First published in 1931, revised in 1943, Mathews' Chinese-English Dictionary is still the largest Chinese-English dictionary in print.

It contains 7773 Chinese characters (and slightly more glyphs - since some of the characters have alternate forms) sorted alphabetically by transliteration, with a radical index at the end (so you can find a character if you do not know how it is pronounced).

Each character is shown both by itself and in combination with other characters (so sometimes a character takes two pages of the book).

Every character is assigned a number in the order in which it appears in the dictionary.

This is actually a very nice feature: I have often discussed a character with someone on the phone, and all I had to say was the character number to synchronize our discussion.

The numbering of the characters also made it possible for me to write muni, the program that finds the corresponding Unicode for the characters as I find them in the dictionary.

You will probably not find it in your average bookstore because it is not exactly a book many people request. But if you need a very comprehensive Chinese-English dictionary, you can ask the bookstore to order it for you. Its ISBN is 0-674-12350-6.

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