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90s Slang You Should Know


or mah-jong

[mah-jawng, -jong, -zhawng, -zhong] /ˈmɑˈdʒɔŋ, -ˈdʒɒŋ, -ˈʒɔŋ, -ˈʒɒŋ/
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)
to win a game of mah-jongg.
Origin of mah-jongg
dialectal Chinese
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mah-jongg
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the case: when a tile will complete a player's hand allowing him to "mah-jongg," the tile may be punged.

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
  • He announces "mah-jongg" wins, the game is over, the scores are settled and the wall built up for the next game.

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
  • For winning hand of absolutely no scoring value than mah-jongg, 10 points is given as a bonus.

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
  • On this account, none of the other opponents would hesitate about discarding the eight of bamboo which allowed him to mah-jongg.

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
  • The rule is that "a player may at any time 'Pung' a discard which will complete his hand and allow him to mah-jongg."

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
  • For mah-jongg or completing a hand a bonus is given and this is generally 10 points unless specially agreed upon to be so.

    Pung Chow Lew Lysle Harr
Word Origin and History for mah-jongg

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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