PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">


rdict - a DICT protocol client


rdict [-h|--host server] [-p|--port service] [-d|--database dbname]
      [-m|--match] [-s|--strategy strategy] [-C|--nocorrect]
      [-D|--dbs] [-S|--strats] [-H|--serverhelp] [-i|--info dbname]
      [-I|--serverinfo] [-T|--status] [-b|--debug] [-u|--user user]
      [-k|--key key] [-v|--verbose] word
rdict [--help|-v|--version]


rdict is an RFC 2229 compliant Dictionary Server Protocol (DICT) client that provides access to dictionary definitions from a set of natural language dictionary databases.


-h server or --host server

Specifies the hostname for the DICT server. If no servers are specified, the default behavior is to try, followed by

-p port or --port port

Specifies the port (e.g. 2628) or service (e.g. dict) for connections. The default is 2628, as specified in the DICT Protocol RFC.

-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 a server-defined optimal 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.

-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.

-T or --status

Query the server for status information.

-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.


Display help information.

-v or --verbose

Be verbose.

-b or --debug

Display debugging information. This is long-winded, as the entire protocol exchange will be dumped.


$ rdict -D

This will provide you with a list of databases you can query.

$ rdict -S

This will provide you with a list of strategies you can employ to match words.

$ rdict -m -s prefix foo

This shows you a list of all words that begin with 'foo' in all of the databases.

$ rdict -m -s re '^(cu|ke)rb$'

This shows you all the definitions relating to both 'curb' and 'kerb' from all the databases. The 're' strategy allows regular expression matching.

$ rdict -m -s suffix fix

This shows a list of all words that end in 'fix' in all of the databases.

$ rdict -d jargon -m -s prefix ''

This displays a list of all the entries in the 'jargon' database.


Written by Ian Macdonald <>


Copyright (C) 2002 Ian Macdonald This is free software; see the source for copying conditions. There is NO warranty; not even for MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.



  • MIME is not implemented
  • command pipelining is not implemented
  • URL parsing is not implemented