- NetBSD Manual Pages
SPELL(1) NetBSD General Commands Manual SPELL(1)
Powered by man-cgi (2021-06-01).
Maintained for NetBSD
by Kimmo Suominen.
Based on man-cgi by Panagiotis Christias.
spell -- find spelling errors
spell [-biltvx] [-d list] [-h spellhist] [-m a | e | l | m | s] [-s stop]
[+extra_list] [file ...]
spell collects words from the named documents and looks them up in a
spelling list. Words that neither occur among nor are derivable (by
applying certain inflections, prefixes or suffixes) from words in the
spelling list are printed on the standard output.
If no files are named, words are collected from the standard input.
spell ignores most troff(1), tbl(1), eqn(1), and pic(1) constructions.
Copies of all output may be accumulated in the history file, if one is
By default, spell (like deroff(1)) follows chains of included files
(``.so'' and ``.nx'' commands)).
The default spelling list is based on Webster's Second International dic-
tionary and should be fairly complete. Words that appear in the ``stop
list'' are immediately flagged as misspellings, regardless of whether or
not they exist in one of the word lists. This helps filter out mis-
spellings (e.g. thier=thy-y+ier) that would otherwise pass. Addition-
ally, the british file is also used as a stop list unless the -b option
Site administrators may add words to the local word list,
/usr/local/share/dict/words or the local stop list,
All word (and stop) lists must be sorted in lexicographical order with
case folded. The simplest way to achieve this is to use ``sort -df''.
If the word files are incorrectly sorted, spell will not be able to oper-
The options are as follows:
-b Check British spelling. Besides preferring centre, colour,
speciality, travelled, etc., this option insists upon -ise in
words like standardise, Fowler and the OED to the contrary not-
withstanding. In this mode, American variants of words are added
to the stop list.
Use the specified word list instead of the default system word
list. The word list must be sorted as specified above.
Store misspelled words in the specified history file. The output
of who -m is appended to the history file after the list of mis-
-i Instruct deroff(1) to ignore ``.so'' and ``.nx'' commands.
-l Use delatex instead of deroff(1) if it is present on the system.
-m Enable support for common troff(1) macro packages; this option is
passed verbatim to deroff(1). Refer to the --m description in
deroff(1) for details.
Use the specified stop list instead of the default system stop
list. The stop list must be sorted as specified above.
-t Use detex instead of deroff(1) if it is present on the system.
-v Print all words not literally in the spelling list in addition to
plausible derivations from spelling list words.
-x Print every plausible stem, prefixed with `='.
Use extra_list in addition to the default word list. The extra
word list must be sorted as specified above.
/usr/share/dict/words Default spelling list
/usr/share/dict/american American spelling of certain words
/usr/share/dict/british British spelling of certain words
/usr/share/dict/stop Default stop list.
/usr/local/share/dict/words Local spelling list (optional)
/usr/local/share/dict/stop Local stop list (optional)
/usr/libexec/spellprog Binary executed by the shell script
deroff(1), look(1), sed(1), sort(1), tee(1), troff(1)
The spell command appeared in Version 6 AT&T UNIX.
Unlike historic versions, the NetBSD spell command does not use hashed
word files. Instead, it uses lexicographically sorted files and the same
technique as look(1).
The spelling list lacks many technical terms; new installations will
probably wish to monitor the output for several months to gather local
British spelling was done by an American.
In -x mode it would be nicer if the stems were grouped with the appropri-
NetBSD 5.0 April 18, 1994 NetBSD 5.0