I am looking for a monolingual Japanese dictionary

こんばんは、みなさん!

Now that my 20th Wanikani level is drawing near, I have to admit that I should probably stop calling myself a beginner. :sweat_smile:

Anyway, because of that, I am planning a big change in strategy. I am seeking to toss out as many connections I have had so far between Japanese and English to immerse myself fully and finally start practicing my shabby Japanese speaking and writing skills by experiencing the UX hell of the Japanese internet.

To do that, I am on the hunt for a good monolingual Japanese dictionary, preferably a web application and maybe even one that I can download for use in such a fun browser plugin as Yomichan.

Of course, you can shoot me your recommendations, even for physical ones!

PS: if you happen to stop by, feel free and give out recommendations for whatever Japanese language-related you want. Memes and gifs of any kind are allowed, too!

大辞林 (used to be online, now it’s not, but it’s still available for free within the default dictionaries on Apple devices) is pretty good. Otherwise, here are the main free dictionary sites:

Each has a bunch of features and dictionaries, with 大辞泉 being the one that they all share. Weblio and Kotobank have a few other dictionaries online, whereas Goo辞書 has a pretty beefy stack of example sentences that come with each definition. I’ll leave you to see if any of these sites tickles your fancy. :slight_smile:

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I use the Dictionaries app on my iPhone/iPad because it allows you to purchase from a wide variety of different dictionaries. For monolingual, it has:

  • DAIJIRIN 4 / 大辞林 (an excellent and fairly-priced dictionary imo, it has much more content than your average monolingual dictionary)
  • 三省堂国語 (this one is cheaper and a lot easier to understand the definitions compared to 大辞林 above, I use it quite frequently)
  • SHINMEIKAI / 新明解国語辞典 (also a fairly cheap and decent choice, this one comes with pronunciation for a lot of words as well)
  • MEIKYO / 明鏡国語辞典 (I believe this one is relatively new, either a 2020 or 2021 release date. Super cheap and easy to read.)
  • DAIJISEN / 大辞泉 (this is another big boy like 大辞林, but it has more pictures and also pronunciations for a lot of words)

…among others. Now, I use these from the iOS Dictionaries app because you can search all of them at once, but they’re all available physically and probably through other means as well. For PC or Android, Logovista might be a good option. I think you can purchase many of the same dictionaries through LV as well, but I’ve never used it personally.

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To add, you’re not going to find any of those dictionaries in a downloadable form (compatible with Yomichan at least) legally.

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I’ve been looking for a monolingual dictionary that also includes pitch accent on words, from what I gathered by searching around it seems like weblio and kotobank used to have this, but as far as I can tell they don’t anymore, right?

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Yup. That’s because the online edition of 大辞林 went offline. I think any edition of 大辞林 you purchase should still contain such information. Maybe some others have pitch accent data as well. Perhaps @Janime6 is better informed than me in this department?

If you’re willing to pay for a dictionary, however, I’d suggest you compare the prices of the NHK Pronouncing Dictionary and monolingual dictionaries whose main aim is to provide definitions. If free online definitions are enough for you and editions of those dictionaries that are more easily browsable cost about the same as the NHK dictionary, then you might as well just spend money on the NHK dictionary alone (provided it suits your purposes).

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Do you really need a monolingual dictionary for this? Because you can get J → E dictionaries with pitch accent for free with Yomichan or Midori on iOS. Of course, if you exclusively use monolingual dictionaries it might be inconvenient, but there are options if you’re interested.

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Hmm, I suppose you’re right, I could just use Yomichan for pitch accent while a using monolingual dictionary (I only ever use PCs). I guess I’ll have to get into the habit of checking pitch accent after reading the definitions then, as I’d like to eventually try getting used to (more or less) exclusively using a monolingual dictionary - since I keep reading and hearing about the benefits of doing so for Japanese

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  1. Notice that this is also the default Japanese-Japanese dictionary that is in the (free) OS X Dictionary App.

  2. Speaking of another dictionary, the English-Japanese in the Dictionary App of OS X is also a good compromise if you are not ready for immersion since it has lots context sentences in Japanese and lot of explanation terms in Japanese besides the English explanation.

You can download it via iOS Settings too, come to think of it, and then search it using the search bar. It’s not as convenient to use that way, but it’s free. I guess the version you can get in 物書堂’s Dictionaries app is a little more complete though.

They’re both available on iPhone and iPad as well! They’re available via the Search bar (pull down on Homescreen or scroll to the left page that has the widgets and stuff) if you enable them in Settings.

However, the one available (at least on iOS/iPad OS) is スーパー大辞林 which I believe is older and has slightly less content than 大辞林 4. Still 100% usable and already included if you have a Mac device though!

Edit: And yea, the Wisdom E-J-E dictionary is also great, I use it almost every day.

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It is a nice point (I keep forgetting you can also get it with iOS).

So far the few entries I compared were identical…

I was just thinking of the fact that you can probably see the pitch accent data in the iOS app but not in what shows up via the iOS search bar. That aside, I’m not expecting huge differences, no.

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You are all using Apple devices and here I am being an Android pleb.

This is something I can answer. From my experience learning English as a non-native, it is rather advantageous to just strip yourself from your base language once you have achieved a certain degree of fluency. Switching between languages takes conscious effort (contrary to popular belief) and since English is so different from Japanese anyway, it really does not do you any favors.

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I was talking specifically about pitch. You could use Yomichan’s pitch accent dictionary without actually having English definitions shown if you want. Or if for some reason that’s not possible, you could still just focus on the pitch accents and not look at the English definitions.

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Didn’t Midori use to be a paid app? It seems to be free now, but I could be misremembering. I never bothered to try it, since I wasn’t sure if it had an ‘export to Anki’ feature. It wasn’t listed at least. Been using Shirabe Jisho for a long time. The UI experience is great and it seems to be the highest and most rated on the app store. No pitch accent, though.

I guess it’s a bother if you want to look at the monolingual definition as well; you’ll have to go through two separate dictionaries every time you look up a word.

I think it cost a few dollars at some point, but I didn’t like any of the free options so I bought it. I recently requested pitch accent be added to Midori and the dev added it within a week.

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That’s some quick development. I’ll try the same with Shirabe but I don’t have my hopes up :sweat_smile:. Maybe I’ll give Midori a try.

Two features I’ve just grown to love in Shirabe are focus and clear of search on open and autopaste/search clipboard on open.

The main advantage of a dictionary other than the system is one is recursive lookups. I’ve found IOS to be inconsistent on when it’s possible to recurse or not.

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If you’re using the system dictionary on iOS, it’s usually impossible to check words that one doesn’t know within definitions, and that can indeed be annoying. It works on the Mac, however, but that’s probably because there’s a dedicated app for dictionaries, as opposed to a sort of read-only database that you can’t interact with directly like on iOS. Thanks for pointing that out.

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