mah-jongg

mah-jongg

[mah-jawng, -jong, -zhawng, -zhong]
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:
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

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World English Dictionary
mah jong or mah-jongg (ˌmɑːˈdʒɒŋ)
 
n
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
 
[from Chinese, literally: sparrows]
 
mah-jongg or mah-jongg
 
n
 
[from Chinese, literally: sparrows]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mah-jongg
1922, from dial. Chinese (Shanghai) ma chiang, name of the game, lit. "sparrows," from ma "hemp" + chaing "little birds." The game so called from the design of the pieces. It had a vogue in Europe in the 1920s and for a time threatened to supplant bridge in popularity.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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