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5.3 Gcide

The gcide module provides support for GNU Collaborative International Dictionary of English. This dictionary can be downloaded from It consists of a set of files named from CIDE.A through CIDE.Z, written using a special markup. See, for a detailed information about the dictionary.

The gcide module is started via the following statement:

load-module gcide;

The database is initialized as follows:

database {
    handler "gcide dbdir=directory [options]";

The ‘dbdir’ parameter supplies the name of the directory where database files are located. Upon startup, the module scans the dictionary files and creates an index file, named GCIDE.IDX, if it does not already exist. The file is created using an ancillary program idxgcide, described below. Unless specified otherwise, this file is created in the same directory where the database files are located, therefore the directory must be writable for the user dicod is started as.

Other options are:

gcide parameter: idxdir directory

Specifies the directory where the CIDE.IDX index file resides or should reside.

gcide parameter: index-cache-size size

Sets the maximum number of index pages the module keeps in memory simultaneously. The default value is 16. The pages are cached using the last recently used algorithm. Raising this value will make dictionary accesses faster at the expense of using more memory.

gcide parameter: index-program progname

Specifies the full name of the index program. Usually this option is not needed, because the module is configured to start the idxgcide utility from its default location. It is mostly useful for the module developers.

gcide parameter: suppress-pr

This parameter suppresses the output of ‘pr’ (pronunciation) tags. According to GCIDE docs, very few of the pronunciation fields have been filled in, so it might be reasonable to avoid displaying them at all.

Starting from version 0.51, GCIDE contains the file INFO, which provides basic information about the dictionary. The gcide module returns contents of this file at the ‘SHOW INFO’ request. The first line of this file (with the trailing newline and final point removed) is returned as the short database description.

Here’s a full example of a ‘gcide’ as used in ‘’:

load-module gcide;

database {
    name "gcide";
    handler "gcide dbdir=/var/dictdb/gcide-0.51 suppress-pr";
    languages-from "en";
    languages-to "en";

5.3.1 idxgcide

The idxgcide utility is used by the gcide module to index the GCIDE dictionary. You can start it manually to reindex the database. It can be needed, for example, if you install a modified version of the dictionary. The program is installed in libexecdir. The usage is:

idxgcide [options] dbdir [idxdir]

The only mandatory argument dbdir specifies the name of the directory where the GCIDE dictionary is installed. The optional idxdir argument specifies the directory for the index file, if it differs from dbdir. Available options are:


Debug lexical analyzer.


Do nothing, but print everything. This implies --verbose.


Increase output verbosity. This option can be specified multiple times, each occurrence increasing the verbosity level by one. By default the utility outputs only errors and warnings. At level one, it prints additionally the names of source files that are being indexed at the moment. At level two (the maximum level implemented at the moment) it outputs each headword being indexed along with its location. This is useful only for debugging.

-p number

Defines the size of index file page. The number specifies the size in bytes. The following case-insensitive suffixes can be used: ‘k’ (‘kb’), ‘m’ (‘mb’) or ‘g’ (‘gb’), specifying kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes (ouch!) correspondingly.

The default page size is 10240 bytes.

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