Best Pali dictionary for Android or online

Hello Bhante Sujata,

I am wanting to start translating the Karaniya Metta Sutta as a way to start learning Pali. Do you, or anyone else here, have any suggestions for the best android Pali dictionary, or best Pali dictionary online?

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What can I say? The best one is the one on SuttaCentral, of course!

If you go to the Pali text of the Metta Sutta (Snp 1.8), open the sidebar, and activate the lookup dictionary. This gives you results from the Concise Pali English Dictionary and the Pali Text Society, if you click through. Our program does a reasonable job of identifying the underlying Pali word, but it is far from perfect. Otherwise you can use the search box, it will give you dictionary results also.

I’m not familiar with any Pali dictionary apps for Android.

A word of advice, though: the Metta Sutta is not a great way to learn Pali. Any verse text is grammatically difficult. Imagine learning English by starting with Shakespeare.

I’d suggest beginning with the three first suttas, SN 56.11, SN 22.59, and SN 35.28. The grammar and vocabulary are much simpler, and you will get a good grounding in the basic Sutta syntax.


Wow, thank you so much. I think I will still do the Karaniya just for fun because my goal is to memorize the Sutta, but yes, I will definitely take your advice and do the first three suttas.

Thank you so much for your help. I appreciate you…in a non-self appreciating sorta way. :slight_smile:

Of course. Just sorting out the grammar for the first line will give you plenty of fun!


Dhamma Greetings,

have you tried the the Ven. Yuttadhammo’s. Tipitaka app? It has build in dictionaries:

Another standalone dictionary is this one

Best Wishes

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Pali Dictionary on Android.

I’ve been looking for a version of the PTS Pali English Dictionary that can be accessed from a dictionary reader app on android phones and tablets, in the form af a dictionary file format i.e. .DICT, DSL, XDXF, Dictd etc., but without success… I’m using Moon+reader as an ebook reader, and a nice features is the ability to link an external dictionary app for looking up words inside a book. My dictionary reader of choice is Fora Dictionary, which is freely available on the google play store, and it integrates well with Moon+reader. I have used the Tummosft Pali Dictionary app on my tablet for some time, and it has proven to be very useful, although, the app does not integrate with my reader app as a dictionary lookup, and has to be used separately. (Tummosft Pali Dictionary is no longer available on Play Store, but you can still download it from apkpure. com, just search for Pali Dictionary)

My solution:
So, I managed to convert the html version ( by Leigh Brasington) of the PED from here The Pali Text Society's Pali-English dictionary to a .DSL file, which can be run within Fora Dictionary, GoldenDict, and maybe some others. Fora has proven to be the best of what is available for android, in my opinion.

About the dictionary: The contents of the dictionary have been stripped of all style formatting like bold, italic, etc… The word in question is in bold, while the rest of the entry follows the same paragraph formatting as the html document, without any added styles. The only deliberate change I have made to the original content, is to replace double dashes with en-dashes, as a compromise, since all hyphens and em-dashes in the original text have been substituted with double dashes ( – ) in the html file.

If anyone would like to try it out, I would like to make the files available here. It is a directory called Pali-English, which contains the dictionary file with additional index files.

To install it: First install Fora Dictionary from the play store (there is an iPhone version for a price on iStore). After first run, ForaDict creates a hidden folder named /sdcard/.fora
Copy the Pali-English folder into .fora with a file browser. Open Fora again and create a profile, or simply use the default. Tap on the profile name and select “add to profile”. You will see “Pali-English” in the list. Tap the link and you are ready to go.

In Moon+reader, when you have a book open, long press on a word, and follow instructions to link a dictionary app. Fora isn’t listed by name, so you have to choose “other installed app” (wording may differ). When successful, you’ll be able to access Fora Dictionary from within Moon+reader by long pressing on a word, which will then open in the dictionary app.

I hope that this may be useful.


Greetings @michael_p and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:
Many thanks for your post.

If we can be of any assistance please feel free to ask @mods
Looking forward to seeing you around :slight_smile:

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Hallo Viveka and thank you for your kind welcome note. I guess I sneaked in through the back door by adding to this thread instead of introducing myself first. I will do that soon.

Concerning the Pali-English dictionary, I will start a new thread on the topic if that’s ok, however, I see that there are a few similar threads although some are quite old (like this one). My own effort so far revolved around getting the PTS Pali-English dictionary in a useful format to access on android devices. The above is what I’ve achieved using the Leigh Brasington htm file. That was before I became aware of the file prepared by SuttaCentral. So, I converted the SuttaCentral file to .dsl format, which is actually quite useful, so it is only fair that I share my work with SuttaCentral users, having used the raw material that is provided here. I will start my new thread on this topic.

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FYI we have made thousands of corrections to the source file that others are using.

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Ven. Sujato, I have noticed that there are many differences, I can’t yet spot the corrections :sweat_smile:, and thanks for pointing it out. The html markup in your file is also much more attractive than other online sources. The dictionary .dsl file I created from the html at wasn’t very pretty either. My file would show all text entries in grey, in my dictionary reader, without any line-breaks or any other formatting. I used a java application called html2dsl to create the file, which was a first, and untidy tryout. I have created the latest dsl file in a text editor, having picked up on the .dsl tagging system, which is similar to but more basic than html, and I managed to retain most of the html formatting in the SC source file. At the moment it hasn’t been possible for me to deal with ordered lists, and nested lists that provide tabbed views in the html. All numbering in lists have been substituted with a white circle dingbat. My .dsl file is beta and with a bit more time and effort I can make it look identical to the SC source, I hope.
I’m providing the link to the .DSL files (compressed to .DZ) to be used in Fora Dictionary and GoldenDict (GoldenDict uses utf16le). The software is free, so free to promote :innocent:, and I’m including a copy of the Fora app, PC jar & Android apk, in my shared folder if anyone is eager or curious to try it. I am strictly ploughing with another man cattle here, but I am confident that the .dsl dictionary format adds a great deal of usability to the contents of the dictionary, which is not that simple in a single-file html document, or otherwise in book formats like .mobi and .epub. GoldenDict may be listed as a useful alternative to ForaDictionary, to read .dsl files, if you’d like to try it. :pray:

PTS Pali-English DSL

(P.S. perhaps I wouldn’t start a new thread afterall. SuttaCentral is a very friendly place. Some of the oldest threads in history can be found here! :rofl: a.k.a. Pali discourses.)

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