Tibetan Print Dictionaries

General Use

  • Bkra shis Tshe ring & Li’u te cu, 扎西次仁 & 刘德军, eds. English-Tibetan-Chinese dictionary = Dbyin Bod Rgya gsum shan sbyar gyi tshig mdzod. 英藏汉对照词. Beijing: Min zu chu ban she: Xin hua shu dian jing xiao, 1988.
        Useful for reverse look-up.
  • Dpal ldan bkra shis, ed. Bod Dbyin tshig mdzod = Tibetan-English dictionary. Gansu : Gansu Nationalities Press, 1999.  Written in Amdo, so may contain dialect terms.
  • Dung dkar Blo bzang 'phrin las. Mkhas dbang Dung dkar Blo bzang 'phrin las mchog gis mdzad pa'i Bod rig pa'i tshig mdzod chen mo shes bya rab gsal = Dung dkar tshig mdzod. English colophon title: Dungkar Tibetological great dictionary. Pe cin: Krung go'i Bod rig pa'i dpe skrun khang, 2002.  Provides the most comprehensive list of important Tibetan terms relating to Tibetan history, literature, religion,  culture, place, and historical figures with clear definition, explanation, and citation of the sources.  (Entry added by Dorjee Tsetan.)

Historic Dictionaries

(published in the late 19th- early 20th centuries or in various locales)

  • Csomo de Körös, Alexander. Essay towards a dictionary, Tibetan and English. Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press. 1834. Organized by first Tibetan letter (not root letter).
        Created in Ladakh (and possibly also Sikkim).
  • Jäschke, H. A Tibetan-English Dictionary, with special reference to the prevailing dialects (to which is added an English-Tibetan vocabulary). London. 1881.
        Created in Ladakh.
  • Desgodins, Auguste. Dictionnaire thibetain-latin-français. 1899.
        Created in Khams, near Batang.
  • Sarat Chandra Das. A Tibetan-English Dictionary, with Sanskrit Synonyms. Calcutta: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot. 1902.
  • Lama Dawasamdup Kazi (Zla-ba-bsam-'grub, Kazi; 1868-1922). An English-Tibetan dictionary, containing a vocabulary of approximately twenty thousand words with their Tibetan equivalents. Calcutta, The University, 1919. PL3637 .Z6
  • Charles A. Bell. English Tibetan colloquial dictionary. 1920.
  • Zhang Xu [=Zhang Yisun], Zang Han jilun cihui. Hong Kong: Xichui wenhua yuan, 1937.
    Glossary based on work started 1928 in Sichuan, this became the basis for the Bod Rgya tshig mdzod chen mo =Zang Han da ci dian (1985). Original held by Prof. Tuttle.
  • Zhang Xu [=Zhang Yisun], Han Zang yuhui. Chengdu: Xichui wenhua yuan, 1938.
        Another glossary. Original held by Prof. Tuttle.
  • Zhang Xu [=Zhang Yisun], Zang Han yiming da cihui, ([Chengdu]: Xichui wenhua yuan, 1939.
        First real Tibetan-Chinese dictionary. Original held by Prof. Tuttle.
  • Minoru Gō, ed. An Eastern Tibetan dictionary (revised) and A study of the Eastern Tibetan language, with special reference to the initial consonants. Okayama, Japan, 1954 [1943].
        Based on work done in Amdo. PL3636 .G6
  • Ngag dbang chos dar [Awang Quetaier]. A mdo'i kha skad tshig mdzod = A duo kuoyu cihui. Lanzhou, 1980. 
  • Lhun grub rdo rje. A mdo'i kha skad tshig mdzod = Anduo Zang yu kou yu ci dian= Amdo Tibetan Spoken Language Dictionary with Chinese and English Translation. Lanzhou, 2007. PL3651.A64 A43
  • Chos kyi grags pa. Dge bshes Chos kyi grags pas btsams pa'i brda dag ming tshig gsal ba = Gexi Quzha Zangwen cidian: Zang, Han duizhao. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang/ Minzu chubanshe, 1995 [1949]. 
        Compiled by a Buryat Mongol in 1946. This dictionary is based on a 1949 edition of the Lhasa Hor-khang woodblock with added explanations in Chinese. The first formal publication was published in December, 1957. The current edition is published in 1995 with proper corrections and additional features, such as categories, synonyms, etc. It is said that the editors also deleted ‘unrelated’ words from the original copy. However, the translations for most Buddhist terms remain the same. Notes by ZHU Runxiao.

Tibetan Specialty Dictionaries

Administration and Law

  • Gling dbon Padma skal bzang. De snga'i Bod sa gnas srid gzhung gi gzhung yig thog gi tha snyad spyod srol dang 'brel yod phyogs bsdus gsal 'grel. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2011. A list of Tibetan terms for offices, positions, laws, etc. used during the Ganden Phodrang administration. PL3639 .P33 2011
  • Zhib ʼtshol Yig tshang, Legal dictionary =: Khrims kyi tshig mdzod. Thimphu: Zhib ʼtshol Yig tshang, Che mthoʼi khrims kyi ʼdun sa, 2007. K52.D98 L44 2007. (Entry added by Tendrol.)


  • Bod Rgya skar rtsis rig paʾi tshig mdzod = Zang Han lisuan xue cidian / "Zang Han da cidian" bianxie zu. Chengdu : Si-khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1985.  BF1714.T53 B63 1985
    Tibetan-Chinese terminology on Tibetan astrology. (Entry added by Tracy Howard.)


  • Pasang Yoten. Dictionary of Tibetan Materia Medica. Motilal Banarsidas Publishers, 1998.
  • Tshe ring thag gcod & Tshe ring sgrol ma Drung ttsho (Tsering Thackchoe & Tsering Dolma Drungtso). Bod lugs sman rtsis kyi tshig mdzod Bod Dbyin shan sbyar. = Tibetan-English dictionary of Tibetan medicine and astrology. Dharamsala : Drungtso Publisher, 1999.

Food & Drink

  • Tshan chung (ed). Bod kyi nyer mkho' zas rigs tshig mdzod = Zang zu chang yong yin shi ci dian = Tibetan traditional food and drink dictionary. Zi-liṅ: Mtsho sngon mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2000.


  • Rdo dgon gsang bdag rdo rje and Lhun par bstan ‘dzin lha ‘dzoms. Zhe sa’i lag deb blo gsar dga’ ston. Lhasa: Bod ljongs mi dmangs dpe skrun khang, 2002.
        Organized by literary Tibetan words (yig skad). Includes translations in table format for colloquial Tibetan (kha skad), honorific form (zhe sa), Chinese, and English.  Also includes the following appendices: 1) Example sentences in Tibetan, but organized by English words; and  2)  “A Brief Explanation of the Use of Honorific Address for Persons of Different Rank,” in Tibetan and English.

Names, People and Places

  • Dictionary of Common Tibetan Personal and Place Names = Chang jian Zang yu ren ming di ming ci dian (Beijing, 2004). PL1483 .C35 2004


  • Li yung khrang (Li Yingchang), ed. Bya tshig gtsig mdzod = Zangwen dongci cidian [Tibetan Verbs Dictionary]. Beijing: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1988 [1993]. Ref: PL3637.T52 B93 1988b

Poetic Synonyms

  • Palkhang Lotsawa ; edited by G. Tharchin. Snyan ngag, 'dod pa blo gsal gzhon nu rnams la nye bar mkho ba mngon brjod pad dkar 'phreng ba: Śabdavidya = A collection of synonyms. Kalimpong : Tharchin, 1961.
  • Ngag dbang tshul khrims, Btsan lha. Brda dkrol gser gyi me long. Pe-cin : Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1997. Ref: PL3635 .B73 1997
        Note by Dan Martin: "Bstan-lha's is the very best thing there is for 12th-century vocabulary, among other things. Its strength is that it combines hundreds of glossary texts of all periods into one handy alphabetized dictionary. But it generally isn't much help with Amarakosha-type, which is to say Abhidhana[mngon-brjod]-type, poetic vocabulary." [See next entry for his recommendation.]
  • Rnam rgyal tshe ring. Bod yig mngon brjod gcig shes kun grol. Lanzhou: Kan su'u mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1991.
         Note by Dan Martin: "There is nothing better than this for Abhidhana[mngon-brjod]-type, poetic vocabulary." This dictionary may thus also be helpful for understanding the poetic titles of works.

Tibetan Abbreviated Words

  • Rnam rgyal tshe ring. Bod yig skung yig phyogs sgrig. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1994. BQ133.M47 1988
        Pocket guide to dbus med abbreviations. Essential for reading manuscripts.
  • Shes rab, ed. Skung yig gsal byed nor bu'i me long. Pe-cin: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2003.
        Much more extensive guide to dbus med abbreviations. Essential for reading manuscripts.


  • Tshe dbang rnam rgyal. Dag yig ma nor lam bzang/ Zang wen tong yin zi dian. Pe cin: Mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1997. 
        Particularly useful for interpreting misspelled words.

Buddhist Terminology

  • Tsepak Rigzin. Nang don rig pa'i ming tshig Bod Dbyin shan sbyar = Tibetan-English dictionary of Buddhist terminology. Dharamsala : Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1993. Ref: BQ130 .R5411 1993
  • Mgon po dbang rgyal. Chos kyi rnam grangs. Chengdu: Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 1988.
        Buddhist terminology on various aspects of Buddhism arranged in numerical enumeration (the two XX, the three XX, and so forth).
  • Bod Rgya nang don rig pa'i tshig mdzod. Chengdu : Si khron mi rigs dpe skrun khang. 1993. Ref: BQ130 .B63 1993.
  • Wang Yinuan王沂暖. Fo xue ci dian 佛学词典. Xining Shi: Qinghai min zu chu ban she, 1992.
    Chinese-Tibetan dictionary of Buddhist terms.