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Mandarin  (noun) (来源:英语交友 http://friends.englishcn.com)

Pronunciation:  ['man-dê-rên or -rin]

Definition: In Webster's 1828 dictionary, a mandarin was a magistrate or governor of a province in China. (Mind your history, now—Webster's was speaking of the imperial government, long before Mao Zedong). From that root, the meaning of "mandarin" took on a disapproving tone in modern English until it came to refer to a behind-the-scenes powerbroker in government. It also means a member of an elite intellectual group or one who believes in rule by the cultural elite.

Usage: Calling someone a "mandarin" with a small "m" usually is not flattering. However, "Mandarin," capital "M," refers to a group of Chinese dialects spoken in about 4/5 of China and centering on Beijing. The mandarin orange uses the same name because it is native to the same general area (southeastern Asia).

 

 
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