Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

The listing of dictionaries in this section is divided by language (Tibetan and Chinese), and by type. Encyclopedic works are listed in a single section, regardless of language.


For an up-to-date summary, and details, see: http://digitaltibetan.org/index.php/Tibetan_Dictionaries

Compiled by the Team NomaDic of ILCAA, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Based on fieldwork in Tsekhok (Zeku) County, Qinghai Province; includes local terminology and pronunciation, as well as photos to illustrate certain terms. Search either by Tibetan script or Wylie transliteration. Editor-in-Chief: Izumi Hoshi. Released in 2018

TIP: To access the English-language definitions, use the PDF version.

Note: the two resources above draw primarily from early and doctrinal texts. They also include terms (though not complete) from the dictionaries of Das and Jaschke (see Print Dictionaries below).

Encyclopaedic dictionary carefully compiled and still updated by Tony Duff (a translator and teacher primarily associated with the Nyingma lineage) and others at PKTC. It is an excellent source for specific definitions of Buddhist terminology, attention to parts of speech, and verbs; often with Sanskrit equivalents. Several valuable sources have been incorporated, such as the House of Cloves (Lishi gur khang), which lists old terms and their newer equivalents. PKTC also has edited and made available electronically several other important Tibetan dictionaries: (see site for specific)

Sarat Chandra Das's Tibetan-English Dictionary

Geshe Chodrak’s Tibetan-Tibetan Dictionary

Decoding Golden Mirror, Tibetan-Tibetan Dictionary

The Tshigdzo Chenmo, Revised Edition Tibetan-Tibetan Dictionary

Mahavyutpatti, Sanskrit-Tibetan-English Glossary

Dictionary of Learned and or Accomplished People of Tibet

Chronological Dictionary of Tibetan Luminaries

House of Cloves, A Nice Explanation that Shows the Differences Between Old and New Terminology of the Tibetan Language

(Entry by Tracy Howard.)


Featured: Tibetan Dictionary App for iPhone and iPad (only)

Developed by a company called Phurba, this app is searchable in English, Tibetan, and romanized Sanskirt. Includes more contemporary terms, as it draws on a wider range of dictionaries:

  • Dag yig gsar bsgrigs (Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary published in Xining, 1979)
  • Ives Waldo dictionary
  • James Valby dictionary
  • Rangjung Yeshe Dictionary (with Tibetan synonyms)
  • Richard Barron dictionary
  • Tshig mdzod chen mo (three-volume Tibetan-Tibetan dictionary published in Beijing, 1985)
  • Thomas Hove Doctor dictionary
  • Mahavyutpatti
  • New Tibetan-English-Chinese Dictionary

For other apps and detailed support, see: http://digitaltibetan.org/index.php/Tibetan_Dictionaries_for_Mobile_Devices

Tibetan Print Dictionaries

  • Tibetan-English / English-Tibetan dictionaries
  • Tibetan-Tibetan dictionaries
  • Tibetan-Chinese / Chinese-Tibetan dictionaries
  • Historic dictionaries (published in the late 19th- early 20th centuries)
  • Specialty Dictionaries
    • Medicine
    • Food and Drink
    • Poetics
    • Gesar
    • Dialects: Amdo, Kham, Lhasa
    • Lhasa Honorifics
    • Verbs
    • Homonyms
    • Buddhist Terminology

Chinese Online Dictionaries & Related Resources

  • Chinese-English / English-Chinese dictionaries
  • Word Processing tools
  • Pinyin tools