It's easy to add words to the Mac OS X spelling dictionary. However it is sometimes not quite so easy or intuitive how to remove a word from the dictionary.

How to Remove a Word from Mac OS X Spelling Dictionary

For this month’s post I have a quick Mac OS X tip. I thought I’d post this quick tip in case it may save some fellow Mac users some time. It’s usually easy and intuitive to add words to the built-in Mac OS X spelling dictionary. However it is sometimes not quite so easy or intuitive how to remove a word from the dictionary.

Most applications on Mac OS X make it very easy to add new words to the system’s built-in spelling dictionary. In most Mac applications which allow text editing they will automatically underline misspelled words with a dotted red line. You may then right-click (or control-click) on the potentially misspelled word to open the pop-up context menu. On this menu you may select Learn Spelling (or Add to Dictionary or something similar). This will add the word to the Mac OS X spelling dictionary.

If you accidentally add a misspelled word to the dictionary you may later wonder how to remove a word. Some applications however fail to include an easy way to remove a previously learned word. For instance in Firefox you may Add to Dictionary and immediately Undo Add to Dictionary if you happen to catch an error right away. However if you happen to notice the problem after you close and reopen the application there’s no easy way how to remove a word. While you can locate the system’s spelling dictionary, find and remove the misspelled word there’s a much quicker and easier method.

How to Remove a Word with TextEdit

If you’re left wondering how to remove a word from the spelling dictionary don’t worry. Simply follow these easy steps.

  • Copy the word to the clipboard.
  • Open the built-in TextEdit application.
  • Paste the word into TextEdit.
  • Right-click (or command click) on the word.
  • Select Unlearn Spelling from the pop-up context menu.

How to Edit Mac OS X Spelling Dictionary

If you need to make more extensive edits to the Mac OS X spelling dictionary the following link will show you how.

OS X: Edit Your Custom Dictionary File

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4 Responses

  1. Anne Carpenter
    | Reply

    I’m also in Mac OS Catalina 10.15 and Learn/Unlearn is not an option (in TextEdit, it works fine in Google Chrome) and the LocalDictionary file is empty so the URL you suggest doesn’t help. THis is quite a puzzle!

    • Sounds like Apple made it more difficult. I’m not on Catalina yet because I still use some older software that’s not compatible. When I do upgrade I’ll check it out and see if there’s another option. Can you run an older version of TextEdit on Catalina?

  2. Mark H
    | Reply

    Thanks. Using MacOS Catalina, Unlearn is not an option in TextEdit.

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