very simple format. Lines are used to specify servers, for example: server or, with options: server { port 8080 } server { user username secret } server { port dict user username secret } the port and user options may be specified in any order. The port option is used to specify an optional port (e.g., 2628) or service (e.g., dict) for the TCP/IP connection. The user option is used to specify a username and shared secret to be used for authentication to this particular server. Servers are tried in the order listed until a connection is made. If none of the specified servers are available, then an attempt will be made to connect on localhost and on at the standard part (2628). We expect that will point to one or more DICT servers (perhaps in round-robin fashion) for the foreseeable future (starting in July 1997), although it is difficult to predict anything on the Internet for more than about 3-6 months. The configuration file also allows the setting of a pager (keyword pager), similar to the --pager option.
dict was written by Rik Faith ( and is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. If you need to dis- tribute under other terms, write to the author. The main libraries used by this programs (zlib, regex, libmaa) are distributed under different terms, so you may be able to use the libraries for applications which are incompatible with the GPL -- please see the copyright notices and license information that come with the libraries for more information, and consult with your attorney to resolve these issues.
If a dict: URL is given on the command line, only the first one is used. The rest are ignored. If a dict: URL contains a specifier for the nth definition or match of a word, it will be ignored and all the definitions or matches will be provided. This violates the RFC, and will be corrected in a future release. If a dict: URL contains a shared secret, it will not be parsed correctly. HTML mode isn't as useful as it could be. This will be improved in a future release.
~/.dictrc /etc/dict.conf
dictd(8), dictzip(1),, RFC 2229 15 February 1998 DICT(1)