Recommendations for good, offline 国語辞典 apps?

Okay, so I’ve been trying to use jp-jp dictionaries more lately, because I think it’s at least good to try to understand a native explanation before looking up an Engish translation.

When it comes to web pages, there are a few that I think are pretty good; and, for instance are both very useful. Then there’s and as well.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s hardly a shortage of good jp-jp resources if you’re willing to use a connected web browser.

However, looking for Android apps that do the same isn’t as easy. There are apps for some of the above, Kotobank for instance, but they aren’t offline. There’s a bunch of offline apps based on JEDICT, but that’s jp-eng obviously.

Good 'ol polar bear pal @crihak recommended me the app version of Sanseido’s concise dictionary I linked above, and it does seem pretty decent. I also noticed that the “full” Sanseido dictionary is also available in app form for around 20 euros, which isn’t that bad.

But before I take a plunge and buy a shiny dictionary, I’d like to hear the thoughts of some other people over here. Have you used any jp-jp apps, and how did you like them? Any that you would recommend, or recommend against?

Personally I have no iOS devices, so I’m only interested in Android apps (preferrably the kind that you can purchase from the Swedish Google Play store), but if you have suggestions for other users for iOS apps or something else then feel free to share that as well! It’s fine if they cost money, as long as they’re super duper special awesome good, of course.

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広辞苑アプリ. I mean, if you’re going to get a dictionary, you might as well get the dictionary.

Considering that app has a user rating of 2,9, and more than half of the reviews are 1, I’d like to hear why you’d recommend buying it, especially since it costs 799kr (like, 90 euros?) :slight_smile:

Yes, most people seem to want more features it’s more about the app itself than the content. But the Kouenji is like I said the Japanese dictionary. Wiki

Also, if you read a lot of the negative reviews, they’re amusing, such as, guy who judged the whole dictionary based on the controversy over two definitions: 岩波書店さんには申し訳ないが、「台湾」「LBT」の解説には幻滅しました。これでは、まるでチャイナマネーに買収されて映画の内容がおかしくなっているハリウッドと同じですよ。書架の飾りにしかならないでしょう。

And, things that actually have nothing to do with the dictionary: 初回限定特典付 三浦しをん書き下ろし文庫判小冊子「広辞苑をつくるひと」

In other words, what I’m saying is internet reviews are useless in all languages.

I think I saw this on the news lately, the dictionary makes a new revision ever 10(?) years and everyone was lining up to buy it. But for some topics like LBT people were not too happy with the explanations, so maybe some people just flock up to give negative reviews.

Maybe unrelated, but I noticed that many Japanese tend to give only three stars for things they like (or have no opinion) and five for things unbelievably perfect, so for example on tabelog bad restaurants have 3.2 stars, while great ones have 3.7 stars. Often the comments don’t indicate at all why it was less than 5. So for online reviews you have to watch out for Japanese (also for places in Google maps such as a park: “had a perfect day, kids playing, nice blossoms” -> 3 stars).


Admittedly, that is pretty amusing.

You’re right of course, the content of the dictionary itself is important, but at least to me, how the app functions is ALSO important. I wouldn’t want to buy something like this, only to realize that it’s just a bunch of .txt files and a message saying “Good luck”. Thus, I was asking for experience using the apps. :slight_smile:

Regarding the actual content @Syphus, would you consider the explanations reasonable for non-natives to comprehend? The aforementioned Sanseido dictionary for instance does, at least in my opinion, generally have a bit easier to understand explanations than some other resources I’ve looked in.

@acm2010 That’s interesting about the LBT topic, thanks for the insight!

These also seem to be either unavailable outside of Japan, or for my specific set of devices… I got the same thing when I looked for the more official Wisdom 2 app as well.

Unfortunately, Google Play doesn’t say “why” it is unavailable. Just that it is “incompatible with all your devices”.

新明解国語辞典 (第七版) is awesome. Beautiful app for iOS with all the functionality you want/need. Can’t comment on the Android version.
Good, clear entries, usage guides, pitch accent info… it’s awesome. I think it was about 20 or 30 dollars. Make sure you buy the new version with the improved design. I linked above, you can see screenshots.
I was also looking for a well-designed application and I found this.

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Sorry for the delay, I imagine the actual contents is an EPWING file in the app. I think the definitions and contents are fine.

I suppose 大辞林 is also good, that’s my daily dictionary because it comes with Macs. I don’t know of an app, but it’s easily the next best / most comprehensive, specifically the スーパー大辞林 version, this is what is somewhat on Goo.

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After lots of googling and reading I settled on this one:

Seems like it’s essentially the same one that you linked? :slight_smile:

「外国人ユーザも絶賛!日本語勉強中の外国の方にもおすすめ!」they say…let’s see if they’re right :slight_smile:

@chezmax, yeah, the browser just says “nah, can’t”. If you go to the link ON your device it will tell you that it’s not available in your region. Very silly.

@Syphus thanks for the input, I usually use goo when I’m on my computer at home, or Sanseidou concise. I still have a long way to go before I can use a jp-jp one comfortably but just have to practice, practice.

Speaking of which, when you guys started trying to get used to it, did you just buckle down and face the frustration or did you have tips and tricks? Perhaps a silly question, but I feel like I may as well throw it out there. There’s a few good articles on JALUP ( for instance) about getting started, which are good reads.

Overall, I’d say many of the definitions are pretty simple. If you understand things like こと and さま at the end of sentences you’ll already get yourself a big chunk of the way there.

Oh, yeah, there are a couple dozen words that are used a lot in contexts like that. The more difficult part I feel is the quite common case of now knowing one of the descriptors used in an entry, so you have to go look that up too. For example:


Simple definition, but unless you know what 崩し書き is that won’t help you much. :slight_smile: Although I suppose that is one of those things that you’re just going to have to grin and bear for a while.

Yea that’s just one of those things. Luckily, the Mac dictionary has the functionality where each word in the definitions can be clicked as well.

Also one other note, at least be aware where example sentences come from. Like this example: 「我か人か」の略。「―のさまにておはしつきたり」〈源氏物語夕顔〉

If it came from Genji, it might not be a modern definition / usage.

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Yeah, I was interested in the Wisdom EJJE app, cause their definitions and translations on OSX seemed pretty good. I’m not quite ready for a full J-J app.

EBPocket Pro. Then you can add an EPWING dictionary like Kenkyuusha or Daijirin.

As I already bought a 電子辞書, I don’t want to buy the same dictionaries multiple times on different devices.

Yes, this is the one, assuming its the same app across platforms. I love it, hope it works for you. Enjoy.

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