Australian-English Spelling Dictionary

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The Australian-English Spelling dictionary is currently packaged with the English dictionaries in the OpenOffice 3.1 distribution.

It is available as an add-on extension for OpenOffice 3.0. And can be added to OpenOffice 2.X [1].

The current dictionary is based on the the United Kingdom-English word list from SCOWL (see links below) with an ad hoc collection of 'Australian' words added. I (David Wilson) have built up this list from a variety of public sources over several years, so that it includes place names, botanical and animal names, common personal names and 'Australianisms'. These have been added to an Australian word list over time.

Australian-English generally follows the conventions of British-English rather than American English. It may useful to see American and British English differences.

The Macquarie Dictionary is generally used by publishers, schools, universities and governments as the standard spelling reference. " The dictionary records standard Australian English spelling, which is closer to British and Canadian English than American English, with spellings like colour, centre, defence and practice/practise (noun/verb). It also gives -ise spellings first, listing -ize spellings as acceptable variants, unlike the Oxford English Dictionary and some other dictionaries of British English, that continue to prefer -ize to -ise in spite of the opposite tendency amongst the British general public (see Oxford spelling)." [2]

I suggest using this dictionary as the project's authoritative reference.


The object of this project is improve the organisation and maintenance of the Australian-English Spelling Dictionary.

To improve the maintenance of the word list I propose to add structure to the project by maintaining separate word lists that are combined to produce the new versions of the Australian-English Spelling Dictionary. The separate word lists should help us to ensure we have the best coverage possible in each category and to check each category for adequacy and completeness.

The Australian-English Spelling Dictionary currently uses phonetic hints from the US-English Spelling Dictionary. These may need to be adjusted for Australian usage.

The OpenOffice spelling checker now supports hyphenated words, so a new version needs to be created with appropriate hyphenated words.

If you would like to assist in this project please contact me David Wilson 06:15, 29 October 2009 (UTC)


We also need to work out how to deal with the -ise vs -ize word endings. Currently only the -ise words are included in the dictionary and -ize words are shown as errors.

We have at least three options:

  1. Include only -ise words.
  2. Include both -ise and -ize words.
  3. It may be possible to include both -ise and -ize words but only suggest -ise spellings when suggesting spelling alternatives. This may be possible Using the NOSUGGEST option which is currently used to suppress a couple of obscene words from being displayed in the suggested spellings list.

Personal Names: Currently the dictionary includes common personal and surnames. I am inclined NOT to include these in the next edition due the large range of spelling variations in names abd difficulties in building any definitive list. For people who want to include names in the spelling checker can use my add-on spelling checker dictionary- Australian English Names Dictionary

Proposed Australian Word list Categories and Sources

Hyphenated Words Rules

  • Hyphenate words prefixed by ex-, self-, or all-, and some words prefixed by cross-.
Examples:  ex-wife; self-evident; all-inclusive; cross-reference.
  • When written as words, fractions and cardinal numbers consisting of two words are hyphenated.
Examples:  twenty-three, twenty-fifth, one-fourth, two-thirds.
  • Do not hyphenate words prefixed by non, un, in, dis, co, anti, hyper, pre, re, post, out, bi, counter, de, semi, mis, mega, micro, inter, over, and under (among others).
Examples:  nonaffiliated, nonemergency, uninfected, inpatient, disorder, disbar, coworker, copayment, antismoking,
antimanagement, hyperactive, hyperrealism, preoperative, prejudge, reoccur, readjust, resubmit, postoperative,   
posttraumatic, outpatient, outmoded, bimonthly, biannual, counterrevolutionary, counterculture, decompress, semifinal,
semiannual, misinformed, misprint, megabyte, microcircuit, interconnected, interoffice, overempha­size, override, 
underrepresent, underestimated.

EXCEPTIONS:  When the second element is capitalized, as in Un-American and non-English, a hyphen is used.  Also, occasional
exceptions exist where the prefix and the second element have not (yet) "grown together," such as de-emphasize,  pre-owned, 
co-op (to distinguish from coop) and anti-inflammatory (and all words with anti- prefix and second element beginning with i).



  • Kevin's Word List Page, including the official Hunspell en_UK, en_US and en_CA dictionaries, created from SCOWL (Spell Checker Oriented Word Lists). Revision 6 August 10, 2004 by Kevin Atkinson
  • OpenOffice spelling checker is based on Hunspell. Which is a spell checker and morphological analyzer library and program designed for languages with rich morphology and complex compounding or character encoding.
  • The GeoNames geographical database covers all countries and contains over eight million place names that are available for download free of charge. The Australian place names list -
  • Australian National Dictionary Centre, Australian National University, Australian words
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