Dictionary content from CC-CEDICT Simple English to Chinese dictionary
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Word dictionary (词典)

The word dictionary contains information about Chinese words, consisting of one or more Chinese characters. Results of searches in the word dictionary will be shown with the following details:

  • Simplified / Traditional Chinese, the Chinese words matching the query
  • Mandarin, the Mandarin pronunciation in Pinyin or ㄅㄆㄇㄈ (Zhuyin Fuhao)
  • English, the English definition
  • Traditional / Simplified Variant, the Traditional / Simplified variant if available
  • HSK, the HSK level(s) in which this word occurs, see also: What is HSK?

Look up Chinese, Pinyin or English

Just one input field to search dictionary entries by Chinese characters, Mandarin pinyin or English definition. Every word you enter is a search term.

Pinyin words should be entered without spaces, either with or without tone numbers: ni3hao3 or nihao. The character ü can be entered as v instead.

Example queries: hello, nihao, ni3hao3, 你好, rest*, zei*, *zei*, *茶, 英*公司, chinese *文, "to rest", bill -gates

The following syntax can be used to further specify your query:

  • Wildcards: *
    The asterisk character * can be used as a wildcard to match zero or more characters. It can be used at the beginning, end or in the middle of a search term. For example:
    rest* will match any word starting with 'rest', such as 'restaurant' or 'restrain'.
    *文 will match any word ending with '文', such as '中文' or '英文'.
    b*g will match any word starting with 'b' and ending with 'g', such as 'big' or 'boring'.
    *中国* will match any word containing '中国', such as '传统中国医药' or '中国人民'.
  • Grouping: "some words"
    Double quotes " " can be used to group search terms together.
    For example:
    "to rest" will only match entries where 'to' and 'rest' directly follow eachother
  • Without: this -that
    Find entries without a certain search term.
    For example:
    bill -gates will only match entries matching 'bill' but without 'gates'.
  • Specific match: c:chinese p:pinyin e:english
    Match only Chinese characters, Mandarin pinyin or English definition.
    For example:
    p:you will only match entries with Mandarin pinyin containing the syllable 'you'
    e:you will only match entries with the definitions containing the English word 'you'

All of the features mentioned above can be combined, making it even more powerful.

'-', 'c:', 'p:' and 'e:' only influence the search term immediately after these prefixes. When used with groups, they influence the whole group they prefix.

Look up All Chinese Words in a Text

Allows looking up dictionary entries for all Chinese words in a text. It will try to find all separate words in a sentence and return the dictionary entries for all of them. The following options are available:

  • Simplified, returns simplified Chinese results
  • Traditional, returns traditional Chinese results
  • Word by word lookup, shows dictionaries for each Chinese word found, preserving the original sentence flow. The separate words found in the text are shown on the left side of the result list. A list of matching word dictionary results is shown on the right side of the result list for each separate word.
  • Create vocabulary list, shows a vocabulary list containing dictionary entries for each unique Chinese word found in the text
  • Inline / popup annotation, annotates a text using mouse over popus
If "Inline / popup annotation" is selected, an additional option will appear:
  • Show only Chinese - details in popup, shows the original text with popup windows showing details about Chinese words when hovering over the words with the mouse cursor
  • Show Chinese and Mandarin - details in popup, shows the text with Mandarin pinyin added underneath each word and popup windows showing details about Chinese words when hovering over the words with the mouse cursor
  • Show Chinese, Mandarin and English - no popup, shows the text with Mandarin pinyin and English definitions added underneath each word

Character dictionary (字典)

The character dictionary contains information about Chinese characters. Results of searches in the character dictionary will be shown with the following details:

  • Character, the character matching the query
  • Rad/Str, the radical and the number of strokes beside the radical
  • Tot Str, the total number of strokes
  • Mandarin, the Mandarin pinyin pronunciation
  • Yale, the Yale Cantonese pronunciation
  • Jyutping, the Jyutping Cantonese pronunciation
  • Unihan Definition, the English definition for this character according to Unihan, the definition applies to usage both as a standalone character and as a part of a compound
  • Var, simplified or traditional variants, if available
  • Cangjie, the cangjie characters
  • Four corner, the four corner code

Show entries for all Chinese character(s) in a sentence (汉字)

Allows you to find dictionary entries for one or more Chinese characters. The following options are available:

  • oX conversion off, default setting, will search the characters without any change
  • oX conversion on, will convert some colloquial Cantonese characters written with an "o" prefixed to a similar character to the real character, for example: "o係" will be converted to "喺", the list Cantonese oX characters used for this function is not very complete yet though, if you have some additions, please send them to me through the contact form

Show entries with English definition matching (英文)

Allows you to search for Chinese characters matching (part of) their English definitions. The following options are available:

  • Both, returns both simplified and traditional characters
  • Simplified, returns only simplified characters
  • Traditional, returns only traditional characters
  • All words, matches all words given in any order, "eat food" will match "eat, dine; meal; food"
  • Exact phrase, will match a phrase of words, "go to" will match "go to, arrive, been to"
  • Contains, will match a part of the definition, "eat" will match entries with "eat" but also "great", "seat", "heat", etc

Show entries with Mandarin pinyin matching (普通话拼音)

Allows you to seach characters by their Mandarin pinyin pronunciation. Multiple character searches at the same time are allowed by entering the pronunciation of all characters. For example: "ni3 hao3" will result in a separate result set for both "ni3" and "hao3". The character "ü" can also be entered with "v". The following options are available:

  • Both, returns both simplified and traditional characters
  • Simplified, returns only simplified characters
  • Traditional, returns only traditional characters
  • pin1 yin1, allows searches with or without the tone indicated as a number number, for example: "ni3 hao3", "ni3 hao" or "ni hao" (see below)
  • pīn yīn, allows searches with tone marks on the characters, for example: "nǐ hǎo" (see below)

Pinyin tone number are indicated by the numbers 1 to 5:

1 = high level tone
2 = mid rising tone
3 = mid falling rising tone
4 = high falling tone
5 = neutral (weak) tone

Pinyin tone marks are indicated as follows:

ā = high level tone
á = mid rising tone
ǎ = mid falling rising tone
à = high falling tone
a = neutral (weak) tone

Show entries with Yale / Jyutping Cantonese matching: (耶鲁 / 粤拼 粤语拼音)

Allows you to seach characters either by their Yale or Jyutping Cantonese pronunciation with or without the tone number. The Yale romanization used by this dictionary is a modified version of the Yale romanization, modified as follows:

  • No effort is made to distinguish between Yale's "high level" and "high falling" tones, which are not universally reflected in all Cantonese romanizations and which appear to be no longer distinctive in Hong Kong Cantonese. As a general rule, syllables which end with a stop (p, t, or k) have the "high level" tone; but there are numerous exceptions.
  • The tones are indicated by numbers (see below). Accordingly, the letter "H" is not used as a tone indicator.

Multiple character searches at the same time are allowed by entering the pronunciation of all characters. For example: "nei5 hou2" will result in a separate result set for both "nei5" and "hou2". The following options are available:

  • Both, returns both simplified and traditional characters
  • Simplified, returns only simplified characters
  • Traditional, returns only traditional characters
  • Yale, search using Yale romanization
  • Jyutping, search using Jyutping romanization

Cantonese tones are indicated by the numbers 1 to 6:

1 = high level / high falling tone
2 = high rising tone
3 = mid level tone
4 = low falling tone
5 = low rising tone
6 = low level tone

Optionally you can show to display results with tonemarks instead of tone numbers. If you choose for this option, Cantonese tones will be indicated in the following way (only used for displaying results):

ā = high level / high falling tone
á = high rising tone
a = mid level tone
àh = low falling tone
áh = low rising tone
ah = low level tone

N.B., the Hong Kong dialect of Cantonese is in the process of dropping initial NG- before non-null finals. Any word with an initial NG- may actually be pronounced without it, depending on the speaker and circumstances. Many words with a null initial may similarly be pronounced with an initial NG-. Similarly, many speakers use an initial L- for words previously pronounced with an initial N-.

Show entries with cangjie matching (仓颉)

Allows you to search characters by their cangjie mnemonics. Multiple character searches at the same time are allowed by entering the cangjie of all characters. For example: "ab ha" will result in a separate result set for both "ab" and "ha". Cangjie mnemonics can be entered with both the cangjie characters and the equivalent letters ("日月", "ab" or "a月"). For more information see: ChangJei / Cangjie / ChongKit 倉頡輸入法 Input Method and Cang Jie / Chong Kit . The following options are available:

  • Full match, will return all characters with the cangjie exactly matching the cangjie entered, "ab" results in "明"
  • First / Last, also known as "Speed Cangjie / 簡 易 / 速 成", will return all characters where the first and the last mnemonics match the mnemonics given, "ab" results in "明" but also others like "晴" (aqmb)
  • Starting with, will return all characters with the cangjie starting with the mnemonics pattern given, "ab" will result in "明" but also others like "盟" (abbt)
  • Ending with, will return all characters with the cangjie ending with the mnemonics pattern given, "ab" will result in "明" but also others like "萌" (tab)
  • Contains, will return all characters with the cangjie containing the mnemonics pattern given, "ab" will result in "明" but also others like "帽"(lbabu)

Show entries with four corner code matching (四角号码)

Allows you to search characters by their four corner code. A "?" wildcard can be used in case one or more numbers are unknown. For example: "71?2". For more information see: Wikipedia - Four corner method.

Radical/strokes lookup (笔划检字表)

Allows you to search characters by their radical and stroke count. First you have to choose the radical of the character, the radicals are ordered by the stroke count of the radical itself. Second, you have to choose the number of strokes beside the radical itself. After choosing, a list of characters appears, you can click on a character to look it up in the character dictionary.

For more information about radicals, look at this page at Chinaknowledge and "Writing Chinese Characters and finding penstroke count" .

Translate (翻译)

Allows you to translate a small text from English to Chinese or the other way around.

Results of an English-Chinese query can be looked up in the word dictionary with the sentence lookup mode by clicking on the result. The following options are available:

  • English to Chinese, translates the text from English to Chinese
  • Chinese to English, translates the text from Chinese to English

Chinese Character Flashcards (汉字闪卡)

Shows a random Chinese character everytime you press the "next" button. On the left side you can find a description of the character. On the right side you can find an overview of words using this character.

Each character is shown only once during a flashcard session, unless you press "Next & show again later".

The following options are available:

  • HSK level 1-6 / All, The characters are divided into 6 levels according to the HSK vocabulary. Level 1 contains more commonly used characters, level 6 contains less commonly used characters.
  • Simplified / Traditional, return simplified or traditional characters

Type Chinese (打字)

Allows you to type Chinese without the help of Chinese text input utilities or operating system support. Two buttons are included to directly look up the result characters in either the character or word dictionary. This feature can also be used separately from the dictionary in situations like when using a public computer which does not have any Chinese text entry utilities installed.

The Chinese typing interface supports the following entry methods:

  • Mandarin Pinyin - Simplified / 普通话拼音 - 简体
  • Mandarin Pinyin - Traditional / 普通话拼音 - 繁体
  • Mandarin Pinyin - Simplified (for students, with English definitions)
  • Mandarin Pinyin - Traditional (for students, with English definitions)
  • Yale Cantonese - Traditional / 耶鲁粤语拼音 - 繁体
  • Jyutping Cantonese - Traditional / 粤拼粤语拼音 - 繁体
  • Cangjie - Traditional / 仓颉 - 繁体
  • Fast Cangjie - Traditional / 简易仓颉 - 繁体

To enter a character (Example uses Mandarin entry, other entry methods work similar):

  • Enter "ni"
  • All characters starting with the pronunciation "ni" will be displayed on the right
  • Select "你" by pressing the "1" key
  • "你" will be added to the text area

Sometimes more than 10 matching characters are available, you can page through the list of matching characters using the page up / page down keys. Currently only the Mandarin Pinyin input method allows entry of whole words.

After you finish typing, you can use the result in Google by pressing the "Google" link, in the MDBG dictionary by pressing "MDBG Word Dictionary", "MDBG Character Dictionary" or "MDBG Translate" or in other applications:

  • Click the "Select All" button, all characters in the result field will be selected (in Microsoft Internet Explorer the "Select & Copy" button also copies the text to the clipboard automatically)
  • Press CTRL-X (or ⌘-X on Mac) to cut the characters to the clipboard
  • Select the application in which you want to use the Chinese text
  • Press CTRL-V (or ⌘-V on Mac) to paste the characters

The original idea of this web based Chinese typing interface is based on this tool: 网上中文输入法.

Type Pīnyīn (拼音)

Allows you to type Pīnyīn without the help of Chinese text input utilities or operating system support.

  • Tone marks will be placed as you type, just type 'ni3hao3, pin1yin1' and 'nǐhǎo, pīnyīn' will appear
  • To change a tone, just type another number and the previous tone will be replaced
  • Switching to 'English Mode' will disable automatic tone conversion
  • Switching to 'Double Width' mode will allow you to type wide characters (tone conversion will be disabled)

After you finish typing, you can use the result in Google by pressing the "Google" link or in other applications:

  • Click the "Select All" button, all characters in the result field will be selected (in Microsoft Internet Explorer the "Select & Copy" button also copies the text to the clipboard automatically)
  • Press CTRL-X (or ⌘-X on Mac) to cut the characters to the clipboard
  • Select the application in which you want to use the Chinese text
  • Press CTRL-V (or ⌘-V on Mac) to paste the characters

What is HSK?

The latest version of the Chinese Proficiency Test (revised HSK, Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng kǎoshì 汉语水平考试), is divided into six levels according to difficulty.

The levels and approximate number of words in each level are:

  • 1 (Elementary) = 161 words
  • 2 (Elementary with Honors) = 321 words
  • 3 (Intermediate) = 642 words
  • 4 (Intermediate with Honors) = 1259 words
  • 5 (Advanced) = 2573 words
  • 6 (Advanced with Honors) = 5044 words

The HSK level information was kindly provided by the folks at Lingomi and is meant to be only a reference tool. MDBG is not affiliated with the HSK in any way.

How do I display Chinese on my web browser?

Please read the Chinese font support section for more information.

How do I type Chinese?

If you are using Microsoft Windows, then Google Pinyin is probably the best option. This page provides an English manual for the installation and usage of Google Pinyin.

http://www.pinyinjoe.com/ offers guides for various operating systems explaining how to enable Chinese input methods.

If you are not able to install software on your PC, you could try out the MDBG web based input methods.

 


Tip: In the word dictionary, the Chinese sentence lookup can lookup whole Chinese sentences, automatically splitting it into separate words.
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