Hanyu Da Cidian

The Hanyu Da Cidian is the most inclusive available Chinese dictionary. Lexicographically comparable to the OED, it has diachronic coverage of the Chinese language, and traces usage over three millennia from Chinese classic texts to modern slang. The chief editor Luo Zhufeng 羅竹風 (1911-1996), along with a team of over 300 scholars and lexicographers, started the enormous task of compilation in 1979. Publication of the thirteen volumes began in 1986 and finished in 1993.

The Hanyu da cidian includes over 23,000 head Chinese character entries, defines some 370,000 words, and gives 1,500,000 citations. The head entries, which are collated by a novel 200 radical system, are given in traditional Chinese characters while simplified Chinese characters are noted. Definitions and explanations are in simplified, excepting classical quotations.

Volume 13 has both pinyin and stroke count indexes, plus appendices. A separate index volume (1997) lists 728,000 entries for characters by their position within words and phrases, something like a reverse dictionary. For instance, the Hanyu da cidian enters Daode jing 道德經 under the head character dao; this reverse-index lists it under both de and jing. "Despite the fact that it weighs over 20 kilos and contains a total of 50 million characters spread over 20,000 large double-column pages," says Wilkinson (2000:71), "the Hanyu da cidian is an easy dictionary to use to the full because it is unusually well indexed." It became even easier to use when Victor H. Mair edited a single-sort alphabetically arranged pinyin index (2004).

The abridged CD-ROM version (2.0) contains 18,013 head characters, 336,385 words and phrases, and 861,956 citations. It includes male and female sound files for pronunciation, and enables more than 20 search methods. The 3.0 CD-ROM version was released in 2007.

See also


  • Hanyu da cidian bianzuanchu 漢語大詞典编纂處 and Zen bunka kenkyūjo 禅文化研究所, eds., 1997. Duo gongneng Hanyu da cidian suoyin 多功能漢語大詞典索引 ("General-purpose index to the Hanyu da cidian"). Shanghai: Hanyu da cidian. ISBN 7-5432-0265-4
  • Hargett, James M. 1990. "[Review of] Hanyu dacidian by Luo Zhufeng." Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (CLEAR), Vol. 12, pp. 138-143.
  • Luo Zhufeng 羅竹風, chief ed. 1986-1993. Hanyu da cidian ("Comprehensive Dictionary of Chinese"). 13 vols. Shanghai: Cishu chubanshe. ISBN 7-5432-0013-9. CD-ROM ed. ISBN 962-07-0255-7
  • (2007). Hanyu Da Cidian 3.0. Hong Kong: Commercial Press. ISBN 9789620702778.
  • Mair, Victor H., ed. 2003. An Alphabetical Index to the Hanyu Da Cidian (Hanyu Da Cidian Cimu Yinxu Suoyi). Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press. ISBN 0-8248-2816-X
  • Wilkinson, Endymion. 2000. Chinese History: a manual. Revised and enlarged ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center. ISBN 0-674-00249-0

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