SPELL(1) User Commands SPELL(1)


spell, hashmake, spellin, hashcheck - report spelling errors


spell [-bilvx] [+ local_file] [file] ...


/usr/lib/spell/spellin n

/usr/lib/spell/hashcheck spelling_list


The spell command collects words from the named files 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 written to the standard output.

If there are no file arguments, words to check are collected from the
standard input. spell ignores most troff(1), tbl(1), and eqn(1)
constructs. Copies of all output words are accumulated in the history
file (spellhist), and a stop list filters out misspellings (for example,
their=thy-y+ier) that would otherwise pass.

By default, spell (like deroff(1)) follows chains of included files (.so
and .nx troff(1) requests), unless the names of such included files begin
with /usr/lib.

The standard spelling list is based on many sources, and while more
haphazard than an ordinary dictionary, is also more effective in respect
to proper names and popular technical words. Coverage of the specialized
vocabularies of biology, medicine and chemistry is light.

Three programs help maintain and check the hash lists used by spell:

Reads a list of words from the standard input and writes the
corresponding nine-digit hash code on the standard output.

Reads n hash codes from the standard input and writes a
compressed spelling list on the standard output.

Reads a compressed spelling_list and recreates the nine-
digit hash codes for all the words in it. It writes these
codes on the standard output.


The following options are supported:

Check British spelling. Besides preferring centre,
colour, programme, speciality, travelled, and so forth,
this option insists upon -ise in words like standardise.

Cause deroff(1) to ignore .so and .nx commands. If
deroff(1) is not present on the system, then this option
is ignored.

Follow the chains of all included files.

Print all words not literally in the spelling list, as
well as plausible derivations from the words in the
spelling list.

Print every plausible stem, one per line, with = preceding
each word.

Specify a set of words that are correct spellings (in
addition to spell's own spelling list) for each job.
local_file is the name of a user-provided file that
contains a sorted list of words, one per line. Words found
in local_file are removed from spell's output. Use sort(1)
to order local_file in ASCII collating sequence. If this
ordering is not followed, some entries in local_file might
be ignored.


The following operands are supported:

A path name of a text file to check for spelling errors. If no
files are named, words are collected from the standard input.


See environ(7) for descriptions of the following environment variables
that affect the execution of spell: LC_CTYPE, LC_MESSAGES, and NLSPATH.


The following exit values are returned:

Successful completion.

An error occurred.



hashed spelling lists, American & British


hashed stop list


history file


master dictionary


deroff(1), eqn(1), sort(1), tbl(1), troff(1), attributes(7), environ(7)


spell works only on English words defined in the U.S. ASCII codeset.

Because copies of all output are accumulated in the spellhist file,
spellhist might grow quite large and require purging.


The spelling list's coverage is uneven. New installations might wish to
monitor the output for several months to gather local additions.

British spelling was done by an American.

September 15, 2011 SPELL(1)