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JMdict is a large machine-readable multilingual Japanese dictionary. As of April 2019, it contained JapaneseEnglish translations for over 185,000 entries, representing over 256,000 unique headword–reading combinations.[1][2][3] Because the dictionary files are free to use (with attribution), they have been widely adopted on the Internet and are used in many computer and smartphone applications. This project is considered a standard Japanese–English reference on the Internet and is used by the Unihan Database and several other Japanese–English projects.[2]


The JMdict/EDICT project was started by Jim Breen in 1991 with the creation of "EDICT" (a flat-text file in EUC-JP encoding), which was later expanded to a UTF-8-encoded XML file in 1999 as "JMdict".[2] The XML format allows for multiple surface forms of lexemes and multiple readings, as well as cross-references and annotations. It permits glosses in other languages and contains French, German, Russian, etc. translations for many entries. The original EDICT format is still being generated for systems that rely on that format.[4]

An expanded version (EDICT2), which reflects the structure of the XML entries, is produced and is used by several systems including the server for WWWJDIC, Jim Breen's own online dictionary search tool. Versions of JMdict are also produced in the XML format used by Apple's "Dict" application and in the EPWING/JIS X 4081 format used by many Japanese electronic dictionary systems.

Since 1991, JMdict/EDICT has been updated and expanded by many contributors. Since 2000, the EDICT project has been managed by the Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group (EDRDG).[5] In 2010 maintenance of the dictionary was moved to an online database system. The dictionary is managed by an editorial board including Jim Breen and six other editors.[6]

EDICT has inspired other projects, including the CEDICT Chinese dictionary project started by Paul Denisowski in 1997,[7] and the German-Japanese dictionary Wadoku.


  1. ^ "JMdict Entry Count". Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Morales, Daniel (25 June 2018). "At 180,000 entries, Jim Breen's freeware Japanese dictionary is still growing". The Japan Times. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  3. ^ Breen, Jim. "The EDICT Dictionary File". Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group. Retrieved 8 October 2014.
  4. ^ Lunde, Ken. CJKV information processing (2nd ed.). O'Reilly Media, Inc. p. 674. ISBN 978-0-596-51447-1.
  5. ^ "Electronic Dictionary Research and Development Group File". Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  6. ^ Breen, Jim. "JMdict Editorial Board". Monash University. Retrieved 8 October 2014.

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