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[chahy-neez, -nees] /tʃaɪˈniz, -ˈnis/
noun, plural Chinese.
the standard language of China, based on the speech of Beijing; Mandarin.
a group of languages of the Sino-Tibetan family, including standard Chinese and most of the other languages of China.
Abbreviation: Chin., Chin.
any of the Chinese languages, which vary among themselves to the point of mutual unintelligibility.
a native or descendant of a native of China.
of or relating to China, its inhabitants, or one of their languages.
noting or pertaining to the partly logographic, partly phonetic script used for the writing of Chinese, Japanese, and other languages, consisting of thousands of brushstroke characters written in vertical columns from right to left.
Origin of Chinese
First recorded in 1570-80; Chin(a) + -ese
Related forms
non-Chinese, noun, plural non-Chinese, adjective
pre-Chinese, adjective, noun, plural pre-Chinese.
pro-Chinese, adjective, noun, plural pro-Chinese.
pseudo-Chinese, adjective, noun, plural pseudo-Chinese.
Usage note
The adjective Chinese is found in a few set phrases (Chinese copy, Chinese fire drill, Chinese money. and Chinese tour) in which it represents inferiority—implying that something is less good, useful, or effective, or that it is not authentic. Although insulting a particular person or nationality may be unintentional, it is best to be aware that use of these terms is usually perceived as offensive to or by the Chinese. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for Chinese
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British Dictionary definitions for Chinese


of, relating to, or characteristic of China, its people, or their languages
(pl) -nese. a native or inhabitant of China or a descendant of one
any of the languages of China belonging to the Sino-Tibetan family, sometimes regarded as dialects of one language. They share a single writing system that is not phonetic but ideographic. A phonetic system using the Roman alphabet was officially adopted by the Chinese government in 1966 See also Mandarin Chinese, Pekingese, Cantonese
prefix Sino-
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 Chinese

1570s, from China + -ese. As a noun from c.1600. Chinee (n.) is a vulgar back-formation from this word on the mistaken notion that the word is a plural. As an adjective, Chinish also was used 16c. Chinese fire-drill "chaotic situation of many people rushing around futilely" is attested by 1962, U.S. military slang. The game Chinese checkers is attested from 1938.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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