Definition of mah-jong in English:


(also mah-jongg)


  • A Chinese game played, usually by four people, with 136 or 144 rectangular pieces called tiles.

    • ‘On special occasions, like the Spring Festival, even children are allowed to play cards and mah-jong.’
    • ‘Cybercafes, as a rule, exercise as much a magical power over schoolchildren as mah-jong over adults.’
    • ‘While basketball, snowboarding and video games rule, Karaoke and mah-jongg are just as popular.’
    • ‘Card games and mah-jongg, a Chinese game similar to rummy that is played with ivory tiles, regularly involve gambling.’
    • ‘Other exhibits included Chinese Kung Fu, Chinese chess, mah-jong, Chinese calligraphy and palmistry.’
    • ‘The teacher, surnamed Wang, had lost a lot of money to a man surnamed Wu when playing mah-jong in May this year.’
    • ‘Current items on display include crude wooden table hockey games, resembling pinball, from the 1940s; playing cards from Turkey, Hungary and China and the classic mah-jongg.’
    • ‘She played mah-jongg with movie stars, and dressed in the finest quality clothes, furs, and jewelry.’
    • ‘His hosts complained about him playing mah-jong: it was noisy, and they were worried neighbours would think there was gambling going on.’
    • ‘Anthony Wong is a harried family man who spends most of his time out of the house playing mah-jong.’
    • ‘By contrast, others manage to while away time playing mah-jong indoors.’
    • ‘The elderly like Chinese opera, drama, classical music, and playing mah-jongg.’
    • ‘The government has closed thousands of underground betting parlors that were defying the long-standing official ban on gambling (a bit of mah-jongg with friends excepted).’
    • ‘For example the banning of mah-jong, a popular card game played with hard polyurethane tiles, only resulted in the development of a noiseless paper-based version.’
    • ‘He's on his cell phone, fixing up an evening game of mah-jongg.’
    • ‘He wants to sign up more middle-aged customers who would prefer to play a quiet round of electronic chess or mah-jongg at home.’
    • ‘Have dinner, watch TV, play mah-jong and say ‘Happy New Year’ to everyone you meet,’ said a young man.’
    • ‘Elderly residents of Taipei will be able to celebrate Senior Citizens' Day this Saturday by playing mah-jong in a competition sponsored by the Taipei City Government.’
    • ‘It's a very comfortable shoe to wear when playing mah-jong for a long time,’ said Chen.’
    • ‘Elderly men were sitting at the tables drinking tea, smoking or playing mah-jong.’


From Chinese dialect ma-tsiang, literally ‘sparrows’.