Use the Mac OSX built-in Japanese Dictionary!

by mo on 06/9/2009

This is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets of Mac OSX (10.5 or later) that any Japanese student should know about: the Dictionary app, inside your Applications folder, has a built-in Japanese Dictionary.

Koichi over at Tofugu just wrote an article about Why you should use a Mac to study Japanese, but I think the built-in dictionary is definitely one of the best resources on the Mac for Japanese. I had my MacBook for approximately two years before I even realized there was such a dictionary (would have been really helpful to know about during the year I lived in Japan and had my MacBook!) and it seems a lot of people I’ve talked to also don’t know about the Japanese dictionary.

The reason it’s a “secret” is that the Japanese dictionary doesn’t automatically show up as part of the Dictionary app. You’ll need to open the preferences, and then voila, you’ve discovered a gold mine:

So just select to enable the Japanese-English and Japanese dictionaries, and you’re ready to go! (There’s also a Japanese synonym dictionary which I haven’t used too much, honestly)

If you’re familiar with inputting Japanese text on OSX, the dictionary is very easy and nice to use. Here’s an example looking up the Japanese word びっくり (bikkuri). Type the word (Dictionary will auto-complete the word for you as you’re doing this):

Click for a definition, some synonyms, and example sentences:

The dictionary gives you a very standard-Japanese definition (not a lot of slang or new words) but it’s very solid and extremely helpful.

English-Japanese isn’t bad either:

And once your Japanese is coming along, you’ll want to start using the Japanese-Japanese dictionary as well. This dictionary is more extensive than the Japanese-English dictionary, so especially with proper nouns, old words that aren’t used much anymore, or more technical/specific/historical vocabulary, it may only be in the Japanese dictionary. Here’s what a Japanese dictionary entry looks like:

This dictionary isn’t perfect, but since it’s a desktop app that doesn’t rely on an internet connection, it’s been extremely useful. I generally use it as my primary dictionary, and then seek other resources if I need them (like for kanji-lookup, for example). I also used the Dictionary app during exams for my Japanese translation class this semester — we were allowed to have dictionaries, but no internet connection (I suppose so we wouldn’t chatting with other people taking the exam, or something like that).

As a Mac user/Japanese learner I’m excited about the cool new things Koichi mentioned, like the new Chinese input method that will come out with Snow Leopard, but I just wanted to make sure you don’t miss the built-in dictionary like I did!

There are 216 comments in this article:

  1. 4/07/2019 says:

    Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is just great and i
    can assume you are an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep
    up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and
    please continue the gratifying work.

  2. 4/07/2019 says:

    Great website. Lots of helpful info here. I am sending it to a few buddies
    ans additionally sharing in delicious. And
    certainly, thanks in your effort!

  3. 4/07/2019 says:

    I am truly glad to read this website posts which carries tons
    of helpful facts, thanks for providing these kinds
    of data.

  4. 4/07/2019 says:

    Appreciating the time and effort you put into your blog and in depth information you provide.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while
    that isn’t the same out of date rehashed information. Fantastic read!
    I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  5. 4/07/2019 says:

    Hi there everyone, it’s my first pay a visit at this website, and paragraph
    is actually fruitful designed for me, keep up
    posting these types of articles.

  6. 4/07/2019 says:

    This is my first time pay a visit at here and i am genuinely pleassant to
    read everthing at single place.

  7. 4/07/2019 says:

    Thankfulness to my father who shared with me about this blog, this webpage is in fact amazing.

  8. 4/07/2019 says:

    Thanks for another fantastic article. The place else could anybody get that kind of information in such an ideal method of writing?

    I have a presentation subsequent week, and I am at
    the search for such information.

  9. 4/07/2019 says:

    If you are going for best contents like me, only pay a visit this website everyday as it offers quality contents, thanks

  10. 4/07/2019 says:

    whoah this weblog is wonderful i like studying your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You recognize, many persons are
    searching round for this information, you could help them greatly.

  11. 4/07/2019 says:

    Hi Dear, are you really visiting this site daily, if
    so after that you will definitely take pleasant know-how.

  12. 4/07/2019 says:

    If some one desires to be updated with latest technologies
    then he must be pay a quick visit this web site
    and be up to date daily.

  13. 4/07/2019 says:

    Having read this I believed it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this article together.
    I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  14. 4/07/2019 says:

    Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a data!
    present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this site.

  15. 5/07/2019Chet says:

    We’re a gaggle of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.
    Your site offered us with helpful information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job
    and our whole group will likely be thankful to you.

  16. 16/07/2019Ladifa Cookies – Jual / Toko / Daftar Harga Kue Kering Lebaran di Bandung says:

    There’s definately a great deal to know about this issue. I like all the
    points you’ve made.

Write a comment: