man·da·rin1 / ˈmandərən/ • n. 1. (Mandarin) the standard literary and official form of Chinese based on the Beijing dialect, spoken by over 730 million people: [as adj.] Mandarin Chinese. 2. an official in any of the nine top grades of the former imperial Chinese civil service. ∎ [as adj.] (esp. of clothing) characteristic or supposedly characteristic of such officials: a red-buttoned mandarin cap. ∎ an ornament consisting of a nodding figure in traditional Chinese dress, typically made of porcelain. ∎ porcelain decorated with Chinese figures dressed as mandarins. ∎ a powerful official or senior bureaucrat, esp. one perceived as reactionary and secretive: a civil service mandarin. man·da·rin2 (also mandarine , mandarin orange) • n. 1. a small flattish citrus fruit (Citrus reticulata) with a loose skin, esp. a variety with yellow-orange skin. Compare with tangerine. 2. the citrus tree that yields this fruit.