For a Chinese learner, a Chinese dictionary is indispensable. A good Chinese dictionary is absolutely essential and can’t be more helpful in Chinese learning. So, which Chinese dictionary to use? Here are some very popular free online Chinese dictionaries for you to consider.
Top Free Online Chinese Dictionaries
1. 汉典 Han Dian
汉典 Han Dian, also called 康熙字典, is a very professional and authoritative Chinese dictionary. In this dictionary, you can get the Pinyin, audio pronunciation, stroke order animation, the equivalent traditional character, etc. You can choose between basic meanings and the detailed explanation. Character properties such as character structure, number of strokes, character radical, origin and evolution of the character, etc. And the related phonological dialects are really valuable if you are a fan of dialects.
If you want, you can also easily check the information of different input methods, property of five elements, related phrases, frequently used phrases, etc. Furthermore, antonyms, synonyms and homophones are very complete. Characters with the same radical, characters with the same number of strokes, and characters with similar pronunciation make your learning more related.
Dictionary of characters, dictionary of words and dictionary of set phrases are integrated in Han Dian 汉典. What’s more, 汉典 has its own forum for users to ask and answer Chinese learning related questions. The dictionary provides both English and Chinese explanation for a word, but the example sentences are all in Chinese. You will find many rich resources regarding Chinese language and Chinese culture, and also a bunch of useful Chinese tools in this online dictionary. You can look up a word using Pinyin, strokes, radicals, or other input methods.
2. MDBG Dictionary
MDBG Dictionary is a dictionary designed mainly for foreigner Chinese learners. This dictionary is very practical. The explanation for a word is all in English. When you look up a word in the search box, the related words or phrases will automatically appear. Both traditional and simplified Chinese are available. You can also write a character with the writing tool to look it up, and different characters based on the related radical or component you are writing will appear.
With MDBG Dictionary, you can get the property information about the character, audio pronunciation, and stroke order animation. Related words containing, beginning with and ending with the same character are available. Moreover, when checking a word, you can choose to direct yourself to the related Baidu Encyclopedia page and Ju Ku page. In addition, you can also choose to direct to Skitter, a Chinese characters and Japanese characters learning tool.
MDBG Dictionary is one of the ideal free online Chinese dictionaries for foreign Chinese learners to learn Chinese characters, words and phrases in a very easy way.
3. 句酷 Ju kuu
句酷 Ju Kuu, founded in early 2004, claims to be the world’s largest bilingual example sentences search engine. Example sentences of Chinese-English, Chinese-Japanese and Japanese-English are available in 句酷 Ju kuu. Just type a Chinese, English or Japanese word in the search box and you will find a great quantity of bilingual example sentences.
This dictionary is really an excellent bonus if your free online Chinese dictionaries don’t allow you sufficient examples. The diverse examples sentences no doubt will get you a very good understanding of how a word is used.
4. 汉语大辞典 Grand Chinese Dictionary
汉语大辞典, the largest collection of Xinhua Dictionary, Modern Chinese Dictionary, and Dictionary of Idioms. You can check characters, words, set phrases, poems, antithetical couplets, lantern riddles, aphorisms, proverbs, antonyms, synonyms, ancient Chinese proses, etc. And also you will find many others rich Chinese learning resources. Even though English explanation is available, all the example sentences are in Chinese. Besides, the explanation is very complete in 汉语大辞典, for example, you can find more than 15 meanings for 做 when it is used as a verb.
This dictionary is very recommendable for those who want to get more related learning and extensive reading. The interface of 汉语大辞典 is kind of difficult to adapt for new users as you can see in the picture below the explanation part may take you some effort to read well.
5. 百度词典 Baidu Dictionary
Baidu Dictionary, one of the principal products of Baidu Company, which is the biggest search engine in Chinese language. Baidu Dictionary, integrated with 汉语大辞典, provides basic and detailed explanation. The available features are audio pronunciation, stroke order, radical name, related characters, related phrases, and more information about the character.
The detailed explanation in Baidu Dictionary is the same as that in Grand Chinese Dictionary 汉语大辞典. Bilingual example sentences are not available. If you just want to check the basic and complete detailed explanation, Baidu dictionary is an ideal alternative for Grand Chinese Dictionary 汉语大辞典.
6. 百度翻译 Baidu Translation
Baidu Translation, integrated with 汉英大辞典, provides Chinese-English explanation, Chinese explanation, bilingual example sentences, and the discussion forum of Baidu for the related words. Like Bing Dictionary, Baidu Translation does not have very complete explanation too, but the explanation in either of them is for the most common meanings of a word. The bilingual example sentences in Baidu Translation is less than that in Bing Dictionary.
7. 必应词典 Bing Dictionary
Bing Dictionary, has very clear interface and it’s very easy to have a quick glance of the content, but the explanation are not so complete as in 汉典, 汉语大辞典 and 新华字典. You can see there are only 8 meanings for 做 in Bing Dictionary, while there are about 20 in the previously mentioned dictionaries. You won’t find related phrases, antonyms, synonyms, stroke order animation, etymology, characters of the same pronunciation in 汉典. Audio pronunciation, homophones, characters with the same number of strokes and characters with similar pronunciation are not available too.
Abundant example sentences in Chinese and English are available in Bing Dictionary. It’s a very excellent choice for a beginner or intermediate learner of mandarin Chinese.
8. 在线新华字典/在线汉语字典 Online Xinhua Dictionary
The dictionary part on the website of 在线新华字典/在线汉语字典 is exactly the same as that of 汉语大辞典, and two dictionaries share many contents, but there are more additional features in 在线新华字典 . Some of the additional features are “related set phrases”, “etymology”, “characters with same pronunciation”, “related words with English translation”, etc.
在线新华字典 contains very diverse Chinese-related resources, and besides them, there are lots of grammar points and important tips to differentiating similar words or phrases. You can also find many useful tools like permanent calendar, Pinyin converter, list of Chinese radicals, introduction of Chinese festivals, Chinese surnames, Chinese appellations, etc.
9. 爱词霸 Iciba
爱词霸, one of the most popular English-learning website in China, provides Chinese-English/English-Chinese Dictionaries, and also online translation for other languages. The Chinese-English Dictionary in 爱词霸 Iciba seems to be the same as that in Baidu Translation and Bing Dictionary as you can see when you look up “做”, the explanation in all three turns out the same. Plus 爱词霸 have more additional features such as industry’s lexicon, today’s hot words, etc.
The “Translate the selected words 划词翻译” is bright feature that makes your learning more convenient. On 爱词霸 you can find many interesting bilingual articles. Although 爱词霸 is English learning oriented, you can make good use of the dictionary and bilingual articles to learn Chinese. 爱词霸 is very user-friendly, and you can download it to your PC and mobile for free.