Request for review between two dictionaries

I’m in the market for a J-J dictionary app iOS. Can someone tell me the difference between the 大辞林 and 新明解国語辞典 ? They seem pretty dang similar, but I don’t wanna buy one and regret not buying the other.

Thanks for any help!

Just a personal perception here. But overall 新明解 seems to define words in a more colloquial (sometimes more practical way), and the definitions are quite unique sometimes (there several posts on the web about it, look for example the one they have for 動物園 :rofl:).

大辞林 on the other hand sometimes has more definitions, but that turn to be pretty much the same. Actually those definitions on 大辞林 are pretty much the same as other dictionaries (明鏡国, 広辞苑, 大辞泉… like they all shared the same original ones and modifiy them only so slightly to not be exactly the same :sweat_smile: ).

An example on a current search I just made for 貢献 .

三省堂 スーパー大辞林
こう-けん [0] 【貢献】 (名)スル


I prefer 新明解 currently, seems more to the ground, and overall easier to grasp.

Here is a post talking about some of the controversial definitions on 新明解.

Actually I mean easier to grasp IF you know the words, they explain the concept well. It’s not the easiest dictionary because it tries to use less or simpler words.


damn those are totally different haha.

ahh…which one which one which one…

For me it depends on many things. And there’s no ONE better dictionary.

For example.
When I just started looking for words with a J-J dicionary. I went for the most basic one (actually it doesn’t has any proper name… just 日本語辞典(現代国語、外来語)… so I think is what in the linked post they would refer as a 一般的辞書.

In that regard take for example what I mentioned about 動物園。

My general porpuse dictionary (usually with the simplest definition and the one a put in my cards)


Note it has even the furigana for kanji that might be unknown (aparently).

Then 三省堂 スーパー大辞林 (wich is the one I have in my Kindle and comes with Mac OSx)
どうぶつ-えん ―ン [4] 【動物園】

A bit more information, somewhat more difficult vocab than the super basic dictionary. But still pretty neutral and for the most part I can use it for reference while reading.

Now 新明解:

The authors aren’t precisely holding their opinions on the matter :laughing: … But it’s a accurate representation of what a zoo is.

Usually I found the explanations more humorous, they stick more. And you can see they have taken the effort to review each word for the most part.
Even so It’s not my “to go dicionary”, because the vocab used is more complex that what I want for my vocab cards. But whenever there’s a word that only gets a 。。。ーのこと。as definition in the other dictionaries, usually 新明解 actually has something useful.

So it really depends . If you can read at an ok level adult oriented text, I would certainly recommend 新明解 above the others.
I still have to work my way through some of the deffinitions, so for rapid consultation it’s not the most used in my case.


My first choice go-to is the dictionary for elementary school kids that Tofugu wrote about here. It doesn’t have everything, But the explanations are clear, with example sentences, and even a visual pitch accept guide. I can make the definitions in other dictionaries work if Reikoku doesn’t have the word I’m looking for, but not as smoothly.

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What’s the icon for that dictionary? :eyes:

Wow, thanks for that link. Picked up that dictionary. I’ve just been looking up a few of the low level words from WK and the definitions are pretty easy to read. It’s also interesting to read the way many of these words are defined in Japanese.

I just wish it was available as an iPhone app, too.


Thanks for the detailed response!

I actually ended up going with… neither. Haha. I got the 三省堂国語辞典. Between those three this seemed to have the simplest, straight forward definitions. In due time (even today because I can’t stop thinking about it?!) I’ll probably get the other two to (tell myself I) feel complete.

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Sadly no icon or reference to any editorial :man_shrugging:… just an unnamed, yet extremely useful EPWING file. Is like a compilation of different resources. Has comparision between similar words, caution notes on use and common miswritings.

I haven’t been able to find the actual source. I wish I could have the more updated version of it, since most epwing files are at best about 20 years old.

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