In which I futilely attempt to use aspell to stop using Google as spellcheck.

I am embarrassingly atrocious at spelling. In Vim, which I use for email via Mutt, I can use :set spell. In Emacs I can use flyspell-mode. Browsers all have spellcheck now, seemingly. Still… sometimes I find myself just Googling™ (or DDGing™) individual words as I flail through the darkness that is spelling in the English language. This is stupid and ridiculous for myriad reasons that I don’t really want to talk about.

As is my wont, through force of will, by might of awk, and by glory of xsel: I have written a function in my dotfiles that solves this problem for me. It might even be generally useful, bask in its awesomeness:

spell function in action
spell function in action
spell() {
    local candidates oldifs word array_pos

    # Parse the apsell format and return a list of ":" separated words
    read -a candidates <<< "$(printf "%s\n" "$1" \
        | aspell -a \
        | awk -F':' '/^&/ {
            split($2, a, ",")
            for (x in a) {
                gsub(/^[ \t]/, "", a[x])
                result = a[x] ":" result
            gsub(/:$/, "", result)
            print result

    # Reverse number and print the parsed bash array because the list comes
    # out of gawk backwards
    for item in "${candidates[@]}"; do
        printf '%s\n' "$item"
    done \
        | tac \
        | nl \
        | less -FirSX

    printf "[ $(tput setaf 2)?$(tput sgr0) ]\t%s" \
        'Enter the choice (empty to cancel, 0 for input): '
    read index

    [[ -z "$index" ]] && return
    [[  "$index" == 0 ]] && word="$1"

    [[ -z "$word" ]] && {
        array_pos=$(( ${#candidates[@]} - index ))

    [[ -n "$word" ]] && {
        printf "$word" | xsel -p
        printf "Copied '%s' to clipboard!\n" "$word"
    } || printf "[ $(tput setaf 1):($(tput sgr0) ] %s\n" 'No match found'


Maybe someone can use this ¯\_(ツ)_/¯