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mandarin (MAN-duh-rin)


1. A member of one of nine ranks of public officials in the Chinese Empire.
2. A powerful government official or bureaucrat.
3. A member of an elite group, especially one having influence in intellectual or literary circles.
4. Capitalized: the official national language of China.
5. A citrus tree, Citrus reticulata, that is native to China.


1. Of or relating to a mandarin.
2. Marked by refined or ornate language.

From Portuguese mandarim, from Malay menteri, from Sanskrit mantri (counselor), from mantra (word or formula), from manyate (he thinks).

"Even the International Swimming Federation mandarins made an appointment yesterday to talk with the sport's greatest star."
Nicole Jeffery, (Ian) Thorpe Strives to Do Better, The Australian (Sydney), Jul, 30, 2001.

"Macha Rosenthal wrote about poetry as part of the common heritage of culture, not reserved for those who wrote in jargon or a mandarin prose style. He wrote plainly, and took no pride in cleverness."
Eric Homberger, Power of the Poem: Macha Rosenthal, The Guardian (London), Jul 29, 1996.

This week's theme: Eponyms


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