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mah-jongg

[mah-jawng, -jong, -zhawng, -zhong] /ˈmɑˈdʒɔŋ, -ˈdʒɒŋ, -ˈʒɔŋ, -ˈʒɒŋ/
noun
1.
a game of Chinese origin usually played by four persons with 144 dominolike pieces or tiles marked in suits, counters, and dice, the object being to build a winning combination of pieces.
verb (used without object)
2.
to win a game of mah-jongg.
Also, mah-jong.
Origin
dialectal Chinese
1920-1925
1920-25; < dialectal Chinese; compare Guangdong dial. màh-jéuk, Chinese máquè literally, sparrow (depicted on the first tile of a set), equivalent to hemp + què bird
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for mah-jongg

mah jong

/ˌmɑːˈdʒɒŋ/
noun
1.
a game of Chinese origin, usually played by four people, in which tiles bearing various designs are drawn and discarded until one player has an entire hand of winning combinations
Word Origin
from Chinese, literally: sparrows
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for mah-jongg
n.

1922, from dialectal Chinese (Shanghai) ma chiang, name of the game, literally "sparrows," from ma "hemp" + chiang "little birds." The game so called from the design of the pieces. It had a vogue in Europe and the U.S. in the 1920s and for a time threatened to supplant bridge in popularity.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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