mandarin (n.)

1580s, “Chinese official,” via Portuguese mandarim or older Dutch mandorijn from Malay (Austronesian) mantri, from Hindi mantri “councilor, minister of state,” from Sanskrit mantri, nominative of mantrin- “adviser,” from mantra “counsel,” from PIE root *men- (1) “to think.” Form influenced in Portuguese by mandar “to command, order.”

Used generically for the several grades of Chinese officials; the Chinese equivalent is kwan “public servant.” Sense of “chief dialect of Chinese” (spoken by officials and educated people and generally in the northern, central, and western provinces and Manchuria) is from c. 1600. Transferred sense of “important person” attested by 1907. The type of small, deep-colored orange so called from 1771, from resemblance of its color to that of robes worn by mandarins. (link)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s