noun man·da·rin \ˈman-d(ə-)rən\

: a small type of orange

: a public official in China in the past

Mandarin : the official language of China

Full Definition of MANDARIN

a :  a public official in the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior grades
b (1) :  a pedantic official
(2) :  bureaucrat
c :  a person of position and influence often in intellectual or literary circles; especially :  an elder and often traditionalist or reactionary member of such a circle
a :  a form of spoken Chinese used by the court and the official classes of the Empire
b :  the group of closely related Chinese dialects that are spoken in about four fifths of the country and have a standard variety centering about Beijing
[Swedish mandarin (apelsin) mandarin (orange), ultimately from Portuguese mandarim mandarin; perhaps from the color of a mandarin's robes]
a :  a small spiny orange tree (Citrus reticulata) of southeastern Asia with yellow to reddish-orange loose-rinded fruits; also :  a tree (as the satsuma) developed in cultivation from the mandarin by artificial selection or hybridization
b :  the fruit of a mandarin
man·da·rin·ic \ˌman-də-ˈri-nik\ adjective
man·da·rin·ism \ˈman-d(ə-)rə-ˌni-zəm\ noun

Examples of MANDARIN

  1. <the officious mandarins in the motor vehicles department refused to let me renew my license without all of the required forms>

Origin of MANDARIN

Portuguese mandarim, from Malay mĕntĕri, from Sanskrit mantrin counselor, from mantra counsel — more at mantra
First Known Use: 1589

Other Language Terms

cognate, collocation, homonym



Definition of MANDARIN

:  of, relating to, or typical of a mandarin <mandarin graces>
:  marked by polished ornate complexity of language <mandarin prose>

First Known Use of MANDARIN

MANDARINISM Defined for Kids


noun man·da·rin \ˈman-də-rən\

Definition of MANDARIN for Kids

:  a public official of the Chinese Empire
cap :  the chief dialect of China


Next Word in the Dictionary: mandarinatePrevious Word in the Dictionary: MandanAll Words Near: mandarin
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears