BRINJAUL, s. The name of a vegetable called in the W. Indies the Egg-plant, and more commonly known to the English in Bengal under that of bangun (prop. baingan). It is the Solanum Melongena, L., very commonly cultivated on the shores of the Mediterranean as well as in India and the East generally. Though not known in a wild state under this form, there is no reasonable doubt that S. Melongena is a derivative of the common Indian S. insanum, L. The word in the form brinjaul is from the Portuguese, as we shall see. But probably there is no word of the kind which has undergone such extraordinary variety of modifications, whilst retaining the same meaning, as this. The Skt. is bhantaki, H. bhanta, baigan, baingan, P. badingan, badilgan, Ar. badinjan, Span. alberengena, berengena, Port. beringela, bringiela, bringella, Low Latin melangolus, merangolus, Ital. melangola, melanzana, mela insana, &c. (see P. della Valle, below), French aubergine (from alberengena), melongène, merangène, and provincially belingène, albergaine, albergine, albergame. (See Marcel Devic, p. 46.) Littré, we may remark, explains (dormitante Homero?) aubergine as ‘espèce de morelle,’ giving the etym. as “diminutif de auberge” (in the sense of a kind of peach). Melongena is no real Latin word, but a factitious rendering of melanzana, or, as Marcel Devic says, “Latin du botaniste.” It looks as if the Skt. word were the original of all. The H. baingan again seems to have been modified from the P. badingan, [or, as Platts asserts, direct from the Skt. vanga, vangana, ‘the plant of Bengal,’] and baingan also through the Ar. to have been the parent of the Span. berengena, and so of all the other European names except the English ‘egg-plant.’ The Ital. mela insana is the most curious of these corruptions, framed by the usual effort after meaning, and connecting itself with the somewhat indigestible reputation of the vegetable as it is eaten in Italy, which is a fact. When cholera is abroad it is considered (e.g. in Sicily) to be an act of folly to eat the melanzana. There is, however, behind this, some notion (exemplified in the quotation from Lane’s Mod. Egypt. below) connecting the badinjan with madness. [Burton, Ar. Nights, iii. 417.] And it would seem that the old Arab medical writers give it a bad character as an article of diet. Thus Avicenna says the badinjan generates melancholy and obstructions. To the N. O. Solanaceae many poisonous plants belong.

The word has been carried, with the vegetable, to the Archipelago, probably by the Portuguese, for the Malays call it berinjala. [On this Mr. Skeat writes: “The Malay form brinjal, from the Port., not berinjala, is given by Clifford and Swettenham, but it cannot be established as a Malay word, being almost certainly the Eng. brinjaul done into Malay. It finds no place in Klinkert, and the native Malay word, which is the only word used in pure Peninsular Malay, is terong or trong. The form berinjala, I believe, must have come from the Islands if it really exists.”]

1554.—(At Goa). “And the excise from garden stuff under which are comprised these things, viz.: Radishes, beetroot, garlick, onions green and dry, green tamarinds, lettuces, conbalinguas, ginger, oranges, dill, coriander, mint, cabbage, salted mangoes, brinjelas, lemons, gourds, citrons, cucumbers, which articles none may sell in retail except the Rendeiro of this excise, or some one who has got permission from him.…”—S. Botelho, Tombo, 49.

c. 1580.—“Trifolium quoque virens comedunt Arabes, mentham Judaei crudam, … mala insana …”—Prosper Alpinus, i. 65.

1611.—“We had a market there kept upon the Strand of diuers sorts of prouisions, towit … Pallingenies, cucumbers …”—N. Dounton, in Purchas, i. 298.

1616.—“It seems to me to be one of those fruits which are called in good Tuscan petronciani, but which by the Lombards are called melanzane, and by the vulgar at Rome marignani; and if my memory does not deceive me, by the Neapolitans in their patois molegnane.”—P. della Valle, i. 197.

1673.—“The Garden … planted with Potatoes, Yawms, Berenjaws, both hot plants…”—Fryer, 104.

1738.—“Then follow during the rest of the summer, calabashas.… bedin-janas, and tomatas.”—Shaw’s Travels, 2nd ed. 1757, p. 141.

c. 1740.—“This man (Balaji Rao), who had become absolute in Hindostan as well as in Decan, was fond of bread made of Badjrah … he lived on raw Bringelas, on unripe mangoes, and on raw red pepper.”—Seir Mutaqherin, iii. 229.

1782.—Sonnerat writes Béringédes.—i. 186.

1783.—Forrest spells brinjalles (V. to Mergui, 40); and (1810) Williamson biringal (V. M. i. 133). Forbes (1813), bringal and berenjal (Or. Mem. i. 32) [in 2nd cd. i. 22, bungal,] ii. 50; [in 2nd ed. i. 348].

1810.—“I saw last night at least two acres covered with brinjaal, a species of Solanum.”—Maria Graham, 24.

1826.—“A plate of poached eggs, fried in sugar and butter; a dish of badenjâns, slit in the middle and boiled in grease.”—Hajji Baba, ed. 1835, p. 150.

1835.—“The neighbours unanimously declared that the husband was mad.… One exclaimed: ‘There is no strength nor power but in God! God restore thee!’ Another said: ‘How sad! He was really a worthy man.’ A third remarked: ‘Badingâns are very abundant just now.’ ” —Lane, Mod.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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