Pleco Chinese Dictionary

In-app purchases
42.4K reviews
Content rating
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About this app

Pleco is the ultimate Chinese learning companion - an integrated Chinese English dictionary / document reader / flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live camera-based character lookups, from a company with 17 years' experience making mobile Chinese learning software.

Major features: ($ = paid add-on)

Great dictionaries: the free app comes with two dictionaries - CC-CEDICT and our in-house PLC dictionary - which together cover 130,000 Chinese words and include 20,000 example sentences with Pinyin. We offer 8 more free dictionaries as optional downloads, including a 22,000-entry Cantonese-English dictionary, and 19 other great dictionaries are available as paid upgrades. ($)

Handwriting input: lookup unknown characters by drawing them, with a best-in-class recognition engine. (basic version free, enhanced version $)

Live Optical Character Recognizer (OCR): look up Chinese words in the dictionary simply by pointing your device's camera at them, or by scrolling around a still image. ($)

Screen Reader/OCR: instantly tap-lookup Chinese words in other apps through a floating interface; works on Android 4.1 and later. (reader free, OCR $)

Flashcard System: create a card from any dictionary entry with a single button tap, import premade word lists, use advanced techniques like SRS (spaced repetition), and study in a variety of modes including fill-in-the-blanks and tone drills. (simple version free, full-featured $)

Audio Pronunciation: instantly hear male + female native-speaker audio for Chinese dictionary headwords; recordings available for over 34,000 words. (stitched-syllable free, multi-syllable $) Or listen to example sentences with text-to-speech (system TTS free, enhanced $).

Powerful search: look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces/tones optional), or a combination, with support for wildcards and full-text search.

Cross-referencing: tap on any Chinese character / word in any dictionary entry to bring up its definition.

Stroke Order Diagrams: animations showing you how to draw each Chinese character; 500 in free app, 28,000 in paid add-on.

Voice Recognition: look up words by speaking them into your device's microphone.

Document Reader: open a Chinese-language text or PDF file and look up unknown words in the dictionary simply by tapping on them. ($) You can also look up characters on web pages through "Share" and in other documents through the clipboard. (free)

PRC- and Taiwan-friendly: supports traditional and simplified characters (in dictionary definitions, stroke order, search, OCR, and handwriting), and supports Zhuyin (with ruby support) as well as Pinyin for pronunciation display.

Cantonese: display headwords + perform searches in Jyutping/Yale romanization. We also offer Cantonese dictionary and Cantonese audio add-ons. (some $)

No ads: we won't even nag you about buying add-ons.

We also offer excellent customer support - send us an email and see for yourself - and an active user community at

We've been making Chinese dictionary apps since 2000, and our sales and customer base have been steadily growing for 17 years across four different platforms. We take good care of our longtime users: people who bought a dictionary on a Palm Pilot in 2001 can still use that dictionary on a new Android phone in 2020 without even paying an upgrade fee.

Paid add-ons can be moved to a new device like any other paid app; just open our free app on your new device and they should reactivate.

If you already own Pleco on another OS, see for migration options.

This app uses Accessibility services. (for our Screen Reader feature, which helps users to get by in Chinese-speaking regions without knowing Chinese)

Twitter/Facebook: plecosoft
Updated on
May 1, 2023

Data safety

Safety starts with understanding how developers collect and share your data. Data privacy and security practices may vary based on your use, region, and age. The developer provided this information and may update it over time.
No data shared with third parties
Learn more about how developers declare sharing
This app may collect these data types
Device or other IDs
Data is encrypted in transit
You can request that data be deleted

Ratings and reviews

39.2K reviews
Ren Wai
February 26, 2023
The best Chinese dictionary app. Just needs multiple speed options for displaying even slower strokes (writing) for the Chinese character than what is currently available. I realize this is not necessary as you can manually do it with the skip button, but it could be helpful. Please also add a quick link jump from theMandarin/Chinese characters from the dictionary! Keep up the amazing work Pleco team! I am hopeful for continued revenue for the Pleco devs & team! =] [UPDATED REVIEW 2/25/23 ]
26 people found this review helpful
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A Google user
September 30, 2018
This is one of the best-designed, most smoothly-performing apps of any kind that I've ever used. A fast and amazingly powerful Chinese dictionary app that lets you search and browse words and characters in every way you could imagine. The free version is optimized for searching Chinese-to-English definitions, not so great if you need to find the best Chinese translation of an English word, but you can fix that with a reasonably-priced paid English-to-Chinese dictionary add-on. I only wish there was a Windows version for my laptop (I'd pay for it). And I think the flashcard system could use some improvements - it has some benefits over Anki, but I don't seem to memorize words as fast with it.
29 people found this review helpful
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October 1, 2018
Thanks! No plans for a Windows version, but our app does work on Chromebooks now (as do most Android apps) if you ever decide to change laptop platforms. Big flashcard update is in the works, including support for importing + emulating-the-algorithms-of Anki databases.
Alex Pawlowski
October 10, 2020
This is one of the most well-made apps on the planet. It recognizes Chinese handwriting from my left thumb, and I'm a right handed first-year Chinese student. It has definitions and examples for everything. It has pronunciation for everything. It does OCR. The free version is probably good enough for anyone living who isn't living in China. The app links with the rest of Android, allowing you to instantly translate text from photos, text you've selected, or basically anything else. It's perfect.
25 people found this review helpful
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What's new

Bug fixes.