BRINJAUL to BROACH
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 Lanes 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
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.
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