Below is a glossary of terms used when playing the game of Mah Jong. Because there are so many unfamiliar terms and words, it is helpful to review this list to learn the different meanings to help you with playing the game.
Bamboos – This is one of the three main suits, and they are sometimes referred to as bams or sticks.
Bonus Tiles – There are two types of this tile, either the Flower tiles or the Season tiles.
Characters – This refers to one of the three different suits of tiles, and is occasionally referred to as cracks.
Chicken Hand – When you have a hand without any points to be gotten.
China Jade – when you have a hand that is completely composed of green tiles and no other colour.
Chow – When you have three tiles that are of the exact same suit in sequence or knitted.
Circles – This is one of the three main suits, and is sometimes referred to as dots or coins.
Concealed – When a tile or tiles are drawn from the wall but then not exposed.
Discard – A tile that is thrown away and not chosen by another player.
Dispersed Kong - A hand that has four identical suit tiles that is not in a kong.
Exposed – A tile that is face up and can be seen, part of a player's set or a discarded tile.
Family Hand - A hand that is made up of the three suits, dragons and winds.
Flower Tile – This is what is known as a bonus tile. See the rules for when it can be used.
Going Mahjong – When you yell out "Mah Jong" when a player has a hand that is worth eight points or more.
Going Out – This is another term for "Going Mahjong".
Head – This refers to the pair of tiles that a player has to have in most hands in order to go out.
Honours – This refers to both the wind and the dragon tiles.
Knitted Tiles – These are tiles that are numbered 1-4-7, 2-5-8 and 3-6-9 in all of the different suits.
Kong – This is when a player has a set composed of four identical tiles.
Major Tiles - Honours and terminals.
Matching Chows – This is when you match two chows that are both in different suits.
Meld – This is also known as a set.
Nine Gates - A single suit hand where any tile of the same suit causes the hand itself to be complete.
Progressive Chows – Chows which are leveled up by one or possibly two digits.
Progressive Pongs – These are pongs which have been leveled up by one digit.
Pong – This is when a player has a set composed of three identical tiles.
Reversible Tiles – These are tiles which have the exact same look when they are inverted.
Self-drawn – This is a tile that a player takes from the wall.
Sequence – This is comprised of a set of suit tiles that are all in numerical sequence.
Set – A chow, kong, or pong.
Simples – These are suit tiles which are anything other than terminals.
Stepped – These are chows which have been separated by one or two numbers.
Terminals – These are the tiles numbered one and nine only of each of the three suits.
Thirteen Orphans – This is when a player has a hand that is made up of one each of every major tile, and one tile that is paired.
Twin Chows – These are when a player has tiles that comprise two completely matching chows which are both in the same suit.
Void Suit – This is a hand that is missing tiles of one particular suit.
Wall – These are tiles which are all laid in a face down position at the beginning of the game play.
Wind, Own – This is a wind that correlates to a player's seat at the table.
Wind, Prevailing – This is the wind that makes up the round.
Wind, Seat – This is a wind that correlates to a player's seat.