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Looking up words in Chinese?

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December 31, 2014

How do I look up words in a Chinese dictionary? How do I look up a word if I only know the character?

1 Answer

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If you’re on your computer, both nciku and pleco offer tools that allow the user to draw a character and look it up that way. But be warned; Pleco’s tool is sensitive to proper stroke order, so you may have a difficult time if you aren’t careful and following stroke-order. If you use your phone, apple has developed a keyboard that allows you to draw a character with your finger, and it looks up compatible options for you to choose from. Just plug that in to KT dictionary or Pleco and you’re set!

If you’re using a physical dictionary, you can look up a character by the number of strokes or the radical of the character, but this can be quite time-consuming, so I highly recommend investing in a device with hand-drawing capability to save yourself time and effort!