Outlier Dictionary of Chinese Characters – Outlier Linguistics

The Outlier Dictionary of
Chinese Characters

A revolutionary new learners' dictionary for Pleco!

Developed by a team of linguists and expert teachers, our dictionary teaches you how Chinese characters ACTUALLY work, based on the latest research.

Learning the real underlying logic of the writing system will more than double your learning efficiency and allow you to see the real sound and meaning connections between characters.

Choose the version that’s right for you

One time purchase, not a subscription!

Free demo

Our dictionary is an add-on for the free mobile (iOS and Android) dictionary app Pleco. It fully integrates with all of Pleco's other great features!

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Essentials Edition

The Essentials Edition includes:
  • 2700+ characters as of newest update (plus regular updates until we reach 4000)
  • Simplified and Traditional characters
  • Detailed explanation for every character
  • Stroke order for all 4000 characters
  • Meaning tree for every character: how are all the meanings related to each other?
  • Ancient forms for all semantic components


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Expert Edition

The Expert Edition includes everything in Essentials, plus extensive information about the origin, evolution, and other historical information for every character.
You'll get the current version of the Essentials Edition, plus all the Expert entries we've finished so far (currently 250). We'll be adding new entries regularly, and you'll get all of those updates until it's finished!

Easy to set up

Step 1: Order

When you check out from our store, you'll get an order confirmation email and an email with an activation code and instructions.

Step 2: Get Pleco

If you don't already have Pleco installed on your iOS or Android device, install it! It's an amazing free Chinese dictionary app, and our dictionary is an add-on.

Step 3: Activate

Go to pleco.com/activate with your activation code, follow the instructions, and you'll be all set! Enjoy learning Chinese characters the Outlier way!

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