Not Just Paranoid

Another site by Pete Maynard

Generate 1000 random words using UNIX

I need 1000 random words in non-alphabetical order, don’t ask why… I just do.  So after looking though the ‘bin’ folder for a program that might generate these words and found nothing, I decided to head to the internet.  This is where I found out about the ‘words’ file which is located in ‘/usr/dict/words’ this file is used for things like spell checking.  Now this contains many many words.  This is what I was looking for!

So I quickly did some more google-in for a command that would get me one thousand words, becacse I only needed 1000 words not 25k.  I ended up with a program called head, which displays the first few lines of a file. Now all I had to do was pipe a few words into a file.

head -n 1000 /usr/dict/words > words.txt

I thought I was set!  I had 1000 words in a file, check it with ‘wc -l’ and we’re good to go.  Only I realised that all the words began with ‘a’ … fail!

After some more google-in I ended up with this little script thing, it works as far as I can tell.

for i in {1..1000};

  head -$((${RANDOM} % `wc -l < /usr/dict/words` + 1)) /usr/dict/words | tail -1 >> words.txt;

One of the main problems with this is that it not very resource friendly and takes a while to complete.  Maybe this would be a fun little program to write, although I am sure there is something like this in the vast blackness of the web.

Hope this helps someone,


8 Oct 2010 | Tags ( bash generate UNIX Words )

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