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Exhaustive Glossary of Mahjong Terms

Mahjong is primarily a Chinese game, so there is no real 'accurate' translation for a lot of the
terms used in this game. For clarity's sake, here is a list of the 'official' terms used in the McGill
Students' Mahjong Club (though there's no need to learn any or all of these. As long as your
intentions are clear, you can use any terms you like).

 Hand (盘, 局, pan, kyoku, game)


o One game of mahjong, beginning by dealing the tiles and ending with a draw or a
player declaring a win. Not to be confused with a hand of tiles.
 Wind (圈, 場, quan, ba, round)
o Multiple hands of mahjong, at least four, played until each player has finished
being the dealer at least once. Not to be confused with wind tiles.
 A full game of Hong Kong Old Style mahjong is played for four winds. A
full game of Japanese Riichi mahjong is played for two winds, or until a
player runs out of points.

 Walls (牌墙, 牌山, pai qiang, haiyama, deck, mountain)


o The four rows of tiles between the players' hands and the discard pile, from which
players draw tiles.
 Backwall (牌尾, pai wei)
o The opposite side of the wall from which players usually draw tiles, used to get
replacement tiles for bonus tiles or gongs. Part of the dead wall in Japanese Riichi
style.
 Dead Wall (王牌, wanpai)
o The fourteen tiles along the backwall not used in the game, except for drawing
replacement tiles. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Replacement Tile (嶺上牌, rinshanpai)
o A tile drawn from the backwall to replace a bonus tile once it is drawn, or to
replace the extra tile used in a declared gong.
 Discard Pile (牌池, pai chi) or Pond (河, kawa, river)
o The center of the table in which all discards are randomly placed, face-up. Used in
Hong Kong Old Style mahjong.
o The spaces in the center of the table where each player organizes his individual
discards. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Hand (手牌, shou pai, shuuhai)
o The thirteen/fourteen tiles in front of a player that she attempts to use to win. Not
to be confused with a hand of play.

 Dots (筒子, 饼子, tong zi, bing zi, pinzu, circles, balls, coins, barrels, buckets)
o The 36 tiles (9 unique) with circle patterns.
 Bamboo (索子, 条子, suo zi, tiao zi, souzu, bams, sticks, threads)
o The 36 tiles (9 unique) with bamboo patterns.
 Characters (万子, 萬子, wan zi, manzu, craks, Chinese characters, thousands, ten
thousands)
o The 36 tiles (9 unique) with patterns of the Chinese character for 10,000.
 Suits (序数牌, 色, xu su pai, shoku, colors)
o Collectively referring to the dots, bamboo, and characters tiles
 Winds (风牌, 風牌, feng pai, kazehai, directions)
o The 16 tiles (4 unique) with the Chinese characters for directions on them. Not to
be confused with a full wind of play.
 Dragons (三元牌, san yuan pai, sangenpai, colors, elements, cardinals)
o The 12 tiles (3 unique) that are the Chinese character for middle, prosperity, or
blank.
 Honors (番子, 字牌, fan zi, jihai, character tiles, word tiles)
o Collectively referring to the winds and dragons.
 Simples (断幺牌, 中張牌, duan yao pai, tanyaohai, chunchanhai, inner tiles, minor tiles,
middles)
o Collectively referring to the suited tiles from 2-8.
 Terminals (纯幺九, 老頭牌, chun yao jiu, routouhai, ends)
o Collectively referring to the suited tiles of 1 and 9.
 Orphans (幺九, 幺九牌, yao jiu, yaochuuhai, outer tiles, major tiles)
o Collectively referring to the honor tiles and terminals.
 Flowers (花牌, hua pai, hanahai, blue flowers)
o The four bonus tiles from 1-4 written in blue ink or with Arabic numbers. Not to
be confused with bonus tiles.
 Seasons (季牌, 季節牌, ji pai, kisetsuhai, red flowers)
o The four bonus tiles from 1-4 written in red ink or with Chinese numbers.
 Bonus Tiles (花牌, hua pai, flowers)
o Collectively referring to the flowers and seasons.

 Meld (面子, mentsu, set)


o A group of three or four tiles that form a chow, pung, or gong.
 Chow (顺子, shun zi, shuntsu, run, sequence) or Chii (吃, チー)
o A group of three consecutive tiles in the same suit, or the call said to create an
open chow. Used in Hong Kong Old Style mahjong.
o A group of three consecutive tiles in the same suit, or the call said to create an
open chii. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Pung (刻子, ke zi, koutsu, set, triplet) or Pon (碰, ポン)
o A group of three identical tiles, or the call said to create an open pung. Used in
Hong Kong Old Style mahjong.
o A group of three identical tiles, or the call said to create an open pon. Used in
Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Gong (杆, kong, quad) or Kan (槓子, kantsu)
o A group of four identical tiles, or the call said to declare a gong. Used in Hong
Kong Old Style mahjong.
o A group of four identical tiles, or the call said to declare a kan. Used in Japanese
Riichi mahjong.
 Pair (对, 頭, dui, toi, atama, head, eye)
o Two identical tiles.
 Concealed (暗, an, closed)
o A chow, pung, or gong created by drawing all of its tiles from the wall.
 A concealed gong may be declared any time after drawing during your
turn, and replaced from the backwall.
 Fully Concealed (門前, men qian, menzen)
o A hand that has not called any tiles. In Japanese Riichi mahjong, the winning tile
must also be drawn from the wall.
 Open (明, 露, ming, liu, min, exposed, melded)
o A chow, pung, or gong created by using a discarded tile.
 Note that an 'open gong' specifically refers to having a situation where a
player has a closed pung in her hand and uses a discarded tile to turn it
immediately into a gong. Not to be confused with a promoted gong.
 Promoted Gong (加槓, 小明槓, chakan, shouminkan, late kan)
o A gong created by adding a tile from your hand to an open pung. Though it is
scored as an open gong, not to be confused with the literal 'open gong'.

 Self-Pick (自摸, ツモ, zi mo, tsumo, self-draw, self touch, self make)
o To draw your winning tile from the wall, as opposed to winning off of a discarded
tile.
 Feed (食糊, 出铳, 放銃, sik wu, chu chong, houjuu)
o To discard a tile that is then claimed for a win or open meld.
 Call (鳴き, naki, steal)
o To take a discarded tile to make an open meld, or to declare a win. Generally not
used to refer to declaring a concealed gong.
 Exhaustive Draw (流局, ryuukyoku)
o A draw caused by running out of tiles in the wall. In Japanese Riichi mahjong, an
exhaustive draw is caused when the only tiles remaining are the dead wall.
 Abortive Draw (途中流局, tochuu ryuukyoku)
o A draw caused by any circumstances other than running out of tiles in the wall.
Does not include unnatural situations in which play can't continue, such as the
walls being knocked over.
 Waiting (聽糊, 聴牌, teng wu, tenpai, listening, fishing, ready)
o Having a hand that is only one tile away from completion, ignoring any faan or
yaku minimum requirements.
 Not-Waiting Penalty (ノーテン罰符, noten bappu)
o A penalty of 3000 points paid during exhaustive draws from players who are not
waiting. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Furiten (振聴, sacred discard)
o A rule forbidding winning off of a player's discarded tile if you have neglected
doing so on an identical copy of that tile earlier in the same turn.
 In Japanese Riichi mahjong, also refers to a rule forbidding winning off of
any discarded tile if your pond contains any tiles that could complete your
hand.

 Dora Indicator (ドラ表示牌, dora hyoujihai)


o A tile in the dead wall that indicates which tile is the dora. Used in Japanese
Riichi mahjong.
 Dora (ドラ) or Kan Dora (カンドラ) or Under Dora (裏ドラ, ura dora, alternate dora,
hidden dora)
o One or more tiles that increase the amount of han in your hand. Used in Japanese
Riichi mahjong.
o One or more tiles that increase the amount of han in your hand, which only appear
when a kan is made. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
o One or more tiles that increase the amount of han in your hand, which only appear
if you win after declaring riichi. Used in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Yaku (役, scoring element, pattern)
o A particular pattern in your hand that awards faan. At least one yaku must exist in
your hand to declare a win in Japanese Riichi mahjong.
 Faan (番, double) or Han (翻, double)
o The only element of scoring that affects your points in Hong Kong Old Style
mahjong. Your hand must score at least three faan to declare a win.
o An element of scoring in Japanese Riichi mahjong that roughly doubles the value
of your hand. Awarded by earning yaku and having dora tiles.
 Fu (府, mini-points, tally)
o An element of scoring in Japanese Riichi mahjong. Awarded based on the
composition of your hand and winning circumstances.
 Points (分, 点, fen, ten)
o Final score carried over between hands and winds.
 Limit Hand (最高分值, 役満, zui gao fen zhi, yakuman)
o The highest possible scoring hand. Worth 13 faan.
 Low-Limit (満貫, mangan)
o A hand worth 2000 or more points in Japanese Riichi mahjong. Worth 5 or fewer
han.
 Chicken Win (鸡胡, ji hu, no points hand)
o A hand that contains no yaku, and therefore scores 0 faan. Chicken hands are not
permitted to win at the McGill Students' Mahjong Club.
 Responsibility (包, パオ, pao, liability)
o A penalty in which a player who is at fault for a limit hand being open on the
table must pay the value of the hand if it wins. Alternatively, a penalty in which a
player who discards a tile used to create an open gong is liable for the entire
payment if the replacement tile completes the other player's hand.