Any good C-E dicts with huge margins?

Hi all, I have a VERY specific set of criteria for a new dictionary, and was wondering if any of you could help me identify one. I’ll be checking the local bookstores, but might need to order this online, where it’s hard to judge all these criteria, so your help would be appreciated.

I use a portable dictionary as the medium for my notes on archaic graphs and usage, cross-listings by shared graphic components and so on, and my current one is falling apart and running out of space. I’m looking to replace it, and specifically need one with ample margins for my notes. Any pocket-sized to smallish desk-sized Chinese-English dictionary with characters (rather than compounds) ordered by pinyin will do, if it has the following characteristics:

  1. large, clearly printed main character entries ordered by pinyin, under which the compounds containing that character are listed (i.e., the traditional format as opposed to the ABCC style).
  2. main entries preferrably in both trad. & simplified (or all trad.)
  3. definitions can be in either; compounds can be listed in either, with trad. preferred; indexes not important. Illustrations acceptable (they can be whited out and written over :smiling_imp: )
    [color=red]4. (MOST IMPORTANT) ample space in margins for copious notes, (EDIT – by which I mean ideally outer margins around an inch or more, and the space between columns of at least a centimeter, preferably more).[/color]5. physical size between 12cm x 18cm x 4 cm minimum, and 17 x 24 x 6.5 max; HC or SC ok. Failing this, a bit larger might be ok.

Has anyone seen a book like this? Thanks in advance!!! :slight_smile:

Have you tried the Far East Pinyin Chinese-English dictionary?

Dimensions: 18.5 x 10.5 x 4cm
ISBN: 957-612-462-X

It’s ordered according to pinyin by character (NOT by ‘word’ as in ABCC), with words, chengyu etc listed under the entry for that character. Traditional characters with variants in brackets (no simplified), so I think it fits all your criteria - just not sure about the margin space - there’s about 1.5cm at the outer edges of the pages (top, bottom and side).

Example entry:



  1. to pray 2. to beg; to entreat;
    to beseech; to supplicate; to
    request respectfully
    qídăo 祈禱 to pray; to offer a
    qíqiú 祈求 to pray for; to appeal

Can’t remember the price, but it was definitely under a thousand NT.

[quote=“Taffy”]Have you tried the Far East Pinyin Chinese-English dictionary?
Dimensions: 18.5 x 10.5 x 4cm [/quote]

Thanks, that’s the right direction. I have a smaller one, 15.5 cm tall, but there’s a mere 2-5 millimeters to the left of each entry on a right-hand page, for example, and the outer margins are merely a typical cm or so, so there’s very little margin room for adding stuff. I’ll have a look at the larger editions like the one you cite. But ideally, I’d like something with a lot more space in it.

I’m expecting this to be a tough search, as most dictionaries typically don’t leave that much “wasted” space, which is why I went ahead and posted this.

If my quest fails, my fallback will be larger desk editions with large margins. The problem is that I do my studying in 3-4 different locations, and would prefer not to routinely tote something so large around.

Frankly, I don’t even really care if the definitions aren’t very good. I’ll be blanking over them and writing my own, much of the time. :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course, the other option would be to get a PDA, then space is not a problem. Plus then you can synchronise with your computer at home - it’s a lot easier to order your notes and find stuff again. Joesax or Miltownkid have the lowdown on using PDAs for Chinese study. Then again, with the problem of variant or ancient graphs, sometimes it’s just better with real paper…

Oh, I’ll be copying thousands of oracle bone, bronze and seal forms into the margins. Real paper is the only option for now. I thought about starting to compile an electronic dictionary of my own, but it’s much faster to write the ancient graphs in by hand than to scan them in from other sources. This is one of those places where electronic and old-fashioned media don’t merge well.

I also want the original content of the dictionary as a kind of backbone for what I’m compiling.

Oh, and 1" margins would be ideal. Fat chance, huh? :stuck_out_tongue: