Hanyu Da Zidian
The Hanyu Da Zidian is one of the best available reference works on Chinese characters. A group of more than 400 editors and lexicographers began compilation in 1979, and it was published in eight volumes from 1986 to 1989. A separate volume of essays (Li and Zhao 1990) documents the lexicographical complexities for this full-scale Chinese dictionary
Chinese dictionary
Chinese dictionaries date back over two millennia to the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, which is a significantly longer lexicographical history than any other language. There are hundreds of dictionaries for Chinese, and this article will introduce some of the most important...

. Besides the weighty 5,790-page first edition, there are 3-volume (1995) and pocket (1999) editions.

The Hanyu Da Zidian includes 54,678 head entries for characters. They give historical logographic forms such as oracle bone script
Oracle bone script
Oracle bone script refers to incised ancient Chinese characters found on oracle bones, which are animal bones or turtle shells used in divination in Bronze Age China...

, bronzeware script
Bronzeware script
Chinese Bronze inscriptions are writing in a variety of Chinese scripts on Chinese bronze artifacts such as zhōng bells and dǐng tripodal cauldrons from the Shāng dynasty to the Zhōu dynasty and even later...

, and seal script
Seal script
Seal script is an ancient style of Chinese calligraphy. It evolved organically out of the Zhōu dynasty script , arising in the Warring State of Qin...

. Pronunciation is glossed for Old Chinese
Old Chinese
The earliest known written records of the Chinese language were found at a site near modern Anyang identified as Yin, the last capital of the Shang dynasty, and date from about 1200 BC....

Rime table
A rime table or rhyme table is a syllable chart of the Chinese language, a significant advance on the fǎnqiè analysis used in earlier rime dictionaries...

 group), Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese
Middle Chinese , also called Ancient Chinese by the linguist Bernhard Karlgren, refers to the Chinese language spoken during Southern and Northern Dynasties and the Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties...

In Chinese phonology, fanqie is a method to indicate the pronunciation of a character by using two other characters.-The Origin:...

 spelling), and Modern Standard Chinese (pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

). The chronologically numbered definitions cite early Chinese dictionaries (esp. the Shuowen Jiezi
Shuowen Jiezi
The Shuōwén Jiězì was an early 2nd century CE Chinese dictionary from the Han Dynasty. Although not the first comprehensive Chinese character dictionary , it was still the first to analyze the structure of the characters and to give the rationale behind them , as well as the first to use the...

) and texts. Internal collating
Collation is the assembly of written information into a standard order. One common type of collation is called alphabetization, though collation is not limited to ordering letters of the alphabet...

 is by a 200 radical
Radical (Chinese character)
A Chinese radical is a component of a Chinese character. The term may variously refer to the original semantic element of a character, or to any semantic element, or, loosely, to any element whatever its origin or purpose...

 system, arranged by stroke
Stroke order
Stroke order refers to the order in which the strokes of a Chinese character are written. A stroke is a movement of a writing instrument on a writing surface. Chinese characters are used in various forms in Chinese, Japanese, and in Korean...

 count. Volume 8 has appendices, including rime table
Rime table
A rime table or rhyme table is a syllable chart of the Chinese language, a significant advance on the fǎnqiè analysis used in earlier rime dictionaries...

s for Old and Middle Chinese, variant characters, indexes, and addenda.

The Hanyu Da Zidian has become the international standard reference for Chinese characters; for example, the Unihan Database
Han unification
Han unification is an effort by the authors of Unicode and the Universal Character Set to map multiple character sets of the so-called CJK languages into a single set of unified characters. Han characters are a common feature of written Chinese , Japanese , Korean , and—at least historically—other...

 and the Wiktionary
Wiktionary is a multilingual, web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in 158 languages...

 cite (volume/page/entry) references.

See also

  • Dai Kan-Wa jiten
    Dai Kan-Wa jiten
    The is a Japanese dictionary of kanji compiled by Morohashi Tetsuji. Remarkable for its comprehensiveness and size, Morohashi's dictionary contains over 50,000 character entries and 530,000 compound words...

  • Han-Han Dae Sajeon
    Han-Han Dae Sajeon
    Han-Han Dae Sajeon is the generic term for Korean hanja-to-hangul dictionaries. There are several such dictionaries from different publishers. The most comprehensive one, published by Dankook University Publishing, contains 53,667 Chinese characters and 420,269 compound words...

  • Hanyu Da Cidian
    Hanyu Da Cidian
    The Hanyu Da Cidian is the most inclusive available Chinese dictionary. Lexicographically comparable to the OED, it has diachronic coverage of the Chinese language, and traces usage over three millennia from Chinese classic texts to modern slang...

  • Kangxi Zidian
    Kangxi dictionary
    The Kangxi Dictionary was the standard Chinese dictionary during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Kangxi Emperor of the Manchu Qing Dynasty ordered its compilation in 1710. The creator innovated greatly by reusing and confirming the new Zihui system of 596 radicals, since then known as 596 Kangxi...

  • Zhonghua Da Zidian
    Zhonghua Da Zidian
    The Zhonghua Da Zidian was an unabridged Chinese dictionary of characters published in 1915. The chief editors were Xu Yuan'gao , Lu Feikui , and Ouyang Pucun . It was based upon the 1716 Kangxi Zidian, and is internally organized using the 214 Kangxi radicals...

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