AVADAVAT, s. Improperly for Amadavat. The name given to a certain pretty little cage-bird (Estrelda amandava, L. or ‘Red Wax-Bill’) found throughout India, but originally brought to Europe from Ahmadabad in Guzerat, of which the name is a corruption. We also find Ahmadabad represented by Madava: as in old maps Astarabad on the Caspian is represented by Strava (see quotation from Correa below). [One of the native names for the bird is lal, ‘ruby,’ which appears in the quotation from Mrs. Meer Hassan Ali below.]

1538.—“. … o qual veyo d’Amadava principall cidade do reino.”—In S. Botelho, Tombo, 228.

1546.—“The greater the resistance they made, the more of their blood was spilt in their defeat, and when they took to flight, we gave them chase for the space of half a league. And it is my belief that as far as the will of the officers and lascarys went, we should not have halted on this side of Madavá; but as I saw that my people were much fatigued, and that the Moors were in great numbers, I withdrew them and brought them back to the city.”—D. João de Castro’s despatch to the City of Goa respecting the victory at Diu.—Correa, iv. 574.

1648.—“The capital (of Guzerat) lies in the interior of the country and is named Hamed- Ewat, i.e. the City of King Hamed who built it; nowadays they call it Amadavar or Amadabat.”—Van Twist, 4.

1673.—“From Amidavad, small Birds, who, besides that they are spotted with white and Red no bigger than Measles, the principal Chorister beginning, the rest in Consort, Fifty in a Cage, make an admirable Chorus.”—Fryer, 116.

[1777.—“… a few presents now and then—china, shawls, congou tea, avadavats, and Indian crackers.”—The School for Scandal, v. i.]

1813.—“. … amadavats, and other songsters are brought thither (Bombay) from Surat and different countries.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. i. 47. [The 2nd ed. (i. 32) reads amadavads.]

[1832.—“The lollah, known to many by the name of haver- dewatt, is a beautiful little creature, about one-third the size of a hedge-sparrow.”—Mrs Meer Hassan Ali, Observat. ii. 54.]

AVATAR, s. Skt. Avatara, an incarnation on earth of a divine Being. This word first appears in Baldaeus (1672) in the form Autaar (Afgoderye, p. 52), which in the German version generally quoted in this book takes the corrupter shape of Altar.

[c. 1590.—“In the city of Sambal is a temple called Hari Mandal (the temple of Vishnu) belonging to a Brahman, from among whose descendants the tenth avatar will appear at this spot.”—Ain, tr. Jarrett, ii. 281.]

1672.—“Bey den Benjanen haben auch diese zehen Verwandlungen den Namen daas sie Altare heissen, und also hat Mats Altar als dieser erste, gewähret 2500 Jahr.”—Baldaeus, 472.

1784.—“The ten Avatárs or descents of the deity, in his capacity of Preserver.”—Sir W. Jones, in Asiat. Res. (reprint) i. 234.

1812.—“The Awatars of Vishnu, by which are meant his descents upon earth, are usually counted ten.…”—Maria Graham, 49.

1821.—“The Irish Avatar.”—Byron.

1845.—“In Vishnu-land what Avatar?”—Browning, Dramatic Romances, Works, ed. 1870, iv. pp. 209, 210.

1872.—“.… all which cannot blind us to the fact that the Master is merely another avatar of Dr Holmes himself.”—Sat. Review, Dec. 14, p. 768.

1873.—“He.… builds up a curious History of Spiritualism, according to which all matter is mediately or immediately the avatar of some Intelligence, not necessarily the highest.”—Academy, May 15th, 172b.

1875.—“Balzac’s avatars were a hundred-fold as numerous as those of Vishnu.”—Ibid., April 24th, p. 421.

AVERAGE, s. Skeat derives this in all its senses from L. Latin averia, used for cattle; for his deduction of meanings we must refer to his Dictionary. But it is worthy of consideration whether average, in its special marine use for a proportionate contribution towards losses of those whose goods are cast into the sea to save a ship, &c., is not directly connected with the Fr. avarie, which has quite that signification. And this last Dozy shows most plausibly to be from the Ar. ‘awar, spoilt merchandise.’ [This is rejected by the N.E.D., which concludes that the Ar. ’awar is “merely a mod. Arabic translation and adaptation of the Western term in its latest sense.”] Note that many European words of trade are from the Arabic; and that avarie is in Dutch avarij, averij, or haverij.—(See Dozy, Oosterlingen.)

AYAH, s. A native lady’s-maid or murse-maid. The word has been adopted into most of the Indian vernaculars in the forms aya or aya, but it is really Portuguese (f. aia, ‘a nurse, or governess’; m.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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