vim spell is Vim's built-in spellcheck

To update (replacing the current version) run webi vim-spell.

Cheat Sheet

Vim has a built-in spell checker. It is turned off by default and when turned on will do whole-word highlighting - which does not look good in any of the themes a I use.

This vim-spell plugin turns on the spell checker and sets it to use underline rather than background coloring.

How to add new words

The vim command to add words to your user's dictionary is :spell <word>. For example:

:spell JSON
:spell HTML

How to remove words

You can remove a word from your custom dictionary with :spellundo <word>, like so:

:spellundo referer

You can blacklist word (mark it as an incorrect spelling) with :spellwrong <word>, like this:

:spellwrong writeable

" use X11/HTML-defined 'gray', not the proper English 'grey'
:spellwrong grey

This is particularly useful if you want to make sure that you're consintent in spelling words that have multiple spellings.

Where are the custom files?

Your user-specific spell files in in ~/.vim/spell. One is in binary form and the other in text form, likely:

  • ~/.vim/spell/en.utf-8.add
  • ~/.vim/spell/en.utf-8.add.spl

How to install manually

Create the file ~/.vim/plugins/spell.vim. Add the same contents as

That will look something like this:

" turn on spellcheck
set spell

" set spellcheck highlight to underline
hi clear SpellBad
hi SpellBad cterm=underline

You'll then need to update ~/.vimrc to source that plugin:

" Spell Check: reasonable defaults from
source ~/.vim/plugins/spell.vim


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