Glossator is a program to make it easier to read Latin. From top to bottom, the interface consists of a menu bar, a main text window, and a gloss window. The menu bar lets you load a file into the main text window, copy, cut, and paste. The main text window holds the text with which you're working and lets you edit it. When your mouse passes over a word in the main text window, Glossator automatically looks it up and displays possible forms (an example of a form is "verb indicative active present 3rd person singular") and a brief definition or definitions in the gloss window.

Glossator is written in Tcl/Tk, a cross-platform scripting language with a GUI toolkit. It uses some data files from Whitaker's Words, a dictionary program with a large vocabulary and a command line interface. No code from this program is used. As a result, Glossator doesn't handle some of the hard cases which Words does (prefixes, suffixes, syncopated forms, roman numerals, etc.). The reason for this is that I wrote this as a small project and didn't want to deal with integrating Ada and Tcl/Tk (especially since I don't know Ada). The parsing may become more complete in the future.

The glossator source files (glossator.tcl and words.tcl) are placed in the public domain, so you can use them for whatever you want. The data files are part of Words, and are being redistributed by permission. Glossator comes with no warrantee or guarantee of any sort.


  1. Install Tcl/Tk 8.3 unless you already have a compatible version (8.2 or later) installed.
  2. Download Glossator 0.1 (about 750KB, unpacks to about 4MB) and unpack the zip file in the directory where you'd like to keep Glossator.
  3. On Windows, double-click glossator to start the program. I suppose you do the same thing on a Mac, although I've never run a Tcl program on a Mac. On Unix, run wish glossator.tcl.
  4. If you want a more convenient way to start Glossator on Windows, you can drag the glossator icon to the desktop with the right mouse button and select "Create Shortcut(s) Here". If you want to put it in the Start menu, open the Start menu by right-clicking on the Start button and picking Open or Explore from the pop-up menu, navigate to the part of the Start menu where you want to put Glossator and create a shortcut as described above. Don't drag it with the left mouse button and don't select Copy or Move after dragging with the right mouse button--doing any of those will break Glossator.


I am a programmer, not a Latin scholar: I cannot answer your questions about Latin. I am also a busy programmer, and don't have much time to answer technical questions, but I'll try. See the bottom of this page for my e-mail address.

Known problems

Related Links

  • Dictionaries
  • Whitaker's Words - command line interface
  • Quick Latin - MS Windows Latin translation assistant based on Whitaker's Words.
  • The Perseus Project has a nice web interface to the Lewis and Short dictionary.
  • Notre Dame's Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid page has links to all of the useful web Latin dictionaries I know of.
  • Sources of Latin texts
  • Classics Page at Ad Fontes Academy
  • Christian Latin texts at Ad Fontes Academy
  • Project Perseus Latin texts
  • Bibliotheca Augustana
  • Vulgate from Online Books Initiative

  • Home

    You can construct my e-mail address by putting mfp, an at sign, and together. I don't state it here explicitly because I don't want spam bots to find it.

    Last updated 11 February 2000

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