word-list-compress - word list compressor/decompressor for GNU Aspell


word-list-compress c[ompress] | d[ecompress]


word-list-compress compresses or decompresses sorted word lists for use with the GNU Aspell spell checker.


-c, c, compress
 compress the plain text word list read from standard input.
-d, d, decompress
 decompress the compressed word list read from standard input.


Here are a few examples of how you can use word-list-compress
word-list-compress d <wordlist.cwl >wordlist.txt
 Decompress file wordlist.cwl to text file wordlist.txt
word-list-compress c <wordlist.wl >wordlist.cwl 2>errors.txt
 Compress wordlist.wl to wordlist.cwl and send any error messages to a text file named errors.txt
LC_COLLATE\=C sort -u <wordlist.txt | word-list-compress c >wordlist.cwl
 Sort a word list, then pipe it to word-list-compress to create a compressed binary wordlist.cwl file.
word-list-compress d <words.cwl | aspell create master ./words.rws
 Decompress a wordlist, then pipe it to aspell(1) to create a spelling list. Please check the aspell(1) info manual for proper usage and options.


Word-list-compress is best used with sorted word list type files. It is not a general purpose compression program since the resulting files may actually increase in size.

Word-list-compress accepts up to 255 text characters in the range of {0x21...0xFF}. If your word list requires a larger character set for certain languages or longer length for multi-word, scientific, medical, technical or other use, then it is recommended that you compress your word list using prezip-bin(1)


Word-list-compress normally exits with a return code of 0. If it encounters an error, a message is sent to standard error output (stderr), and word-list-compress exits with a non-zero return value. Error messages are listed below:
(display help/usage message)
 Unknown command given on the command line so word-list-compress displays a usage message to standard error output.
Corrupt Input
 This is only for the decompression command d. The input file is of an unknown format or the input file/stream is corrupted. You may have some valid output, but word-list-compress could not complete the process. If the input file is a compressed wordlist but you have no output file, then it may be a newer prezip-bin(1) version of compressed file, if so, try decompressing the file with prezip-bin(1) instead.
Output Data Error
 The output is full, write protected, or has an error and can no longer be written to.


aspell(1), aspell-import(1), prezip-bin(1), run-with-aspell(1)

Aspell is fully documented in its Texinfo manual. See the ‘aspell’ entry in info for more complete documentation.


For help, see the Aspell homepage at <> and send bug reports/comments to the Aspell user list at the above address.


This manual page was written by Aaron Lehmann <>, Brian Nelson <> and Jose Da Silva <>.

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