a. H.—P. chik; a kind of screen-blind made of finely-split bamboo, laced with twine, and often painted on the outer side. It is hung or framed in doorways or windows, both in houses and in tents. The thing [which is described by Roe,] may possibly have come in with the Mongols, for we find in Kovalefski’s Mongol Dict. (2174) “Tchik=Natte.” The Ain (i. 226) has chigh. Chicks are now made in London, as well as imported from China and Japan. Chicks are described by Clavijo in the tents of Timour’s chief wife:

1404.—“And this tent had two doors, one in front of the other, and the first doors were of certain thin coloured wands, joined one to another like in a hurdle, and covered on the outside with a texture of rose-coloured silk, and finely woven; and these doors were made in this fashion, in order that when shut the air might yet enter, whilst those within could see those outside, but those outside could not see those who were within.”— § cxxvi.

[1616.—His wives “whose Curiositye made them breake little holes in a grate of reede that hung before it to gaze on mee.”—Sir T. Roe, Hak. Soc. ii. 321.]

1673.—“Glass is dear, and scarcely purchaseable…therefore their Windows are usually folding doors, screened with Cheeks or latises.”—Fryer, 92.

The pron. cheek is still not uncommon among English people:—“The Coach where the Women were was covered with cheeks, a sort of hanging Curtain, made with Bents variously coloured with Lacker, and Checquered with Packthred so artificially that you see all without, and yourself within unperceived.”—Fryer, 83.

1810.—“Cheeks or Screens to keep out the glare.”—Williamson, V. M. ii. 43.

1825.—“The check of the tent prevents effectually any person from seeing what passes within.…”—Heber (ed. 1844), i. 192.
b. Short for chickeen, a sum of four rupees. This is the Venetian zecchino, cecchino, or sequin, a gold coin long current on the shores of India, and which still frequently turns up in treasure- trove, and in hoards. In the early part of the 15th century Nicolo Conti mentions that in some parts of India, Venetian ducats, i.e. sequins, were current (p. 30). And recently, in fact in our own day, chick was a term in frequent Anglo-Indian use, e.g. “I’ll bet you a chick.”

The word zecchino is from the Zecca, or Mint at Venice, and that name is of Arabic origin, from sikka, ‘a coining die.’ The double history of this word is curious. We have just seen how in one form, and by what circuitous secular journey, through Egypt, Venice, India, it has gained a place in the Anglo-Indian Vocabulary. By a directer route it has also found a distinct place in the same repository under the form Sicca (q.v.), and in this shape it still retains a ghostly kind of existence at the India Office. It is remarkable how first the spread of Saracenic power and civilisation, then the spread of Venetian commerce and coinage, and lastly the spread of English commerce and power, should thus have brought together two words identical in origin, after so widely divergent a career.

The sequin is sometimes called in the South shanarcash, because the Doge with his sceptre is taken for the Shanar, or toddy-drawer climbing the palm-tree ! [See Burnell, Linschoten, i. 243.] (See also VENETIAN.)

We apprehend that the gambling phrases ‘chicken-stakes’ and ‘chicken-nazard’ originate in the same word.

1583.—“Chickinos which be pieces of Golde woorth seuen shillings a piece sterling.”—Caesar Frederici, in Hakl. ii. 343.

1608.—“When I was there (at Venice) a chiquiney was worth eleven livers and twelve sols.”—Coryat’s Crudities, ii. 68.

1609.—“Three or four thousand chequins were as pretty a proportion to live quietly on, and so give over.”—Pericles, P. of Tyre, iv. 2.

1612.—“The Grand Signiors Custome of this Port Moha is worth yearly unto him 1500 chicquenes.”—Saris, in Purchas, i. 348.

[1616. — “Shee tooke chickenes and royalls for her goods.”—Sir T. Roe, Hak. Soc. i. 228.]

1623.—“Shall not be worth a chequin, if it were knock’d at an outcry.”—Beaum. & Flet., The Maid in the Mill, v. 2.

1689.—“Four Thousand Checkins he privately tied to the flooks of an Anchor under Water.”—Ovington, 418.

1711.—“He (the Broker) will charge 32 Shahees per Chequeen when they are not worth 31½ in the Bazar.”—Lockyer, 227.

1727.—“When my Barge landed him, he gave the Cockswain five Zequeens, and loaded her back with Poultry and Fruit.”— A. Hamilton, i. 301; ed. 1744, i. 303.


Chequins 5 at 5. Arcot Rs. 25 0 0”

Lord Clive’s Account of his Voyage to India, in Long, 497.


“Whenever master spends a chick,
I keep back two rupees, Sir.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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