Le Grand Ricci Online

Association Grand Ricci "It is difficult to imagine any scholar in Chinese studies who will not eagerly welcome this new digital incarnation of the Le Grand Ricci. Le Grand Ricci is to all purposes the most comprehensive bilingual dictionary of Chinese in the Western world. It covers three millennia of the Chinese language, from the Classics to the modern age, and is encyclopedic in its scope. The compilers were able to draw on the full range of French sinological expertise in completing the project. Since its publication Le Grand Ricci has established itself as an indispensable reference tool. Now available online, and easily searchable, its functionality has only further increased."

(Wilt L. Idema. Research Professor of Chinese Literature, Harvard).

Le Grand Ricci was published in six volumes and 7,300 pages, in addition to a volume with appendices. It offers approximately 300,000 Chinese words and expressions from the early beginnings of Chinese history to the end of the 20th century. Over 2,000 characters deal with the oldest forms of writing or the so-called oracle-bone inscriptions. Le Grand Ricci incorporates a wide spectrum of lexical domains, ranging from literature and history to science, technology, medicine, law, philosophy, and religion.

Our user-friendly online interface allows the user to efficiently perform even complex queries through all 13,392 main entries (single characters) or 280,000 expressions (or Chinese words composed of a set of characters).

Entries can be looked up:
- by Chinese character
- by romanization (pinyin) (with or without tones)
- by radical (Kangxi or simplified) and the number of additional strokes
- by total number of strokes (of the simplified or traditional forms)
- by difficult character

The words (expressions) can be looked up:
- by their Chinese characters
- by the romanization (with or without tones) of their component characters, either as a precise sequence or anywhere (and in any order) in the Chinese word

Le Grand Ricci was developed by the Ricci institutes of Paris and Taipei through the Ricci Association (www.grandricci.org). First published by Desclée De Brouwer (DDB), the dictionary is now with les Éditions du Cerf, where the printed volumes can be acquired at www.editionsducerf.fr.

Le Grand Ricci Online

Search Tips

When looking up Chinese characters in Le Grand Ricci Online, you can find various kinds of information about a character: the definitions of the character, its historical use, and various expressions that include the character. These three levels of information are stored in three different tabs on the entry page of the character.

There are a number of ways to search Le Grand Ricci Online. This user guide contains the following:

  • tips on searching separate characters,
  • tips on searching words and expressions consisting of more than one character, and
  • information on the Appendices and general search tips.

Searching individual characters

1) By Chinese character. Type one character in the main search box. You can type either a traditional or a simplified character to find results. The search results will show in traditional characters only but include all the original traditional forms of the given simplified character. For example, searching will return both and .
Searching for a simplified character returns only the entries for the traditional versions of that character.
Searching for traditional characters finds all entries that contain that character, often under the “Expressions” tab.

2) By romanization (Hanyu Pinyin), with or without tones.
Searching a word in pinyin will return all entries that include that word, often under the “Expressions” tab. Searching for more than one syllable will return all entries that contain all these syllables, but not necessarily in the same word or expression: the two syllables may be found in different sentences or even under different tabs.
To find words/expressions with multiple syllables, click “Advanced” underneath the “Search” button, and see the next section of this user guide for search tips.

3) By radical (Kangxi or simplified) and the number of additional strokes. You can type the radical directly in the search box. You can also click the word “Radical”: a pop-up sheet with radicals will appear, and you can click on the radical that you wish to search.

4) By total number of strokes of the traditional forms. Except for a limited number of older simplified forms, you can only search for traditional characters with this method.

5) To search for characters with difficult-to-determine radicals, on the home page of Le Grand Ricci Online, go to the “Appendices” tab and click on the link “difficult characters.” A PDF will open, in which characters are arranged by number of strokes and then by radical. You can copy the difficult character from this PDF in the search box, or find its pinyin in the PDF and use the pinyin search.

6) You can combine two or more of these search methods to narrow down results. For example, searching “fang” will return 217 entries that contain the word “fang”; searching “fang” and total number of strokes 4 will return only 10: all entries in which the headword consists of four strokes and which contain the word “fang.”

Searching words and expressions consisting of more than one character

1) By their Chinese characters. Note: you can only search for traditional characters; searching for simplified characters returns no results. Only the headwords can be looked up in both traditional and simplified. To search headwords, go to the Le Grand Ricci Online home page, and see the previous section of this user guide for search tips.
If you search for expressions by characters, do not put spaces between the characters.
If you search by characters, you have the option to choose between “contains,” “in order,” or “exact.” (This option does not work when searching in pinyin.)

  • “contains” lets you find all expressions that contain either of the entered characters. For example, 騎驢 finds 騎著驢, 驢車, and 偵騎, among others.
  • “in order” lets you find all expressions that contain this exact group of characters. For example, 騎驢 finds 騎驢, 騎驢找馬, and 騎驢覓驢, among others.
  • “exact” lets you find only the exact expression that you have entered. For example, searching 騎驢 will only find 騎驢.

2) By romanization (Hanyu Pinyin), with or without tones, of their component characters, either as a precise sequence or anywhere (and in any order) in the Chinese word. This returns all expressions that contain all characters you have entered in the search box. Note: There must be spaces between all the syllables, so for example, search for “xing gao cai lie,” not “xinggao cailie.”
To find the words you are searching in that precise sequence, you can put quotation marks around the words. For example, searching “xing gao” returns 35 results, including “gao xing” and “xing ru gao mu.” Searching ““xing gao”” in quotation marks returns only 11 results, all of which contain “xing gao” in that order.

Appendices and general search tips

All dictionary entries are searchable. Additional content can be found under the “Appendices” tab on the home page. Here you can find not only supplementary documents such as forewords and a list of abbreviations but also articles with background information on subjects such as the Chinese calendar, divination, philosophy, and others.

If you are more comfortable using a different transcription system, you can find the corresponding pinyin: on the home page, go to the “Appendices” tab and click on the heading “Romanisations.” Here you find a list with various transcription systems that allow you to look up the corresponding pinyin.

The appendices also include a list of radicals and their simple forms and an overview of equivalent forms of various characters.

, , nüe, lüe: The -ü can be searched writing either -u or -ü (do not use -v for this purpose).

Spaces: When searching in pinyin, spaces must be placed in between all syllables. For example, searching for “xing gao cai lie” will give you the expression you need, whereas “xinggao cailie” will not return any results. However, when searching in characters, do not place spaces between the characters.

Capitals: The search is case insensitive: searching for “ai qing,” “Ai Qing,” or “aI qING” will all return the same results.

Tone marks: Including tone marks is optional: if you do not include tone marks, the system simply returns hits for all tones. For example, searching “cuan” returns entries containing either “cuān,” “cuán,” or “cuàn.” If you do include tone marks, they are taken into account in the search. For example, searching “cuān” or “chuǎn” returns entries containing these words, but searching “cuǎn” returns no entries, since there is no word with that pronunciation.

Wildcards: You can use the “?” symbol to perform a single-character wildcard search; or you can use the “*” symbol for zero or more characters. For example, “fa?” will match “fa” and “fan.” “Fa*” will also match “fang.” Neither operator can be used as the first character of a term, and accented characters are not supported in wildcard expressions.

Proximity searches: Use the “~” character plus a number at the end of a phrase. For example, the query “adam eve”~3 will match the two terms within 3 words of each other.

Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT are allowed Boolean operators, all of which must be typed in upper case. Example: the search string “gao NOT xing” will return all entries containing the word “gao” but not the word “xing.” Searching “gao AND xing” will return all entries containing both words; simply searching “gao xing” will also return all entries containing both words.

Ranking of search results: When it compiles the result list, the search engine returns results in the following order of priority:

  • exact matches in the article heading
  • partial matches in the article heading
  • matches of all terms in the full text of the article