These icons indicate what you can expect regarding the dictionary:
- ❤️ – Free
- 🎲 – App Available
- 🔉 – Audio
- ✅ – Pinyin
- 🀄️ – Radicals &/or Stroke Order
- 📝 – Zhuyin (bopomofo)
Web-based Dictionaries -
Simplified & Traditional Input
Arch Chinese ❤️ 📝 ✅
The free version of Arch's dictionary provides "extended words" to help you learn more words in which the character you looked up appears. Several sample sentences are also provided. Sadly, audio is only provided in the paid version.
BaiDu For Advanced Students! ❤️ 🔉
No English! This Chinese language dictionary is linked to 百度百科 (Bǎidù Bǎikē). In English, the Baidu Encyclopedia. 百度百科 (Bǎidù Bǎikē) is much like Wikipedia in that the information available is all but infinite. Thus, you can find things here missing form other more traditional dictionaries. Like Wikipedia, users submit and edit entries. So, the material available varies in quality, albeit good most often.
Hanzi Craft ❤️ 🎲 ✅ 🀄️
The decomposition of characters in this dictionary is one of the best I have encountered. It alerts you of pronunciation clues in the character. Provides an extensive listing of additional words that the character appears in, along with the level of frequency those words are used.
Line Dict ❤️ 🎲 🔉 ✅ 🀄️
Allows you to search using English. Searches not only provide a definition and audio, but phrases to help you understand the different meanings of a character in context.
Mandarin Spot ✅ 📝
A very simple dictionary that made it to this list because of its annotation feature.
MDGB ❤️ 🔉 ✅ 🀄️
This is my go to Chinese to English online dictionary. Its simple to use, has audio, stroke order, handwriting recgonition & more! When translating Chinese songs, I like to paste full sentences into the search box to look up all the words at once.
Yellow Bridge ❤️ 🔉 ✅ 🀄️ 📝
If you prefer Zhuyin (Bopomofo) rather than pinyin, YellowBridge has you covered. It also boasts animated stroke order, sample sentences, corresponding measure words, Cantonese (Jyutping, if you are learning that too) and more. It has character decomposition as well, but I think Hanzi Craft does that better.
YouDao ❤️ ✅
YouDao's word bank is much larger than most dictionaries available. Unlike other dictionaries that simply tell you additional Chinese words the character appears in, YouDao goes a step further in providing the English translation of those words as well. This is a Chinese language site, but both Chinese and English words are searchable. Make sure "中英" is selected in the drop down next to the search box, as "Chinese to" French, Korean and Japanese are also available.
Zdic ❤️ 🔉 ✅ 🀄️
Although this is a Chinese to Chinese dictionary, it does offer English translations. Among its offerings are detailed definitions and character information. "条目" (tiáomù) is selected by default next to the search box. It means "dictionary entry" so you are good to go if you are a beginner and just want to check it out.
Web-Based Dictionaries - Traditional Only Input
Chinese Spell Checker For Advanced Students! ❤️
Kwuntung.net, also known as the "Chinese Spellchecker." This "dictionary" stands in a class of its own. It is not a dictionary in the traditional sense. You use it to check character variations in different words.
Taiwan Ministry of Education For Advanced Students ❤️ ✅ 📝
This dictionary is for advanced students only. It is very detailed and the definitions are difficult at best. Most entries do not include English. Tackle this one when you are far along in your study.
Taiwan Ministry of Education - Elementary Version For Advanced Students ❤️ ✅ 📝
Don't let the "Elementary Version" fool you. Although it was designed for Taiwanese youngsters, the entries require an advanced level. It is easier than its big brother (listed above), but should similarly be tackled when you are at least at an intermediate level. It only allows single character search inquiries.
Stroke Order Dictionary ❤️ ✅ 🀄️ 📝
If you are learning Traditional Characters, this is the absolute best reference for stroke order that I have found.
PLEASE NOTE: Some Web-based Dictionaries also have Apps. If they are primarily known for their web version, however, they are listed there and marked with a 🎲.
Hanping ❤️ 🎲 🔉 ✅ 🀄️ 📝
Android Only. Offers a Pro Version. This app is the Google Play Store's highest rated offline Chinese-English dictionary. Although it has fewer features than Pleco, it does have similar functionality and is much cheaper.
Pleco ❤️ 🎲 🔉 ✅ 🀄️
iOS and Android. Many features require a fee. The basic version of the app is free, and is useful to both beginner and advanced users. It boasts these features: Look up Chinese words "live" using your device's camera; Look up characters by drawing on your screen (mistakes in stroke order are tolerated); Audio for most words by native speakers; Custom Flashcards & more. The dictionary works offline.