Tap That App: Pleco Chinese Dictionary

By Jocelyn Richards, February 10, 2017

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Tap That App is a monthly segment where we feature an app our editors think is cool.

A free app in its most basic form, Pleco lets you input a word in English, pinyin or Chinese characters and view a comprehensive list of all related translations. Search ‘pijiu’ for example and you’ll see the translation – ‘beer’ – plus its Chinese characters and tone marks. You’ll also find related words and their translations, like ‘brewery’, ‘beer belly’, ‘hops’ and ‘beer festival.’ 


Each word comes with example sentences in Chinese characters, pinyin and an audio recording, so you can learn how to pronounce it correctly in Mandarin (or play it out loud and hope for the best).

This English-Chinese dictionary app is also one of the few with easily searchable Chinese idioms. Brush up on phrases like ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’ rù xiāng suí sú (入乡随俗) or simply input the word ‘idiom’ to see a collection of four-character expressions in Mandarin.


Pleco add-ons include a flashcard system (USD9.99), which allows you to save words you’re having trouble memorizing and then test yourself later by playing multiple-choice or fill-in-the-blank quizzes.

Mastered Mandarin but still having trouble with Cantonese? A new ABC Cantonese Dictionary will be available early this year within the current Pleco app. It will be the first comprehensive Cantonese-to-English dictionary published in 30 years, and will feature about 15,000 Cantonese-specific words with plenty of example sentences, so you can navigate Guangdong’s historic neighborhoods – or Chinatowns abroad – with ease.

Available on iOS and Android devices. Requires iOS 8.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Click here for more Tap That App.

[Cover image via Tech in Asia]

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