Find Definitions Quickly With Spotlight [OS X Tips]


Spotlight Dictionary

Chances are if you do any kind of writing on your Mac, you’ll need a definition of a word from time to time, whether you’re writing for your job or writing for pleasure, writing an email or an anti-corporate screed for your blog.

There are many ways to get a word’s definition on your Mac, including the built-in dictionary app, using a site like, or the like. Did you know, however, that the file index and search app, Spotlight, also allows you to find a definition super quick?

To activate this slick little feature, simple launch Spotlight with a Command-Space hit on the keyboard. When Spotlight shows up, type or paste your word into the search field.

You’ll see the Look Up section, just after the list of various documents from your Mac that Spotlight thinks you might be searching for. Hover your mouse cursor just over the Look Up line, and the definition will pop up to the left, in its own little “conversational” badge window.

Click out of Spotlight as normal to dismiss the definition bubble. It will also disappear after a few seconds. To re-activate (if you’re writing it down or some such), simply hit Command-Space again and hover over the same area.

Source: OS X Daily

  • HerbalEd

    Using Spotlight to look up the definition of a word is much more time consuming and complicated than simply right-clicking on the word and then selecting “Look Up in Dictionary.” Also, as you are then in the Mac’s Dictionary, it’s super easy and fast to click on Thesaurus and find synonyms for the word.

    Remember, KISS.