Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

  • Category: Reference
  • Release Date:
  • Current Version: 3.2.26
  • Adult Rating: 9+
  • Developer: Pleco Inc.
  • Compatibility: Android
4,587 Ratings
$ 0

Pleco Chinese Dictionary App

Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion - an integrated dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live OCR, from a company that's been making the world's best mobile Chinese learning apps since 2001. Major features: ($ = paid add-on) • Amazing dictionaries. We include two lovely free ones built-in: the popular open-source CC-CEDICT, with over 110,000 frequently-updated entries, and our own PLC dictionary, with 125,000 more detailed entries, parts of speech, and over 25,000 example sentences (with Pinyin). More than two dozen other dictionaries are available as free and paid ($) add-ons, including licensed titles from well-known publishers like Oxford, Longman, FLTRP, Tuttle, SLPH, and Commercial Press. • Powerful merged search: look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces / tones optional), or English, with support for wildcards and full-text search. And no need to tediously flip between all of those dictionaries to find a word - just type in your search term and instantly get a combined, frequency-sorted result list. • Links and cross-references: easily look up character components, break down words into individual characters, look up lists of words containing a particular character, search across all dictionaries for example sentences containing a word, and even find synonyms / antonyms using our (experimental) free thesaurus add-on. • Gorgeous typography: see it for yourself in our screenshots - we think we're one of the best-looking Chinese dictionaries around. Alternate Kai/Song/Xing-style Chinese fonts are also available ($). • PRC/HK/Taiwan-friendly: every part of Pleco supports both traditional and simplified characters, headword pronunciations can be shown in Zhuyin as well as in Pinyin, and we even support Cantonese search and display in our PLC dictionary. • Audio: Hear Mandarin and Cantonese pronunciations for words and example sentences using iOS' free built-in text-to-speech system. We also offer add-ons ($) with native-speaker Mandarin and Cantonese recordings, plus higher-quality Mandarin text-to-speech system options. • Document Reader: bring in text from the clipboard and tap on words in it to instantly look them up. Upgrade ($) adds support for tap-lookups in text, HTML, DOC, DOCX, PDF, and EPUB files, and in embedded lyrics in songs and podcasts. • OCR: look up words simply by pointing your device's camera at them, or by tapping on them in a still image. ($) • Fullscreen handwriting: use your device's whole screen instead of just a little box. Extremely accurate and highly tolerant of stroke order mistakes. ($) • Flashcards: create a card from any dictionary entry with a single button tap, import premade word lists, use advanced memorization techniques like SRS, and study in a variety of modes including fill-in-the-blanks handwriting and tone drills. ($) • Stroke Order Diagrams: animations showing you how to draw each character; 500 characters for free, 28,000 in paid ($) version. • User dictionaries: create new dictionary entries right on your device as you encounter new words. ($) • Absolutely no ads. We also offer famously excellent customer support and an active user community at And we're constantly working to make our products better; our sales and customer base have been growing for 15 years across 4 different mobile platforms. You can be confident that we'll still be fixing bugs and adding features for years to come. Our paid add-ons can be transferred to other devices that link to your iTunes account just like any other paid iTunes content; simply install our free app, open up the "Add-ons" screen, and tap on the "Restore Purchases" button to activate your purchase on each device. Please contact us at, via the form at, or using the in-app "Contact Support" command with any questions - we'll be delighted to hear from you.


Pleco Chinese Dictionary app screenshots

Pleco Chinese Dictionary app reviews

  • Gold standard 5/5

    By Christian-stone
    Live in China or study Chinese? This is the best tool. Use it all the time. I do wish there was a character writing pad built into the app. I don’t like to keep apples character recognition keyboard installed, but I would like it only in this app when I DON’T want to look something up by radical or pinyin or by taking a photo.
  • Perfect if you want more than just a Google Translation! 5/5

    By Patpag
    Gives detailed and multiple meanings of chinese characters, words and says. A must if you want to learn this language rather than just doing a Google or Bing translate!
  • Fantastic feature set 5/5

    By Milotic1234
    When I first got this app, I was expecting a simple dictionary. But the OCR, paste board, and flashcard features make this so much better (OCR in particular blew my mind when I first learned about it through this app)
  • Indispensable tool for learning Manarin or Cantonese 5/5

    By yangsanggunja
    This suite of study tools is so much more than just a dictionary, it has everything you need to make sense of oceans of Chinese. And they keep making it better and better! The suite of available dictionaries keeps growing and growing, and I just love the text reader and the live augmented reality dictionary where you point your phone’s camera at something around you and get the definition on the screen like magic is amazing. Recently I’ve started using the flash card functionality and it’s also great. Some of the add ons are not cheap, but for me it’s all money well spent! I’ve been using Pleco for years now and it just keeps getting better and better! Kudos to the development team. If you want to seriously study any flavor of Chinese, you NEED this suite of study tools!
  • A "must have" Chinese dictionary 5/5

    By PRWindowCleaner
    This mobile version works better than many of the online desktop dictionaries I have used. If you are trying to learn Chinese, you need this.
  • I can't imagine not having this app! 5/5

    By Ruthie the Magma Cube
    I am studying Chinese, and this app is an immense help!!!! I have had it for maybe a year now. I used it all the time during a visit to China. The definitions are very accurate, and it is very easy to search for a word. You can search pinyin-Chinese, Chinese-English, and English-Chinese very easily. Also, everything downloads onto your phone so you can access definitions instantly, wifi or not! I've bought the ancient small seal script. It's amazing! It's very accurate. The small seal script characters are from the Qin dynasty, when the first emperor standardised Chinese characters. They look just like traditional characters in use today!!! (In Taiwan) It's a great resource for studying ancient script, and it's only $5! I've also bought the entomology thingy. It's $30, but worth every cent! It's amazing!! It's has super detailed info on the histories of thousands of characters. One thing to note: If you have an iPhone, you don't have to buy a keyboard that allows you to draw characters. You can just turn the Chinese keyboard on in the settings. However, pleco's keyboard is full screen, and more accurate than iPhone's keyboard. I use the google translate app to take pictures of characters and translate them, but it does a pretty bad job. It takes quite a few minutes. Do you really think I'll believe there's clothes, sand, and glue in my milk ingredients list??? So if you need to take pictures of Chinese characters to translate, you should try Pleco's version. I've just tried the demo but it seems a LOT better. Thanks pleco!!!!! This app has made my Chinese-learning journey so much easier and enjoyable!
  • Love this app! 5/5

    By Ccf72
    I’ve been using this app for years now, and I absolutely love it. The app is an amazing Chinese dictionary with simplified and traditional characters. You have the option of typing the pinyin, writing out the character, or even voice search to find your definitions! I also like the little things like being able to look over your history of searches and saving favorite words (which can come in handy when listing ideas for Chinese baby names). PLUS, in all these years I haven’t seen a single ad, and the features I’ve described are all free! Update: Freezing issues are gone. Thank you! :)
  • Great 5/5

    By Goodmephisto
    Good dictionary
  • Absolute necessity for all Chinese learners 5/5

    By Johnny_friday34
    I have been learning Chinese for 10 years, and have lived in China for 3. Pleco has been by and large the most essential tool for me along the way. You can tell the team behind Pleco is very passionate about what they do, as there are constantly improvements being made. I have recommended this app to dozens of friends and will continue to do so. Thanks Pleco team!
  • 5 years and counting 5/5

    By Too many Bens
    I’ve been using Pleco as my primary study tool for five years now. Working on a Chinese-taught Master degree and still rely depend on it for looking up words and studying vocabulary. I would still recommend downloading the free version at least and buying the professional pack if you plan on studying beyond beginner level. Everyone should buy and learn to use the notecard system (unless you’re rocking Anki already). Make sure to turn on Spaced Repetition and include reviews for cards you don’t know until you get it right twice. The setting can be (are) confusing but merit thirty minutes exploring fully. If you are going for 古代汉语, you best download the 古代汉语大词典. For beginners, Pleco’s free dictionary is plenty but for advanced learners, stop using English and move over to a CH to CH dictionary. I like 现代汉语规范词典.
  • Great App! 5/5

    By Joblony
    Pleco is very easy to use, covers a lot of terms, and is super useful! Definitely would recommend as a mobile dictionary.
  • Amazing app. Can't believe it's free 5/5

    By Vaebnkehn
    Does one thing really well. The highest complement I can give an app.
  • Crucial 5/5

    By heywaitress88
    This app is absolutely crucial to learning Chinese. Great UI and frequent updates makes this a pleasure to use. I cannot tell you how many times I use it in one day. Too many to count. Thanks developers!
  • Issues 3/5

    By Philomath95
    I first started using the app about a a few years ago and really thrived using it. I loved having it and needed it all the time. But for some time now, every time I open up the app it freezes on the registration page and can’t even use it. I’m not sure for how many people this has been happening to but if you’re going to invest money on a product then it should function without having to delete & redownload the app. Several times in less than 5 minutes. They really need to fix these issues.
  • Life saver 5/5

    By goofyc
    the reason why i am not failing my bilingual education. so grateful that it is fully functional even when offline
  • I can't imagine how I ever did without it 5/5

    By lost in china
    The unbelievably excellent dictionary app that keeps getting better. Basic dictionary is superb--- add-on dictionaries cover the needs of both basic students and seasoned Sinologists. It Handles simplified and traditional character sets; you can search with either set. And you can lookup anything you find within a definition -- (almost) universal hyperlinks. If time would take me back 45 years ago (when I began studying Chinese), I would take Pleco with me. It is my “essential” iPhone app.
  • Must have for learning Chinese 5/5

    By Music Buster
    If you are at all serious about learning Chinese you will be glad you download Pleco.
  • this is why I'm passing AP 中文 5/5

    By evasofetch
    Shoutout to pleco for helping me and the six of us in my AP Chinese class, without it we'd be losttttt
  • Great app can’t wait until the update for iPhone 8 5/5

    By Zabadactator
    I have used this app for years it is extremely convenient as a Chinese learner living in China.
  • Opens and instantly freezes after update 2/5

    By Spacime
    Worked fine until update now every time I open the app, it instantly freezes and now I can’t use the app. Please help!
  • The FINEST dictionary in EXISTENCE 5/5

    By i<3miabear
    the absolute gold standard of everything a dictionary should be and more Michael - you have coded a masterpiece of software. Paid $100 for upgrades and worth every penny.
  • Real Beginner 5/5

    By Oliaxel
    I just downloaded it and I’m already obsessed!!.
  • Very highly recommended 5/5

    By FSiwen
    Rarely write reviews. Been using for over 4 years. Spent money for add ons, and don't regret it. Learn, use, have fun with Chinese is all an option with Pleco.
  • A huge lifesaver 5/5

    By Cool.Beans
    I don't know how I'd learn Chinese without this app. I am an American born Chinese speaker and having this app has saved me SO MUCH time from looking at old dictionaries. Cannot recommend highly enough!!
  • Superb 4/5

    By Dushlbrk
    Within the testing feature it would awesome to be able to select stroke order in “prompt for” and “show”. That way a mandarin learner could see the character being written as they hear it and are prompted to select the pronunciation and definition. That being said, I'm still finding features on this app that make it more and more convenient. For example, if you press and hold on a bookmark in your category view you can hear the pronunciation without opening the entry itself. It allows category as well as subcategories, and you can place an entry into multiple categories. I would recommend this to anyone learning mandarin, simply passing through a mandarin speaking country, and even native speakers who want a handy dictionary with highly personalized features.
  • Best Chinese resource I've ever used by far 5/5

    By KLS1314
    I've been using the free version of this app for around 8 years - it's been my go-to dictionary ever since I started studying Chinese and has done the job without fail for many years. I couldn't have survived college in Beijing without it! Now starting off as a translator, I finally gave in and purchased the pro pack, and immediately found that it was absolutely worth the money. Great additional features to an app that was already fantastic. I've recommended Pleco to all my classmates, and more recently to my own students!
  • Great Chinese dictionary 5/5

    By wise critic
    I'm a fluent mandarin speaker and have lived in China. Of all the dictionaries that I've used, this is one of the best.
  • The gold standard for Chinese dictionary apps 5/5

    By beijau
    平靓正. What more can I say?
  • Outstanding 5/5

    By MeS 57
    I use this app every day! It's the best dictionary ever! I especially like the document reader function. The ability for other apps to access the dictionary to look up words is great. Thank you!
  • This App is the Main Reason I have an Iphone 5/5

    By Colasante
    If I ever get an ipad, this app would also be the main reason for my purchase. I needed a dictionary that is stable and reliable, this app/dictionary has been around since the existence of the Palm Pilot before the year 2000, and purchases made then are still viable today. I have been through too many other apps where I pay money, only to find the developers phase out the app and make you pay a whole bunch of money all over again for the exact same dictionary. Not this one. The developer, Michael Love is the most responsive and helpful person I have ever known. Even in the rare instance I find a word that's not in there yet, or a small bug, he fixes it immediately. For anyone seriously interested in learning Chinese though, don't take my word for it, take it from the academic community. My Chinese culture and language professor from Sarah Lawrence college required me to purchase the in-app purchases for me to take his class, and to this day, I have graduated nearly 5 years now it is the only "textbook" I continuously use every day that I was required to buy for a college course. My Chinese friends all too often tell me that the phrase or word I just heard from them cannot be found in a dictionary. Pleco proves them wrong every time. My wife is Chinese and she uses this dictionary exclusively as well even for her to learn new Chinese words. The interface does have a lot of customizable settings that are worth learning, but it is time well-spent, and is surprisingly intuitive.
  • Saved my life for 5+ semesters of Mandarin study!! 5/5

    By georgiebot
    Pleco is such an intuitive, simple, amazingly powerful app. It was recommended to me by my aunt (who is a native Taiwanese speaker) and it has been my saving grace throughout an entire Mandarin minor. I highly recommend it to anyone at least relatively interested in Chinese, and it is invaluable to those who are serious about studying it.
  • Really solid choice for any Chinese student 5/5

    By friedonions
    I have studied Chinese for all four years of high school, all the way through AP Chinese. Pleco has been an invaluable resource for me and many of my classmates for help with both reading comprehension and writing. Not only does it have all or nearly all of the words and phrases used in a Chinese classroom setting, but it also has examples and alternate uses for all of them. Its interface is accessible and easy to use, which makes it perfect not only for homework, but for looking up little phrases you see around life or in conversation for curiosity. Pleco is an excellent Chinese dictionary, and an even better app. There is absolutely no reason for anyone with an iPhone to be using google translate for Chinese when Pleco is here, available offline, and free.
  • Great for Cantonese 5/5

    By A-Yuen
    In trying to learn Chinese, it seems like most resources are geared exclusively toward Mandarin. Not only does Pleco support Cantonese, it does is really, really well.
  • Best 5/5

    By hunnr
    Best Chinese dictionary ever. No one else need try to build another app—just quit your job. And apply to Pleco. I've learned Chinese since 2010, and the introduction of Pleco changed the game for Chinese-learners everywhere, permanently. I have taught chinese for the last two years, and now I'm in a PhD program taught in Chinese. Pleco is the ultimate tool for a learner, teacher, or enthusiast. Impeccable design.
  • Simply the Best! 5/5

    By TheEarlGuy
    This is by far the best Chinese dictionary in the App Store.
  • Top notch dictionary for the aspiring Chinese learner 5/5

    By Frederick Twigg
    This dictionary is easily the best dictionary to have in hand when studying Chinese. I used the basic free version for 2 years as my constant reference for both summers in spent traveling in China and for language studies while on the bus, in a coffee shop, or listening to podcasts in Chinese. After adding the basic paid features package, I get even more out of Pleco. Particularly the document reader and flash card system are my most frequently used add-ons. It's great to just snap a picture and have instant access to just tap on a character and see the translation. Great for help with restaurant menus, short articles, and signage. It made 上海博物館 much more enjoyable. Finally, I'll add that I love that the Pleco team is constantly improving their app. The singular complaint that had sent me to other sources in the past was the lack of parts of speech, and the occasional lack of example sentences for some less common words; making it hard to understand without the sufficient context. With the newest update of the freely provided dictionary, parts of speech are being added with further example sentences! Pleco is easily the first choice of Chinese -English dictionary for any user at any price point. About me: Intermediate Chinese Level Primarily a self-studied learner with the great help of podcasts and apps like Pleco! Pleco user for more than 3 years (I think?)
  • Life saver 5/5

    By Ryina Chuu
    This is an amazing app! Especially if you are trying to learn Chinese!!! Not only does it understand simplified and traditional characters, it also understands any Chinese slang and idioms and translated in English for you. They provide voice of how to say the word, sample sentences and any phrases that the one character may also be contained it. I also purchased the reader extension and I use it all the time to read Chinese novels from the web. I can pull up any novel and hit the characters I don't recognize and it'll pop up the English translations. My Chinese would not be as good as it is now without this app!! Thank you developers for all your hard work!!!! 🙏❤️
  • The best Chinese to English app 5/5

    By Ming Yuan Zhong Wen Xue Xiao
    This is the best one of my favorite apps, mainly because it's so efficient and allows me to pass my classes This app has also been a great aid for many of my friends and helped me improve my English
  • Very helpful friend 5/5

    By Hmmm update?
    I love this app. It has helped me so much with learning Mandarin. Thank you!!
  • Amazing, can't live without it! 5/5

    By Adrian & Rebecca
    I love this app.
  • The Best just became Untouchable 5/5

    By Theshadow0710
    For all those that have used Pleco before, we have come to the conclusion this is the all time best app for Chinese dictionary reference. For any level ranging form newbies to native speaker, Pleco is the gold standard. all time best chinese app ever. Basically the Apple of Chinese reference.
  • Great app 5/5

    By jmansker
    Must have for anyone learning Chinese.
  • Can't imagine life without it! 5/5

    By TechnoGranny47
    I've been using Pleco for many years, and I'm still always amazed at how useful and beautiful it is! I use it every single day and highly recommend it to anyone who is studying Chinese. I would also echo Other Lisa's praise...I, too, began with Palm OS and have been consistently awed by the stellar customer service!!
  • 11/10 WOULD RECOMMEND 5/5

    By Aownsgaisb
    This app is AMAZING. It's the only reason I was able to pass my Chinese classes. It's incredibly efficient, accurate and useful, and as a result,my Chinese has improved exponentially!
  • great app 5/5

    By zksky9
    one of the best Chinese dictionary apps out there!
  • Great 5/5

    By Iamsofansy2014
    Great app
  • most complete chinese dictionary ever. 5/5

    By Maung Thet Paing
    Can learn the every meaning of the sentences just by tapping on the word, and hear pronunciation of every sentence.
  • Absolutely essential 5/5

    By PF Duke
    Still the best. THE absolutely necessary app for studying Chinese and for professionals working in Chinese and English.
  • Wonderful app! 5/5

    By Carrolwd
    This app has become an essential part of my life. I rely on it heavily on a daily basis -- both when I'm studying Chinese in a textbook at home in the U.S., and when I'm learning Chinese on the ground in Guangzhou.
  • Amazing resource 5/5

    By Tang scholar
    A must-have for scholars and researchers. With the purchase of added dictionaries, my iPhone has replaced about 20 volumes of modern and Classical Chinese dictionaries. The opscan function is amazing.

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