The Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters – Outlier Linguistics

Groundbreaking Chinese character dictionary
for Pleco

by Outlier Linguistics

Understand the logic behind Chinese characters and learn them more effectively!

Revealing the logic of the Chinese writing system

Chinese characters are composed of functional components—components which express sound and meaning

Our dictionary explains why each character looks the way it does, what its components are, and how they function

This will help you recall characters you've learned and to learn new characters more efficiently in the future

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"Changes the way we learn Chinese"
-Dr. David Moser

The Essentials Edition of our Dictionary includes:

  • ◆ 2000+ characters (will be expanded to 4000 total)
  • ◆ Form explanation for every entry: why does the character look the way it does?
  • ◆ Component analyses for all multi-component characters: what are the functional components and how do they function in this character?
  • ◆ Meaning tree for every character: how are all the character's meanings related to each other?
  • ◆ Ancient forms for all characters which can function as semantic components
  • You'll receive an activation code for Pleco and installation instructions via email immediately when you order.

"Although the editors' explanations of the origins and meanings of the Sinographs in their dictionary are written in simple, straightforward language, they are based on a wealth of learning, and that includes a correct understanding of the nature and construction of the characters and their components — a rare commodity." —Prof. Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania

What our customers are saying:

"I bought this. It has helped me recognise and even pronounce characters I have never seen before thanks to my recognition of patterns from the explanations."

Soroush Torkian (Canada)

"After a lot (really a lot) of failed tests with different books, apps and methods, the only way that the hanzi sticks in my mind is ODCC's brief, concise and REAL explanation!"

Alessandro Agostinetti (Italy)

"This project is exactly what i was wishing for since i started learning Chinese with Pleco years ago."


Wieland Schultz (Germany)


"Every so often a really good resource comes along. It's The Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters."

-Prof. Victor Mair
University of Pennsylvania

"I feel like I have a virtual 1-on-1 Chinese teacher, giving me a better sense of how the writing system functions."

-Dr. David Moser
Yenching Academy, Peking University

"They have put a lot of thought into how foreigners learn Chinese, and they’ve come up with a better way to learn characters."

-John Pasden
AllSet Learning & Mandarin Companion

Kick your character learning into overdrive!