How to Use the Dictionary and Thesaurus in macOS Mail

Find definitions for words instantly

You can access a dictionary and thesaurus while composing messages in the macOS Mail app. The operating system includes The New Oxford American Dictionary, The Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus, and other dictionaries. All can be easily accessed within macOS Mail.

The same process for looking up words in the Mail app applies to any text-based app, including web browsers, word processors, and reading apps.

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Access Dictionary and Thesaurus in macOS Mail

Here's how to instantly access the dictionary and thesaurus in macOS Mail:

  1. With the Mail app open, place the mouse cursor over or within the word you would like to look up.

  2. Tap with three fingers on the trackpad. Alternatively, press Command+Ctrl+D on the keyboard.

  3. A window appears listing a definition of the word, as well as a Thesaurus entry with corresponding synonyms.

You can choose from other options from the definition window.

  • Select Open in Dictionary to open the word entry in the macOS Dictionary app.
  • At the bottom of the window, you can scroll through a host of entries in other categories, including Wikipedia entries, movies, and other knowledge sources.
  • Select Configure Dictionaries to choose from a list of dictionaries to include in the app as well as the pop-up definition.
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