Definition of fan-tan in English:



  • 1A Chinese gambling game in which players try to guess the remainder after the banker has divided a number of hidden objects into four groups.

    ‘In the old days the alley resounded to the click of mah-jongg tiles and fan-tan, a gambling game from which it derives its name.’
    • ‘Fan Tan is a Chinese gambling game based on guessing the number of beans in a pot.’
  • 2A card game in which players build on sequences of sevens.

    ‘A key rule in Fan Tan is that each player must play if they can. Breaking or even simply forgetting this rule can ruin the game.’
    • ‘Fan Tan is a card game that also is known as Card Dominoes, Sevens, and Parliament.’



/ˈfanˌtan/ /ˈfænˌtæn/


Late 19th century from Chinese fān tān, literally ‘repeated divisions’.