main part of something; to manage; to work; to do; capable; tree trunk; to kill (slang)
|(question tag); morphine|
The second element is cognate with 麼 (me) in Standard Mandarin 什麼／什么 (shénme, “what”), and is usually written as 嘛 when writing Tianjin dialect. Dictionaries only consider consider toneless ma (declarative particle) as the only proper use of 嘛. All other senses, including the dialectally influenced pronunciation of má ("what") and the interrogative particle of ma, are considered incorrect. However, there is much confusion in actual writing, possibly with 幹嘛 being used more commonly for this sense.
- (colloquial) what is (someone) doing; what is going on
- (colloquial) what is wrong; what is up
- (colloquial) why; why on earth; whatever for