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Mahjong Glossary & Terms

In this section you can find some of the most common terms used in the game of Mahjong.

  • Bamboos - One of the three suits, sometimes bams or sticks.
  • Bonus Tiles - Flower or Season tile.
  • Characters - One of the three suits, sometimes called cracks.
  • Chicken Hand - A hand without points.
  • China Jade - A hand composed entirely of green tiles.
  • Chow - Three tiles of the same suit in sequence or knitted.
  • Circles - One of the three suits, sometimes called coins or dots.
  • Concealed - A tile or tiles drawn from the wall and not exposed.
  • Discard - A rejected tile which may be claimed by another player.
  • Dispersed Kong - A hand with four identical suit tiles other than in a kong.
  • Exposed - A face-up tile, part of a set or a discard.
  • Family Hand - A hand composed or the three suits, dragons and winds.
  • Flower Tile - Bonus Tile.
  • Going Mahjong - Declaring a hand worth eight points or more.
  • Going Out - Going Mahjong.
  • Head - The pair of tiles necessary in most hand to go out.
  • Honours - Dragon and wind tiles.
  • Knitted Tiles - Tiles 1-4-7, 2-5-8 and 3-6-9 in different suits.
  • Kong - Set of four identical tiles.
  • Major Tiles - Honours and terminals.
  • Matchin Chows - Two matching chows in different suits.
  • Meld - A set.
  • Nine Gates - A single suit hand in which any tile of the same suit completes the hand.
  • Progressive Chows - Chows stepped up one or two digits.
  • Progressive Pungs - Pungs stepped up one digit.
  • Pung - Set of three identical tiles.
  • Reversible Tiles - Tiles that have the same appearance when inverted.
  • Self-drawn - A tile drawn from the wall.
  • Sequence - Set of suit tiles in numerical order.
  • Set - Chow, pung or kong.
  • Simples - Suit tiles other than terminals.
  • Stepped - Chows separated by one or two numbers.
  • Terminals - Tiles one and nine of the three suits.
  • Thirteen Orphans - A hand composed of one each of every major tile, one tile paired.
  • Twin Chows - Two identical chows in the same suit.
  • Void Suit - A hand lacking tiles of one suit.
  • Wall - Tiles assembled face down at the start of the game.
  • Wind, Own - Wind corresponding to the player's seat.
  • Wind, Prevailing - The wind of the round.
  • Wind, Seat - Wind corresponding to the player's seat.