NO SUBSCRIPTIONS; we offer additional dictionaries, graded readers, and other features as one-time purchases, but there are absolutely no subscriptions in our 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 offer two free built-in dictionaries: the popular open-source CC-CEDICT, with over 110,000 frequently-updated entries, and our own PLC dictionary, with 125,000 entries, parts of speech, and over 25,000 example sentences (with Pinyin). More than two dozen other dictionaries are available as free and paid ($) add-ons, including licensed titles from well-known publishers like Oxford, Longman, FLTRP, Tuttle, SLPH, and Commercial Press.
• Powerful merged search: look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces / tones optional), or English, with support for wildcards and full-text search. And no need to tediously flip between all of those dictionaries to find a word - just type in your search term and instantly get a combined, frequency-sorted result list.
• Links and cross-references: easily look up character components, break down words into individual characters, look up lists of words containing a particular character, and search across all dictionaries for example sentences containing a word.
• Gorgeous typography: see it for yourself in our screenshots - we think we're one of the best-looking Chinese dictionaries around. Alternate Kai/Song/Xing-style Chinese fonts are also available ($).
• 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 several dictionaries even support Cantonese.
• Audio: Hear Mandarin and Cantonese for words and example sentences using iOS' free built-in text-to-speech system. We also offer add-ons ($) with native-speaker Mandarin and Cantonese recordings, plus higher-quality Mandarin text-to-speech options.
• Document Reader: bring in text from the clipboard and tap on words in it to instantly look them up. Upgrade ($) adds support for tap-lookups in text, HTML, DOC, DOCX, PDF, and EPUB files. We also offer graded readings ($).
• OCR: look up words simply by pointing your device's camera at them, or by tapping on them in a still image. ($)
• 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 http://www.plecoforums.com. 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@example.com, via the form at http://www.pleco.com/contact.html, or using the in-app "Contact Support" command with any questions - we'll be delighted to hear from you.
• Added a whopping *50* new graded reader add-ons, including graded-reader versions of the "Four Great Classic Novels" (Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Outlaws of the Marsh, Journey to the West and A Dream of Red Mansions); demo versions of all of them are available in "Add-ons".
• Bug fixes.
A note on reviews: the App Store no longer resets our review average with every update (yay!), but if you haven't left us a review recently, we'd really appreciate it if you would - after this one, you hopefully shouldn't need to do it again for quite a while.
Also, on upcoming products: yes, we're still working on 4.0, it's unspeakably awesome (it's more-or-less the only thing we've been working on for the past 3-and-a-half years) and we plan to provide more details on new features / release plans very soon. (but to assuage any concerns, no, we're not going to make you sign up for a subscription to keep using Pleco or anything evil like that - add-ons will still be one-time purchases, and any functionality you have should be accessible in the new version without your needing to buy it again [though you may need to pay to access some newly-added functionality])
Ratings and Reviews
Revolutionized my study of Chinese…again
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!
Top notch dictionary for the aspiring Chinese learner
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.
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?)
Best Chinese Dictionary App
I have searched through dozens of apps to aid me in learning Mandarin. I have ended up using this app more than any other. In my opinion, it is the most comprehensive and well designed dictionary app I’ve been able to find. Three of my favorite features are, 1: The multiple explanations and definitions for each word, 2: The clipboard reader, where I can easily look up words in a long paragraph, 3: The add-on for character stroke order. Keep it up Pleco!
Note to developer: For the most part I really like the design of the app. However, one thought I’d like to mention is that sometimes all the definitions for a word start to run together. Myself and others have noted that it could be helpful to have a graphical design hierarchy that makes it easier to differentiate the various definitions, especially when there are many. Thanks for the app!
In-App PurchasesSee All
- Pleco Inc.
- 135.9 MB
Requires iOS 9.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
- Age Rating
- Rated 9+ for the following:
- Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor
- © 2019 Pleco Inc. and its licensors
- In-App Purchases
- Optical Character Recognizer $9.99
- Basic Bundle $29.99
- Full-screen Handwriting $9.99
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.