During the Introduction to Pali Language and Literature, taught by Andrew Olendski of the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies (BCBS) in the last months of 2010, Leigh Brasington and I adapted the Pali Text Society’s classic Pali English dictionary for use in his Unicode Document Processor (UDP) application. The installation is pretty straightforward and the interaction with the dictionary quite powerful. Leigh has instructions on his website (http://www.leighb.com/glossary.htm).
This digital edition of the PALI TEXT SOCIETY‘s PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY by RHYS DAVIDS was created by extracting the data from the University of Chicago’s on-line version of the PALI-ENGLISH DICTIONARY and converting it to this format. Every effort has been made to have this digital edition match the printed version as closely as possible.
The UDP adaptation of the PTS dictionary is superior in many ways to its original print form and the various digital formats including PDF, HTML, and the searchable on-line version by the Univ. of Chicago mentioned above. In the study of suttas and translation efforts using the printed PTS one needs familiarity with the ordering of the Pali alphabet to locate words (or perhaps a cheat sheet). Flipping through pages and locating the closest definitions can be arduous and if one desires to glean more information by examining the definition of a synonym it can be difficult to switch back and forth. A digital version of the dictionary eliminates the need to have mastery of the Pali alphabet by providing a search functionality as well as an index by letter. The UDP PTS contains “quick links” to each of the letters in the romanized Pali alphabet as well as the original PTS pages numbers from the printed text. Another nice feature which is not available on the University of Chicago site is the ability to ignore diacriticals when searching and to easily input diacriticals by typing Ctrl-d followed by the desired diacritical hotkey for example Ctrl-d n s renders the small letter n with a dot below.
To better use this dictionary, you should click Options > Advanced and check the Ignore Case for Finding & Selecting checkbox.
When using Search > Find and Search > Select, you may want also check the IgnoreDiac checkbox if you are unsure of the correct diacriticals for the word you are interested in.
If you are looking for a specific page, enter into the head word field: ” — ” followed by the page number (e.g. ” — 500″ takes you to page 500). Notice the key is space-dash-dash-space-pagenumber. Similarly ” — ” followed by a letter will take you to the first word for that letter. Or you can just use the jump tables in the next — Quick Jump Links — record.
The aforementioned features alone are sufficient to surpass the other digital versions of the PTS. UDP PTS doesn’t stop there, however, one can quickly jump to another word in the dictionary by highlighting the word, right-clicking, and selecting “Lookup Marked Text”. A convenient “back” button located on the command bar allows one to step back to the previous definition or occurrence. Additionally, a feature labeled “Lookup Marked Text Externally” allows one to lookup the word in another dictionary such as the one by Nyanatiloka Mahathera (also available for download on Leigh’s site).
Lastly, the etymology of words are highlighted in red to easily differentiate from the actual definition. Errata from the original scans of the PTS into digital form have been corrected in this edition. Leigh has also provided digital versions of the Mettanet-Lanka Pali-English Dictionary, the classic Buddhist Dictionary by Nyanatiloka, a Glossary of Pali and Buddhist terms from Access to Insight, and the Concise English-Pali Dictionary by Venerable A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera.