Andy's Pali Page

a computerized Pali dictionary and learning software

updated Sept 1, 2001

Paliwords 4.0 Tutorial

    1) Enter "enlightenment" in the 'Search Word' data entry area.
    2) Press the button 'Find English Exact'
    3) in the list of recent words, double-click on "pabodhana" to view the full definition.
    4) now, double-click on the definition of the word "enlightenment" (second line in the list)
    5) in the full definition now displayed, double-click on the word "sambodhi", right-click on the mouse, and choose 'Copy' from the pop-up menu.
    6) double-click on the word "enlightenment" in the 'Search Word' data entry area, right-click on the mouse, and select 'Paste' from the pop-up menu. Now press 'Find Pali Exact'.
    7) Surprise! Not found. It was not found as a 'direct entry' in the dictionary, but it was found in the definitions of two english words. (see the Recent Words list).
    8) single-click on the Recent Words list entry "highest wisdom"
    9) now hit the little button '>>' between the two lists at the bottom. This entry is now saved for future reference. If you wish to see the full definition at any time, just double-click on the new entry in your 'Selected Words' list.

    10) now, let's research sambodhi as a  word. Double-click on the first line of the 'Recent Words' list (left side of screen). This will make "sambodhi" the 'Search Word'
    11) Press 'Research Pali Word'. You will get some context information handy for understanding the word.
    12) Move "bodhi" and "bodha" to the 'Selected Words' list using a single-click of the mouse to select a word, then '>>' to move.
    13) Press the button at the lower right called 'Save Selected Words'. Save your selected words to disk, then open the file with your word processor, select all text, and select the font 'LeedsBit PaliTranslit'.

    So, if you have a declined form of a word (or a word that you don't know at all)
    a) try 'Find Pali Exact' first.
    b) use 'Research Pali Word' (saving words you wish to look at again)
    c) then, after you have a good idea about the word, use 'Find Pali Exact' again (saving words you wish to look at again).

    This makes it very easy to find just about any word you will see in the Pali Canon - even if you do not know Pali grammar or you aren't certain which characters are accented!

    You can search for your word exactly the way it looks in the text. Paliwords can find 80 % of  the words in the entire Pali Canon directly. If a word form is not found, it is probably a complex "compound word". You can use Paliwords to look up the "pieces" of the compound word. All in all, you should be able to find 98% of the words in the Pali Canon in seconds. (proper names, irregular words and fancy euphony aren't in the dictionary).

    To make this even easier, you can take an entire Pali Canon text (for instance, off the web) and let Paliwords process the entire text *automatically*. No typing! Then, you can use your word processor, spreadsheet, database or learning software to edit, format and print the files as you please.

    Paliwords, is much more than just a faster way to look up words.


    Paliwords is a free electronic dictionary for Pali/English, English/Pali reference. The word file contains 20,139 Pali/English definitions and 28,872 English/Pali definitions. Although there are many unique forms of words in Pali, there are only about 13,000 base words. The rest of the words are derived from these base words by using grammar rules. The base words are in the dictionary.

    First, a bit of history. Many qualified people collaborated to create the list of words that Metta Net is making freely available. These are the words that you will find in version 1 of the dictionary file. The words are copyrighted, but offered for free distribution. Sean Whittle, who was working on an online Pali lexicon got the file and posted it on the Internet on June 30, 2000.

    Using this file as a base, I created paliwords to make it easy to reference the words in the file. I also reformatted the words so that they would take up less disk space and be faster to download.

    Paliwords has all of the features of a simple paper dictionary, plus much more. It turns a reference dictionary into a personalized learning tool.

paliwords buttons and functionality

    Tip: If you are working on a Pali/English or English/Pali text in your computer (or on paper), you can start paliwords, minimize it, and it will be instantly available for reference when you need it.

Help Button

    There is no real "Help" in the program. All that this button does is provide some basic points and suggest finding this web page.

    Therefore, you may wish to save this web page to disk and/or print it out for reference.

Stop Please Button

    This button will:
    - stop the 'Research Pali Word' search
    - stop the creation of a mini-dictionary.

Find Pali Exact Button

    To look for a Pali word, make certain that the "Pali to English" option is selected and type in the Pali word. You can use the LeedsBit PaliTranslit codes (Alt+0999 style) or the transliteration style of typing. When you type in words using the transliteration style, they will be automatically converted to the correct Pali characters in "LeedsBit PaliTranslit" font as you type. (a table of the transliteration codes is available here).

    Paliwords will look for the word plus all other related words, listing them in the 'Recent Words' list box.

    To make searching more effective and learn Pali grammar at the same time, I highly recommend that you print out chapters XXI to XXV of Ven. Narada's "An Elementary Pali Course" and keep them handy for reference. Of course, any grammar summary of this sort can be used.

Find English Exact Button

    Enter the English word, and hit the button.

Create Mini-Dictionary Button

    When you create a mini-dictionary, you can use a computer file (*.txt) to quickly and automatically create:

    1. a sorted list of unique word forms in your text (Tip: any text/language/font!)
    2. a mini-dictionary file that provides both the meaning of the word and "dictionary context information" for each and every word form.
    3. a file that just lists unique word forms that are *not* found in Paliwords.
    4. a file (.txt) that you can import into learning software (like Input Easy) for "drill and practice" memorization of words.

    The file created can be loaded into your word processor, spreadsheet, or database for editing and printing. Right now the sort order is "romanized".

      Tip: If you wish to put the text in "almost Pali" sort order
      a) put page breaks between the sections, print, and sort into Pali sort order by hand
      b) "cut and paste" if you have the patience
      c) use the "Outline" feature of your word processor to create "Headings" for each section, then drag and drop the sections into order

The Recent Words list

    To save you time, all words you look up (with their definitions) are kept handy for quick reference. If you wish to see the full definition of a word again, simply double-click on it.

    You can also save your Selected Words list to your hard disk.

Save Selected Words Button

    Paliwords assumes that you are looking up words because you are uncertain of what they mean. Since these are words you need to learn and memorize right now, I added this button.

    It will create a text file (.txt) using your Recent Words list. You can simply open this file with your word processor and print it out for study, or you can Import into Input Easy for "drill and practice" memorization exercises. Input Easy supports the Pali transliteration style of typing for easy typing of the Pali words. Input Easy can also create paper tests (and answer sheets!) at the touch of a button.

    Tip: You can instantly load the saved file into
    Input Easy at a touch of the Input Easy 'Import' button.

    ATTENTION INTERNATIONAL USERS: For the font (and therefore any software using the font) to work correctly, you must select English (any one) as your currently active language before you start your software program. If this doesn't work, try setting the language to English *and* changing the 'country' setting to the United States. (Start->Settings->Control Panel->Regional Settings). You can set them back when you are finished working with whatever software you were using.

    Note for people using Paliwords versions 1.0 to 3.5
    you only need to download the software file!

     If you do not have the 'File of Words', you will need to download both of the files below and put them in the same directory.

    WARNING: Known Bug in the Palitrans word processing software (not in Paliwords)
     If you try and load a file larger than 60K (about 4000 words)
    Palitrans will "hang" (stop responding to user input).

Download here

System Requirements


Paliwords 4.0

(by email only)

Windows 95 (or above)

at least 800 x 600 screen resolution

recommended: 32 Mb. of Memory

LeedsBit PaliTranslit font installed on your computer!

International computer users had some troubles downloading recently. This was quite a bother for everyone. However, when I emailed the file to them, there were no troubles.

So, if you wish to have the software, please send an email message to
j-andrew-shaw@home.com and I will email the software to you directly. Note: Please put 'Paliwords 4.0' in the subject line.

The software file is about 146 Kb. (zipped) and 312 Kb unzipped (ie tiny).

The software and the file of words below must both be in the same directory for paliwords to work correctly.

There is no installation program. Double-click to start the program (to remove the program, just delete the file).


File of Words

 (direct download)


as above

This Word File 900 Kb. (zipped). This is the entire 48,000 word dictionary file.

The software and the file of words must both be in the same directory for paliwords to work correctly.