BALOON, BALLOON, &c., s. A rowing vessel formerly used in various parts of the Indies, the basis of which was a large canoe, or ‘dug-out.’ There is a Mahr. word balyanw, a kind of barge, which is probably the original. [See Bombay Gazetteer, xiv. 26.]

1539.—“E embarcando-se…partio, eo forão accompanhando dez ou doze balões ate a Ilha de Upe….”—Pinto, ch. xiv.


“Neste tempo da terra para a armada
Balões, e cal’ luzes cruzar vimos…”

Malaca Conquistada, iii. 44.

1673.—“The President commanded his own Baloon (a Barge of State, of Two and Twenty Oars) to attend me.”—Fryer, 70.

1755.—“The Burmas has now Eighty Ballongs, none of which as [sic] great Guns.”—Letter from Capt. R. Jackson, in Dalrymple Or. Repert. i. 195.

1811.—“This is the simplest of all boats, and consists merely of the trunk of a tree hollowed out, to the extremities of which pieces of wood are applied, to represent a stern and prow; the two sides are boards joined by rottins or small bambous without nails; no iron whatsoever enters into their construction…. The Balaums are used in the district of Chittagong.”—Solxyns, iii.

BALSORA, BUSSORA, &c., n.p. These old forms used to be familiar from their use in the popular version of the Arabian Nights after Galland. The place is the sea-port city of Basra at the mouth of the Shat-al- ’Arab, or United Euphrates and Tigris. [Burton (Ar. Nights, x. 1) writes Bassorah.]

1298.—“There is also on the river as you go from Baudas to Kisi, a great city called Bastra surrounded by woods in which grow the best dates in the world.”—Marco Polo, Bk. i. ch. 6.

c. 1580.—“Balsara, altrimente detta Bassora, è una città posta nell’ Arabia, la quale al presente e signoreggiata dal Turco…è città di gran negocio di spetiarie, di droghe, e altre merci che uengono di Ormus; è abondante di dattoli, risi, e grani.”—Balbi, f. 32f.

[1598.—“The town of Balsora; also Bassora.”—Linschoten, Hak. Soc. i. 45.]


“From Atropatia and the neighbouring plains
Of Adiabene, Media, and the south
Of Susiana to Balsara's Haven…”

Paradise Regained, iii.

1747.—“He (the Prest. of Bombay) further advises us that they have wrote our Honble. Masters of the Loss of Madrass by way of Bussero, the 7th of November.”—Ft. St. David Consn., 8th January 1746–7. MS. in India Office.

[Also see CONGO.]

BALTY, s. H. balti, ‘a bucket,’ [which Platts very improbably connects with Skt. vari, ‘water’], is the Port. balde.

BÁLWAR, s. This is the native servant’s form of ‘barber,’ shaped by the ‘striving after meaning’ as balwar, for balwla, i.e. ‘capillarius,’ ‘hair-man.’ It often takes the further form bal-bur, another factitious hybrid, shaped by P. buridan, ‘to cut,’ quasi ‘hair-cutter.’ But though now obsolete, there was also (see both Meninski and Vullers s.v.) a Persian word barbar, for a barber or surgeon, from which came this Turkish term “Le Berber-bachi, qui fait la barbe au Pacha,” which we find (c. 1674) in the Appendix to the journal of Antoine Galland, pubd. at Paris, 1881 (ii. 190). It looks as if this must have been an early loan from Europe.

BAMBOO, S. Applied to many gigantic grasses, of which Bambusa arundinacea and B. vulgaris are the most commonly cultivated; but there are many other species of the same and allied genera in use; natives of tropical Asia, Africa, and America. This word, one of the commonest in Anglo-Indian daily use, and thoroughly naturalised in English, is of exceedingly obscure origin. According to Wilson it is Canarese banbu [or as the Madras Admin. Man. (Gloss. s.v.) writes it, bombu, which is said to be “onomatopaeic

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.