In Emacs, where is ispell's personal dictionary stored?, the documentation http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/emacs/Spelling.html says

Your personal dictionary is specified by the variable ispell-personal-dictionary. If that is nil, the spelling program looks for a personal dictionary in a default location.

But where is this default location? In general, how to find out this?

  • 1
    Here is an example command-line to dump the aspell configuration from the terminal into output to the terminal screen: aspell --lang=en dump config You can setup an aspell.conf in the etc directory and then store your personal dictionaries wherever you want.
    – lawlist
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:16
  • Ask Emacs: C-h v ispell-personal-dictionary (as @Lompik said). If that doesn't tell you all you need to know, click the link that takes you to the source code, and see what it uses as the default value.
    – Drew
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:30

1 Answer 1


C-h v ispell-personal-dictionary

"File name of your personal spelling dictionary, or nil.
If nil, the default personal dictionary, (\"~/.ispell_DICTNAME\" for ispell or
\"~/.aspell.LANG.pws\" for aspell) is used, where DICTNAME is the name of your
default dictionary and LANG the two letter language code."
  • 5
    Any idea what does "pws" stands for?
    – qazwsx
    Oct 9, 2015 at 14:51
  • 1
    I'm not sure what it stands for but it's just the extension of the file. aspell.net/man-html/…
    – Lompik
    Oct 9, 2015 at 15:29
  • 3
    "Personal Word Set"? (i have no clue) May 10, 2019 at 2:50
  • What if there are multiple languages? In hunspell each language has its own ~/.hunspell_es_AR personal dictionary for each language. Is there still only one personal dictionary for this variable?
    – sinekonata
    Apr 6, 2020 at 2:42

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