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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 3.2.6

3.2.6 is focused on bug fixes, dealing with a few new bugs introduced in 3.2.5 and a bunch of older ones as well.

Lots of really cool new stuff in the works for later this year, including major flashcard / OCR revamps, a massively updated version of our PLC dictionary (with parts of speech and a whole lot of new Cantonese vocabulary), a bunch of brand new dictionaries, and a bevy of UI improvements, plus a couple of totally new things we're keeping secret for now.

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

The only Chinese learning app you'll ever need

If you're serious about learning the language, get the Pro bundle right now. Eventually you'll buy it anyway, but this way you're gonna have the best tools at your disposal right from the beginning. To get started, grab a flashcard list and some reading material from the Pleco Forums. Set up the flashcards for spaced repetition and practice every day. Once you get to know a few hundred characters, add the reader to your routine. I've been using Pleco since 2009 and it's been instrumental in helping me to learn Chinese.

I also bought a lot of other Chinese learning materials and would never recommend most of them even to my worst enemies; Pleco and some 3-5 books is what made everything significantly easier. Then, everything else depends on how much work you put into it but learning with Pleco is the most efficient way. Good luck!

Best Chinese language study tool for non-native speakers

Pleco is hands down the best Chinese language study tool for non-native speakers on mobile devices.

I've been using Pleco since 2005 starting on my HP iPAQ, and there's others who have been using it even longer, since Mike first hacked it together on PalmOs. Ever wonder why? Besides having the best GUI, Chinese handwriting recognition, flash cards, stroke animations and a many other features, all customizable to your heart's desire, Pleco also has the best Chinese<>English, and Chinese<>Chinese dictionaries available for beginner, intermediate and advanced users alike. And all that with the best support anyone could ever ask for.

I only wish there was an APP with 1/4 the quality and features of Pleco catering to learners of the Japanese language. . .

Great app, but a suggestion...

I love this app! I have had it since I've started learning Chinese and I feel it's really far ahead of the game in comparison to other apps that I have tried over the years. I'm not sure if this is already a thing, but one thing that I have wished Pleco would add is a thesaurus on a future update. I realize more than one word will come up in the search for a word, but a lot of times, those words aren't useful or sometimes it's difficult to tell if they are interchangeable. But besides that I truly do believe this is a terrific app and will continue using it for years to come.

Pleco Chinese Dictionary
View In iTunes
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
  • Free
  • Category: Reference
  • Updated:
  • Version: 3.2.6
  • Size: 91.3 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. This app is optimized for iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus.

Customer Ratings

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Top In-App Purchases

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