1

mandarin

play
noun man·da·rin \ˈman-d(ə-)rən\

Definition of mandarin

  1. 1a :  a public official in the Chinese Empire of any of nine superior gradesb (1) :  a pedantic official (2) :  bureaucratc :  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

  2. 2 capitalized a :  a form of spoken Chinese used by the court and the official classes of the Empireb :  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

  3. 3 [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 (such as the satsuma) developed in cultivation from the mandarin by artificial selection or hybridizationb :  the fruit of a mandarin

mandarinic

play \ˌman-də-ˈri-nik\ adjective

mandarinism

play \ˈman-d(ə-)rə-ˌni-zəm\ noun

mandarin was our Word of the Day on 06/14/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of mandarin in a Sentence

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

Origin and Etymology of mandarin

Portuguese mandarim, from Malay mĕntĕri, from Sanskrit mantrin counselor, from mantra counsel — more at mantra

Other Language Terms


2

mandarin

adjective man·da·rin

Definition of mandarin

  1. 1 :  of, relating to, or typical of a mandarin mandarin graces

  2. 2 :  marked by polished ornate complexity of language mandarin prose

Did You Know?

The Portuguese were the first to refer to a Chinese official as a "mandarin." The word hails from the Portuguese word mandarium, which developed from Sanskrit "mantrin," a word for "counselor." Mandarins were promoted by successfully completing the imperial Chinese examination system, which was primarily based on the teachings of Confucian texts. In time, "mandarin" became a word for a pedantic official, a bureaucrat, or a person of position and influence. The noun passed into the English language in 1589, and the adjective appeared about 15 years later. You may also know "Mandarin" as a word for the chief dialect of China or be familiar with the mandarin orange. (The fruit's name comes from the orange color of a mandarin official's robe.)

First Known Use of mandarin

1604


MANDARIN Defined for English Language Learners

mandarin

play
noun

Definition of mandarin for English Language Learners

  • : a small type of orange

  • : a public official in China in the past

  • Mandarin : the official language of China


MANDARIN Defined for Kids

mandarin

play
noun man·da·rin \ˈman-də-rən\

Definition of mandarin for Students

  1. 1 :  a public official of the Chinese Empire

  2. 2 cap :  the chief dialect of China



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