BETEL to BEZOAR
BETEL, s. The leaf of the Piper betel, L., chewed with the dried areca-nut (which is thence improperly
called betel-nut, a mistake as old as Fryer1673,see p. 40), chunam, etc., by the natives of India
and the Indo-Chinese countries. The word is Malayal. vettila, i.e. veru+ila = simple or mere leaf, and
comes to us through the Port. betre and betle. Pawn (q.v.) is the term more generally used by modern
Anglo-Indians. In former times the betel-leaf was in S. India the subject of a monopoly of the E. I. Co.
1298.All the people of this city (Cael) as well as of the rest of India, have a custom of perpetually
keeping in the mouth a certain leaf called Tembul.
the lords and gentlefolks and the King have these
leaves prepared with camphor and other aromatic spices, and also mixt with quick-lime.
ii. 358. See also Abdurrazzak, in India in XV. Cent., p. 32.
1498.In Vasco da Gamas Roteiro, p.
59, the word used is atombor, i.e. al-tambul (Arab.) from the Skt. tambula. See also Acosta, p. 139.
1510.This betel resembles the leaves of the sour orange, and they are constantly
eating it.Varthema, p. 144.
1516.We call this betel Indian leaf.1Barbosa, 73.
(or vettele). See under ARECA.]
at one side of the bed
stood a man
who held in his hand
a gold plate with leaves of betelle.
De Barros, Dec. I. liv. iv. cap. viii.
1563.We call it betre,
because the first land known by the Portuguese was Malabar, and it comes to my remembrance that in
Portugal they used to speak of their coming not to India, but to Calecut.
insomuch that in all the names
that occur, which are not Portuguese, are Malabar, like betre.Garcia, f. 37g.
1582.The transl. of
Castañeda by N. L. has betele (f. 35), and also vitele (f. 44).
1585.A Kings letter grants the revenue
from betel (betre) to the bishop and clergy of Goa.In Arch. Port. Or., fasc. 3, p. 38.
for Coco-Nuts to give the Company, himselfe chewing Bittle and lime of Oyster-shels, with a Kernell of
Nut called Arracca, like an Akorne, it bites in the mouth, accords rheume, cooles the head, strengthens
the teeth, & is all their Phisicke.Sir T. Roe, in Purchas, i. 537; [with some trifling variations in Fosters
ed. (Hak. Soc.) i. 19].
1623.Celebratur in universo oriente radix quaedam vocata Betel, quam Indi
et reliqui in ore habere et mandere consueverunt, atque ex eâ mansione mire recreantur, et ad labores
tolerandos, et ad languores discutiendos.
videtur autem esse ex narcoticis, quia magnopere denigrat
dentes.Bacon, Historia Vitae et Mortis, ed. Amst. 1673, p. 97.
1672.They pass the greater part of
the day in indolence, occupied only with talk, and chewing Betel and Areca, by which means their lips
and teeth are always stained.P. di Vincenzo Maria, 232.
1677.The Court of the E. I. Co. in a letter
to Ft. St. George, Dec. 12, disapprove of allowing Valentine Nurse 20 Rupees a month for diet, 7 Rs.
for houserent, 2 for a cook, 1 for Beetle, and 2 for a Porter, which is a most extravagant rate, which
we shall not allow him or any other.Notes and Exts., No. i. p. 21.
1727.I presented the Officer that
waited on me to the Sea-side (at Calicut) with 5 zequeens for a feast of bettle to him and his companions.A.
Hamilton, i. 306.
BETTEELA, BEATELLE, &c., s. The name of a kind of muslin constantly mentioned in old trading-
lists and narratives. This seems to be a Sp. and Port. word beatilla or beatilha, for a veil, derived,
according to Cobarruvias, from certain beatas, who invented or used the like. Beata is a religieuse.
[The Betilla is a certain kind of white E. I. chintz made at Masulipatam, and known under the name of
Organdi.Mad. Admin. Man. Gloss. p. 233.]
[1566.A score Byatilhas, which were worth 200 pardaos.Correa, iii. 479.]
Vestida huma camisa preciosa
Trazida de delgada beatilha,
Que o corpo crystallino deixa ver-se;
tanto bem não he para esconder-se.
Camões, vi. 21.
this linnen is of divers sorts, and is called Serampuras, Cassas, Comsas, Beattillias, Satopassas,
and a thousand such names.Linschoten, 28; [Hak. Soc. i. 95; and cf. i. 56].
1685.To servants, 3
pieces beteelaes.In Wheeler, i. 149.
1727.Before Aurungzeb conquered Visiapore, this country
(Sundah) produced the finest Betteelas or Muslins in India.A. Hamilton, i. 264.
various kinds of muslins brought from the East Indies, chiefly from Bengal: Betelles, &c.Chambers
Cycl., quoted in 3 ser. Notes & Q. iv. 88.]