Hunspell is the spell checker of LibreOffice,, Mozilla Firefox 3 & Thunderbird, Google Chrome, and it is also used by proprietary software packages, like macOS, InDesign, memoQ, Opera and SDL Trados.

Main features:

  • Extended support for language peculiarities; Unicode character encoding, compounding and complex morphology.
  • Improved suggestion using n-gram similarity, rule and dictionary based pronunciation data.
  • Morphological analysis, stemming and generation.
  • Hunspell is based on MySpell and works also with MySpell dictionaries.
  • C++ library under GPL/LGPL/MPL tri-license.


Hunspell is available in the default repositories of most Linux distributions, so installation won’t be a big deal.

On Arch Linux and derivatives like Antergos, Manjaro Linux, run:

$ sudo pacman -S hunspell

On Fedora:

$ sudo dnf install hunspell

On RHEL, CentOS:

$ sudo yum install epel-release

$ sudo yum install hunspell

On Debian, Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install hunspell

on Mac OSX with Homebrew:

brew install hunspell

By default, Hunspell won’t have any dictionaries. To add a dictionary, for example English, just install this package – hunspell-en-us. Similarly, to add Spanish dictionary, install hunspell-es package.

This can also be found in the default repositories. For instance, to add English dictionary on Arch linux, run:

$ sudo pacman -S hunspell-en-us

On Debian, Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt-get install hunspell-en-us

On Fedora:

$ sudo dnf install hunspell-en-us


$ sudo yum install hunspell-en-us

on Mac OSX:

Download dictionaries from and put them to /Library/Spelling/.

Once installed all dictionaries, you can ensure whether the required dictionaries are available or not using command:

$ hunspell -D


Now that you have the english dictionary installed in your system, let's see how to spellcheck a word using PHP-Spellchecker and Hunspell.


// if you made the default hunspell installation on you local machine
$hunspell = Hunspell::create();

// or if you want to use binaries from Docker
$hunspell = new Hunspell(new CommandLine(['docker','run','--rm', '-i', 'tmaier/hunspell']);

// en_US hunspell dictionary is available
$misspellings = $hunspell->check('mispell', ['en_US'], ['from_example']);
foreach ($misspellings as $misspelling) {
    $misspelling->getWord(); // 'mispell'
    $misspelling->getLineNumber(); // '1'
    $misspelling->getOffset(); // '0'
    $misspelling->getSuggestions(); // ['misspell', ...]
    $misspelling->getContext(); // ['from_example']

Or if you want to check a file instead:

// spellchecking a file
$misspellings = $hunspell->check(new File('path/to/file.txt'), ['en_US'], ['from_file']);
foreach ($misspellings as $misspelling) {

Available dictionaries

You can check current hunspell installation languages availability before trying to spellcheck with an unsupported language for example.


$hunspell = Hunspell::create();

$hunspell->getSupportedLanguages(); // ['en','en_US',...]

Check the tests for more examples.