There are 2 main definitions of mandarin in English:

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mandarin1

Syllabification: man·da·rin
Pronunciation: /ˈmandərən
 
/

noun

1 (Mandarin) The standard literary and official form of Chinese based on the Beijing dialect, spoken by over 730 million people: [as modifier]: Mandarin Chinese
More example sentences
  • After the fall of the Manchu dynasty in 1911, in place of Classical Chinese, the new Republican government made the most widely spoken dialect, Mandarin Chinese, the official written language.
  • This question is significant because Ruan built her career in the era of silent films, and she herself does not even speak very standard Mandarin Chinese.
  • Influenced by Han culture, most Yao people can speak and write Mandarin Chinese.
2An official in any of the nine top grades of the former imperial Chinese civil service.
Example sentences
  • But civil service mandarins already have their defences prepared if they are called before the inquiry to be headed by Lord Fraser.
  • A French philosopher had more in common with a Chinese mandarin than with his barbaric Frankish ancestors in the Dark Ages.
  • And the spoken Chinese uttered by the Qing emperors' officials and the court mandarins in Beijing was none other than the Beijing dialect.
2.1 [as modifier] (Especially of clothing) characteristic or supposedly characteristic of mandarin officials: a red-buttoned mandarin cap
More example sentences
  • But we had come to partake, and we were ushered into the Chrysanthemum Palace to be met by smiling waiters in red mandarin coats.
  • O'Neill, dapper in his mandarin suit and collarless white shirt, does not look like the rushing blur of today's press men.
  • The refined and leisured lifestyle from the 1920s and 1930s can be relived when viewers appreciate the varied designs of their mandarin gowns and the way they made themselves up.
2.2An ornament consisting of a nodding figure in traditional Chinese dress, typically made of porcelain.
2.3Porcelain decorated with Chinese figures dressed as mandarins.
2.4A powerful official or senior bureaucrat, especially one perceived as reactionary and secretive: a civil service mandarin
More example sentences
  • To many British people, the idea of a mandarin or senior civil servant will forever be associated with Sir Humphrey Appleby.
  • One minister did so, and claims to have been told by a senior mandarin that it was ‘disconcerting’ for officials to find their minister talking independently to outside sources of advice.
  • On front after front, bureaucratic mandarins are deciding how everyday Europeans will live.

Origin

late 16th century (denoting a Chinese official): from Portuguese mandarim, via Malay from Hindi mantrī 'counselor'.

More
  • Few words can claim such different meanings as a language, a fruit, and a civil servant; but mandarin can. A mandarin was an official in a senior grade of the former imperial Chinese civil service. The word is not Chinese, though, but came into English from Portuguese in the late 16th century, and goes back to a term meaning ‘counsellor, minister’ in Sanskrit. The use of mandarin for a leading civil servant in Britain, as in ‘Whitehall mandarins’, comes from this and dates from the early 19th century. In 1703 Francisco Varo published his Arte de la Lengua Mandarina, the first grammar of any spoken form of Chinese, which described the Chinese used by officials and educated people in general. In 1728 Mandarin first appeared in English for the language, and it is now the name for the standard, official form of Chinese. Mandarin was first applied to a citrus fruit in Swedish. The reason for the name is not certain—it might refer to the colour of Chinese officials' silk robes, or to the high quality of the delicious little oranges, playing on the old term China orange. A translation of a Swedish travelogue introduced the mandarin orange to English in 1771.

Words that rhyme with mandarin

tambourinwarfarin

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There are 2 main definitions of mandarin in English:

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mandarin2

Syllabification: man·da·rin
Pronunciation: /ˈmandərən
 
/
(also mandarine /-dəˌrēn/, mandarin orange)

noun

1A small flattish citrus fruit with a loose skin, especially a variety with yellow-orange skin. Compare with tangerine.
Example sentences
  • Tangerines are actually a type of mandarin orange as are clementines, but here in the US, the names are used interchangeably.
  • In addition to my astounding mental powers, my most notable physical accomplishment is that I can put an entire mandarin orange in my mouth all in one go.
  • The mandarin orange was fine, but the peach and the pear, due to the firmness of the fruit, would get hung up on the equipment and weren't evenly distributed into the product.
2The citrus tree that yields the mandarin.
  • Citrus reticulata, family Rutaceae
Example sentences
  • Hugh had a problem with all the leaves falling off his mandarin tree.
  • At last the fruits are ripe on the mandarin tree and you squeeze your first delicious juice from them for breakfast.
  • The leaves of the ‘Imperial’ are quite slender and distinguish it from most other mandarins.

Origin

late 18th century: from French mandarine; perhaps related to mandarin1, the color of the fruit being likened to the official's yellow robes.

More
  • Few words can claim such different meanings as a language, a fruit, and a civil servant; but mandarin can. A mandarin was an official in a senior grade of the former imperial Chinese civil service. The word is not Chinese, though, but came into English from Portuguese in the late 16th century, and goes back to a term meaning ‘counsellor, minister’ in Sanskrit. The use of mandarin for a leading civil servant in Britain, as in ‘Whitehall mandarins’, comes from this and dates from the early 19th century. In 1703 Francisco Varo published his Arte de la Lengua Mandarina, the first grammar of any spoken form of Chinese, which described the Chinese used by officials and educated people in general. In 1728 Mandarin first appeared in English for the language, and it is now the name for the standard, official form of Chinese. Mandarin was first applied to a citrus fruit in Swedish. The reason for the name is not certain—it might refer to the colour of Chinese officials' silk robes, or to the high quality of the delicious little oranges, playing on the old term China orange. A translation of a Swedish travelogue introduced the mandarin orange to English in 1771.

Definition of mandarin in:

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