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Pleco Chinese Dictionary

By Pleco Software

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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 100,000 frequently-updated entries, and our own PLC dictionary, with 78,000 more detailed entries and over 20,000 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 ($).

• Mainland/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: iOS 7 users can take advantage of the free built-in Mandarin and Cantonese TTS system to hear pronunciations for words and example sentences. 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; over 20,000 characters are covered. ($)

• 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 14 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.

What's New in Version 3.2.8

3.2.8: urgent update to fix a nasty rendering bug in stroke order diagrams. (sorry about that)

Check out our new free open-source Cantonese-English dictionary "CC-Canto" under Add-ons / Dictionaries / All Free.

3.2.7 was the first of several updates to take advantage of improvements + fix bugs introduced in recent versions of iOS.

Main new features in this update:
• iPad split screen support, though it's a little rough + we plan to do much more with it in future updates.
• Official support for Apple's gorgeous new PingFang Chinese fonts.
• Prettier (we think) sidebar menu animation.
• Human-checked Cantonese readings in CC-CEDICT.

Next few updates are going to do a lot more with new iOS features (3D Touch, Share extensions, niftier things with split-screen, enhanced web reader, nicer UI in various places) along with a couple of brand new features and a bunch of new dictionaries and major updates to old dictionaries. After that we hope to finally dig in and actually finish our long-awaited flashcard system revamp :-)

As always, since the App Store resets our review average with every update, we'd really appreciate it if you'd leave another review - don't have to write anything, just the star button will do. We hate the fact that other developers put up nag screens asking for reviews, and would never do that ourselves, but reviews help us show up more prominently in search results, which leads to more users / more money to improve Pleco.


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Customer Reviews

Best app for learning Chinese

I have been studying Chinese for 4 years and graduated with a minor in Chinese languages at UCLA. I never not used Pleco when studying Chinese. Multiple dictionaries with many example sentences with translation for each word I ever looked up.

When I have had an issue with the app (only 2 minor issues in the past 5 years), I would email the developer and they would always get back to me within the same day and resolve the issue. They are very helpful and courteous. 5 stars for this app.

The best tool I have had in my goal to learn Chinese.

I have had this app for over over 10 years. I started with a Palm phone and moved on to an iPhone. Awesome flash cards. It has always been a great learning tool. I can follow by NPCR course with ease. It keeps on getting better with time. Beautiful new calligraphy font recently added. Great and prompt customer service support. Thanks!

Essential and terrific

I’ve been using Pleco’s dictionary for several years and it’s outstanding. Highly recommended. Very well supported.

Pleco Chinese Dictionary
View In iTunes
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 3.2.8
  • Size: 93.7 MB
  • Language: English
  • Seller:
Rated 9+ for the following:
  • Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor

Compatibility: Requires iOS 7.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Customer Ratings

Current Version:
All Versions:

Top In-App Purchases

  1. Optical Character Recognizer (Educational Discount)$11.99
  2. Pleco Basic Bundle (Educational Discount)$29.99
  3. Optical Character Recognizer$14.99
  4. Full-screen Handwriting (Educational Discount)$11.99
  5. Flashcard System (Educational Discount)$9.99
  6. Full-screen Handwriting$14.99
  7. Pleco Basic Bundle$39.99
  8. Flashcard System$14.99
  9. Pleco Professional Bundle (Educational Discount)$79.99
  10. Stroke Order Diagrams (Educational Discount)$7.99