A better Pali Dictionary

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It could work either based on some regex rules to guess word suffixes, but it wouldn’t be precise. Other way is to rely on the dictionary to provide meta information on word - and a specially crafted dictionary at that, a one that will have enough information. Anyway, the colouring was supposed to be a help in translating, not a 100% precise information.

Having even better Pali English dictionary will be great, but currently the one that is on SC + printed Cone’s dictionary do the job for me. What I will need eventually though, is a Pali - Polish dictionary. None exist as far as I know, which is why I need software that will help me easily build one, and that is the motivation behind my plans. I don’t want to invest >24 years as M. Cone did :wink:

As for the Pootle stuff, I would have to try it myself to see what it can do.



The NCPED should be of some help. It contains the case info in (mostly) predictable form.[quote=“tuvok, post:81, topic:2445”]
What I will need eventually though, is a Pali - Polish dictionary

Well, that would be excellent.

You can try a vanilla demo here:

let me know if you want to poke around SC’s implementation, which has a few hacks.


I’m not sure how you can avoid translating it as “sign” in some of those samadhi contexts. In the examples I stated in the previous post, SN 8.4, MN 20, using “basis” or “cause” can be ambiguous and unclear.

If I turn away from the “cause” of beauty, what should I be turning away from? should I turn away from the girl’s mom and dad? The girl’s perfume? I should be turning away from anything more than 16 years old? I should be turning away from time?

None of that quite makes sense, whereas nimitta as “sign” makes perfect sense there.

It’s also consistent with the most fundamental practice of guarding the sense doors:

cakkuna rupam disva, na nimitta-gaahi hoti, naanubyanjana gaahi …
sotena … na nimitta-gaahi hoti …
ghanena … na nimitta-gaahi hoti …
jivhaya …

not grabbing on to the “sign” makes sense, not grabbing on to a “cause” or “basis” feels like a complicated metaphysical riddle.

And of course, a-nimitta samadhi, sign-less concentration, has a very clear meaning when nimitta is consistently translated as “sign” in those examples. “no-basis” or “cause-less” samadhi is confusing under any circumstance.

edit: addition
Ven. T. (Thanissaro) translates nimitta in different ways according to context, and I don’t like that, because when I relied on his translations alone, then I didn’t see the connections. But after studying the pali and examining how the pali “nimitta” was used in context under different circumstances I could intuit its meaning.


I agree, but the problem is the meaning doesn’t quite map on to any English word. So you have to choose: either translate it according to context, or translate it consistently and end up with odd and incomprehensible meanings in a certain set of cases.


Finally got a CPED kindle dictionary that works (used the text file with 10374 entries - pretty sure I got it here). (Unfortunately, it doesn’t take care of noun declensions and verb conjugations, yet, maybe.).

PED versions (to proper mobi dictionary): eBook: Pali-English Dictionary (PTS) | Path Press
PS - did not use these, but used Leigh Brasington’s file:

Finally, maybe to explore on how to take care of various endings of pali words. :slight_smile:

20180403 I’ve made a combined CPED (corrected, but not proofread) and PED mobi file; added some links so that one can use it like a book too.
Found limitations with PED portion - the diacritical marks are not retained!
So, won’t be spending more time on this.


How are they different from the version used on SC?


When you were listing the existing dictionaries I see you did not mention Childers. Is it because you see any defect? I discovered it recently on google books. Just today received the hard copy I ordered from a print-on-demand publisher. And one thing I find really handy is the definitions for most words are concise like the CPED, except more controversial ones where it becomes paragraphs like PTS. But the other thing is its arranged in Latin alphabet order which is like a godsend to an American beginner. No more frustration over finding the words.


Childers is effectively 100% superseded by the PTS and later dictionaries. We don’t use it, and I don’t even know if anyone has digitized it.

The order of words doesn’t matter for us, as you just get what word you want. Anyway, Indian alphabetical order is a construct of sublime beauty that you should learn just to bring you solace and joy.


Argh! Just found missing entries in CPED. Looks like I’ll still be carrying the hardcopy for a while.


These just happen to be the ones where I have the txt files. Will be happy to convert any other dictionary into mobi format too, e.g. Pali Proper Names, Nyanatiloka’s (good for beginners?).


Thank you for this! :heart: