List of Kannada Dictionaries

Attempts have been made in dictionary-making in Kannada from 10th Century to 19th Century. Dictionaries produced during this period are useful for the study of Kannada literature. They contain only selected words with meanings in Kannada without etymology.

19th Century is considered as a dark period in Kannada literature. At this time Karnataka was not an independent State; its parts were attached to Bombay , Madras , Hyderabad States and Mysore was a princely state under the influence of British Government. Under such circumstances, Kannada survived with the patronage of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadeyar.

In the later half of the 19th century, in northern part of Karnataka, Kannada primary schools and training institutions were started. Missionaries and Kannada Pandits began to work for the renaissance of Kannada. Because of the efforts of these people, Kannada dictionaries were published.

Dictionaries prepared in the later half of the 19th century to the present day, are mainly for the use of students of Kannada and English. Except one or two, these dictionaries contain words with meanings and do not give without etymology etc. The dictionaries under this category published so far are under.

English-Kannada Nighantu : (1946)
by an editorial board of Kannada scholars, published by the University of Mysore . The first three dictionaries are compiled for the use of Kannada students of English language especially of boys of first and second grade Anglo-Vernacular schools. They are not only useful to Kannada students of English but also to English and European students of Kannada. The fourth dictionary has been compiled by eminent scholars of Kannada for the use of persons possessing knowledge of English of about High school standard and seeking lexical help in the study of English book and journals on the various subjects of living interest to the world of today. This is also useful to teachers, professors, writers and journalists etc. But this is not within the reach of a common man of Karnataka.

Sanskrit - Kannada Dictionaries
  • Abhidhana Ratnamala Karnatak Teeke :(1145AD) :- by Nagavarma-II. This is in prose containing Sanskrit words with meanings in pure Kannada.
  • Vastukosha :- by Nagavarma-II. This has been compiled by taking help of many Sanskrit works in verses, and Kannada meanings have been given for Sanskrit words.
  • Abhinavabhidnan :- (1398AD) by Abhinava Mangaraj is in verses.
  • Amarakosh Teeke :- (16th century) by Kavi Vithala.
  • Nanartha Ratnakara : by Devottama is in verses.
  • Sanskrit-Kannada Kosh : (1967) by S.V. Hanji.
  • Sanskrit-Kannada Shabdakosh : (1965) by G.B. Joshi
Technical Dictionary
Though we find many fine works on different branches and subjects of Science from the Century viz., Zoology, Mathematics, Botany, Grammar, Astrology, Astronomy, Music and Science of love, we do not have a consolidated glossary of technical terms. We have very few glossaries pertaining to medical science, but we find vocabularies different branches of science
  • Akaradi Vaidya Nighantu : (1300AD) by Amrita nandi. In this meanings are given for Sanskrit words.
  • Marathi-Kannada-Sanskrit Vanaspathi Kosha – by Dr. Bodharao Mahishi. Meanings have been given in Kannada for rare herbs used in Ayurvedic system of medicine. Etymology, is also kept in view. Marathi is used in this work as this language was also studied in Maharastra.
  • Oshadhi Kosha : (1940) by A. Venkat Rao and H. Shesha Iyangar. This is published by Madras University . It is a very good dictionary on medicine and is useful for the students of medical science.
  • Brihannighantu : (1948) Dr. Halsikar of Hubli has mentioned about this in ‘Arya Vaidya’ magazine.
  • A Kanarese Vocabulary of some Homonyms and Technical Words : (1928) – This is published by Basel Mission Press, Mangalore.
  • Kisamvar Glossary of Kanarese words : (1925) by U. Narasingarao.
  • English-Kannada scientific Glossary has been published by Mysore Government Oriental Research Institute
  • Department of Education, Mysore State , has published a few small dictionaries on the technical subjects for the use of textbook writers in Kannada.

Old Kannada-Kannada Dictionaries in Verses of Prose.

  • Rannakand : (10th century) by poet Ranna, is in verses. We find no proper arrangement nor any order in this. This work is not available in a completed form.
  • Sabdamanidarpana by Keshi raja (1260AD) , Most Authentic and systematic dictionary in Kannada or any language of the time. It gives principles behind Old kannada and how then kannada derives words from old kannada. He also gives in sati sapthami incomplete form of verbs. About 985 roots of verbs are discussed. In the chapter on AparaBhramshas, he tells how sanskrit words change when they come to kannada.
  • Kabbiqara Kaipidi-I : (app. 15th cent.) is a very small dictionary in verses ; the name of its author is not known.
  • Kabbiqara Kaipidi-II : (1530) by poet Linganamantri is also in verses. No proper arrangement of words is found in this work.
  • Chatursya Nighantu : (15th century) by Bommarasa, is in verses. No proper order of words and meanings is found in this also.
  • Karnataka Shabda Manjari : (16th century) by Virakta Tontadarya, is in verses. In this we find Kannada meanings for Sanskrit words and also for corrupted words used in Kannada, in a proper order.
  • Rala Kula Niganthu (Dictionary involving R & L)
  • Chaturasya Niganthu
  • Karnatak Sanjeewana : (1600) by Shringara Kavi is in verses. This is a very useful glossary for the students of poetry.
  • Kavi Kantha Hara : (1640) by poet ‘Surya’ is in verses.
  • Karnatak Nighantu : is in verses : the name of the author and his period are not known.
  • Karnatak Sabda Saran : (1400) is in pure Kannada prose. Meanings for nearly 1500 literary words have been given, but the name of the author is not known.
  • Shabdagamaj : (16th century) is in prose many meanings for a word are given, but author’s name is unknown.
  • Sbhabda-Manjari : (19th century) is by Gangadhar Madiwaleshwar Turmari, who was a wellknown Kannada Pandit of Northern Karnatak. This work contains meanings for Kannada words and is meant for Europeans who want to study Kannada. This dictionary though meant for foreigners, is also useful to the students of Kannada, and the copies of this were distributed to all the schools in northern Karnataka.
  • Shabda Vyutpatti : (19th century) is by Pandurang Chintamani Petkar. In this we find etymological meanings for Kannada words. This helps one to understand the Shabda_manjari by Turmari.
  • Shabda Sangraha : (19th century) : It is by Gururao Vithalrao Mohare and is a very small glossary in Kannada.
  • Nanarth Shabdawali Mattu Sabdarthagalu : (19th century) : It is by Bolar Ramakrishnaiah, and is a dictionary containing many meanings for word and also nouns.
  • Kannada Nighantu : (1951) : It is by Macchimale Shankar Narayan Rao, R.S. Nawurukar and sediyaru Krishnabhatta ; It is a very good dictionary containing words used in Kannada classics with many meanings for them. It is found very useful for the students of Kannada classics.
  • Sachitra Kannada-Kannada Kasturi Kosha : (1957) is by Pandit C.A. Kawali. It is also very useful for Kannada students.
  • Kannada-Kannada Shabdakosha : (1952) is by Shivaram Karanth, a versatile writer of Kannada and is very useful for the students and is published recently.
  • Mangabhidhan athawa Abhinawabhidhan : (1952) is by Mangaraj and is published recently.
  • Kannada Nighantu : (1968) is edited by eminent professors and scholars of Kannada, and published by Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Bangalore . Only a few parts have so far been published. This dictionary and therefore when all the parts of the dictionary are published it would be very useful to scholars, students, authors, translaters etc., of Karnataka.
  • Prof. S. S. Basawanal had compiled a very good Kannada-Kannada dictionary, but it did not see the light of the day.
  • Some edited works of famous old Kannada writers and magazines like ‘Kasturi’ of Hubli are contributing their mite for the advancement of dictionary-making work.

English-Kannada Dictionaries :
  • An English-Kanarese School Dictionary : (1876) by Rev, F. Ziegler, Dharwar.
  • Anglo-Kanarese Crown Dictionary (1888 ) by Christanuja Wasta, Mangalore.
  • Sharada English-Kannada Dictionary (1955) published by Sharada Sadana, Mysore .

Kannada-English Dictionaries :
  • Kannada-English Dictionary : (1857) by Rev. Reeveand Sanderson.
  • Kannada-English Dictionary : (1894) by Rev. Dr. F. Kittel.
  • Kannada-English Dictionary : (1899) by Rev. J. Bucher, chiefly based on the work of Dr. F. Kittel.
The first and this dictionary are mainly compiled for the use of high school students of Kannada and also for English people who learn Kannada. The second one is as useful as the English Kannada Nighantu of Mysore University is. Deccan College publications on different dialects of Kannada will serve as very useful glossaries for Kannada students and scholars.

English-English-Kannada Dictionaries :
  • Standard English-English-Kannada Dictionary : (1944) by D.K. Bharadvaj, Vaidyaguru.
  • English-English-Kannada Dictionary : (1962) by K. Vithal Shenai, B.A., L.T. Orient Longmans publication.
Bharadwaja’s Dictionary is very popular and is useful to the students of high schools and colleges since it meets their requirements.

Dictionaries of Proverbs in Kannada
  • Kannada Gadegala Kosha : (1963) by T.V. Venkataramayya
  • Karnataka Lokokti nidhi : (1912) published by Basel Mission Press, Mangalore.
  • Kannada Gadegalu : (1959) by Achhappa H.S., Mysore
  • Nalnudi-Nannudi : (1962) by Prof. M. Mariyappa Bhatta, Shri. N. Venkat Rao, Dr. R.P. Sethu Pillai and Dr. S. K. Nayar
  • Gadegal-Geetagalu : (1960) by Ramaradhya H.M.
  • Samatis Sangraha : (1906) by Hanumant Govind Joshi. This contains proverbs in Kannada and their equivalents in English. It is useful for the students of English and Kannada languages.
The first five dictionaries are only collections of proverbs alphabetically arranged. The usages of proverbs are not given. They are useful only for those who have a fair knowledge of Kannada, common sense and experience.

Dictionaries of Idioms in Kannada :
  • Kannada Padenudigala Kosha : (1968) by T.V. Venkataramayya.

Hindi-Kannada Dictionaries :
  • Hindi-Kannada Nighantu : 1945) by Prof. Jambunathan
  • Hindi-Kannada Shabda Kosha : (1956) by Gurunath Joshi
  • Hindi-Kannada Kosha : (1948) by Pandit Sidhanath Pant.
  • Hindi-Kannada Kosha : (1948-50) by Shri Mannur
Among these four dictionaries Hindi-Kannada Shabda-Kosha is very popular because it is alphabetically arranged and contains more literary, scientific, Urdu words and idioms etc. with meanings.

Hindi-Hindi-Kannada Dictionaries :

  • Hindi-Hindi-Kannada Ratna Kosha : (1951) by J.D. Maisale.

Kannada-Hindi Dictionaries :
  • Sachitra Kannada-Hindi Adarsha Kosha : (1957) by J.D. Maisale, Prof. S.V. Bhat and Prof. Chandulal Dube.
  • Kannada-Kannada-Hindi Shabda Kosha : (1957) by Gurunath Joshi.

Hindi-English-Kannada Dictionaries :
  • Adhunika Hindi-Kannada-English Shabdalokha : by L.S. Chitaguppi.

Kannada - Sanskrit

  • Shabdamanidarpana : (18th century) by Keshiraja. Though this is a grammar book, it gives meanings to pure Kannada root verbs.

  • Bharata Nighantu : (16th century) Author is not known. But this book contains Prakrit words used in Kannada and is useful for Kannada students of Kannada classics.

  • Hindi-Kannada published by Daksnin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Madres, 1951,Gurunath Joshi, Hubli, 1950, and another published from Dharwar , 1954
  • Bilingual Learner’s Dictionary – Hindi-Kannada
Kannada -English

  • An English-Kanarese School Dictionary : (1876) by Rev, F. Ziegler, Dharwar.
  • Anglo-Kanarese Crown Dictionary (1888) by Christanuja Wasta, Mangalore.
  • Sharada English-Kannada Dictionary (1955) published by Sharada Sadana, Mysore .
  • English - Kannada Dictionary, Ziegler, W., 546pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600517 $39.95
  • Kannada - English Dictionary. Reeve. W. 546pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600509, $49.95
  • Kannada - English Dictionary, Kittel, F. 1802pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600495, $99.95
  • Kannada - English Dictionary, Bucher, W., 546pp. hc. (AES) ISBN 8120600525, $39.95
  • Amara Kosha of Amra Simha with meanings in English and Kannada, Rice, L., 510pp., hc. (AES) ISBN 8120602609 $29.95
  • Kannada Vocabulary of Some Homonyms and Technical Words, Basal, M. 316pp., hc. (AES) ISBN 812060055X $ 29.95
  • Kisamwar Glossary of Kannada words, Narasinga Rao, Ullal, 230pp. hc. (AES), ISBN 8120600533 $29.95
  • Handbook of Kanarese Proverbs with English equivalent, Narasinga Rao, 510pp., hc. (AES) ISBN 8120603176 $ 45.00
  • Grammar of the Ancient Dialect of the - Kannada Language . (AES) ISBN: 8120600606, $19.95
  • Elementaty Grammar of the Kannada Language, Hodson, T., 84pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600576 $17.95
  • Grammar of the Kannada Language, Kittel, F.. . 490pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600568, $34.95
  • Kannada Grammar, Spencer, H. 464pp. hc. (AES) ISBN: 8120600584 $29.95
  • Grammar of the Modern Kannada Language, Krishnamacharya. 176pp. (AES) ISBN: 8120603346 $19.95
  • Canarese Poetical Anthology, Kittel, F. 420pp. hc. (AES) ISBN 8120603168 $39.95
  • Shabda Mani Darpana - Kesiraja's Jewel Mirror of Grammar. Kittel, F. 412pp. hc. (AES) ISBN 8120604695 $ 29.95
  • History of Kannada Language, Narasimhacharya, R. , 184pp. hc. (AES) ISBN 8120605594 $18.50
  • History of Kannada Literature, Narasimhacharya, R, 92pp. (AES) ISBN 8120603036 $14.50
  • Course in Modern Kannada, Kushalappa - Gowda, K., (Uni. of Madras), ISBN: X12371,$27.95
  • Learn Kannada in 30 Days, Rao, R. ISBN: 078180177X $12.95

Arabic - Kannada Dictionaries

  • Al Muzhir Arabic Dictionary , Arabic -Kannada dictionary in Kannada by Abdul Shaheed Azhary, and M.S.M Abdul Rasheed Zaini Kamil

Tulu - Kannada - English Dictionaries
  • Dictionary of Tulu language   Reve Kammerer and Rev Manner (1886)
  • Tulu Lexicon project (started in 1979) awarded the Gundert Award for the Best Dictionary in the country in 1996
Kannada - Latin Dictionaries
  • Dictionarium Canarense-Latinum  by Jean-Marie Auguste Bouteloup in 1855
  • Dictionarium Latino-Canarense, by Etienne Louis Charbonnaux in 1861
Both the Latin-kannada, kannada - Latin dictionaries were unique and rare and were printed in Bengalori (Bengaluru)  was reprinted by the Akhila Karnataka Catholic Christara Kannada Sangha, after 149 years
Another 13 kannada books were published by the then press, but we have no idea about them.

Suggestions :
There is a need for the following types of dictionaries.
Comprehensive consolidated glossary of technical terms useful to the students and teachers as Bangalore and Mysore universities are adopting Kannada as the medium of instruction.
  • Hindi-Kannada dictionary : Such a dictionary would by useful to the students of Hindi for B.A. and M.A. examinations.
  • Kannada Sahitya Kosha : Such a dictionary like Hindi Sahitya Kosha Part II and I published by Jnanmandal, Kashi would be useful to the students of Kannada studying for B.A. and M.A. examinations.
  • A glossary of Kannada Phrases and Idioms with meanings and usages in Kannada.
  • A glossary of Kannada proverbs : with meanings and usages in suitable situations as we have no dictionaries of these types in Kannada.
  • Kannada dictionary and spellchecker by ramkrsna on OpenOffice, This type of Initiatives should be Encouraged
Source :
A Brief Survey of Dictionary in Karnataka- Gurunath Joshi

based on

  • Articles published in ‘Karmaveer’ by Sri Betageri Krishna Sharma
  • Dictionaries of different lexicographers

1 comment:

  1. He also published one work in 1905 titled A Canarese Kadambari. It was published in Dharwar and was the third edition and published by Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha. If you can post some biographical details of K. V. Gangadhara Madivalesvara Turumari or Turamari, it will be vey appreciated. Thank you.


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