CRANNY, s. In Bengal commonly used for a clerk writing English, and thence vulgarly applied generically to the East Indians, or half-caste class, from among whom English copyists are chiefly recruited. The original is Hind. karani, kirani, which Wilson derives from Skt. karan, ‘a doer.’ Karana is also the name of one of the (so-called) mixt castes of the Hindus, sprung from a Sudra mother and Vaisya father, or (according to some) from a pure Kshatriya mother by a father of degraded Kshatriya origin. The occupation of the members of this mixt caste is that of writers and accountants; [see Risley, Tribes and Castes of Bengal, i. 424 seqq.].

The word was probably at one time applied by natives to the junior members of the Covenanted Civil Service—“Writers,” as they were designated. See the quotations from the “Seir Mutaqherin” and from Hugh Boyd. And in our own remembrance the “Writers’ Buildings” in Calcutta, where those young gentlemen were at one time quartered (a range of apartments which has now been transfigured into a splendid series of public offices, but, wisely, has been kept to its old name), was known to the natives as Karani ki Barik.

c. 1350.—“They have the custom that when a ship arrives from India or elsewhere, the slaves of the Sultan…carry with them complete suits…for the Rabban or skipper, and for the kirani, who is the ship’s clerk.”—Ibn Batuta, ii. 198.

„ “The second day after our a rrival at the port of Kailukari, the princess escorted the nakhodah (or skipper), the kirani, or clerk.…”—Ibid. iv. 250.

c. 1590.—“The Karrání is a writer who keeps the accounts of the ship, and serves out the water to the passengers.”—Ain (Blochmann), i. 280.

c. 1610.—“Le Secretaire s’apelle carans…”—Pyrard de Laral, i. 152; [Hak. Soc. i. 214].

[1611.—“Doubt you not but it is too true, howsoever the Cranny flatters you with better hopes.”—Dancers, Letters, i. 117, and see also i. 190.

[1684.—“Ye Noceda and Cranee.”—Pringle, Diary of Ft. St. George, iii. 111.]

c. 1781.—“The gentlemen likewise, other than the Military, who are in high offices and employments, have amongst themselves degrees of service and work, which have not come minutely to my knowledge; but the whole of them collectively are called Carranis.”—Seir Mutaqherin, ii. 543.

1793.—“But, as Gay has it, example gains where precept fails. As an encouragement therefore to my brother crannies, I will offer an instance or two, which are remembered as good Company’s jokes.”—Hugh Boyd, The Indian Observer, 42.

1810.—“The Cranny, or clerk, may be either a native Armenian, a native Portuguese, or a Bengallee.”—Williamson, V. M. i. 209.

1834.—“Nazir, see bail taken for 2000 rupees. The Crany will write your evidence, Captain Forrester.”—The Baboo, i. 311.
It is curious to find this word explained by an old French writer, in almost the modern application to East Indians. This shows that the word was used at Goa in something of its Hindu sense of one of mixt blood.

1653.—“Les karanes sont engendrez d’vn Mestis, et d’vne Indienne, lesquels sont oliaustres. Ce mot de Karanes vient a mon advis de Kara, qui signifie en Turq la terre, ou bien la couleur noire, comme si l’on vouloit dire par karanes les enfans du païs, ou bien les noirs: ils ont les mesmes aduantages dans leur professions que les autres Mestis.”—De la Boullaye-le-Gouz, ed. 1657, p. 226. Compare in M. Polo, Bk. I., ch. 18, his statement about the Caraonas, and note thereon.

CRAPE, s. This is no Oriental word, though crape comes from China. It is the French crêpe, i.e. crespe, Lat. crispus, meaning frizzed or minutely curled. As the word is given in a 16th century quotation by Littré, it is probable that the name was first applied to a European texture. [Its use in English dates from 1633, according to the N.E.D.]

“I own perhaps I might desire
Some shawls of true Cashmere—
Some narrowy crapes of China silk,
Like wrinkled skins, or scalded milk.”

O. W. Holmes, ‘Contentment.’

CREASE, CRIS, &c., s. A kind of dagger, which is the characteristic weapon of the Malay nations; from the Javanese name of the weapon, adopted in Malay, kris, kiris, or kres (see Favre, Dict. Javanais- Français, 137b, Crawfurd’s Malay Dict. s.v., Jansz, Javaansch-Nederl. Woordenboek, 202). The word has been generalised, and is often applied to analogous weapons of other nations, as ‘an Arab crease,’ &c. It seems probable that the H. word kirich, applied to a straight sword, and now almost specifically to a sword of European make, is identical with the Malay word kris. See the form of the

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