spell, hashmake, spellin, hashcheck, compress -- find spelling errors


spell [-b] [-i] [-l] [-v] [-x] [+local_file] [files]


/usr/lib/spell/spellin n




spell 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, and/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, tbl, and eqn constructions. It also ignores punctuation marks and special characters (for example, ``_'' and ``='').

British spelling is checked. Besides preferring centre, colour, programme, speciality, travelled, and so on, this option insists upon -ise in words like standardise, Fowler and the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) to the contrary notwithstanding.

Ignore the troff requests .so and .nx. By default, spell (like deroff) follows chains of included files.

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

All words not literally in the spelling list are printed, and plausible derivations from the words in the spelling list are indicated.

Every plausible stem is displayed, one per line, with ``='' preceding each word.

Words found in local_file are removed from spell's output. local_file is the name of a user-provided file that contains a sorted list of words, one per line. The list must be sorted with the ordering used by sort(1) (for example, upper case preceding lower case). If this ordering is not followed, some entries in local_file may be ignored. With this option, the user can specify a set of words that are correct spellings (in addition to spell's own spelling list) for each job.

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

Alternate auxiliary files (spelling lists, stop list, history file) may be specified on the command line by using environment variables. These variables and their default settings are shown in the Files section. Copies of all misspellings and entries that specify the login, tty, and time of each invocation of spell are accumulated in the history file. The stop list filters out misspellings (for example, thier=thy-y+ier) that would otherwise pass.

The following routines 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. This is the first step in creating a new spelling list or adding words to an existing list; it must be used prior to using spellin.

Reads n hash codes (created by hashmake) from the standard input and writes a compressed spelling list on the standard output. The hash codes must be sorted before input to spellin. Use spellin to add words to an existing spelling list or create a new spelling list.

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. It takes as input an existing spelling list (hlista or hlistb) or a list created or modified by spellin. By using hashcheck on an existing compressed spelling_list and hashmake on a file of selected words, you can compare the two output files to determine if the selected words are present in the existing spelling_list.

When spell is executed, the misspelled words are added to a file called spellhist. This file may contain identical entries since the same word may be misspelled during different executions of spell. The compress program deletes redundant misspelled words in the spellhist file, thereby reducing the size of the file, making it easier to analyze.


hashed spelling lists, American & British

hashed stop list

history file



deroff(1), eqn(1bsd), sed(1), sort(1), tbl(1bsd), tee(1), troff(1bsd)


The spelling list's coverage is uneven; new installations will probably wish to monitor the output for several months to gather local additions. Typically, these are kept in a separate local file that is added to the hashed spelling_list via spellin.
© 2004 The SCO Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
UnixWare 7 Release 7.1.4 - 25 April 2004