spell - check spelling in text


spell [-bvx] [+local_dict] [file ...]


The spell(1) utility compares words from one or more files specified in file (or standard input if no files are named) with those in a spelling list. It writes to standard output all words that were not found on the list.

The spell(1) utility takes the following options:

Check against a British dictionary. The default dictionary is American English. The British dictionary contains spellings such as colour, behaviour, and recognise.
Write all words not in the spelling list. This is the default behavior. Some implementations of spell(1) also check against possible permutations of the words in the spelling list; for those systems, this option turns off that behavior.
Display root stems of words as =.

Treat the words in the file local_dict as correctly spelled. They will not appear in the spell(1) output. These words are checked in addition to the usual dictionary file.


The spell(1) command exits with a status of 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurred.


The spell(1) command makes use of the following files:

British English dictionary extensions.
American english dictionary file (the default).


The spell(1) command is a wrapper around the ispell(1) command. For information on dictionary files, formats, and other options that might be supported, see the reference page for ispell(1).