I added a lot of words to the standard Mac OS X system-wide dictionary on a given machine, and would like to transfer that specific list of words to another machine. Where / in what file(s) is that list of words stored?


Are you certain you really mean system-wide? If I add a custom spelling, in Snow, it seems to end up here:


The System-wide equivalent, which is empty on my Mac, would be here:


Aside from this, you will find packaged dictionaries here:

  • 2
    My computer shows a variant of this -- I have ~/Library/Spelling/en. This suggests that OS X will save dictionaries by ISO code for each language. Apr 30 '10 at 14:01
  • Seems to work for me. I copied everything under ~/Library/Spelling/. I had to logout/login again for the changes to be visible.
    – ebruchez
    Nov 6 '13 at 23:04
  • 1
    This answer no longer appears to be correct as os Mac OS Mojave 10.14 if not earlier. The local dictionary is in the same place, but /Library/Spelling and /Library/Dictionaries are gone AFAICT.
    – Carl
    Mar 29 '19 at 13:32
  • On Catalina+, this seems to contain the user's custom dictionary (i.e. the words that the user has added to the dictionary rather than a list of already-existing words). The other answer worked for me. Mar 24 '21 at 15:37

For those attempting to find the Unix standard words file, it's at /usr/share/dict/words.

  • 3
    What's that list used for? Are those words already in the standard OSX dictionary? Dec 6 '15 at 7:33
  • 2
    Lots of Unix utilities use it, since it's plain-text and easy to parse.
    – saagarjha
    Mar 15 '17 at 4:56
  • 5
    This also work on mac!
    – filype
    Mar 31 '17 at 0:02

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.