I am unable to use Ispell, after the upgrade to Hunspell 1.7.0. It seems that the "-D" option does not return the loaded dictionary, therefore the function ispell-find-hunspell-dictionaries fails. Calling a fake file (null device) seems to return the proper values. I am using therefore this workaround:

;; Work around for Hunspell 1.7.0 
(defun manage-hunspell-1.7 (old-function-ispell &rest arguments)
  "Add null-device when calling \"hunspell -D\"."
  (if  (equal "-D"  (nth 4 arguments))
    (funcall old-function-ispell "hunspell" null-device t nil "-D" null-device)
    (apply old-function-ispell  arguments)))
(advice-add 'ispell-call-process :around #'manage-hunspell-1.7))

What is the official way to use Hunspell 1.7.0?

  • This approach looks interesting, but seems to given a strange list of dictionaries. I had just set-up my own dictionaries explicitly as a work around, but would prefer some automatic method in this sort of direction. Jan 23, 2019 at 11:00
  • @AndrewSwann: do you get several loaded dictionaries or several available dictionaries? ispell-find-hunspell-dictionaries looks for .aff extensions. I have only one .aff file as the loaded dictionary.
    – antonio
    Jan 23, 2019 at 17:13
  • I have just tried this again it looks better than yesterday. hunspell-dictionary-alist and ispell-local-dictionary-alist' get populated with the correct hunspell dictionaries that I have installed. On the other hand ispell-dictionary-alist` also gets populated with a large number of further entries - I am not sure where they come from. Jan 24, 2019 at 10:58
  • I have been using this for sometime now, with the advice-add wrapped in (with-eval-after-load "ispell" ...) and it is working fine. Feb 17, 2019 at 12:43
  • 2
    If helpful, there's some kind of patch here: github.com/emacs-mirror/emacs/commit/… According to this, the problem is that Hunspell developers changed the output of the program for the flag (hunspell -D). Mar 1, 2019 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


The null-device workaround(*) is now part of the official ispell-find-hunspell-dictionaries.

(*) hunspell -D /dev/null or the platform equivalent is necessary to print the LOADED DICTIONARY section after the available dictionaries.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.