Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

  • Category: Reference
  • Release Date:
  • Current Version: 3.2.28
  • Adult Rating: 9+
  • Developer: Pleco Inc.
  • Compatibility: Android
4,650 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

  • The best 5/5

    By Raesu
    Dictionary for any language. The whole package of multiple dictionaries, integrated reader, flashcards, purchasable content like stories and news articles, and more. I wish they supported languages like German and Spanish, and had a larger selection of content to purchase! My Chinese wouldn't be where it is today without Pleco.
  • a lifesaver 5/5

    By Sophieleeajh12
    Pleco is extremely useful for an intermediate Chinese speaker like me. I like the features, especially the Zhuyin, flashcards, and handwriting. It’s easy to use and understand with the audio and Pinyin. One suggestion I have is to add some Hokkien dictionaries and audio. I know that there are people who’ve been asking for that addiction since 2014, and it would be really helpful for some of us.
  • Stellar 星!!!! 5/5

    By Nick M.777
    This app has helped me learn 70 words solidly, through Spaced Repetition, in 7 days. Worth it to buy the big bundle, especially for the Flashcards. Also love the stroke order and the native speakers, make and female to really hear how the words are pronounced. Thank you for an absolutely incredible app!!
  • Perfect 5/5

    By Sara nkn
    It's just amazing, even has the names of Chinese villages
  • Disappointed 1/5

    By Ajtcanvaz
    I tried to download this app but it just won’t load. Either the app is incompatible with apple products or the program is too complex to download.
  • Revolutionized my study of Chinese…again 5/5

    By naktvwatcher
    I read a lot of obscure texts, and Pleco makes all the difference. It helps me look up words fast, then quickly create flashcards to build new words into my vocabulary. The one thing I regret is that for the past few years I cheaped out on dictionaries, and didn’t buy many of them. My reasoning was that since I had paper versions of them, why buy the electronic versions? Big mistake. This month I bought the Grand Ricci, the Hanyu Da Cidian, the Chengyu dictionary—well, basically all of the big ones. I’m really glad I did. When you read a text, it finds complex compounds that you would never think to look up in a bigger dictionary. So, if you use Chinese in your profession, get Pleco and buy those dictionaries. Oh, here’s some dictionaries I wish it had: Hucker, A Dictionary of Official Titles; Brunnert and Hagelstrom, Present Day Political Organization of China. Update: still love it like crazy. I really also would still very much like to see Brunnert and Hagelstrom (which is in the public domain) and Hucker. Lately I've really gotten into working systematically with flash cards. It's a great feature!
  • Best Chinese Dictionary in the App Store 5/5

    By Sarchale
    There’s a few things that make Pleco great, but the things that stand out to me are the adaptability to real-life situations through things like the OCR and Character Handwriting Add-ons, not to mention the massive character dictionary. I really love this app!
  • A must for learners 5/5

    By Bananaguy7
    This app is so helpful for Chinese learners. It provides a multitude of pssoble terms you may be searching for, parts of speech, example sentences for use, and all possible definitions/uses of a particular term or character... all for free! My only complaint would be that the voice that reads it aloud is somewhat robotic, and does not do 儿化音 correctly (点儿 should be pronounced diǎr, not diǎn er, etc). However, this is a very, very minor issue in a great app. If you are learning Chinese, you MUST get this app. It is a necessity.
  • Excellent Reference & Learning Tool 5/5

    By landi3337
    I’m an advanced Mandarin speaker/reader of over thirty years and I still use this app constantly. I’ve recommended it to countless other students who all love it. The clipboard reader function is invaluable. I love this app.
  • Amazing 5/5

    By dapicester
    A must-have for everybody interested in Chinese.
  • The best. A must-have for the Sino学生 5/5

    By Dialextic
    I give this 10,000 stars. I began using the paid version of Pleco in college on a Palm Pilot over 15 years ago, just about as long as the app has been available, and I still study the language and continue to use this app. This app changes how quickly you can look up words, reducing the (sometimes futile) 10-minutes-long ordeal of looking up a single character in a paper dictionary, to instants. That function alone makes the app invaluable. Being able to see the radicals and their respective meanings is also supremely useful. Everything that has been added since is bonus — the reader, the etymology, the flashcards. Throughout the years I’ve encountered remarkably few bugs, and I have always been easily able to transfer my Pleco registration to every platform/smartphone I have used.
  • ❤️ 5/5

    By R-EON
    If I could only have one app from the AppStore, I’d probably choose Pleco. It makes learning Chinese so much easier. I especially love the option to customize the colors. 謝謝!
  • Great Stuff 5/5

    By Flashbulb Cleaner
    Pleco is the most reliable Chinese dictionary around: I only wish it was on pc as well.
  • A must have for anyone studying Chinese 5/5

    By Zeroday617
    Pleco was the first app I purchased when I bought an iOS device. Over the years I’ve purchased dictionaries and other add ons. It’s the best electronic dictionary out there and constantly updated.
  • Critical tool for learning Chinese 5/5

    By Bob 24525245
    I first purchased on a Palm Pilot in 2005. I’m still a loyal user today. This is a fantastic program that has such deep functionality that I am still discovering new and useful tools within it. Great work to the Pleco team. I can not recommend this app enough.
  • Best translator ever period。 5/5

    By brian (white kid)
    The versatility of Pleco is incredible. You can get lost in the innumerable characters. Break down a character by its radical and supporting characters and learn the deeper meaning of the character. 我爱Pleco.
  • Super for Cantonese 5/5

    By yourstrulykatie
    It's really hard finding a English/Chinese dictionary for Cantonese. Most dictionaries are ONLY mandarin & this one does both dialects so I couldn't be happier!
  • Awesome! 5/5

    By American_in_Berlin
    The best Chinese language app out there. Comprehensive, easy to use, robust with great add-ob’s! Highly recommended!
  • The undisputed best Chinese language resource, but the wait for 4.0 is killing me! 5/5

    By Theshadow0710
    Simply the best, period. But have been waiting for 4.0 for forever and the wait is killing me!
  • Pleco is Truly a 5 Star 5/5

    By 28 n holding
    I have used this app daily for about 6 years. It just keeps getting better. Love it. I use on my iPhones 4, 6S and iPads. Truly the best APP for Chinese learners of every level.
  • Excellent 5/5

    By Christian-stone
    The gold standard Chinese dictionary app.
  • Excellent App & Customer Service 5/5

    By Youritdept
    This is amazing! I love it! Well worth getting the pro add ons! The dictionaries are great. The web reader is a godsend. If you submit a question they get back to you very quickly. I couldn’t be happier with this app! It took me a while to figure out how to get the lyric reader to work because Apple Music doesn’t share the lyrics with Pleco and for what I’m sure are legal reasons Pleco can’t give much advice on how to get mp3s with embedded lyrics. So I’m going to share this with anyone who is interested. I found that if you can find the song you like on YouTube and put it in a “YouTube to mp3” converter (just google it). Drag the mp3 to iTunes. Google the song lyrics and copy them. Then go to the “song info” for the song in iTunes. Go to they lyrics tab. Click custom lyrics. Paste your lyrics and hit ok. Sync your phone to iTunes and voila! The lyrics show up in Pleco. There may be an easier and faster way, but this is what I’ve found so far. I hope it helps anyone else wishing to use the lyrics feature.
  • Best Chinese dictionary 5/5

    By DudemanLA
    Been using this since the days of the Palm Treo. Highly recommend this app. Worth the price as you will have this app for a long time and it is the best.
  • 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?

Pleco Chinese Dictionary app comments


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