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mandarin

[man-duh-rin] /ˈmæn də rɪn/
noun
1.
(in the Chinese Empire) a member of any of the nine ranks of public officials, each distinguished by a particular kind of button worn on the cap.
2.
(initial capital letter) the standard Chinese language.
3.
(initial capital letter) a northern Chinese dialect, especially as spoken in and around Beijing.
4.
a small, spiny citrus tree, Citrus reticulata, native to China, bearing lance-shaped leaves and flattish, orange-yellow to deep-orange loose-skinned fruit, some varieties of which are called tangerines.
5.
any of several plants belonging to the genus Disporum or Streptopus, of the lily family, as S. roseus (rose mandarin) or D. lanuginosum (yellow mandarin) having drooping flowers and red berries.
6.
an influential or powerful government official or bureaucrat.
7.
a member of an elite or powerful group or class, as in intellectual or cultural milieus:
the mandarins of the art world.
adjective
8.
of or pertaining to a mandarin or mandarins.
9.
elegantly refined, as in language or taste.
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; < Portuguese mandarim, alteration (by association with mandar to order) of Malay məntəri < Hindi mantrī, Sanskrit mantrin councilor
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for mandarin
  • His characteristically coded speech had all the marks of the consummate mandarin.
  • The styling of this jacket's body is trim and elegant, featuring princess seams as well as a mandarin collar.
  • Phyllis had carried mandarin oranges as a treat to help the team's morale during the challenging parts of the climb.
  • The sweet mandarin and peach flavors of the wine echo the sweetness of the coconut milk in the sauce.
  • The ambrosia salad, replete with marshmallows and mandarin oranges, was surprisingly delicate.
  • So people learned mandarin as well as one or more regional languages.
  • Rather, grammar comes increasingly to be regarded as a mandarin code that requires only ritual justification.
  • Protein-packed salad made with dark leafy green lettuce, tuna, mandarin oranges and other favorite vegetables.
British Dictionary definitions for mandarin

mandarin

/ˈmændərɪn/
noun
1.
(in the Chinese Empire) a member of any of the nine senior grades of the bureaucracy, entered by examinations
2.
a high-ranking official whose powers are extensive and thought to be outside political control
3.
a person of standing and influence, as in literary or intellectual circles
4.
  1. a small citrus tree, Citrus nobilis, cultivated for its edible fruit
  2. the fruit of this tree, resembling the tangerine
Derived Forms
mandarinate, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Portuguese mandarim, via Malay menteri from Sanskrit mantrin counsellor, from mantra counsel

Mandarin Chinese

noun
1.
the official language of China since 1917; the form of Chinese spoken by about two thirds of the population and taught in schools throughout China See also Chinese, Pekingese
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 mandarin
n.

"Chinese official," 1580s, via Portuguese mandarim or older Dutch mandorijn from Malay mantri, from Hindi mantri "councilor, minister of state," from Sanskrit mantri, nominative of mantrin- "advisor," from mantra "counsel," from PIE root *men- "to think" (see mind (n.)).

Form influenced in Portuguese by mandar "to command, order." Used generically for the several grades of Chinese officials; sense of "chief dialect of Chinese" (spoken by officials and educated people) is from c.1600. Transferred sense of "important person" attested by 1907. The type of small, deep-colored orange so called from 1771, from resemblance of its color to that of robes worn by mandarins.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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