- mandarin ► NOUN 1) (Mandarin) the standard literary and official form of Chinese. 2) a high-ranking official in the former imperial Chinese civil service. 3) a powerful official or senior bureaucrat. 4) (also mandarine) a small citrus fruit with a loose yellow-orange skin.ORIGIN Hindi mantr 'counsellor' ; sense 4 perhaps derives from the colour of the fruit being likened to the official's yellow robes.
English terms dictionary. 2015.