Pleco Chinese Dictionary

Pleco Chinese Dictionary

By Pleco Inc.

  • Category: Reference
  • Release Date: 2009-12-17
  • Current Version: 3.2.35
  • Adult Rating: 9+
  • File Size: 129.55 MB
  • Developer: Pleco Inc.
  • Compatibility: Requires iOS 9.3 or later.
  • App Ratings:
    4.5/5 ( 4,981 Reviews)
  • Price:
Pleco Chinese Dictionary App Ratings: 4.5
From 4,981 Reviews

Pleco Chinese Dictionary App Description

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 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, 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


App Reviews

  • Reliable and full of features but EXPENSIVE

    By odoowodus
    I used this app on my old android phone and features such as OCR and handwriting input were incredibly useful, but free. Now those each exist as $10 addons which is absurd. The Google translate app may not be as good but I prefer not to be gouged for features- especially ones I used to be able to use in the same app.
  • The best i've ever used

    By evad223
    Pleco is a phenomenal fusion of language & technology. I remember using 'radical dictionaries', which for U youngsters would've been like using a chopped-up phone book. It's efficient and enhancitory. I love it, it was by my side when i lived in China.
  • Almost perfect

    By cm_peter
    Hi! I purchased the document reader, but I want to try the "lyric reader". I bought a song from iTunes for 99 cents, but Apple unconscionably makes embedded lyrics impossible unless I pay $9.99/month for Apple Music. It would be great to add in-app manual lyrics to the reader. Thank you all so much. 谢谢你们亲爱的程序员!
  • Appalling to see the definition of a Hei Ren

    By ezeiokwu
    I find it appaling and very disgusting that pleco defines a of dark skin pigmentation aka black person (Hei Ren) as an unregistered resident and an illegal. Quite insensitive and insulting from an app with such much value and use. Disappointed!
  • Tried many other apps, even paid ones

    By Jenzeni
    To be honest, I paid for the basic bundle on Pleco because I got tired of trying other apps to fit my needs. With the amount of time I spent testing all the apps (15+ apps and counting), it was just easier to dive in and buy this one so I could stop wasting my time. Pleco does it all. My needs were pretty complicated. Let me explain some circumstances... I can only read, write, and listen on Mandarin level 1 or less. I can’t speak Mandarin at all. However, I speak Cantonese and English, both fluently. Now, I have asked my dad to teach me Chinese, but he can only teach it to me in Cantonese because his Mandarin and English are terrible. I asked my Dad to teach me because I view my dad highly when it comes to Chinese writing because he’s been published and won awards when he was writing for fun after his retirement. He’s also an excellent Chinese history buff. A good person to teach me, in my opinion. Plus, he’s free... Also, I have all 6 levels of Chinese learning books from 1995 Hong Kong, so they don’t have any pinyin in them. And it’s traditional characters only. Sigh... Anyways, that brings me to my extensive and exhaustive search for learning aids. I needed something that can do both Cantonese and Mandarin audio, do both simplified and traditional on the same page, give me the definition of the character/phrases), give me plenty of reading material (in the form of examples) to give myself practice, automatically parse an entire document (chapters in my books) to search for all the words without me writing every character in, has a flashcard system that allows me to practice said document, and a flexible filing system for this flashcard system so I can practice whichever sections I want quickly and easily. Pleco has it all (if you buy the Basic bundle at least). Without the paid version of Pleco, I was looking at having to use 4 different apps at the same time to aid me: Google translate for the OCR to quickly scan in the chapters in my book, Chegg Flashcards for its Mandarin AND Cantonese audio conveniently on the same page (well, front and back of flashcard), Pleco for its dictionary and simplified-traditional on the same page and Cantonese/mandarin audio, and some story app to practice reading (I forget its name). These were the 4 main apps that I was using for a couple weeks, because they beat even some of the paid ones out of the water. But then it got tiring switching back and forth. So, I went and got the Basic bundle on Pleco. After investing so much time on this app already, it was worth it. Pleco’s dual audio in Cantonese and mandarin and simplified/traditional on the same page were the most invaluable to me. Knowing Cantonese fluently has been great, but it did hinder my learning Mandarin when I was a kid because it’s so different than Cantonese (written Cantonese is the same as Mandarin, but spoken is not at all because the syntax is worlds apart). Without Pleco, I’d still be struggling figuring out how something sounded like in Mandarin and Cantonese. Without Pleco, I wouldn’t be able to learn both at the same time. Without this wonderful ability, I’d probably would have just bought simplified Mandarin materials instead - the ones the rest of the world is learning. It’s still hard though... Was I putting too much on my plate though? Hard enough already to memorize 5000 characters in simplified and in Mandarin AND Cantonese, now I gotta memorize them in traditional too? Should I just buy the recent books with just simplified and pinyin in them??? Then I remembered my dad once saying that people are capable of learning 14 languages at the same time. So I decided to make myself learn written Cantonese, Mandarin, English Pinyin writing, traditional characters, and simplified characters all at the same time -_-“... That’s why $29.99 Basic Bundle in Pleco was worth it. I’m paying that much so I can learn what I feel is essentially 3 different languages at the same time. That, and the app is like a masterpiece. Intuitive, flexible, extensive, supportive... It also doesn’t freeze or crash nearly as much as all the other ones I’ve been using. An excellent app that has EVERYTHING. There’s nothing else like it for the iOS as of 2018 right now...
  • Grasshopper

    By MoiDaLaLa60606:)
    Wonderful app for anyone wanting to study Chinese! Highly recommend for any serious student, or anyone who just wants to browse the entries.
  • If I could only have one app, it would be this

    By Hjhfruhgb
    I can’t imagine not having Pleco. It makes a language as intimidating as Chinese easier to learn. My Chinese would be so much worse without Pleco. It was my life line during my exchange year and is helping me continue learn once I went back to my home country. When ever I think about learning another language I just get sad knowing there isn’t a Pleco for that language. I would have never thought I would put so much money into an app before. You do *not* need to pay for the add ons to get great use out of Pleco, but the basic bundle was basically my best buy ever, and after taking a class that focused a lot on 成语 on of the specialized dictionaries for 成语 was a life saver (the other dictionaries do have idioms but the idiom specific one explains it in Chinese and that was way more helpful for my class where I had to explain them in Chinese on tests). Small suggestion: being able to add our own example sentences for words would be SUPER helpful. Also, have you guys thought about extending this format into different languages?
  • Pleco is mandatory

    By blueprince25
    If you’re learning Chinese, buy the professional version of Pleco. Not having it as a resource would be like working as an investment banker without a computer. I can’t imagine learning Chinese without it. What’s even more impressive is the developer’s commitment to updating the platform and adding new features, continuing to make an already excellent platform better.
  • Disappointed

    By jdd0927
    I had purchased both the live handwriting and the live OCR capabilities on this app prior to my recent trip to China. The translations provided were unsatisfactory for any practical purposes; compared to the free Microsoft translation app and the translation feature on WeChat, what was provided here was often non-sensical and paled in comparison. While it might be useful for academic purposes, in real life it sorely lacked
  • 太棒了的中文学手机软件啊!

    By zfjuurrghyyyji
    The gold standard in language learning apps. I've tried many different apps and they're usually quite undeveloped, unintuitive, expensive, and subscription based. Pleco gives incredible value to my studies. It's so feature rich, customisable, scalable, and not subscription based that those other apps could never hope to being me back.