COIMBATORE, n.p. Name of a District and town in the Madras Presidency. Koyammuturu; [Koni, the local goddess so called, muttu, ‘pearl,’ ur, ‘village’].

COIR, s. The fibre of the coco-nut husk, from which rope is made. But properly the word, which is Tam. kayiru, Malayal. kayar, from v. kayaru. ‘to be twisted,’ means ‘cord’ itself (see the accurate Al-Biruni below). The former use among Europeans is very early. And both the fibre and the rope made from it appear to have been exported to Europe in the middle of the 16th century. The word appears in early Arabic writers in the forms kanbar and kanbar, arising probably from some misreading of the diacritical points (for kaiyar, and kaiyar). The Portuguese adopted the word in the form cairo. The form coir seems to have been introduced by the English in the 18th century. [The N.E.D. gives coire in 1697; coir in 1779.] It was less likely to be used by the Portuguese because coiro in their language is ‘leather.’ And Barros (where quoted below) says allusively of the rope: “parece feito de coiro (leather) encolhendo e estendendo a vontade do mar,” contracting and stretching with the movement of the sea.

c. 1030.—“The other islands are called Diva Kanbar from the word Kanbar signifying the cord plaited from the fibre of the coco-tree with which they stitch their ships together.”—Al-Biruni, in J. As., Ser. iv. tom. viii. 266.

c. 1346.—“They export … cowries and Kanbar; the latter is the name which they give to the fibrous husk of the coco-nut. … They make of it twine to stitch together the planks of their ships, and the cordage is also exported to China, India, and Yemen. This kanbar is better than hemp.”—Ibn Batuta, iv. 121.

1510.—“The Governor (Alboquerque) … in Cananor devoted much care to the preparation of cables and rigging for the whole fleet, for what they had was all rotten from the rains in Goa River; ordering that all should be made of coir (cairo), of which there was great abundance in Cananor; because a Moor called Mamalle, a chief trader there, held the whole trade of the Maldive islands by a contract with the kings of the isles … so that this Moor came to be called the Lord of the Maldives, and that all the coir that was used throughout India had to be bought from the hands of this Moor. … The Governor, learning this, sent for the said Moor, and ordered him to abandon this island trade and to recall his factors. … The Moor, not to lose such a profitable business, … finally arranged with the Governor that the Isles should not be taken from him, and that he in return would furnish for the king 1000 bahars (barés) of coarse coir, and 1000 more of fine coir, each bahar weighing 4½ quintals; and this every year, and laid down at his own charges in Cananor and Cochym, gratis and free of all charge to the King (not being able to endure that the Portuguese should frequent the Isles at their pleasure).” —Correa, ii. 129–30.

1516.—“These islands make much cordage of palm-trees, which they call cayro.”— Barbosa, 164.

c. 1530.—“They made ropes of coir, which is a thread which the people of the country make of the husks which the coco-nuts have outside.”—Correa, by Stanley, 133.

1553.—“They make much use of this cairo in place of nails; for as it has this quality of recovering its freshness and swelling in the sea-water, they stitch with it the planking of a ship’s sides, and reckon them then very secure.”—De Barros, Dec. III. liv. iii. cap. 7.

1563.—“The first rind is very tough, and from it is made cairo, so called by the Malabars and by us, from which is made the cord for the rigging of all kinds of vessels.”—Garcia, f. 67v.

1582.—“The Dwellers therein are Moores; which trade to Sofala in great Ships that have no Decks, nor nailes, but are sowed with Cayro.”—Castañeda (by N. L.), f. 14b.

c. 1610.—“This revenue consists in … Cairo, which is the cord made of the coco-tree.” —Pyrard de Laval, i. 172; [Hak. Soc. i. 250].

1673.—“They (the Surat people) have not only the Cair-yarn made of the Cocoe for cordage, but good Flax and Hemp.”—Fryer, 121.

c. 1690.—“Externus nucis cortex putamen ambiens, quum exsiccatus, et stupae similis … dicitur … Malabarice Cairo, quod nomen ubique usurpatur ubi lingua Portugallica est in usu. …”—Rumphius, i. 7.

1727.—“Of the Rind of the Nut they make Cayar, which are the Fibres of the Cask that environs the Nut spun fit to make Cordage and Cables for Shipping.”— A. Hamilton, i. 296; [ed. 1744, i. 298].

[1773.—“… these they call Kiar Yarns.” —Ives, 457.]

COJA, s. P. khojah for khwajah, a respectful title applied to various classes; as in India especially to eunuchs; in Persia to wealthy merchants; in Turkistan to persons of sacred families.

c. 1343.—“The chief mosque (at Kaulam) is admirable; it was built by the merchant Khojah Muhaddhab.”—Ibn. Batuta, iv. 100.

[1590.—“Hoggia.” See quotation under TALISMAN.

[1615.—“The Governor of Suratt is displaced, and Hoyja Hassan in his room.”— Foster, Letters, iv. 16.

[1708.—“This grave is made for

  By PanEris using Melati.

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