VNEDICT (Vietnamese-English Dictionary)


Latest VNEDICT files (16 October 2016, 53,990 entires)

Overview / License

The purpose of the VNEDICT project is to create an electronic Vietnamese-English dictionary in the form of a single Unicode (UTF8) text file with the following general format :
"Vietnamese : English" 
(i.e. Vietnamese entry, space, colon, space, English definition - one entry per line). Semicolons are used to separate both different parts of speech and multiple defintions (homonyms). This simple formatting is designed to facilitate the integration of VNDICT into other applications (which is highly encouraged).

History / Background

Shorly after I started the CEDICT (Chinese-English Dictionary) project I started in the late 1990s, I decided to do something similar for Vietnamese. One of the biggest challenges facing an English speaker learning Vietnamese is the lack of good dictionaries. Many Vietnamese-English dictionaries contain definitions in very dated or non-standard English, and to the best of my knowledge there is no Vietnamese-English dictionary which has a native English speaker as its editor. Furthermore, one often has to consult multiple dictionaries to find one that contains even a relatively common word, and definitions may vary widely between dictionaries. Many of these dictionary entries lack context or examples, making it difficult to know precisely how a word is used. These problems are also found in most modern "electronic" dictionaries accessible via the web or as applications (iOS/Android), in part because almost all of them seem to draw their vocabulary from the same sources. The ongoing goal of the VNEDICT project is therefore to produce a comprehensive, high-quality Vietnamese-English dictionary with translations in modern, idiomatic (American) English.


One of my experiences during the CEDICT project was that copyright laws are very ineffective at stopping people from misappropriating one's work and using it for their own commercial gain. In response to this and in order to encourage its use and development, VNEDICT (Vietnamese-English Dictionary) by Paul Denisowski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. What this means is that anyone can use, transmit, or modify VNEDICT for any purpose, including commercial purposes, as long as the source is properly attributed (just include a note indicating where the dictionary data came from and a link to this page).


The original dictionary (circa 1998) began as a compilation of vocabulary lists from various Vietnamese language textbooks. This list was then supplemented by my own reading and research, including glossaries I made during my work as a Vietnamese-English translator. A number of publically-available glossaries and vocabulary lists were also incorporated into the dictionary at various points. Due to the issues noted above regarding the relatively poor quality of most on-line Vietnamese-English dictionaries, I no longer incorporate external sources into VNEDICT -- in fact, I am now spend a substantial amount of time editing and/or removing many of these entries.

One of the main ways in which I identify missing words and/or phrases is using electronic texts. I have several Perl scripts I use to parse electronic texts (news, webpages, ebooks, etc.) and then manually inspect and edit the results, adding words and phrases not already in VNEDICT.

Please keep in mind that the dictionary is still VERY much under development and is being updated on an daily basis. I had originally considered waiting until the dictionary was in a more "finished" state before making it available, but I feel the dictionary can add value in its present state and am hoping to attract persons willing to identify and submit corrections as they use it. Please report any issues to me at

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