Skip to main content

A tool for workig with dictionary databases

Project description


PyGlossary is a tool for converting dictionary files aka glossaries, from/to various formats used by different dictionary applications


Linux - (New) Gtk3-based intreface

Windows - Tkinter-based interface

Linux - command line interface

Supported formats

Format Extension Read Write
ABBYY Lingvo DSL .dsl
AppleDict Source .xml
Babylon .bgl
Babylon Source .gls
CSV .csv
DICTD dictionary server .index
Editable Linked List of Entries .edlin
FreeDict .tei
Gettext Source .po
Lingoes Source (LDF) .ldf
Octopus MDict .mdx
Octopus MDict Source .txt
Sdictionary Binary .dct
Sdictionary Source .sdct
SQL .sql
StarDict .ifo
Tabfile .txt, .dic
XDXF .xdxf


PyGlossary uses Python 3.x, and works in practically all operating systems. While primarilly designed for GNU/Linux, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and other Unix-based operating systems as well.

As shown in the screenshots, there are multiple User Interface types, ie. multiple ways to use the program.

  • Gtk3-based interface, uses PyGI (Python Gobject Introspection) You can install it on:

    • Debian/Ubuntu: apt install python3-gi python3-gi-cairo gir1.2-gtk-3.0
    • openSUSE: zypper install python3-gobject gtk3
    • Fedora: dnf install pygobject3 python3-gobject gtk3
    • Archlinux:
    • Mac OS X: brew install pygobject3 gtk+3
    • Nix / NixOS: nix-shell -p gnome3.gobjectIntrospection python37Packages.pygobject3 python37Packages.pycairo
  • Tkinter-based interface, works in the lack of Gtk. Specially on Windows where Tkinter library is installed with the Python itself. You can also install it on:

    • Debian/Ubuntu: apt-get install python3-tk tix
    • openSUSE: zypper install python3-tk tix
    • Fedora: yum install python3-tkinter tix
    • Mac OS X: read
    • Nix / NixOS: nix-shell -p python37Packages.tkinter tix
  • Command-line interface, works in all operating systems without any specific requirements, just type:

    python3 pyglossary.pyw --help

    You may have to give --no-progress-bar option in Windows when converting glossaries (because the progress bar does not work properly in Windows command window)

When you run the program without any command line arguments or options, PyGlossary tries to find PyGI, if it's installed, opens the Gtk3-based interface, if it's not, tries to find Tkinter and open the Tkinter-based interface. And exits with an error if neither are installed.

But you can explicitly determine the user interface type using --ui, for example:

python3 pyglossary.pyw --ui=gtk


python3 pyglossary.pyw --ui=tk

Format-specific Requirements

  • Reading from XDXF

    sudo pip3 install lxml

  • Writing to AppleDict

    sudo pip3 install lxml beautifulsoup4 html5lib

  • Reading from Babylon BGL: Python 3.4 to 3.7 is recommended

  • Reading from CC-CEDICT

    sudo pip3 install jinja2

  • Reading from Octopus Mdict (MDX)

    • python-lzo, required for some MDX glossaries

      • First try converting your MDX file, and if failed (AssertionError probably), then you may need to install LZO library and Python binding:

      • On Linux, make sure liblzo2-dev or liblzo2-devel is installed and then run sudo pip3 install python-lzo

      • On Windows:

        • Open this page:
        • If you are using Python 3.7 (32 bit) for example, click on python_lzo‑1.12‑cp37‑cp37m‑win32.whl
        • Open Start -> type Command -> right-click on Command Prompt -> Run as administrator
        • Run pip install C:\....\python_lzo‑1.12‑cp37‑cp37m‑win32.whl command, giving the path of downloaded file

Other Requirements for Mac OS X

If you want to convert glossaries into AppleDict format on Mac OS X, you also need:


Convert Babylon (bgl) to Mac OS X dictionary

Let's assume the Babylon dict is at ~/Documents/Duden_Synonym/Duden_Synonym.BGL:

cd ~/Documents/Duden_Synonym/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --write-format=AppleDict Duden_Synonym.BGL Duden_Synonym-apple
cd Duden_Synonym-apple
make install

Launch and test.

Convert Octopus Mdict to Mac OS X dictionary

Let's assume the MDict dict is at ~/Documents/Duden-Oxford/Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408.mdx.

Run the following command:

cd ~/Documents/Duden-Oxford/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --write-format=AppleDict "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408.mdx" "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408-apple"
cd "Duden-Oxford DEED ver.20110408-apple"
make install

Launch and test.

Let's assume the MDict dict is at ~/Downloads/oald8/oald8.mdx, along with the image/audio resources file oald8.mdd.

Run the following commands: :

cd ~/Downloads/oald8/
python3 ~/Software/pyglossary/pyglossary.pyw --write-format=AppleDict oald8.mdx oald8-apple
cd oald8-apple

This extracts dictionary into oald8.xml and data resources into folder OtherResources. Hyperlinks use relative path. :

sed -i "" 's:src="/:src=":g' oald8.xml

Convert audio file from SPX format to WAV format. You need package speex from MacPorts :

find OtherResources -name "*.spx" -execdir sh -c 'spx={};speexdec $spx  ${spx%.*}.wav' \;
sed -i "" 's|sound://\([/_a-zA-Z0-9]*\).spx|\1.wav|g' oald8.xml

But be warned that the decoded WAVE audio can consume ~5 times more disk space!

Compile and install. :

make install

Launch and test.

Project details

Release history Release notifications

Download files

Download the file for your platform. If you're not sure which to choose, learn more about installing packages.

Files for pyglossary, version 3.2.1
Filename, size File type Python version Upload date Hashes
Filename, size pyglossary-3.2.1-py3-none-any.whl (314.2 kB) File type Wheel Python version py3 Upload date Hashes View hashes
Filename, size pyglossary-3.2.1.tar.gz (213.5 kB) File type Source Python version None Upload date Hashes View hashes

Supported by

Elastic Elastic Search Pingdom Pingdom Monitoring Google Google BigQuery Sentry Sentry Error logging AWS AWS Cloud computing DataDog DataDog Monitoring Fastly Fastly CDN DigiCert DigiCert EV certificate StatusPage StatusPage Status page