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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
As some of our readers may be aware, OS X is based on the legendary NeXTSTEP operating system. I've got a NeXT machine sitting here next to my G3 400, but sadly, most OS X users do not. As such, while enjoying the evolution of NeXTSTEP on their Macs, they do not miss certain nicities of NeXTSTEP that, having fallen through the cracks, are absent from OS X. One of the things that NeXTSTEP offered, that is absent in OS X is Digital Webster. Simply put, it is a dictionary, with a nicer user interface, that was part of the basic OS install (there were even illustrations). Well...that lacking element has just been accounted for.
The Omni Group has put out a number of excellent NeXTSTEP and OS X apps, the most popular being OmniWeb. Well, I just ran across OmniDictionary, an excellent OS X client that will tie your Mac to one of a number of dictionary servers (using the standard DICT protocol). A super-simple app, this is just a great addition to one's Dock. Give it a try, and I'm sure you'll find it as useful as I do. Way to go, Omni Group.


macrumors newbie
Apr 30, 2001
What about sherlock

I have been very success ful getting definitions thru Sherlock, so why do we need OmniDictionary?

Doc O'Leary

Ease of use

Because software like InstantLinks, which allows access to Webster's web dictionary, among other things, and OmniDictionary (both of which have been around for ages so I'm not sure how this qualifies either news or rumor, but I digress) are far easier to use. For Sherlock, you have to launch the app, click the Reference icon, type in the word, click search, and double-click on the result to get to the full definition. Just about anything is easier than that, which is why the old NeXT dictionary allowed you to simply select a word, do a command-=, and get a definition, a tradition that has carried forward with existing tools like OmniDictionary and InstantLinks. Instead of saying "why do I need this" you should be trying out everything at this early stage of OS X to figure out all the cool new features that the OS provides. Otherwise, you might as well stay with OS 9.

Doc O'Leary

Services support

If you're using Carbon apps heavily, you won't find Services menu support. If OmniDictionary isn't showing up in Cocoa apps like TextEdit, I'd report it as a bug. InstantLinks is an alternative which is entirely Services-based, using your web browser to bring up the definition.
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