Despite my best efforts, my English needs constant work1. I mostly write in this language when I am online, but good prose is a matter of trying, failing, trying again, failing again, and never give up. A bloody battle of words.
An ever-present companion during my writing sessions is the dictionary. Since I don’t want distractions of any kind, I want the dictionary to be offline and easy to use. The more time I spend away from my text, the easier it is for my mind to drift off.
WordNet meets my expectations almost exactly. It’s quickly installable on my
Ubuntu machine, a breeze to use, and it comes with a command-line tool (
a graphical one (
wnb) which are simple and fast.
However, I don’t want to leave Emacs for a task like this. I want to be able to search for the word at point or to type something and see if what I have in mind makes any sense at all. Why not taking advantage of the power of Helm? That’s why I wrote helm-wordnut.
As I explain in the README, using WordNet within Emacs was already possible
through helm-wordnet and wordnut, but in both cases it doesn’t look like there
is much maintenance going on. I liked the idea of the former and the nice output
of the latter, and so I devised a package with what in my opinion is the
simplest and ideal Helm interface for WordNet. I can type what I want or just
hit M-n to pick up the word a point. Pressing RET on the desired candidate opens
a buffer with a detailed definition of the word. How much detail one needs is
helm-wordnut-cmd-options, but the default covers more than
enough already for my usual writings.
Given the existence of
wordnut, I have not published
helm-wordnut on any package archive at the moment. If somebody else finds it a
better alternative to the existing solutions, do reach out and let me know. I’ll
see what I can do about convincing the MELPA masterminds to accept yet another
The same can be said for my Italian, but let’s not dig too deep into my shortcomings please. ↩