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Standard dictionaries have had a profound effect on languages like English. They've helped normalize spelling and pronunciation and provide reference for meanings and disambiguation.

When thinking of English dictionaries, Oxford and Merriam-Webster immediately come to mind.

Are there standard, popular dictionaries for Mandarin and Cantonese?

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I was wondering why online dictionaries weren't mentioned in this question. Then I found they were hiding in chinese.stackexchange.com/a/1195/200 –  Andrew Grimm Oct 31 '12 at 7:42
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3 Answers

Are there standard dictionaries for Chinese?

If you are always online, please use the Chinese dictionary on line: http://xh.5156edu.com/

For more information about Chinese words, you can see "CiHai" (辞海)http://www.xiexingcun.com/cihai/, this is a book similar to Encyclopedia Britannica

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Xinhua Dictionary is kind of a gold-standard for Chinese dictionaries, similar to the place Merriam-Webster holds in the English-speaking world.

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Merriam-Webster, eh? The OED is arguably the most respectable English dictionary out there. Because you know, it was written by the English. –  Orion Dec 14 '11 at 22:03
    
+1 @NullUserException.. i'd have to agree there –  trideceth12 Dec 17 '11 at 14:19
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haha, ok this is a chinese site. let's not get into an argument about British vs. American English... –  weiy Dec 21 '11 at 19:23
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Yes. For Mandarin (Simplified Chinese):

The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary (现代汉语词典): This one is for words and phrases. They have a version in both Chinese and English.

Xinhua Dictionary (新华字典): this is for Chinese characters. Also available in both English and Chinese.

I'm not too familiar with traditional dictionaries. But 國語日報辭典 seems pretty popular from googling around.

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现代汉语词典 may be 'standard', but it has problems, being too northern in emphasis and still rather '50s plebeian style' in its usage judgments. I don't think it can really be relied on as a standard authoritative dictionary; its attempts to delimit usage can be and are regularly ignored. It's also too small. As a trivial example, it doesn't list 溏鹅 for pelican, but if you tried to insist that 溏鹅 isn't a proper Chinese word because it's not in 现代汉语词典, you'd really have your priorities mixed up. –  Bathrobe Jan 11 '12 at 11:37
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protected by Alenanno Feb 14 '12 at 14:39

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