StarDict terminal UI
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StarDict Terminal UI

sdtui aims to provide an easy way of viewing translation as well as other kinds of dictionaries in your terminal, and is inspired by the dictionary component of PC Translator. I wasn’t successful in finding any free software of this kind, GUI or not, and thus decided to write my own.

The project is covered by a permissive license, unlike vast majority of other similar projects, and can serve as a base for implementing other dictionary software.



Regular releases are sporadic. git master should be stable enough. You can get a package with the latest development version from Archlinux’s AUR.


See the man page for information about usage. The rest of this README will concern itself with externalities.

Building and Running

Build dependencies: CMake, pkg-config, asciidoctor
Runtime dependencies: ncursesw, zlib, ICU, termo (included), glib-2.0 >= 2.38, pango, xcb, xcb-xfixes (the latter two optional)

$ git clone --recursive
$ mkdir sdtui/build
$ cd sdtui/build
$ make

To install the application, you can do either the usual:

# make install

Or you can try telling CMake to make a package for you. For Debian it is:

$ cpack -G DEB
# dpkg -i sdtui-*.deb

Having the program installed, simply run it with a StarDict .ifo file as an argument. It is, however, preferable to configure it to load your dictionaries automatically.


This application is intended for use with specific dictionaries: each line should contain one short word definition. Moreover, the only supported content types are plain text, Pango markup, and XDXF (the visual format works better).

The make dicts command will build some examples from freely available sources:

  • GNU/FDL Czech-English dictionary

  • Czech foreign words

  • Czech WordNet 1.9 PDT (synonyms, hypernyms, hyponyms)

You can use the included transform tool to convert already existing StarDict dictionaries that are nearly good as they are. Remember that you can change the sametypesequence of the resulting .ifo file to another format, or run dictzip on .dict files to make them compact.

Further Development

While I’ve been successfully using sdtui for many years now, some work has to be done yet before the software can be considered fit for inclusion in regular Linux and/or BSD distributions:

  • The tab bar and the text input field don’t handle overflows well.

  • Lacking configuration, standard StarDict locations should be scanned.

Given the entangledness of this codebase, issues with the file format, and general undesirability of terminal UIs, it might be better to start anew.

Graphical UI

With GTK+ 3 development packages installed, an alternative frontend will be built and installed. It shares the default dictionary list with sdtui, but styling will follow your theme, and has to be customized from gtk.css.

Contributing and Support

Use to report any bugs, request features, or submit pull requests. git send-email is tolerated. If you want to discuss the project, feel free to join me at ircs://, channel #dev.

Bitcoin donations are accepted at: 12r5uEWEgcHC46xd64tt3hHt9EUvYYDHe9


This software is released under the terms of the 0BSD license, the text of which is included within the package along with the list of authors.