Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A system for transliterating Chinese ideograms into the Roman alphabet, officially adopted by the People's Republic of China in 1979.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • proper n. A system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Mandarin Chinese based on the Mandarin dialect of the Beijing area used in the People’s Republic of China.
  • proper n. A Niger-Congo language of Cameroon.

Etymologies

Chinese (Mandarin) pīn yīn, to combine sounds into syllables : pīn, to combine + yīn, sound.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Chinese Mandarin 拼音 (pīnyīn) (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Language Log links to an article in Pinyin News discussing how frequent it is now for Mandarin publications and informal writers to add .. "ing" to the Mandarin -- to look "cool and modern".

    Miscellaneous

  • Pinyin is finally catching on in Taiwan, so I have decided to use it for romanizing Chinese terms, including Taiwanese place names, but I do make two exceptions.

    How Taiwan Became Chinese

  • However, the KMT supports switching to the Pinyin now used in the mainland PRC, while the more Taiwanese nationalist DPP wants to use a Taiwanese version of it, the Tonyoung Pinyin, which is more phonetically comprehensible by most English speakers.

    The Real Chiang Kaishek, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • For most Chinese place names and personal names, use the official Chinese spelling system known as Pinyin: Zhu Rongji.

    Essential Guide to Business Style and Usage

  • It took Zhou and his colleagues three years to come up with the system now known as Pinyin, which was introduced in schools in 1958.

    NPR Topics: News

  • The Chinese have a phonetic system called Pinyin but, as far as I know, it's not used in everyday writing -- but they do have a system for character entry on keyboards and other digital devices.

    Evil Avatar

  • There are two ways to input Chinese characters on a computer, either by handwriting recognition or by a method known as Pinyin, in which a user spells out the phonetic pronunciation of Chinese words with the Latin alphabet on a standard keyboard.

    GigaOM Network

  • In 1979, China officially added the Pinyin alphabet, based on the Latin alphabet, to its existing nonalphabetic writing options.

    The English Is Coming!

  • "Yes," Liu Xia responded, writing in Pinyin, the Chinese transliteration system.

    Wife of detained Chinese Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo says she, family are 'hostages'

  • Pinyin is a phonetic system that generates Chinese characters from Latin alphabet input.

    In the Plex

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