the standard literary and official form of Chinese based on the Beijing dialect, spoken by over 730 million people:
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.
, mandarin orange)
a small flattish citrus fruit (Citrus reticulata) with a loose skin, esp. a variety with yellow-orange skin. Compare with tangerine.
the citrus tree that yields this fruit.
•Kalinin • linen • bedlinen
•underlinen • feminine
, phone-in, ronin, serotonin
•Bakunin • run-in • melanin • santonin
•crankpin • backspin • hatpin
•tenpin • hairpin • tailspin • wheelspin
•stickpin • kingpin • Crispin • linchpin
•tiepin • topspin • clothespin
•pushpin • terrapin • Turpin • Karin
•chagrin • aspirin • Catrin • Kathryn
, Perrin, serin
•Sanhedrin • epinephrine • dextrin
•brethren • Montenegrin • pyrethrin
, florin, foreign
•doctrine • sovereign • Aldrin
•Paludrine • murrain
•tambourin • mandarin • warfarin
•tamarin • Catherine
•culverin • Mazarin
an official in any of the senior grades of the former imperial Chinese civil service
. Mandarins were chosen by examination, and there were nine grades, each of which was distinguished by the material from which the round ornament or ‘button’ on top of the official headgear was made. From the early 18th century, Mandarin has also been used for the standard literary and official form of Chinese.
Recorded in English in the late 16th century, the word comes from Portuguese mandarim
, via Malay, from Hindi mantrī
‘counsellor’. The current transferred meaning of a powerful official or senior bureaucrat, especially one perceived as reactionary and secretive, developed in the early 20th century.
The mandarin orange
may be named from the colour of the fruit being likened to the official yellow robes of a mandarin.
Chinese official. XVI. — Pg. mandarin
command) — Malay mantĕri
— Hindi mantrī
:- Skr. mantrín-
counsellor, f. mántra-
counsel (rel. to MIND
Major dialect of Chinese
, the spoken language of about 70% of the population of China
. It was originally the language of the imperial court. Mandarin is the basis of modern standard Chinese.
fruit, Citrus reticulata
or C. nobilio
. Varieties include satsumas and tangerines (although all three names are used indiscriminately) with various hybrids including tangelo, tangor, temple, clementine.
Type of orange popular because of its sweet flavour. The tangerine is a flattish, loose-skinned species of mandarin. Family Rutaceae; species Citrus reticulata.
small kind of orange. XIX. — F. mandarine
, fem. of mandarin
(see prec.); prob. so named from the yellow of mandarins' costume.