How to Search Up a Word on Mac: A Step-by-Step Guide

Searching up a word on your Mac is a breeze! Whether you’re looking for a definition, trying to correct a spelling, or just curious about a term’s usage, your Mac has got you covered. With just a few clicks, you can easily find the information you need without ever leaving your current application.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Search Up a Word on Mac

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about what we’re aiming to achieve. Searching up a word on your Mac can help you better understand what you’re reading, ensure your writing is error-free, or simply satisfy your curiosity. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Place the cursor over the word you want to search.

Simply move your mouse or trackpad pointer and click on the word you’re interested in.

Placing the cursor over the word is essential as it tells your Mac which word you want to look up. Make sure you click accurately on the word to avoid selecting the wrong term.

Step 2: Use the trackpad or mouse to perform a force click or hover with two fingers.

On a trackpad, press down firmly with one finger or tap with two fingers. If you’re using a mouse, you can hover over the word with the cursor.

This gesture is the key to activating the lookup feature. If you have a Force Touch trackpad, the force click will bring up the definition. If not, the two-finger tap works just as well.

Step 3: Choose ‘Look Up "word"’ from the context menu that appears.

A menu will pop up showing different options—click on ‘Look Up "word"’.

Selecting this option will open a small window with the definition, synonyms, and sometimes even Wikipedia articles related to the word.

Step 4: Read the definition or explore additional information provided.

Take your time to read through the information displayed to understand the word better.

The window that appears doesn’t just provide a definition—it often includes other useful resources like thesaurus entries and related articles that you might find helpful.

Step 5: Click outside of the look-up window to close it and return to your work.

When you’re done, simply click anywhere outside of the look-up window to close it.

This final step ensures that the look-up window doesn’t stay open and distract you from your work. It’s as simple as that!

After completing the above steps, you will have successfully searched up a word on your Mac. You’ll be more informed about the word’s meaning and usage, and you can carry on with your task, having learned something new.

Tips: Enhancing Your Word Search on Mac

  • If the word you’re looking up is misspelled, the look-up feature will often suggest the correct spelling.
  • You can customize the sources that the look-up feature uses by going to System Preferences > Trackpad > Look up & data detectors.
  • You can use keyboard shortcuts like Command-Control-D to look up a word without using the trackpad or mouse.
  • If you’re using a word processing program like Pages or Microsoft Word, you can often right-click on a word to look it up.
  • Don’t forget that you can also use Siri on your Mac to define words by saying something like, "Hey Siri, define [word]."

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the word I want to look up is not clickable?

If the word is not clickable, you can still manually highlight the word by clicking and dragging over it, then follow the same steps to look it up.

Can I look up phrases or idioms on my Mac?

Yes, you can look up phrases or idioms by highlighting the entire phrase and then following the same look-up procedure.

Is there a way to change the default dictionary for the look-up feature?

Yes, you can change the default dictionary by going to the Dictionary app on your Mac, then to Preferences, and selecting the dictionaries you want to use.

Can I use this feature in all apps on my Mac?

The look-up feature is available in most native Mac applications and many third-party apps as well.

What if the look-up feature doesn’t work?

If the look-up feature doesn’t work, check your trackpad settings in System Preferences to ensure the gesture is enabled. You may also want to update your Mac’s software.


  1. Place the cursor over the word you want to search.
  2. Perform a force click or a two-finger tap on the trackpad, or hover with the mouse.
  3. Choose ‘Look Up "word"’ from the context menu.
  4. Read through the provided information.
  5. Click outside the look-up window to close it.


Knowing how to search up a word on your Mac is an incredibly helpful skill. It can boost your productivity, enhance your writing, and even quench your thirst for knowledge. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to quickly and efficiently look up any word, anytime, without disrupting your workflow. Plus, with additional tips such as customizing sources and using Siri for definitions, you’ve now got several tools at your disposal to make the most out of this useful feature. So, the next time you come across a perplexing word, don’t skip over it—look it up and expand your vocabulary effortlessly. Happy searching!

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