"Dictionaries" App

I have this app and a couple of dictionary purchases (J-J and collocation dictionary), but I’m looking for a good J-E from their offerings. They have a few bilingual options at various price points, but I’m wondering if one stands out more than the others?

I’ve been using the standard EDICT-based apps for a long time, and I need something that gives some guidance on real usage, and not just a dump of literal definitions. The collocation dictionary is good for this, so I’m looking for a good companion for it.

Also, does anyone know if this app is region locked on iOS? When I move to Japan and change my iOS App Store location, will I be able to redownload it on new devices?

Weblio’s EJ-JE dictionary is pretty good for this.

For any entry, you can also find usage examples. The only caveat is of course any example marked as ‘Tanaka Corpus’ as those can sometimes be of lower quality.

For example if you wanted to see examples of 文化:


Thanks! I’ve seen this, but I was hoping to stay inside the app. It allows you to search multiple dictionaries/collocation guides/pitch accent guide/etc at once. It’s a neat idea.

Sorry misread your post. I glossed over that ‘Dictionaries’ was the name of an app itself. Thought you were looking for dictionary app. My bad…

I see it has Kenkysha which would be good, but that $80 IAP price is pretty out there. :sweat_smile:

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This is the app, just for reference: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/dictionaries/id1380563956

I don’t mind paying real money as a long term investment if something like that is going to help me say what I need to say correctly. I do a lot of writing assignments and make massive “eihongo” errors using literal dictionaries, so I need something more contextual than EDICT, I guess.

Also, it would nice if an expensive dictionary doesn’t disappear from my account after I move :slight_smile: . I hate region locking.

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I think, unfortunately, that dictionaries that provide usage information are rare outside of monolingual dictionaries. This problem isn’t unique to Japanese: Larousse is among the biggest dictionary publishing companies in France, but if you compare their online EN-FR and monolingual French dictionaries, there’s already a difference in terms of the quantity of content: the monolingual dictionary mentions common mistakes and offers synonyms on top of definitions and examples, whereas the EN-FR dictionary just provides translations and example sentences. It’s normal, possibly because many people just want a decent translation for a particular nuance, which is what these dictionaries provide.

Since you’re on iOS, let me ask this: have you checked out the dictionaries available in Settings? They’re under General>Dictionaries. Once they’ve been downloaded, you can swipe down with your finger in the middle of the screen (don’t start from the top because that will just bring up the list of notifications) and search almost any Japanese word, and even highlight text while reading it and tap ‘Look Up’ to get definitions. That’s why I do, and it doesn’t cost me a cent.

Even if you find this too inconvenient to do on an everyday basis and prefer a more permanent app (like the one you already have), I’d still like to ask you to try downloading the EN-JP dictionary that Apple has made available: the Wisdom EN-JP Dictionary. You can try a few searches in order to see whether you like it, and if it suits you, well, it’s available for purchase in your Dictionaries app, so you can always buy it then. It costs less than half as much as Kenkyusha’s dictionary, even if I suppose Kenkyusha might be a little better, since Wisdom might have a few example sentences from the Tanaka Corpus, which aren’t always of perfect quality.

Just a few sample shots from inside Wisdom (don’t mind the fact that my phone interface is in French):

By the way, iOS also provides 大辞林 from Sanseido if you want to use a monolingual dictionary for more precise definitions and usage advice. It’s free as well.


Oof, those dictionaries are expensive!


Yeah, I’d like a digital copy of Kenkyusha if I’m away from home from my print copy, but that $80 price tag is eye-watering… That or even if I’m at home, a phone or tablet is way more convenient than the green monster. :sweat_smile:

Same for $45 for the NHK pitch accent dictionary. Partially I don’t trust buying these just on iOS. I’d worry about them changing some region access (I’m in the U.S.) and losing access in the future. If I could buy access from their website and use it both online and iOS (or something like that) I’d at least consider it, though something closer to $20 would be ideal.

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You’re talking about from the home screen? I did find the dictionary results from the home screen search, but unfortunately I had to scroll quite a bit.

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Yeah, this is the downside, but with the current OS, once you find the definitions, you can tap on them to expand them, and then you can scroll freely. In previous versions, it was a nightmare because you’d have to type the words you wanted in some random text field, select them, and then ‘look them up’.

However, like I said, it’s a matter of personal preference. I understand the appeal of a proper dictionary app: I bought the Collins’ English Dictionary and Thesaurus even after realising I could use the pre-loaded Oxford English Dictionary just fine, and Oxford is the authority on the English language. Now though, I hardly use my dictionary app because I have to go hunt for it in my little sea of apps, so I find swiping down and typing much faster and more convenient.

Either way, the main reasons I’m pointing Wisdom out are

  • @anon1067447 can test it for free
  • it’s available on the Dictionaries app
  • it’s a lot less expensive than Kenkyusha’s dictionary and offers similar content in a similar format (though perhaps not of the same quality)
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Oh, I didn’t know that the iOS dictionaries are Wisdom and Sanseido! Thanks. I bought the Sanseido in the Dictionaries a long time ago, as it was I believe the cheapest J-J. I don’t use is it much because I’m so often trying to do the “how do I say in Japanese that thing I always say in English?” thing. I use the built-in dictionary in macOS all the time, though. I’m guessing that is also the Wisdom. Not bad at all. I still might buy it to have it all under one roof. The convenience of doing one search and getting English and Japanese definitions, as well as collocations, is pretty powerful.

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Yes, but if they work well and are not region-locked, I think it may be worth a bit to have great reference or two.

I have no idea how the region-locking works, but I’d be surprised if the Dictionaries App isn’t available inside Japan. The company that makes it appears to be Japanese, anyhow, and it’s not like this is some niche product for which more money can be made via region-locking (unlike streaming services, especially anime streaming services…). Probably the only way to check is to search the Japanese App Store. Pretty sure you can do that with the right web address. I’m not certain, but I’m fairly sure that restoring purchases works across App Stores as long as the app concerned is available on both ends.

That’s correct, but I need to verify that it is indeed the same on both ends. I emailed the developer and Apple to find out, so we’ll see.

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According to Apple, the app is the same in both stores, so you can restore it if you change between the US and Japanese app stores.


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