Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

  • Category: Reference
  • Release Date:
  • Current Version: 3.2.31
  • Adult Rating: 9+
  • Developer: Pleco Inc.
  • Compatibility: Android
4,730 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 18 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 [email protected], 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. Period. 5/5

    By anninchina
    Pleco Chinese dictionaries are easy to use, accurate, truly what you need no matter what stage you’re at in language learning. The basic dictionary is perfect. Until you get addicted to learning this language. At that point having dictionaries in Chinese helps you get the subtle nuances of meaning that straight Eng/Ch can’t give you. You can build the set that best suits your needs. I’ve been using Pleco for about 15 years now and it just keeps getting better. Other dictionaries simply can’t compare. (I got nothing for this review.)
  • Excellent for all levels 5/5

    By YasBean
    I have been using Pleco for over 10 years. At first, I thought of it as a novelty, but when I bought the Hanyu Da Cidian, everything changed. No longer did I have to mess with the index volume, then find the proper volume for the entry, then thumb through to find the entry, by which time, I had forgotten what I was reading. Pleco provides multiple dictionary entries on one screen. An added benefit is that the cost of Pleco versions of the HYDCD, and other dictionaries, is a small fraction of the hard copies. The interface is also very sophisticated.
  • An outstanding app 5/5

    By dame wang
    This is the gold standard of Chinese language study apps, and an excellent example of just how much functionality an iPhone or iPad can deliver. I first began using this on a Palm Pilot, probably eight or nine years ago. It was good then, and has continued to improve. The many add-ons make it easy to start small, without spending much money, and add functionality later as you need it. If you are new to Chinese study, this is a must-have app.
  • One of the three pillars of my Chinese studies 5/5

    By jacktasia
    If you are serious about learning Chinese then this app is a must have. I have both bundles and they are worth every penny. I love having a central repository for all my dictionaries and characters. If have tried countless apps and this is one of the best and one of three I use constantly: * Plexo * HelloChinese * Google Translate
  • Really helpful 5/5

    By huinbgfffhjuuff
    I just studied abroad in China learning Mandarin, and I don’t think I could have survived homework and even daily life without this dictionary. There were so many times I had to look words up to communicate, get around/travel, and complete classwork and homework. It was even nice to change the colors on it so that the screen didn’t hurt my eyes during late night studying.
  • The premier Chinese language tool and reference 5/5

    By jayare7
    I have used Pleco for over 10 years on various platforms—it is indispensable both for its dictionary and other study aids. When students begin studying Chinese and ask what they should do, I tell them that the first thing they need to do is get Pleco. Required for English speakers studying Chinese.
  • Pleco - must for learning chinese 5/5

    By sdr0322
    Hands down the best app that helps Chinese language learners.
  • Excellent 5/5

    By Fm89130
    The best app for Chinese
  • love Pleco 5/5

    By L0rem Ipsum!
    After nine years in China hiring the occasional tutor but not really caring or focusing on my Chinese, I finally got my act together and have regularly been studying 2-4 hours every day since 春节. Pleco has been invaluable in both the lazy times and the student grind times. 100% recommend.

    By Liradie
    Pleco is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL for anyone taking on serious Chinese study. I use it constantly, and even paid the extra $20 to get the extra features, because they are ridiculously useful. I’ve used various dictionary apps for various languages, and Pleco trumps them all - it has a super usable interface, a bookmark system, helpful definitions and tons of examples for most words, extra info like radicals and components, and just pretty much anything you could possibly want from a dictionary app. It doesn’t had an auto-translator, but it can totally help you understand how a word functions so you can use it properly. Pleco 我爱你!
  • Amazing App! 4/5

    By smertnernie
    I take a Chinese class in school and this has been a super helpful app! One thing that I would like to have is an option to write characters out. My sister has the same app on her Android phone and it gives her that option, but on my apple phone it does not.
  • Amazing 5/5

    By guangxiwalt
    Worth the purchase for the self test system alone! Could use a few more of the open source dictionaries though. (Burnett would be fanstastic) Buy this APP if you’re study chinese!
  • Great for all skill levels 5/5

    By LeonidasofEire
    I’m an advanced learner. But this app offers a wide range of tools for all skill levels, the clipboard and flash cards being particularly useful, and the ease of use is outstanding. Thus I’ve found that this app has been more useful in my language development than any of the other services I’ve found combined.
  • Won't transfer license between Android, iOS 1/5

    By fjfhhdhjv
    If you buy this on one platform, they'll try to make you buy it again if you switch to another. No thanks. You'll never see another dime from me.
  • Please Fix Recent Bugs 1/5

    By Dragonfly395
    It’s been 5 Stars for years but recently the app can’t bring up any of my flash cards and I can’t add words to my flash cards from the dictionary. The “+” symbol is gone and when I go to “organize cards,” it endlessly says “downloading”. I’ve tried deleting and redownloading the app as well as restarting my phone but neither help.
  • Great app to have while traveling! 5/5

    By OpenlakesReviews
    I love the live translation option! I use this app all the time. Thank you so much for such a great app.
  • Pleco is really great! 5/5

    By TheHiggs
    I found it really useful when I lived in China!
  • 非常适合爱汉语的同学们! 5/5

    By SHOLA
  • A polyglot's Gold standard 5/5

    By From Lucy Hale
    For context-driven Chinese language dictionaries this should be the gold standard. Clear exposition but what really sets this app apart is the minimalist user friendly interface. By letting every word be a navigation to more learning that makes you want to discover more. Only on the free base dictionary now but considering purchasing additional as I am so impressed. I wish there were clearer ways to save lists, ie if you were assembling a list of proverbs that all mimic a language pattern you should be able to tell Pleco to selectively save and annotate. Still a 5/5 app
  • Best thing ever 5/5

    By Sflolalola
    This app is fantastic and gets better and better. I use it constantly. If I had one wish, it would be that the word usages of a particular character were listed in order of how common they are used and not alphabetically (pinyin). If I’m Looking something up by radical, I don’t likely know it’s pronunciation. Also a dictionary search function just by stroke count alone would be nice. Regardless, this app is indespensible for a student of Chinese.
  • Can’t go without it 5/5

    By jacklim7373
    Pleco has been serving me for a long time by now and I still use it today.
  • Five stars 5/5

    By 戴三才
    I've been a daily pleco user for six years. It is my favorite app. Mike and the team are incredibly responsive. Get it if you are at all serious about learning Chinese.
  • 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, 5, 6S and iPads. Truly the best APP for Chinese learners of every level.
  • Best all-purpose language app ever 5/5

    By keligeng
    My college study of Mandarin and any proficiency I had was more than forty-five years ago. My mind and memory is a bundle of confused Wade-Giles, Yale & DeFrancis (all pre-Pinyin, I might add) and my character knowledge, or what’s left of it, was based all before simplified characters. But this app has allowed me to travel and be comfortable in China with my little and now ancient knowledge on five different trips in the last few years. The OCR and dictionary are almost magically efficient and the many other features are just wonderful. Thanks to all whose hard work make this app possible. I am going to three cities in May (Chengdu for the first time) and this app makes my stress in preparation diminish to mere dust. I cannot wait to see the next version! Is it even possible to be a better app than this is now?
  • Must Have Resource if You’re Learning Chinese 5/5

    By Kristabiner
    I just started learning Chinese and this app has been a fantastic companion to my textbooks and lessons. It’s an easy-to-use all-in-one resource featuring: Tons of different definitions for characters Keyboard and stroke input for dictionary search Audio files to learn pronunciation Character stroke animation Flashcards and Bookmarks for study aids If you’re serious about learning Chinese invest $30 in the Pleco Basic Bundle for an incredible expansion of capabilities.
  • Very handy! 5/5

    By Bokamba
    I recently used this app to help me transcribe a Traditional Chinese paper document into Simplified. It’s also my go-to dictionary.
  • Best Mandarin Dictionary 5/5

    By NickNumbr1
    That sums it up.
  • Pleco is the standard 5/5

    By Forrest McSweeney
    If you are new to Chinese studies, this is the standard. Everyone uses it. Download it and buy the New Century English Chinese dictionary. If you are good at Chinese, download it and buy the HanyuDacidian or the Paul Kroll. Another reviewer also made a good point. B&H “Present Day Organization of China” and Hucker’s Dictionary of Imperial Titles would just make this thing insanely good. I would buy both.
  • Incredible 5/5

    By Dissatisfied pokemon fan
    I honestly can’t say enough good things about this app. Incredible, absolutely amazing, best purchase I’ve ever made in my language career. Learning Chinese can be very, very hard, sometimes so hard you want to give up, and this app has saved me so many times from that feeling. A must have for anyone learning Chinese, even casually.
  • Wonderful 5/5

    By mudmop
    If you’ve ever used a find-a-character paper dictionary, you know how difficult that process can be. Pleco, which I utilize every day, makes looking up characters so much easier. I find the example sentences very useful. Since Pleco supports, for the most part, my reading of Chinese, I still appreciate having access to the audio files.
  • Yay? 3/5

    By Cheesybobandbluelynx
    So this app is cool you know it helped me with my Chinese homework and blablabla...... but it looks..... old school? I mean can’t you use better techno.
  • 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 17soph
    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 Chinese Dictionary app comments


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