mah-jongg

or mah-jong

[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)
  1. to win a game of mah-jongg.

Origin of mah-jongg

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for mah jong

mah jong

mah-jongg

noun
  1. 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

Word Origin for mah jong

from Chinese, literally: sparrows
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

Word Origin and History for mah jong

mah-jongg

n.

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