Tools Review: 2 – Dictionaries Part II – Internet (multilingual)

As to continue from my previous post on Dictionaries, the guidelines for finding hardback books apply in part to internet dictionaries too. One should also be very careful as to the source they’re pulling this online dictionary from too. Unlike printed mediums that have a lot of process and red tape to pass through, any ol’ body can put up a dictionary online and call it correct and good (not that this stops books from being lousy).

When in doubt, check a few sources. Nothing sucks worse than trying to unlearn a meaning that you already applied so heavily. Despite there being a few bad dictionaries out there, there are a lot of great places to find definitions for Japanese. In fact, you can find whole phrases, sentences, and so much more! I love the internet, btw, because of the immense amount of knowledge you can get free. (Of course, granting that you have a skeptical eye for ciphering out the garbage/lies.)

Also on a side note, I will not be discussing add-on programs that allow for streaming dictionaries in this post. This post is devoted to sites themselves. There will be another post later on that will talk about all the niffy cool add-ons like Rikaichan!

Also, all things covered must fit my internet guideline! FREE!

Dictionary Reviews: All-in-One Dictionaries

The following dictionaries kind of offer a one stop general world of yumminess in terms of many definition, kanji, sentences, and even sounds!

This dictionary I’ve recently stumbled across is actually really nice! It will translate both JP script and romaji. That alone is really nice of this dictionary. While this dictionary to me covers also being a Kanji dictionary, it’s a great stepping stone for a person to use when just starting out.

Another great thing about this resource is that there are several different categories that you can look up. Also, unlike a lot of other dictionaries, this one has a Japanese dictionary site that allows you to search words as if you were a Japanese person trying to learn English. Here is a sample from the English site when typing “にほんご” / “nihongo” from the kanji words section:


pronunciation: nihon, nippon
kanji characters: ,
keyword: japan
translation: Japan, Nippon
日本の: nihonnno: Japanese (a.)
日本人: nihonjin: Japanese (people) <<<
日本語: nihongo: Japanese (language) <<<
日本晴れ: nihonbare: glorious [ideal] weather <<<
日本刀: nihontou: Japanese sword <<<
日本酒: nihonshu: sake <<<
日本一: nihonnichi: the best, largest, highest in Japan <<<
日本海: nihonkai: the Sea of Japan, Japan Sea <<<
日本画: nihonga: Japanese painting <<<
日本製: nihonsei: made in Japan <<<
日本学: nihongaku: Japanology <<<
日本風: nihonhuu: Japanese style <<<
日本海流: nihonkairyuu: the Japan current <<< 海流
日本国籍: nihonkokuseki: Japanese nationality <<< 国籍
日本人形: nihonnningyou: Japanese doll <<< 人形


*Dictionary for Kanji words, Kanji characters, Katakana loan words, geography and travel related areas, history and tradition terms and subjects, manga and video games, as well as political and media terminology. (just can’t beat this for a free thing!)

*well-rounded, diverse

*easy to use interface

*updated regularly

*Can go into the Japanese section when you progress to step up game


*use of romaji for pronunciation of kanji (only for English site side, JP has kana for kanji pronunciation.)

*basic translations with no sample sentences or explanations for nuances

WWWJIDC by Jim Breen:

Probably one of the most well known internet dictionary writers for Japanese, Jim Breen offers a great multitude of stuff on his free webbie. To be honest, for me to list all the things this website offers would take a lot of time. I really recommend that you look at everything it offers, here are some highlights:

JP to Eng dictionary, Name dictionary, 23 other dictionary types for specific vocabulary, translation box, 22 different ways to look up kanji, a multi-radical kanji look up index, stroke count visual aids in video form, Example sentences search, ability to have new entries and amendments reviewed so the dictionary stays updated and correct, and several other features thrown around.

Sounds like a mouthful huh? Well it doesn’t stop there, to talk specifically about a great feature within the dictionary is sound files! And we’re not talking text to speech either, but rather real natives speaking! It’s wonderful really. So head on over and check out this pimp site.


*easy to use interface

*so many good things all rolled into one, this really counts for about 100 points! whee!

*kanji/kana script used

*versatility with a regularly updated database

*vocabulary for beginners and native like proficiency users

*ability to even customize the website for your liking! what’s better than that? 😛


*romaji entries aren’t all that great, not interchangeable with kana/kanji it seems

*so many options at first it may seem a little overwhelming Jisho – Online Japanese Dictionary:

Another really great well-rounded online dictionary that is highly praised is the Denshi Jisho. They have the following things on their site:

Word search that shows kanji, kana, eng definition, sentences, kanji details, and external links where that word will be.

Kanji and kanji by radicals look up will show the following for each kanji, stroke count, kun,on, name readings, meanings in multiple languages, radicals and parts, how common, when its taught, links for words containing, beginning with, ending with and sentences using the kanji, codes for the kanji, as well as their indices in other dictionaries (like classic nelson, kanji in context, and kodansha’s).

Sentences will show the sentence in JP and Eng, with links for kanji details, external links where the sentence could appear, and you can report inaccuracies.

There is also a forum’s page and a very useful links page.


*really easy to use

*takes kana/kanji/romaji though all entries will appear in kana/kanji best to not use romaji

*updated regularly

*easy on the eyes color scheme

*versatile and large database


*romaji doesn’t always work well

*sentence examples are a bit stiff and not as native sounding as they could be

*is a hobby project that sometimes is put on the backburner to real life and needed money, though in my opinion it doesn’t lack credibility at all (donate to make better hehe)

Dictionary Reviews: Word Dictionaries


This dictionary is really useful for internet terminology, or pretty much all IT computer related terms. When you’re starting to search around on the internet you’ll notice a lot of terms now being used that’re not always clear because you’ve only learned the English equivalents. This is also a really nice resource if you’re changing your os into a JP one. Also remember that this dictionary is for Computer related terms only. It is not a general dictionary. Here is an excerpt:

Internet 【インターネット】











*English term, JP term, acronyms, related words, definition, and links in the definition for words that may be unknown as well.

*easy to use, quick and easy indexes

*English page as well (scroll to the bottom)

*New terms added all the time (shown in a bar on the left)

*top most selected words for searching shown in bar on left

*JP page has more links to related news, media, ect.


*to get multilingual abilities, it times hoping around between to pages

While not one of my favorite online dictionaries, this one might seem a bit more friendly to the absolute beginner. Perhaps while you’re studying kanji/kana you’re hearing a word over and over again and just don’t know how to find it in a real dictionary, this one can come in handy. Since the dictionary is in romaji only, it’s going to hold you back if you use only this. I’d recommend as soon as you know your Kana, to switch dictionaries fast.

As for its word credibility, so far its seemed decent when I did use it. There is a good limit though on the number of entries I’ve noticed. A simple word like blood can confuse you because the three definitions aren’t always interchangeable with the word blood in every context.


*For absolute beginners with no ability to use kanji/kana

*easy to use interface


*limited definitions, no explanations on words

*romaji only, cannot look up words in Japanese text.

*some romaji spellings are wrong!

For a great simple to use dictionary that is JP-Eng and visa versa, the Free Online Bidrectional English-Japanese Dictionary is nice. Here is an excerpt and explanation of their entries from their website:

This dictionary is based on EDICT by Jim Breen and is powered by ALISE (A Little Internet Search Engine). PSP is offering free use of this dictionary as a public service to all internet users and as an example ALISE’s power and capabilities.

Word 1 Word 2 Description
にほんご 日本語 Japanese language
にほんごきょうほん 日本語教本 Japanese text book(s)
にほんごのうりょくしけん 日本語能力試験 test of Japanese language ability
にほんごワープロ 日本語ワープロ Japanese word-processing

As you can see, theirs is in an easy to read table format


*kana!!, kanji, and English definition

*easy to use interface

*several words and usage for a single entry (see how nihongo/にほんご showed several things you could have been looking for)


*cannot use romaji to look up words

*must have the ability to input JP script (or just can copy and paste if able 🙂 )

Dictionary Reviews: Kanji Dictionaries

As before, Kanji Dictionaries are dictionaries that focus on teaching the kanji as a separate entity, with radicals, on/kun readings, stroke counts, common compounds and so forth. These dictionaries are not really focused on how they’re used, specific definitions, ect, but rather if you come across a random kanji you’ve never seen before.

The Yamasa Institute – オンライン日本語学習 – Online Kanji Dictionary:

Though I wouldn’t claim that this is one of my most favorite dictionaries, I do like it for the drawing diagrams. It shows three types: printed, calligraphy, and common pencil drawn form.


*shows different types of kanji’s forms

*ability to type in text and create links to the kanji: ()

*various types of search engines


*a bit difficult to use

*extensive with kanji but not with its dictionary side (hence why i only listed it here in the kanji dictionary section)

*limited information on the kanji

*not compatible with romaji

Kiki’s Kanji Dictionary:

This next dictionary is a very nice one too. It’s basically sorted by radicals in a convenient left hand frame with all kanji’s that have that radical. It delivers as a kanji dictionary and offers a great resource of compounds. I really like that part of the dictionary. Though the layout is a little messy, Kiki’s got good intentions and I would like to see how it develops over time.


*good information on kanji

*easy look up system in frames

*many compounds

*kana, kanji no romaji


*disorganized front page

*no sample sentences with kanji

*no romaji imputing

*not many ways to look up kanji


While this may have seemed like a lot of dictionaries to look at, there are countless more out there. Never stop looking around for what may be the next newest, best, dictionary out there. For multilingual dictionaries however, these are really popular and will give you a great start! Stay tuned for Dictionaries Part III – Internet (monolingual).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125

    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

%d bloggers like this: