Chinese-Chinese dictionary for intermediate and advanced learners

dahaike

Member
Hello, I’m new here so I apologize if you’ve answered this many times already. Lately it’s been really helpful using a chinese-Chinese dictionary to open up my mind about thinking in Chinese. Is it possible to add this? Or is it going to be made possible?
 
There are five Chinese-Chinese dictionaries available.

If you take a look at the Products list you will find the following options:
Longman Advanced Chinese Dictionary - $19.99
Traditional-character-only Chinese-Chinese dictionary from Hong Kong with 46,000 entries; not explicitly for Cantonese, but with good coverage of a lot of vocabulary you don't often see in mainland dictionaries.
Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian - $29.99
Chinese-Chinese dictionary with 71,000 entries, featuring detailed / explanation-rich definitions; recommended only for advanced students.
Xiandai Hanyu Dacidian - $19.99
Chinese-Chinese dictionary with 110k entries
Hanyu Da Cidian - $49.99
The legendary historical Chinese-Chinese dictionary, with approximately 380,000 entries and extensive citations. NOTE: definitions are in simplified characters only and most quotations are in traditional.
and a Chengyu dictionary for good measure:
Duogongneng Chengyu Cidian - $19.99
Chinese-Chinese dictionary with detailed information on about 8000 Chengyu. This is a "multifunction"dictionary, so along with definitions it includes synonyms, antonyms, historical quotes, usage notes, comparisons with similar Chengyu, etc.
You can read through the introductions and see which one you find appropriate for yourself.
 
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BenJackson

举人
I've tried Xiandai Hanyu Guifan Cidian because it's in (or was in at some point) the pro bundle. I've found it really valuable in 3 ways:
  • It's very useful for words that map to English words with many meanings. For example, 应该 is in ABC and CEDICT as "should; ought to; must". You might reasonably expect that it means "must" in the sense of the English modal verb, much like "should". It's something of a clue that other C-E dictionaries leave out "must" (PLC, OCC), but GF really makes it clear in definition 2: 动 估计情况必然如此. So it means "must" in the sense of "this must be a great answer to your question!"
  • It frequently has notes marked "注意" that explain how a word differs from a similar word, or cautions against common usage mistakes. For example, 幸亏 has a note comparing it to 好在, clarifying that 幸亏 means luckily in the sense of lucky (luckily someone saved me from drowning), while 好在 means luckily in the sense of a fortuitous pre-existing condition (luckily the water was shallow).
  • When there are multiple words that mean the same thing. For example, for 蟾蜍 and 癞蛤蟆 (both meaning toad), GF comes to the rescue when it defines 癞蛤蟆 as 蟾蜍的俗称. Or in complex cases where a C-E dictionary just lists a lot of the same things, GF is more specific, such as the definition for 即 (jí) the GF entry is almost as good as a grammar book about clarifying when it is the same as 就/便/就是 etc.
(Side note: If you are a beginner and find GF intimidating, you should consider the Tuttle Learner's dictionary, because it can offer similar insights, e.g. clarifying that 然而 is just 但是 but only used in written Chinese, as opposed to ABC, PLC, CC, etc all just saying "but")
(Only now I'm reading the GF entry for 但是 and it has an interesting 注意 that taught me somthing. Nice!)
 

Shun

状元
Your enthusiasm for these dictionaries is contagious. I would like to add that I feel 应该 can actually be such a strong "should" that it can also mean "must" (or 95% of the way towards "must") in the regular sense. “不应该” can also almost mean "must not", especially for societal rules and moral obligations. In the Chinese-German dictionary I bought for Pleco, there is an example sentence whose 应该 is translated as "müssen" (which means "must"):

yinggai_must.png
 
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