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What does "mahjong" mean?

"Mahjong is in chinese written as so: 麻雀.

The first (麻) is [má] and is made up of two parts: "hemp fibers" [lin] and under a shed. It means something like this: "Hemp fibers drying under a shed". The shed is in fact also a combination of two characters: The upper line with a little dash on means: "half of a large room" [yan], while the wall to the left means: "cliff" [han]. Together it means: "shed". The charcter for "hemp fibers" is in fact an old character resembling "two trees" [lin].

The last character: (雀) is being called [qué] and means: "little bird". The character is a combination of two characters: "small" [xiao] the upper part and "bird" [zhui]. "Small" is also made of two parts: the line in the middle means: "line" [gen] and the two small lines on each side mean: "to part" [ba]. The character for "bird" is simply as we all can see, a pictogram of a bird.

麻雀 thefore mean "sparrow". I don't know how sparrows act in Asia, but I guess they don't act like they do in Europe.
ma lin
que xiao ba

With thanks to zhongwen.com

Opdateret 2005-07-12
Tina Christensen