Complete Pali-English Dictionary for Development of Interlinear Suttas

HI. I am looking for a complete pali-english dictionary that I can download. I am creating an interlinear Sutta collection. Help, please ! downloaded everything from this site, can’t find the actual dictionary that I can import into a database. Thanks!

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For non-commercial personal study

You can download all our data from the links at the bottom of our downloads page:

The text of the PTS dictionary is here:

Note that there is, in fact, no “complete” Pali English dictionary. The Critical pali Dictionary (which you can use online here was supposed to fulfill this role, but was abandoned in a very incomplete state.

For practical purposes the condensed dictionary may be more useful:


Thank you both. I’ve made progress but none of these has the word sutaṃ. Any suggestions?

evaṁ=> (evaṁ me sutaṁ “thus have I heard”).
Mangalika=> sutaṁ (heard)
Suta1 (1. heard): “iti(=evaṁ) me sutaṁ” thus have I heard, I have received this on (religious) authority
Muta=> diṭṭha=cakkhunā d., sutaṁ= sotena

in the PTS dictionary between Suṇisā and sutatta there’s the word suta, which sutaṃ is an inflected form of

dictionaries as a rule don’t list inflected forms as separate entries due to them being way too many

but it does appear inside some of the articles as a part of standard phrases

so dictionaries is only part of the business, the other part is grammar

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the Condensed isn’t very accurate, i was warned against it and came to recognize that the warning was well founded

Alas, that’s true. Now, if anyone wants to make a corrected version…

How would I know that Sutam is an inflected form? Is there a brief lesson in Pali that would give me the information that I need to work on the dictionary for the interlinear suttas?

It can be found in the Pali-English Dictionary.

Unfortunately I do not have the ability to explain to you in English.

I just use the English dictionary and Google translator.

Please Ask LXNDR and sujato.

Can you tell us some more about the project you’re doing? Maybe we can help if we understand it better.

But as for your question, to understand the various declined forms of Pali words is no simple matter. Even common words like “is” and “do” appear in many different forms, some of which are very hard to recognize without a reasonable knowledge of Pali. In addition words frequently appear in compounds, where both the word itself and the function within the compound can be tricky.

There was thread here some time ago about different online resources for learning Pali. For myself, the best introduction for absolute beginners is Rune Johansson’s “Pali Buddhist Texts Explained for the Beginner”.

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Here are some links for learning a bit about Pali:

The Pali Primer by Lily de Silva is very basic and simplistic, But it can be a good start for learning some of the very basics about grammar, so you might learn how to begin to recognize some of the inflected forms. It has brief lessons and exercises. It’s available on-line.


So to explain more… I’d like to be able to do something very similar to what is done here:

I am about ready to give up, though, for lack of a dictionary. I don’t think I have the ability to learn Pali enough to create a dictionary. Right now, I was trying to find a translation for the word “sattānaṃ”. The only resource I have that has that word in it is the Digital Pali Reader, which translates it as 7. But clearly in the English translations, it is translated as 4. (Looking at MN 10, the 4 foundations of mindfulness)

I would like to have it in a web page and searchable, so when I see a Pali word that I want clarification on, I can search for that word and find it in context, both interlinear and a more readable English translation.

I would like for there to be an option to pull up various lengths of text surrounding that word. So it could list either single sentences, or say, 1 sentence out which would list the sentence before and after as well as the sentence containing the word. And then you could pull up the whole Sutta.

So, it’s about understanding the meaning of the words based on the context of the use of that word throughout the text. Then this would help to get a wider view all together.

I am really curious about how a word could mean both 7 and 4. Maybe the one that translates it as 7 is just completely wrong?

in MN 10 it’s actually a declined form of the word meaning creatures

see meaning 2 at

satta-creature is declined as sattānaṃ in Gen/Dat case


satta-seven - as sattannaṃ

i don’t think the technology is yet advanced enough to automagically parse any lexical unit in order to extract the base word and thus its meaning or derive the meaning on the basis of the unit’s grammatical attributes so there’s no way round doing some chunk of work by hand which in turn requires a degree of knowledge in grammar

Suttacentral’s embedded Pali-English dictionary does is quite successfully but still not in 100%, and the word sattānaṃ falls exactly within those remaining percentages which it cannot parse either

many word forms of the Biblical Hebrew text too are not to be found in the dictionary, because they’re inflected like לְמִינֵהוּ, דְמוּתֵנוּ, זַרְעוֹ and especially the verbs


Hi. Thanks. I really appreciate your time and patience with my questions.

I don’t know what you mean by “declined form of the word…” What is a declined form of a word?

Just to note that there is no AI that can do this 100% even in English. Natural language processing has proven to be one of the hardest fields of computing: we all know how strange the results of Google translate can be. The basic reason for this is that deep language knowledge requires an understanding of the nuances of context, and no-one realy has any idea how to program this.

Hi Elissa,

It seems we have similar problems! When I started learning Pali I really had no idea what most of the grammatical forms meant, so I had to go back and learn the basic terms and concepts before I could start to make sense of the Pali.

In this case, “declension” basically refers to the way that words take on different forms in different grammatical cases. For example in English we have “car” for singular and “cars” for plural. These are both “declined” forms of the basic word “car”. Or to put it another way, the words as listed in a dictionary are abstractions derived from the way that words actually appear in language.

Pali is much more heavily declined than English, so it’s important to be able to recognize the different forms of a word, and what function they play in a sentence. You can read more about declension on Wikipedia.

The meaning of the word can be varied, depending on the context.

upapatti: 1. birth, rebirth, (literal(ly). attainment) ; Dh 419 (sattānaṁ), etc.

*Example of Pali dictionary. : Ayaṁ=> (imesaṁ sattānaṁ “creatures like us”).


Satta2: 1. (m.) a living being, creature, a sentient & rational being, a person

genitive. dative. plural. Masculine. feminine. neuter. ānaṃ
accusative. Singular. Masculine. ānaṃ

This article used the Google translator English dictionary.

Sorry, but this seems to me to be misleading.


The word upapatti means “birth, rebirth”, for example, the rebirth “of sentient beings” (= sattānaṁ)

As @LXNDR mentioned earlier, depending on context, satta means either “seven” or “being”, usually in the sense of “sentient being”.

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Possibility to vary with the context is not want to give up.

I complement to the wrong part of the answer.

I “from DN22” “The sattānaṃ” translated the sentence containing the word

I’m just guessing the possibility of sattānaṃ.


Yā tesaṃ tesaṃ sattānaṃ(ṁ) tamhi tamhi sattanikāye jāti sañjāti okkanti abhinibbatti khandhānaṃ pātur-bhāva āyatana+ānaṃ paṭilābho, ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, jāti.

Yanti is 3rd plural. present. of : see yāti
Yāti => is yāyati(see yāti)
Yāyati see yāti.
Yāti: to go,go on,to proceed,to go away

tesaṁ tesaṁ: this(genitive.) that(genitive.)
ta°=> genitive. tesaṁ, f. tāsaṁ
*compare: singular. masculine. neuter. genitive. dative. tesaṁ
*Please see.: ta°=> II. Application: this, that, just this (or that), even this (or these). etc.

upapatti: 1. birth, rebirth, (lit. attainment) ; etc… Dh 419 (sattānaṁ),
Satta2: 1. (m.) a living being, creature
*compare: genitive. dative. plural. Masculine. feminine. neuter. ānaṃ
*compare: accusative. Singular. Masculine. ānaṃ

tamhi tamhi: this(locative.) that(locative.)
ta°=> locative. tasmiṁ (J i.278), tamhi (Dh 117)
*compare: masculine. neuter. singular. locative. tamhi
*compare: masculine. neuter. plural. locative. ehi.
*compare: masculine. neuter. plural. instrumental. ablative. ehi.
*Please see.: ta°=> II. Application: this, that, just this (or that), even this (or these). etc.

Jantu 1 => (=satta, nara, puggala); (=sattanikāya, people, a crowd

Jāti: 1. birth, rebirth, possibility of rebirth, etc

Sañjāti: birth, origin; outcome; produce

Okkanti]: entry (lit. descent), appearance, coming to be.

Abhinibbatti: becoming, birth, rebirth

khandha=> Thus the variant phases of life in transmigration are defined as— jāti… maraṇaṁ…etc
khandha=> kh°anaṁ udaya — vyaya (or udayabbaya) the rising and passing of the kh.,transmigration
udaya -vyaya = °bbaya S iv.140; A ii.15 (khandhānaṁ);
udaya -bbaya (ud — aya + vy — aya) increase & decrease, rise & fall, birth & death, up & down
dukkha=> (nirodha °anaṁ)

pātur (—°) (°pātu) (indecl.)=> -bhāva: appearance, coming into manifestation

āyatana: 3. sense — organ & object, etc…
genitive. dative. plural. Masculine. feminine. neuter. ānaṃ
accusative. Singular. Masculine. ānaṃ

Paṭilābha: obtaining, receiving, taking up, acquisition, assumption, attainment

Ayaṁ: demonstr. pron. "this, he"
vuccati: to be called ; See also vatti(to speak, say, call)
bhikkhu=> vocative. bhikkhave
Jāti: 1. birth, rebirth, possibility of rebirth, etc

Yā tesaṃ tesaṃ sattānaṃ tamhi tamhi sattanikāye jāti sañjāti okkanti abhinibbatti khandhānaṃ pātubhāvo āyatanānaṃ paṭilābho, ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, jāti.